October 6, 2022
A Note from CEO Kim Jowell

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, our thoughts are with the neighbors, schools and businesses across Florida still coping with the effects from the devastating storm.

Now, eight weeks into the school year, the needs for students and teachers in our district remain high. Educators and school leaders have requested funding for 258 School and Classroom Enrichment grants. We have been able to fulfill 77 so far, but $209,292 in requests have yet to be funded. I invite you to learn more about how you can invest in teachers' innovative ideas to enhance educational experiences for students.

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for our annual EmpowerED fundraising luncheon last month. I was so inspired by the stories from students and teachers and am grateful for the community's generosity and support of our mission to make stories like these possible. Together, we can rewrite the narrative for students that will transform lives.
Rewriting the Narrative at EmpowerED 2022
With the help of our AMAZING sponsors and guests, we raised more than $145,000 at EmpowerED 2022 to strengthen public education in Hillsborough County.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear from Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Addison Davis, as well as students and teachers who have directly benefitted from HEF's programs.

Sasha Fowler, Brandon High School Teacher and School and Classroom Enrichment grant recipient, discussed how the funding awarded by HEF gave students in Bloom Girls Club the chance to grow themselves academically and personally.

“With your support, HEF will continue to be a pillar of hope for youth across our district and will enable educators like me to continue to build the heroes of our next generation.” - Sasha Fowler

Current and former Take Stock in Children mentees also joined us to reflect on their experiences in HEF's mentoring program and how the relationships with their mentors have impacted their lives for the better.

If you were unable to join us for EmpowerED but still want to help support students and teachers through our initiatives, click here to learn more and donate.
Donors Collect Nearly 30,000 Pounds of School Supplies
Our 3-month, back-to-school supply drive season was a huge success thanks to our business and community partners and local education supporters!

The impressive collection from 160 supply drive hosts is making a difference for our most vulnerable students by providing 15 tons of school supplies to ensure all kids have the tools they need to succeed in school.
The donations to HEF help restock the shelves in our Teaching Tools Resource Center, which allows us to serve 163 Title I schools with nearly 105,000 students.

In addition to supplies, our generous supporters made $138,000+ in monetary donations toward the supply drive. We can use the funds to buy products in bulk to replenish our most in-demand items.
We continue to work to meet the needs of students and teachers throughout the school year. Visit our website to learn more about how your donation can positively impact a student's life, an entire classroom and the future of our community.
Business Leaders Needed for CEOs in Schools
Our CEOs in Schools Kickoff Reception is next week and we are so close to having all 150 elementary schools paired with a local business leader.

The initiative, in partnership with Vistra Communications and the school district, gives CEOs and senior executives the opportunity to spend a day in a Hillsborough County elementary school to see how public schools are shaping tomorrow's workforce and leaders, while sharing their business knowledge with students, teachers and principals.

Right now, we need 13 additional volunteers for our November 4th in-school event.
West Tampa ES Dedicates Media Center to CEOs in Schools partner, Ed Ellsasser
With help from PrimeGroup Insurance CEO Ed Ellsasser and other community partners, West Tampa Elementary School recently hosted a grand reopening of their media center and mural reveal.

"We’re starting to see the result of working together as a community. The teachers here care about these kids and they need our support," said Ellsasser. "These Title I schools, and schools in general, don’t always get enough community support."
Ed, who has worked closely with West Tampa and Principal Kevin Kastner through CEOs in Schools, also received a BIG surprise—they dedicated the media center in his name!

“We’re here today to honor Ed and all the work he’s done to support us and show everyone in the community what the new media center provides for our students,” said Principal Kastner.
Advocating for Education: 2023 Legislative Session
The 2023 Florida legislative session kicks off on March 7th and the Florida Department of Education is already looking ahead at needs for the 2023-2024 school year and items for legislators to consider including in the budget.

Preliminary funding requests, approved by the State Board of Education, include a projected growth of 45,000+ students statewide:
  • $70.68 added to the Base Student Allocation (a 1.54% increase).
  • Per student funding increase of $157 to $8,373.
  • Safe Schools increased by $40 million.
  • Student Transportation increased by $20 million.
  • Mental Health Services increased by $20 million.
  • Teacher Salary Increase Allocation maintained at $800 million.

FLDOE is also proposing several new programs, including:
  • $3 million for a nationwide campaign to recruit teachers to teach in Florida.
  • $3.5 million to fund a Civics Literacy initiative to prepare students to become civically engaged and to make positive contributions to their communities.
  • $10 million to provide a recruitment bonus to retired military veterans and first responders who join the teaching profession and teach a minimum of 2 years.

The budget proposal also recommends cutting $6.4 million from the Bright Futures student financial aid scholarship program, citing a "workload reduction." The legislature will write the budget during the upcoming 60-day regular session, which is scheduled to wrap up on May 5th.
Have 30 minutes to change a life? Mentor a student!
Our Take Stock in Children mentoring team has been busy matching students with mentors, including 52 new students who have joined our program so far this school year. There are still about 30 deserving mentees in need of a caring role model to help guide them down the path to success in school and in life.
The schools with the greatest need are:
  • Tampa Bay Technical High School
  • Strawberry Crest High School
  • Durant High School
  • Sumner High School

Check out our interactive map showing where mentors are needed the most!

There is especially a need for male mentors and volunteers who are willing to mentor a student in person, during school hours.
Watch: Mentor Don Evans & Senior Julian Brito share the impact our program has had on their lives.
In addition to a mentor, students in our program also receive guidance from a college success coach, access to college readiness workshops and resources and an opportunity to earn at least a two-year college scholarship at graduation! It only takes about a half hour per week and is the greatest gift you can give a student—your time.
Our work doesn't happen without the generosity of our donors. That's why we dedicate a section in our monthly newsletter to showcase the individuals and companies making our mission possible.

This month, we are featuring US Health Advisors Tampa Bay!
Every month, sales agents from Tampa choose a different charity in our community to support and is usually a cause one of its employees is passionate about.
Regional Sales Leader Jason Greif says he felt inspired to give to Hillsborough Education Foundation after seeing our need for essential school supplies in our Teaching Tools Resource Center. Greif surprised us with a $12,000 donation from US Health Advisors Tampa Bay to help support our most vulnerable students and teachers at our highest needs schools!

A lot of our agents have families, are single moms or people who came from low-income neighborhoods. They know about teachers having to come out of their own pockets to provide supplies for their students," said Greif. "What HEF is doing is incredible and we are here to help."
Greif says he believes "givers gain" and tries to instill in agents that when the team takes up a collection and invests in a worthy cause, it makes our entire community stronger.

"I’ve experienced the gratitude it brings me to help others—especially our children. I encourage others to experience it. If you can be someone's miracle... the better the world will be."
We are proud to shine a spotlight on US Health Advisors Tampa Bay and appreciate the company's support to help change the lives of the students and teachers we serve!