April 7, 2022
A Note from CEO Kim Jowell
Every day, I am inspired by the people in our community who selflessly give of their time to help us carry out our mission to strengthen public education in Hillsborough County. We couldn’t serve the number of students and teachers that we do without the dedication of our more than one thousand HEF volunteers.
There are so many ways for you to get involved with our nonprofit, as an individual, company or group, and find opportunities that align with your passion and schedule. As we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week later this month, I invite you to connect with us if you have time to give to help make a meaningful impact on students, schools and our community.
Celebrating our AMAZING HEF Volunteers
April 17th-23rd is National Volunteer Appreciation Week 2022! Started in 1974, it is an opportunity to recognize those who devote their time to causes they care about.

We are grateful for our volunteers who support HEF and the student and teachers we serve by mentoring, working in our Teaching Tools Resource Center, delivering supplies to schools, reviewing student scholarship applications and more!
Our mentors are making a difference by serving as role models to students
As one of the largest mentoring programs in Tampa Bay, last year we served 370 students in Hillsborough County Public Schools, pairing them with a volunteer mentor.

Together, our mentors dedicated time to 5,941 mentoring sessions during the 2020-2021 school year.
Our volunteers ensure students and teachers have critical supplies and resources
We rely on our volunteers to staff our Teaching Tools Resource Center. Our on-site store provides teachers from our highest needs schools with free core school supplies and other classroom resources they need to succeed.

Last year, volunteers spent 2,571 hours stocking shelves, working at checkouts, organizing donations and making special deliveries to schools!
Scholarship Reviewers: Helping students pursue higher education after graduation
We received more than 1,300 scholarship applications and awarded nearly 200 Community Scholarships to the Class of 2021. It's a feat that wouldn't have been possible without the 223 volunteer reviewers who collectively spent about 1,000 hours reading and scoring applicationsproviding an opportunity for students to follow their dreams of going to college.
CEOs in Schools: Connecting business leaders to tomorrow's workforce
Every year, 150 Tampa Bay CEOs and executives volunteer to spend a day in a Hillsborough County elementary school as part of our CEOs in Schools program in partnership with Vistra and the district. It gives business leaders a first-hand look at what's happening in our public schools and is an opportunity to share their experience with students and principals.
Ed Ellsasser, CEO of PrimeGroup Insurance, has worked with West Tampa Elementary since the program began. Principal Kevin Kastner says he is grateful for the partnership.

“Mr. Ellsasser has played an integral role in connecting West Tampa with support and resources over the past three years. He has not only contributed a significant amount of funding, but he also works to connect the school with other members of the business community that also provide support. Through his hard work and altruistic nature the students, teachers and community members of West Tampa are better served,” said Principal Kastner.
Mr. Ellsasser’s contributions include helping to create a PTA at West Tampa Elementary, which now has 50+ members working diligently to improve the school.

"I look forward to continuing to work with WTES to continue to improve the experience for the students and to support the teachers," said Ellsasser.

This week and throughout the year, we are so thankful for all our volunteers and their invaluable contributions to help strengthen public education in our community.
Advocating for Education: 2022 Legislative Wrap-Up
We are encouraged by the overall commitment to public education in the 2022 legislative session that wrapped up last month. HEF makes advocating for education a priority, because we believe it's unacceptable that Florida consistently ranks near the bottom nationally for K-12 funding.

Here are some of the decisions that will impact students in our district:
Lawmakers passed a record $112.1 billion budget for the fiscal year that will start July 1st, pending the Governor's approval, that was bolstered by federal stimulus money and higher-than-expected state tax collections. Under the plan schools would receive:
  • $8,143 per student, an increase of $385 from this year.
  • $214 increase in the base student allocation, which is expected to be used in part toward raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour for employees.
Last month, HEF shared concerns with lawmakers over the proposal to withhold $200 million in funding for a dozen districts in Florida, including Hillsborough County, that implemented mask mandates during the pandemic.

In the end, budget negotiators put the $200 million into the Florida School Recognition program. However, districts that implemented mask mandates are ineligible for these grants. So while Hillsborough County and the 11 other districts won't see a deduction from their budgets, they're still losing out on funding that benefits sustained or improving student performance.
Lawmakers approved $6 million in recurring funding to continue the School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program, which allows local education foundations like HEF to innovate learning and provide impactful support for students and teachers. Last year, HEF received more than $419K from the program and through the generosity of our community, matched dollar for dollar for our initiatives.
The budget also includes $1.7 billion for the School Readiness program, early learning standards and the Voluntary Prekindergarten program. This investment aligns with HEF's Advocacy Priorities to fund initiatives that increase access to early childhood programs with high-quality instruction that are proven to provide better outcomes in education, health, employment and social behavior for students and remove employment barriers for parents.
Honoring HEF CEO Kim Jowell as
2022 BusinessWoman of the Year
Board members, coworkers and family came together for a memorable night at The Vinoy to celebrate HEF CEO Kim Jowell as Tampa Bay Business Journal's 2022 BusinessWoman of the Year!

Kim is an inspirational changemaker for HEF, our students, our teachers and our community. Since joining our nonprofit, she has increased financial resources by more than 20% and expanded our programs.

She is one of 32 women selected out of 676 nominees and is so deserving of this honor. Congratulations, Kim!
Inaugural Race for Education 5K & 1 Mile Run/Walk
This past Saturday runners and walkers of all ages and fitness levels laced up their sneakers for our inaugural Race for Education 5K and 1-mile run/walk in partnership with the school district to support public education and promote mental and physical wellness.

The event benefits HEF with all proceeds supporting Hillsborough County Public Schools teachers, students and district initiatives.

Thank you to all participants, volunteers and sponsors
who helped make our first race a huge success!
Missed the race but still want to support the cause?
Head to our donate page!
Show Teachers some LOVE during
Teacher Appreciation Week
During Teacher Appreciation Week to show our gratitude for all they do, HEF will once again be offering Hillsborough County Public Schools teachers discounts at restaurants and businesses thanks to the generosity of our local partners, giving out gift cards and classroom grants through our daily Facebook drawings and sharing video messages from the community throughout the week.

We hope you will join us on our Facebook page by adding a frame to your profile picture showing "I Appreciate Teachers," leaving comments with your appreciation and nominating a teacher to win some great prizes!

Our teachers are foundational to students' success and deserve this special recognition!
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.

For this month’s feature, we are celebrating Sherry (Chastain) Thomas-Dertke.
For the past four years, Sherry has been donating to HEF every month to help students and teachers in Hillsborough County.

“What’s more important than education? For most people, it’s their only ticket to a better life,” Thomas-Dertke said.

She is a product of Hillsborough County Public Schools and attended Graham Elementary, Memorial Junior High and graduated from Hillsborough High School.
Sherry worked for Pasco-Hernando Community College for 30 years and as the school’s retired Vice President she understands the value of investing in education and a brighter future for at-risk students.

“I wanted to give back. There are so many needs, so many children who have nothing, teachers who don’t have enough supplies, so whatever my little bit of money can do to help and HEF’s the expert in using it wisely.”

Her $25 monthly gift does add up in a big way. As examples, it’s the equivalent of buying 6,000 pencils for the school year or art supplies for an entire classroom.
Sherry in 2nd Grade at Graham Elementary
Her contributions can also help our initiatives—providing our most vulnerable students with much-needed technology or by supporting a deserving student in our mentoring program and funding a scholarship.

Sherry says having her donation automatically debited makes it easy to budget and month after month is a heartwarming reminder of how she’s making a difference.

“You get a little bit of reinforcement each month when you see that money come out of your bank account. You know it’s going for a good purpose. I don’t have children but know supporting HEF makes a better society.”
We are proud to shine a spotlight on Sherry's investment in public education and appreciate her continued monthly support!
Final Month to $ave with Florida Prepaid
The school year is winding down, which reminds us that the years fly by. Our partner, Florida Prepaid, wants to help you plan for your child’s future–so that you’re ready when it’s time for them to head off to college or vocational training.

Lock in future tuition costs for less and earn $125 for each year of college purchased, up to $500 total, by enrolling in a college savings plan.

Open enrollment only happens once a year and ends on April 30th. Don't miss your chance to start saving!