October 7, 2021
A Note from CEO Kim Jowell
At HEF, we are committed to closing achievement gaps for our most vulnerable students, and one of the ways we are doing that is by focusing on closing the digital divide.
We are proud to share that our Digital Equity initiative, that we launched when the pandemic first impacted our district in 2020, is now being replicated in five other Florida counties through local education foundations with support from statewide funding.

HEF has served more than 1,700 students during this pandemic and the referrals for hundreds more still in need keep coming.

Understanding that education is key to a prosperous community, last month 220 community supporters attended our EmpowerED luncheon and helped make our annual fundraiser a huge success. Together, we raised more than $120,000 that will directly support our programs to help ensure all students in Hillsborough County can benefit from a high-quality public education. We are thankful for everyone's continued commitment to help close the achievement gaps and change the trajectory for our students.
EmpowerED 2021: Emerging Stronger
This year, EmpowerED was a hybrid event taking place in person at Armature Works and virtually through a live broadcast. During this impactful event, we focused on how we're emerging stronger as a community, the lessons we've learned to deliver education for any circumstance and how we all play a role in ensuring every student has access to the resources necessary to succeed personally and academically.
City of Tampa Mayor
Jane Castor
Hillsborough Schools
Supt. Addison Davis
Plant City H.S. Senior
Romello Jones
2021 Sue House Champion for
Teaching Tools: Maria Carvalho
EmpowerED Emcee, Mix 100.7 Host
Laura Diaz
If you missed the event or would like to see it again:
Male Role Models Needed to Serve as Mentors
During our EmpowerED event, Romello Jones, one of the students in our Take Stock in Children mentoring program shared some of the incredible challenges he's overcome to succeed in school and the tremendous impact having a mentor, a male role model to look up to, has made in his life over the past five years.

Right now, we're in need of nearly 30 more men, like Romello's mentor Tracy Smith, who can spare a half hour per week to change a student's life.
Watch Romello's Story:
Senior Romello Jones & Mentor Tracy Smith
Check out our interactive map to see which schools have the greatest need for mentors and apply today at EducationFoundation.com/Mentor-A-Student.
District Using Federal COVID-19 Relief Funds,
Awaiting $491M in Third Round of Funding
Hillsborough County Public Schools is asking the state Education Commissioner to layout the plan to distribute the third round of federal funding to address the impact the pandemic has had and continues to have on K-12 public schools.

In this recent letter from Supt. Davis and Board Chair Lynn Gray, they say, "These dollars are necessary to ensure our district can best meet the needs of students in Hillsborough County under these ongoing and inauspicious conditions. HCPS is projected to receive approximately $491 million in ESSER III dollars that is desperately needed in these challenging times."

The district says the majority of money from the first round of funding from ESSER I (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) has been spent, including a designated $7M in computers and other technology purchases ordered.
HCPS and its ESSER Task Force have planned for the use of ESSER II funding this school year and next, and will rollout funds to ensure students' needs are continually met.

Here are a few examples:
Accelerating learning: Tutoring support, instructional materials, summer learning program, additional supports at the district's highest needs schools
Investing in technology: Computer hardware- 18,625 student devices & 2,551 classroom teacher devices
Non-enrollment assistance: Attendance team to support locating and enrolling students, address truancy concerns, provide wraparound services to families

The district says it cannot fully create a plan for ESSER III funds until the state releases applications to fully understand if any funds are earmarked for certain purposes.

You can give your input on how these funds could relieve some of the burdens of the pandemic, pertaining to your relationship with Hillsborough County Public Schools. Get more information here and take the 8-minute survey (through October 11th).

We encourage you to reach out to our local lawmakers and ask that
these much-needed funds be released to school districts.
Looking for 50 Additional Business Leaders
to Volunteer for CEOs in Schools
On November 5th, CEOs and senior level executives will have the chance to see firsthand the challenges and opportunities facing our students, teachers, administrators and public schools every day as part of our CEOs in Schools program.

The initiative pairs a business leader with one of 150 public elementary schools in Hillsborough County to gain a new perspective on the role school and business relationships play in preparing our future workforce.
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 Long & Associates Architects | Engineers, Inc.!

The local firm has been a generous supporter of Hillsborough Education Foundation for 20 years. The company believes it is important to invest in our next generation of leaders and potential architects and engineers.
"We live and work in Hillsborough County, some of our staff are products of Hillsborough County Public Schools, and our children are students—including my two kids. HEF helps support and nurture economically disadvantaged students to give them the opportunity to go to college and achieve their dreams," said Travis Steed, Vice President of Architecture. "Through HEF we have seen students who are struggling due to difficult circumstances out of their control become bright shining stars of the community. We are proud to support such an amazing organization!"
Throughout the years, Long & Associates has sponsored nearly every one of HEF's events, including our Excellence in Education Awards, EmpowerED, Regional STEM Fair, Play FORE Education Golf Classic, New Teacher Orientation and this year will be joining us for the Larry Wilder Memorial Fishing Tournament. Often, employees are not only event participants, they also lend a hand as volunteers.
"These events are fun and for such a great cause! The best part is hearing from the students being helped by HEF. Hearing their stories, all the difficulties they faced, and how they’ve overcome them with the support of HEF, their teachers and their families, is humbling and moving. We are so honored to be able to help HEF empower these phenomenal students," said Keely Orselli, Business Development.
Using their creative talents, Long & Associates also ensures students have a state-of-the-art place to learn. They completed a new 33,000 square foot classroom building at Spoto High this school year and helped with the modernization of Woodson PK-8 Leadership Academy.

"Every generation tries to build and make the community better than the one before and hopefully our support helps create an even better world. Every child should have the best education we can provide and the opportunities that come with that," said Steed.
We are proud to shine a spotlight on Long & Associates Architects | Engineers, Inc. and grateful for their ongoing support to help strengthen public education!
Tickets are Now On Sale for our
2022 Excellence in Education Awards