May 5, 2022
A Note from CEO Kim Jowell
This week, we’ve been celebrating the incredible work and dedication of our educators in Hillsborough County Public Schools during Teacher Appreciation Week. We are grateful for their commitment to children every day to help students succeed academically and personally.

There is no better time to show teachers some extra love, especially considering the current teacher shortage. Right now, there are hundreds of instructional vacancies in the district—a critical level that will be detrimental to our students. In the Advocacy section of this newsletter, we will share more about this nationwide crisis and what we can do locally to support our teachers and students.

For me and for HEF, our "Why" centers around students and teachers. Teachers are foundational to student achievement and why this week is so special. We hope you will join us in showing gratitude for all teachers do, in the face of many challenges and two very difficult years, to strengthen public education and the future of our community.
Giveaways, Discounts, Special Messages & More
To Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week
With the support of the community and business partners, we are saying a heartfelt "Thank you!" to our extraordinary educators for Teacher Appreciation Week.

HEF works to empower our teachers with the resources and support they need and the recognition they deserve throughout the year by:
  • Honoring teachers & staff at our annual Excellence in Education Awards.
  • Funding school and classroom enrichment grants.
  • Connecting business leaders to our schools through CEOs in Schools .
  • Providing school supplies and classroom resources.
  • Giving financial assistance for professional development opportunities.

This week, we want to make sure every educator knows just how appreciated and respected they areevery day.
#ThankATeacher Messages from the Mayor, Sports Teams, HEF Staff & Students
City of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Tackle Tristan Wirfs, Rays/Rowdies President Brian Auld and Lightning Legend Dave Andreychuk joined HEF staff and students in our Take Stock in Children mentoring program in recording inspirational video messages to teachers that we have been sharing throughout the week on social media.
Daily Facebook Drawings for Gift Cards & Grants Giveaways
Each day, Hillsborough County Public Schools teachers can enter to win one of two $200 prize packs, including a $100 Publix and $100 Amazon gift card, or a $500 School and Classroom Enrichment Grant to use next school year for a project to help engage students in their learning.

We need your help on Friday for our final drawing: Nominate your favorite current HCPS teacher to be entered into the last giveaway of the week! Just share the teacher's name and school name in the comment section of Friday morning's Facebook post. Follow us on Facebook!
We have loved reading teachers' contest comments. Earlier this week they shared responses to: What inspirational advice would you have for students who want to follow in your footsteps to become a teacher?
Do you know any HCPS Teachers? Share these discounts & deals with them!
Thanks to the generosity of 21 local restaurants and businesses, in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools, we have been able to offer meal discounts, memberships and more to HCPS teachers to help them celebrate this week!

Advocating for Education: Teachers, Students and our School District Need Voters' Support in August Primary
Over the last two years, Hillsborough County Public Schools has experienced an increase in resignations and retirements. Superintendent Addison Davis says the district averages 400 instructional vacancies, which means approximately 8,000 students don’t have a consistent, high-quality teacher or stability in their classrooms. The teacher and support staff shortage is not unique to our community, it is a nationwide challenge that should concern us all.
We appreciate lawmakers and the Governor's actions to increase the starting salary for all teachers to $47,500. Still, our state ranks among the lowest in the nation for overall teacher pay. Access and equity of opportunity for all students to benefit from a high-quality public education starts with high-quality teachers.

On August 23, 2022, voters will be asked to approve a one mil property tax increase, which is estimated to increase school funding by approximately $146 million annually for four years.
Property owners would pay $1 for every $1,000 in assessed home value ($250K home=$250/year).
The one mil increase is primarily designed to:
  • Increase compensation for instructional and non-instructional support staff.
  • Protect and expand art, music and physical education.
  • Expand workforce education programs.
This could raise the average instructional salary by $4,000 and non-instructional salary by $2,000.
As one of our Advocacy Priorities, HEF believes investing in our teachers demonstrates the importance of our educators by increasing teacher compensation and funding innovative ways to prepare, attract and retain high-quality teachers. We ask our community to support the “STRONG SCHOOLS, STRONGER HILLSBOROUGH” millage referendum to help us strengthen public education for a sustainable, prosperous community for all of us.
High school graduation is just a few weeks away and we are so proud of the 73 seniors in our Take Stock in Children mentoring program who are making big plans for the next steps in their educational journeys.

When mentees committed to our program several years ago, they pledged to work hard, maintain good grades and regularly meet with the mentors and HEF college success coaches. Now, they're graduating with a 2-year college scholarship!

This year, we had a very special SURPRISE for five of our seniors:
their scholarships are being upgraded to cover all four years of their college tuitions!
2 + 2 Scholarship Recipients
Click on the student's picture to watch as the surprise is revealed!
Marie Kolombia
Wharton High
University of South Florida Biomedical Science
Jean Pinckney
Hillsborough High
Johns Hopkins University
Pre-Medical Track
Jennifer Lopez
Strawberry Crest High
University of South Florida
HEF's Take Stock in Children 2022 Outstanding Senior
Every year, we select one graduate to be named our Outstanding Senior. This year, Xiomara Martinez from Sumner High School is not only receiving the title, she's also being awarded a 4-year scholarship from HEF!

Xiomara is the first in her family to attend college, is in the Top 10 percent of her class, has devoted 100 hours to community service and as the oldest sibling helps out a lot at home.
She is also a member of the National Honor Society and translates for Spanish-speaking families in the main office at her high school.

After graduation, Xiomara is heading to the University of South Florida to study Criminal Justice.
Watch her emotional reaction to being honored as 2022 Outstanding Senior!
Tampa Bay Seminole Club's 4-year Scholarship to Florida State University
Jordan McKenzie
Newsome High
Florida State University
Political Science/
Business Law
Thanks to the generosity of the Tampa Bay Seminole Club, Jordan, a Newsome High School senior won't have to worry about paying tuition during his four years at Florida State University.

He has a 3.7 GPA, is involved in band, several honor societies and volunteers with various organizations. He also tutored students, then used his earnings to buy and distribute hygiene bags to help the homeless.

"This scholarship will allow me to reduce my work hours and be involved with campus organizations that support my passion of becoming an attorney. I will inspire young people to pursue their dreams while overcoming life-changing situations."
Congratulate the Graduates in our Senior Spotlights on Social Media

Starting Monday, we are shining a spotlight on all our graduating mentees on HEF's social media pages. Check out the posts and share your well wishes with these amazing students as they pursue their dreams of a college education. We know they will continue to accomplish great things and their futures will be bright!
Reeling in Great Catches and Support for Students at the Annual Larry Wilder Memorial Fishing Tournament
After rescheduling due to the pandemic and bad weather, it was so great to be back on the water this year for the 2022 Larry Wilder Memorial Fishing Tournament benefitting HEF!

We had more than 30 sponsors and 42 boats head out from Westshore Yacht Club for a memorable day fishing and soaking up the Florida sunshine. Thanks to our generous sponsors, we raised more than $125,000 in cash and in-kind donations – funds that will directly support our mission to strengthen public education and benefit the students and teachers we serve in Hillsborough County.

We would like to give special recognition to the Wilder Architecture team for their continued partnership in organizing this widely anticipated event. We also want to congratulate all our tournament winners and scholarship recipients from the past few years.
Missed the tournament but still want to support the cause?
Head to our donate page!
New Florida Program Delivers Books to Students Struggling with Reading
Literacy is foundational for student success! Do you know a family who could benefit from free books sent directly to their home? The New Worlds Reading Initiative is making it easier than ever for children to access age-appropriate books.

Students from Kindergarten to 5th Grade who are not reading on grade level are eligible to receive one free book per month during the school year, as well as free fun activities for the whole family!
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 the Tampa Bay Rays and Rays Baseball Foundation, which also includes the Rowdies Soccer Fund.
The Rays have been stepping up to the plate to support HEF, teachers, students and public education for more than two decades. The Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of those in need within our community, which is why we make a great team!
“Supporting Hillsborough Education Foundation allows us to partner with not only an expert in the field of education but an organization that places an emphasis on youth development, wellness and social responsibility as well,” said David Egles, Executive Director of the Rays Baseball Foundation. “The students are the future leaders of our community and it's extremely important to both organizations that our area’s most vulnerable students are provided the tools they need to succeed throughout their educational careers.”
Recently, the Rays hosted an Education Day at the ballpark with representatives from HEF, the school district and this year’s Excellence in Education Awards winners. The team presented a check to HEF for $50,000 to provide a mentor, college success coach and 2-year college scholarship to underserved students in our Take Stock in Children mentoring program.
“The Rays Baseball Foundation is proud to have provided nearly $2 million in Take Stock in Children scholarships throughout the Tampa Bay area. The mentorship component of the TSIC program is a key reason for the Foundation’s longstanding and continued support. We understand that providing a mentor to those most vulnerable students in our area is vital to their success and for the long-term success of our community.”
The Rays have sponsored numerous HEF events throughout the years and have named our nonprofit the beneficiary of several fundraising campaigns including the “Shirt Off Your Back” and “Running with the Rays.” They also support HEF and the students and teachers we serve through in-kind donations from meet-and-greets with players and tickets to autographed memorabilia and on-field experiences.
“If we’re able to put a smile on a kid’s face or reward a teacher by inviting them out to Tropicana Field to watch a game, we hope these small tokens of our appreciation for all they do, allow them to enjoy the magic that is Rays baseball and provide them with the knowledge that they are incredibly valued members of our community and our area’s true MVPs."
In addition to being all stars on the field, Rays leadership and staff also give the gift of their time. President Brian Auld is a participant in our CEOs in Schools program and Brian Richeson, VP of National Sales and Special Projects, sits on HEF’s Board of Directors and Marketing Committee. Employees can earn a paid day off each month to give back to the community.

“The concept of employees donating their time is fully engrained in our culture. Our employees have donated more than 40,000 hours of their time through our Employee Community Outreach Team.”

We are proud to shine a spotlight on the Tampa Bay Rays & Rays Baseball Foundation and appreciate the team's continued support!