September 3, 2020
A Note from CEO Kim Jowell
On behalf of the Hillsborough Education Foundation Board of Directors, I want to express our unwavering support for our students, families, district staff and leaders. The start of the school year has been filled with many uncertainties and difficult decisions for everyone. Whether students are learning online or in the classroom, HEF is here to help with the challenges that arise in the days, weeks and months ahead. 

Since this health crisis began, HEF has adapted our programs to meet the needs of our students, especially marginalized and at-risk students, and will continue to remain responsive. From the first day the pandemic impacted our schools, we adjusted our delivery models and began working to close the digital divide. This school year, we continue to navigate the needs in this changed and virtual world.

We wish everyone the best school year possible and remain committed to providing the resources and support needed to help make that happen.

We hope to see you on September 16th for EmpowerED 2020—Building Equity in Education!
Report Reveals Growing Inequities in our
Community during the Pandemic
The achievement gap between white students and minorities is not a new problem. It’s why Equity of Opportunity for all students is one of HEF’s Core Beliefs. And a new report released by the Tampa Bay Partnership shows just how deep racial inequities run throughout Tampa Bay.
  • Black students score lower on tests—about a 30 percent gap—compared to white students on the state’s third grade reading tests and third and eighth grade math tests.
  • There is a nearly 14 percent gap in the number of white residents and Black residents with an at-home internet connection—an inequity that the group’s research shows is likely to grow because of the pandemic, and why we continue our critical work to bridge this digital divide for students who rely on eLearning. 
  • Indicators related to youth preparedness: the dropout rate, the rate of youth disconnection, and in-school performance foreshadow that the situation is not likely to improve without intervention.
  • Black children in Tampa Bay are almost three times as likely as white children to live in poverty.
So many of these vast differences could be changed—and we believe it starts with closing the achievement gap in education.

HEF stands behind the Partnership’s call to seize this opportunity to intentionally reignite our economy in ways that build bridges and scaffolding to lift up our most vulnerable students and families.
Humana Teams Up with HEF to Provide
229,000 Masks to Students and Staff
Students and teachers who returned to the classroom amid the pandemic this school year are required to wear masks—and Humana and Hillsborough Education Foundation want to ensure everyone in the district who needs a mask has one to help keep them safe!

Humana recently donated 229,000 masks in partnership with JPR Medical to HEF, and we are working with the district to distribute masks to all schools.
HEF Rated Exemplary in Foundations for Excellence Review
We are proud to receive the highest distinction of exemplary by the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations.

Foundations for Excellence sets quality performance standards in six key areas for local education foundations in Florida. The rating is a reflection of our practices, policies and systems that we have in place to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of HEF!
HEF in the News & Shared on Social
CEO Kim Jowell discusses our annual Supply Drive on WFLA Newschannel 8 and how the community can help
restock the shelves of our
Teaching Tools Resource Center.
Haili, a student at Farnell Middle, has started a nonprofit called Books Like Me that provides culturally relevant books to students at the district's highest needs schools. She's using our HEF Neighborhood Library to distribute books at Potter Elementary!
The Need for School Supplies is Greater than Ever!
The economic effects of the pandemic mean more families need our support to help ensure students have the tools they need for academic success.

We've distributed essential supplies to 156 Title I schools for the start of the school year with the help of volunteers who loaded up their own vehicles to make these very special deliveries.

With supplies going out to help thousands of our most vulnerable students, and some of our traditional Supply Drives canceled due to COVID-19, we need the community's support more than ever. Our annual Supply Drive wraps up this month!
You can get involved by hosting a Supply Drive, shopping from our Amazon Wish List or donating to HEF today.

To help make a difference, visit
Our work doesn't happen without the generosity of our donors. That's why we are dedicating a section in our monthly newsletter to showcase the individuals and companies making our mission possible.

For this month’s feature, we are celebrating Suncoast Credit Union! 
Education has been embedded in the fabric of Suncoast Credit Union (SCU) since the company’s founding nearly a century ago. In 1934, SCU was founded by five women and four men with a purpose to help teachers meet their needs for alternative financial services to what banks were offering. And since that humble beginning, they’ve positively impacted the lives of countless students and teachers in our community.
Founded in 1990, Suncoast Credit Union Foundation has raised and donated more than $29 million with a significant portion benefiting HEF—strengthening public education through sponsoring programs and initiatives that recognize and support teachers, empower students and provide opportunities for a brighter future.
SCU is the founding sponsor of our Teaching Tools Resource Center. The Center has given more than $33 million dollars in free supplies to teachers and students in need since 2002. SCU has also been instrumental in the development and sustainment of our innovative school and classroom enrichment projects, college and career readiness initiatives and our Take Stock in Children mentoring program.

SCU also helps fund our organization’s events, consistently serving as our presenting sponsor for the Excellence in Education Awards, EmpowerED and Scholastic Art & Writing Awards; and supports our Play FORE Education Golf Classic, Larry Wilder Memorial Fishing Tournament and Volunteer Awards.
Their support extends beyond just their generous contributions. With examples like their annual Pay It Forward Day, SCU team members routinely volunteer their time to support teachers and students. Suncoast Credit Union’s President and CEO, Kevin D. Johnson, serves on HEF’s Board of Directors.
"Suncoast Credit Union recognizes that a strong educational foundation and support system are the necessary building blocks to a child's success," said Cindy Helton, Executive Director, Suncoast Credit Union Foundation. "Hillsborough Education Foundation puts students first and plays a crucial role in creating our future leaders. At our core, we are all the same, and we work to make our community a better place to live."

We are proud to shine a spotlight on Suncoast Credit Union and grateful for their investment in education which helps build a solid foundation for a prosperous community.