Helios’s Five-Year Impact Plan brings vision, rigor, and commitment to tackling educational inequities in Arizona and Florida. We will back the most-promising solutions to the systemic problems that perpetuate achievement gaps, while we build a strategic and equitable response for all children in both states.
We are taking a multi-pronged approach, working across three domains that together support the significant change required to foster equitable progress across the education continuum:
Performance-based community investments. We recognize the importance of place and the challenges of each state and the communities within them. We will continue to focus on a combination of long-term strategic investments, along with investments that support new approaches to addressing intractable problems. Our investments include collaborative planning, strategic advice and, often, communications, policy, and research support. With each investment, Helios serves as a change ally, collaborating with organizations, as well as with other funders and our Board, to address challenges and to create a roadmap in Arizona and Florida to increase our reach, influence, and impact.
Systemic public policy efforts. We seek significant changes in education policies that support the next generation of equitable education in both states, including commitments to education funding allocated more intentionally to those most in need of additional resources. We seek to serve as a thought leader, focusing the attention of policymakers and other influencers on solutions that provide the most leverage in getting students on track for college attendance and attainment. This includes leveraging our investments that can serve as a proof of concept and catalyst for change to make systemic policy change, and the strategic use of the Decision Center for Educational Excellence in Arizona and soon in Florida.
Research and data. To improve equity in both states, we need to continue to explore opportunities to gather data and research that can help us identify solutions. We seek to influence educational outcomes by working directly with the state departments of education, Boards of education, and other key stakeholders. We lead by carrying out independent research—at Helios and in partnership with strategic stakeholders. Internally, we ground our investment and policy strategies in research and data. By doing so, we believe that we have a better chance of backing the best approaches, and ones most likely to make the most difference in preparing students for success in college and in life.
Helios Education Foundation's Community Investments are directed by the following guidelines and criteria:
- Helios Education Foundation only accepts solicited requests for funding.
- Helios Education Foundation does not support capital campaigns, nor will it provide support to schools for general operating funds, teacher recruitment, professional development or classroom materials unless related to a specific program or initiative to be funded.
- All organizations receiving funding must meet the following criteria:
- Be a qualified 501(c)(3) organization that has been in existence for at least 2 years or a public entity;
- Provide services or programs within Arizona and/or Florida; and
- Be an educational organization that provides instruction, training or improvements to individual capabilities (e.g. school, college or university); or an education support organization (e.g. Local Education Fund, reform support organization or other education-related intermediary); or a group which provides instruction to the public on subjects useful and beneficial to the community (e.g. cultural organization or community-based organization).