Helios Education Foundation Awards Take Stock in Children with a Grant to Expand its Capacity and Optimize Technology Resources

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The new funding will allow TSIC to further modernize its technology, development and data infrastructure.

Take Stock in Children (TSIC) announced it’s the recipient of a Helios Education Foundation grant to support the organization and grow its capacity in the aftermath of COVID-19. The four-year investment will allow TSIC to further implement technology upgrades, hold professional development trainings and increase staffing.   

“The challenges of the global pandemic required fresh thinking to reach and support students during this unprecedented time,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation. “TSIC reacted with a sense of urgency to shift resources online ensuring students continued to receive the supports they needed to stay focused on degree completion. We are proud of our partnership and the work we do jointly to close degree attainment gaps for students – particularly first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students in Florida.”

The grant is designed to support TSIC’s development activities, and modernize its data and technology infrastructure for its network of 45 local affiliates across the state. Additionally, professional development and training opportunities will be scheduled for staff and affiliates to educate them on the organization’s new and proprietary platforms. Last year, all in-person mentoring sessions shifted to an electronic platform, and the grant will further enable the organization to optimize video and chat functions that adhere to TSIC’s child safety and security standards.

“COVID-19 forced TSIC to be more purposeful in how we reach the students we serve,” said Take Stock President and CEO, Jillian Hasner. “We’re so thankful for the long-term support Helios has provided us, as it allows us to successfully pivot our program and technology to best serve the deserving students in our program to ensure they have the resources available to achieve their academic goals.”  

Last March, Helios provided TSIC a grant that encouraged students’ retention, persistence, and success in completing their postsecondary degree, despite the challenges and uncertainty brought about by the global pandemic. TSIC worked collaboratively with regional staff and partner colleges and universities to deploy an online application for all eligible students participating in Take Stock in College to gain a clear understanding of the individual needs and unusual hardships these students may be experiencing during this unanticipated transition to a virtual learning environment. Within five weeks, TSIC disbursed more than $306,000 in emergency funds to 1,224 Take Stock in College Scholars, for food, transportation, housing security, or to maintain academic access. 

TSIC is a statewide private-public partnership in Florida with a 25-year track record of narrowing educational achievement gaps for low-income, mostly minority students through a community-based mentor model and college success program. The program serves nearly 15,000 student scholars throughout Florida annually, with 8,500 students in grades 6-12 and more than 6,000 college students at the state’s public colleges and universities. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of TSIC scholars graduate high school, 96% enroll in college (compared to 35% of similar at-risk students), and 70% graduate from college (compared to 17% of similar at-risk students).