Helios Education Foundation: Changing Lives, Strengthening Communities

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This article originally appeared 83 Degrees Media, a Tampa-based weekly digital magazine leveraging the power of solutions-based and narrative journalism.

Helios Education Foundation is founded on the principles of Community, Equity, Investment, and Partnership. Investing philanthropically in Arizona and Florida, Helios promotes the power of education to change lives and strengthen communities. 

Education connects student potential to limitless possibilities; yet, not all children benefit from a high-quality education. Closing education gaps and transforming opportunity for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students motivates Helios Education Foundation to fund initiatives along the full education continuum -- because education is an investment and not an expense.

In Florida, Helios Education Foundation invests in the Tampa Bay, Central Florida, and South Florida regions, where the majority of the state’s first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students reside. By empowering partners to explore innovation that transforms opportunity for students, Helios is addressing educational inequity and empowering communities to address systemic injustices.

In Arizona, where Latino students represent the majority of the K-12 student population, the foundation executes its Latino Student Success Initiative. Elevating Latino Student Success all along the education continuum will ensure a growing proportion of Arizona’s population can leverage the transformational power of education to benefit their community now, and for generations to come.

All children, regardless of zip code, deserve a high-quality education that maximizes their potential. Acknowledging that early learning opportunities are critical to kindergarten readiness and success in the early grades, Helios partners to ensure children receive high-quality early learning instruction to develop language and literacy skills that prepare them to read at grade level by the end of third grade.

Partnering with school districts, Helios supports a variety of projects including the professional development of highly effective classroom teachers that challenge students to grow their comprehension, analytical, and implementation skills. An investment in educator professional development that yields effective and impactful teaching protocols, implemented with fidelity in K-12 classrooms, is fundamental to a college-going culture and postsecondary readiness.

In order to ensure students not only have access to, but also complete, a postsecondary degree, Helios supports initiatives that provide guidance and mentorship focused on college readiness skills, financial aid opportunities, including FAFSA completion, and support services intended to ensure more first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students are successful in postsecondary education.

Empowering partners to innovate, engage in systemic education reform, and break down barriers to student success will not only benefit students, it will uplift communities across Florida and Arizona.