Helios Education Foundation’s community investments reflect a deep commitment to ensuring that all students, regardless of zip code, have access to a high-quality education. Below is a summary of the Foundation’s 2018 community investments including charitable contributions toward education activities in Arizona and Florida.


Helios’ 2018 Community Investments


Achieve60AZ - Activation

Achieve60AZ is a growing, statewide community-owned initiative to increase Arizonans' degree-attainment from approximately 43% to 60% by 2030. This investment will help activate the work of Achieve60AZ by driving the statewide strategic plan, bolstering partnership and collaboration to increase attainment, propelling a public awareness campaign about the importance of attainment, and advancing policies that promote postsecondary attainment.


Arizona Community Foundation

Ready Now Yuma Scholars

The Ready Now Yuma Scholarship Program, a scholarship fund at the Arizona Community Foundation, was created to support Yuma high school seniors with financial need attending an accredited post-secondary institution and pursuing any field of study for up to four years. This fund provides additional student support to Yuma Union High School District students as a continuation of the Foundation’s Ready Now Yuma Initiative. This scholarship is renewable for up to three additional years of study (four years total) when recipients are enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university, are in good standing, and maintain the required GPA.


Arizona Community Foundation

Summer Youth Program Fund 2018

The Summer Youth Program Fund supports initiatives which help to enrich, enhance, and expand summer programs for children across Maricopa County, Arizona. These summer programs provide youth, especially economically-disadvantaged youth, with creative, recreational and educational outlets while fostering personal development and life-long learning.


Arizona Science Center

Science Teacher Residency Program

Arizona Science Center’s Science Teacher Residency Program provides professional development opportunities for science teachers to deepen their understanding of content-specific knowledge and scientific practices essential to increasing student engagement and achievement in science.


Aspen Forum for Community Solutions

Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund

This investment supports The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and its Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF), an initiative to build strong evidence of success for utilizing the collective impact community collaboration strategy to build and deepen pathways that achieve better outcomes in education and employment for Opportunity Youth. The investment targets support to the Youth on the Rise (YOTR) collaborative led by the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. It builds on the positive outcomes, effective strategies, and increased momentum the partners in Tucson achieved during the past three years of investment from Helios Education Foundation and the Aspen Institute.


Be A Leader Foundation

Matriculation Specialists - Tolleson

This project provides matriculation specialists who will develop a comprehensive matriculation curriculum that supports Tolleson Union High School students from the beginning of their senior year through postsecondary enrollment the following fall semester. The 12-month curriculum focuses on providing students with information and support to complete critical tasks to ensure matriculation and to increase postsecondary enrollment. Funding includes evaluation of the matriculation specialist model in the Phoenix Union High School and Tolleson Union High School districts.


Center for the Future of Arizona

Great Schools Great Leaders

This initiative creates the Beat the Odds School Leadership Academy, in partnership with the National Institute for School Leadership. Based on the Institute’s rigorous Executive Development Program, the Leadership Academy will make high-quality professional development available to many more principals across the state and ensure that more Arizona students attend schools led by effective instructional leaders.


Educate Tomorrow

Florida Foster Youth Postsecondary Program & Policy Scan

Since 2003, Educate Tomorrow has coached South Florida’s young adults “aging-out” of foster care, in and through postsecondary education. In partnership with Helios Education Foundation, this investment supports implementation of the Florida Foster Youth Postsecondary Program & Policy Scan, which will provide the state of Florida with a blueprint for critical statewide policy, advocacy, support programs, and leadership serving foster youth in postsecondary education.


Florida Children's Council

Florida Grade Level Reading Campaign Expansion

The Florida Grade Level Reading Campaign (FGLRC) has generated momentum that supports improved student outcomes related to grade level reading with current partners working toward the unified goal of improving early grade success. Currently, 16 communities are working intensively on an array of strategies designed to increase child outcomes, impacting over 500,000 children. The FGLRC expansion will continue its methodical systems approach to ensure short-term success and long-term sustainability while also engaging additional communities.


Florida International University Foundation

Talent Development Network 2.0

Talent Development Network (TDN) 2.0, an innovative regional program designed to prepare and align talent with Miami-Dade County’s economic development strategy, is the collective effort of seven Miami major educational institutions – Barry University, Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College, St. Thomas University, the University of Miami and Miami-Dade County Public Schools. It works to build and retain talent, establish and grow a regional internship culture, and align academic curriculum with industry needs in South Florida. Following a successful two-year pilot, TDN 2.0 will leverage previous learnings, establish TDN as an expert on talent in Miami, and transform Miami’s future workforce.


Florida International University Foundation

Fostering Panther Pride Support

The Fostering Panther Pride program provides tailored academic and support services to all students identified as homeless or foster youth at Florida International University (FIU). With support from Helios Education Foundation, the Panther Pride program will assist students’ continued enrollment and housing throughout summer semesters to ensure degree completion.


Florida Philanthropic Network

Florida Philanthropic Network Education Affinity Group

The Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN) promotes, develops and advances philanthropy throughout Florida. FPN created the Education Affinity Group to provide its member organizations opportunities for learning from national experts, engaging in policy work, and enhancing impact through collaborative funding when appropriate. The Education Affinity Group operates to support a culture of high expectations for all students, in and out of school, from early childhood to postsecondary education, leading to career success.


Florida State University Foundation

FSU Unconquered Scholars Program Support

The Florida State University Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE) Unconquered Scholars Program provides an array of support services promoting overall success for students who experienced foster care, homelessness, relative care, or ward of the State status, as this population may be at a greater risk of facing homelessness, food insecurity, insufficient medical care, undiagnosed learning disabilities, or lack independent living skills, hindering the chances of academic success and degree completion. This investment supports the FSU Unconquered Scholars Program by providing financial assistance for students' basic needs, adding programming to ensure students’ academic success, implementing activities to promote scholars’ personal development, and increasing staffing to assist with development of career and post-graduation outcomes.


Leadership Florida

Leadership Florida Education Program

The Leadership Florida Education Program, created in 2015, strategically selects and convenes leaders from a diverse network of broad education-sector leaders to provide inspirational experiences to improve education in their respective communities and throughout Florida.


NALEO Educational Fund

NALEO Arizona Leadership Academy

Helios Education Foundation and NALEO Educational Fund are establishing the NALEO Arizona Leadership Academy for Arizona elected officials at the state, county, city, town, and school district levels. This academy will provide policymakers with the content knowledge and governance skills needed to promote innovative and successful policies toward improving educational outcomes for Arizona students.



Evaluating the Implementation and Impact of Tempe PRE

NORC at the University of Chicago will evaluate the impacts of Tempe PRE, a two-year pilot program launched in 2017 by the Tempe City Council to increase access to high-quality preschool at no cost for qualifying families. The evaluation will look at goal achievement in four specific areas: 1) alignment and being implemented with fidelity; 2) reduction of the impact of student fade-out; 3) children’s kindergarten readiness; and 4) examining impact on 3rd grade literacy and mathematic skills.


Phoenix Suns Charities

Scholarship Program

The Phoenix Suns Charities/Helios Education Foundation Scholars Program supports high-potential Arizona high school seniors with demonstrated financial need attending an accredited Arizona college or university.


Southwest Human Development

Professional Development Institute at Educare AZ

The Professional Development Institute at Educare Arizona is a leading early learning professional workforce development entity. The goal is to improve early childhood education teacher quality and practice leading to better outcomes for children including kindergarten readiness and beyond.


Stand for Children – Arizona

Sustainability Funding 2.0

This investment supports Stand for Children’s current partnerships, policy expertise, communication, sustainability, family engagement, and leadership development to have greater impact. The organization’s work focuses on advocating for strong policies at the state and local level and electing education champions who will keep children at the center of their policy priorities.


Teach for America – Phoenix

Teach for America Summer Institute

The Teach for America Summer Institute in Phoenix exposes new Teach for America corps members to the local phoenix community and helps foster student and teacher success. The Institute is an intensive summer training program that provides new corps members with the foundations, skills, and mindset needed to be an effective beginning teacher, while providing free summer school to low-income students.


The SEED Foundation

The SEED School Miami 2.0

The SEED School of Miami is the first urban public boarding school in Florida, and gives students the “gift of time” to thrive and educators the space to provide the security and services students need to overcome the overlapping physical, psychological, and socioeconomic obstacles they would otherwise face if living at home. This investment will specifically support SEED Miami’s boarding program, including resident advisers and evening mental health counselors, as well as support the student life curriculum and assessment materials.


University of Arizona Foundation

University of Arizona President's Directed Scholarship

This grant provides support to students at the University of Arizona who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status. The goal is to support these students as they work to finish their degree so they can continue to be productive and contributing members of our community.


University of South Florida Foundation

Helios - Black Leadership Network Scholars at USF

This investment provides a permanent endowment to provide scholarships for academically talented but financially challenged Black/African American students at the University of South Florida (USF). The program will promote enrollment, retention, and persistence for selected students by providing each cohort with curricular and co-curricular support; offering resources such as career development and networking; and encouraging personal growth through mentorship opportunities. The Program will promote a prepared and more diverse future workforce, in turn strengthening Florida communities.


Valley Leadership

Valley Leadership Education Program

This investment will support the implementation of Valley Leadership’s strategic plan “Developing and Building Valley Leadership for the Future” strategic plan. The plan implementation will align organizational programming, operations, and governance systems to impact issues facing Arizona by creating issue-based impact teams, including education teams, by convening the Valley Leadership network, partner organizations, and other key stakeholders to identify and implement solutions.


Valley of the Sun United Way

Thriving Together

This investment builds on the success of Thriving Together, whose mission is to build a robust community and economy through collective action that fosters success from birth to career for every child, youth, and young adult. The initiative aims to change the course for 250,000 children living in the Phoenix metropolitan area - students who are within the Phoenix Union High School and 13 feeder district boundaries. The work is driven by Collaborative Action Teams, which identify and test “Rapid Cycle Projects” that can have a significant effect on student success. These teams focus on key transition points in the education pipeline to ensure: children enter school ready to succeed; children read at grade level by the end of third grade; youth successfully transition from middle school to high school; high school graduates are college ready; and young adults complete college or advanced career training.