Blog

The Next 10

Author: Paul J. Luna, President and CEO

As our year-long 10th anniversary celebration comes to a close, I am encouraged by the reflection we have taken on the first decade of our Foundation.  We have celebrated our strategic partnerships and the organizations that are working passionately and tirelessly to  advance student academic preparedness and foster college-going cultures in our communities.  We have helped more than 8,000 students with scholarships pursue a postsecondary education.  We have helped more than 135,000 students on their path toward college and career readiness, and we have provided professional development and training to more than 16,000 educators. 

We also have a greater understanding that improving education systems not only involves strategically investing our financial resources, but also requires an investment in public will building to forge a movement of education advocates across all sectors.  This movement must be built on the ideals that all children read at grade level by the end of third grade, that all students graduate high school ready for college and career and that all students – especially students from underserved and underrepresented populations – access, persist and attain some form of postsecondary education.   
  
In reflecting on the past year and in celebrating 10 years of partnerships and investments, we view our role as much more than a grant-making organization. We are actively engaged, using our voice, partnering and contributing our expertise and resources toward creating a better and brighter future for the states we serve.  But as we look forward to the next 10 years and in perpetuity, we know that passion and commitment won’t be enough to increase postsecondary degree completion. It will take leadership and collaboration with all sectors of our communities.  I am challenged, yet remain optimistic as I look forward. We have great work ahead of us and it will not be easy.  We are facing major education challenges in both Arizona and Florida and we must focus our energies on working together to create opportunities for more students to succeed in postsecondary education. 

As we continue this work, we will focus on our core beliefs as the foundation for everything we do at Helios:

  • Education changes lives and strengthens communities
  • Education is an investment and not an expense
  • Every student, regardless of zip code, deserves a high-quality education
  • We will achieve our mission through partnership and collaboration

In Arizona, these foundational beliefs have led us to develop our Arizona Latino Student Success Initiative which focuses on closing the degree completion gap between Latino and White students by improving quality, access and achievement across the P-20 education continuum.  In Florida, we have set out to increase degree completion for first-generation, low-income and minority students in the Tampa, Orlando and Miami metropolitan areas. 

We are setting ambitious goals for 2025 and they will require the commitment of partners who believe as passionately as we do that education is the one variable that can change the trajectory of individual lives as well as communities.
Thank you for your commitment.  Thank you for your partnership, and with your continued commitment to education, we are excited about the next 10 years and beyond.


Category: 10 Year Anniversary

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