Our Strategy

We are taking a multi-pronged approach, working across four domains that, together, support the significant change required to foster equitable progress across the education continuum: Community Investments, Public Policy, Research and Data, and Communications.

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, and 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 in Arizona and Florida 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 to serve as proof of concept and a catalyst for policy changes, as well as the strategic use of ASU Helios Decision Center for Educational Excellence.

Research and data

To improve equity in Arizona and Florida, 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 we have a better chance of backing the best approaches, and ones most likely to make the most difference in preparing first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students for success in college and in life.



We see strategic communications and engagement as a key focus area of our work, one that serves to integrate our research, policy, and community investment efforts. Helios works closely with our partners in communities across Arizona and Florida to amplify insights and build public will for improving education opportunities and outcomes for low-income and under-represented students. Strategically convening our partners and key influencers is a key element of our communications framework, sharing data and ideas that can inform improvements in policy and practice. In addition, Helios documents and assesses our work in each of our focus areas to understand our impact and continually increase our influence.

Helios Education Foundation's Community Investments are directed by the following guidelines and criteria:

Helios Icon Logo

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.

Helios Icon Logo

All organizations receiving funding must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a qualified 501(c)(3) organization that has been in existence for at least two 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).