Frequently Asked Questions
What is Helios Education Foundation?
Helios Education Foundation is a philanthropic, public charity focused exclusively on education in Arizona and Florida. The Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. We invest our knowledge, expertise and resources across the education continuum to advance student academic preparedness and to foster college-going cultures within the two states we serve. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure every student graduates college, is career ready and goes on to complete a high-quality postsecondary certificate or degree.
What are your Foundation’s priorities?
Helios Education Foundation believes in the transformational power of education and we believe education is a catalyst for changing lives and strengthening communities. Helios has developed an Education Reform Plan in which we focus our knowledge, expertise and resources in three main areas: Early Grade Success, College and Career Readiness and Postsecondary Completion. Through strategies in each of these areas, we are working to advance academic preparedness and foster college-going cultures in Arizona and Florida.
How was Helios created?
Helios was created in 2004 through the sale and conversion of Southwest Student Services Corporation and began investing in education with an initial endowment of more than $500 million.
Why the name “Helios”?
Helios Education Foundation was named after the Greek Mythological God name Helios. He was the God of the Sun. The name was recommended by one of our founding board members because the Foundation serves Arizona and Florida – two of our nation’s sunshine states. Helios, the God of the Sun.
Why does the Foundation serve only Arizona and Florida?
Helios Education Foundation was created through the sale and conversion of Southwest Student Services Corporation, a student loan products and services company. Southwest had affiliates in Arizona and Florida, thus, the Foundation’s founding board wanted to give back to the two statewide communities where Southwest was located.
How does Helios raise/get its money?
Helios Education Foundation does not actively fundraise to do our work. The Foundation has an endowment in excess of $680 million which funds our efforts. As a foundation designed to exist in perpetuity, we use the interest income from the endowment to fund our organization and community impact strategies.
How do you get funding from Helios?
Helios Education Foundation only accepts solicited requests for funding. Our staff is actively engaged in the education arena, seeking out potential partners and investment opportunities. We encourage you to explore our website to learn more about our community impact priorities and to determine if your organization’s work aligns.
How much money does Helios invest each year?
Helios Education Foundation does not have a set figure to be invested annually. The performance of our endowment’s investment portfolio, our board of directors and other business planning activities determines the actual amount. Based on history, the annual investment is generally over $15 million.
What are some examples of initiatives you have funded that have made an impact?
Over the past ten years, Helios has invested in numerous projects that have created opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. In our Early Grade Success area, we have helped children and families have the resources they need to participate in high quality early learning environments, develop literacy skills and read at grade level by the end of third grade. In our College and Career Readiness area, we have provided professional development opportunities for teachers, helped increase rigor and relevance in the classroom and provided supports for students as they plan toward postsecondary success. In our Postsecondary Completion area, we have provided scholarships for traditionally underserved students so that they can enter, persist and complete a postsecondary degree. All of our investments are listed on our website. Please explore our site and learn more about the kinds of work we do and the partnerships we have formed.