Helios Education Foundation Awards $2 Million Grant to Florida College Access Network

Author: Helios Education Foundation

Posted on: December 2, 2016

Helios Education Foundation Awards $2 Million Grant to Florida College Access Network

Four-year investment will support growth of college access movement across Florida

Helios Education Foundation has announced a four-year, $2 million grant to Florida College Access Network (Florida CAN), a statewide network dedicated to increasing college and career preparation, access and completion for Floridians traditionally underrepresented in higher education.  The funds will support Florida CAN’s work, outlined in its new strategic plan, in the areas of research and knowledge development, communications and public will-building, statewide programmatic initiatives, and supporting the development of local college access networks (LCANs). 

Local College Access Networks (LCANs) are regional coalitions of leaders, organizations and stakeholders representing K-12, higher education, nonprofits, philanthropy, business, and local government that collectively commit to ensuring all Floridians have the opportunity to achieve a postsecondary education.  Such coalitions currently represent 23 counties and about half of Florida’s population: Central Florida College Access Network, serving Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties; EARN UP, serving Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Baker, Putnam and Clay Counties; Future Makers Coalition, serving Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry Counties; LEAP, Hillsborough College Access Network, serving Hillsborough County;  College Is 4 Everyone, serving Polk, Highlands and Hardee Counties; Talent for Tomorrow Partnership, serving Sarasota County; Achieve Palm Beach County, serving Palm Beach County; Alachua County Education Compact, serving Alachua County; My Brother’s Keeper/Miami, serving the City of Miami; and Manatee College Access Network, serving Manatee County.  Florida CAN aims to increase the reach of LCANs to represent 70% of Florida’s population over the next three years.  FCAN supports LCANs through research and data-gathering, technical assistance, professional development, funding opportunities and cross-regional learning and networking.

“Helios’ partnership has been instrumental since Florida CAN launched our first strategic plan in 2013, and we are especially grateful for Helios’ ongoing support as we embark on this next phase of our work,” said Laurie Meggesin, Florida CAN’s executive director.  “Like Helios, Florida CAN and our partners are committed to overcoming systemic barriers to equity, access and success for Florida students. Research demonstrates that increasing opportunities to achieve a postsecondary education will help deepen our state’s talent pool, strengthen our economy, and improve the lives of students, families and communities throughout our great state.  We are deeply thankful for Helios’ leadership and commitment to Florida’s college access movement.”

The mission of the Florida College Access Network is to create and strengthen a statewide network that catalyzes and supports communities to improve college and career preparation, access and completion for all students.  Florida CAN’s vision and “Big Goal” is to increase the percentage of Florida residents who hold a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential to 60% by the year 2025.

“Creating opportunities for success in postsecondary education, particularly for first-generation, minority and underrepresented students drives the work of Helios Education Foundation” said Braulio Colón, Vice President, Florida Region Student Success. “As a strategic partner, Florida CAN enhances and informs our work in order to ensure more students complete a postsecondary degree.”

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