July 7, 2022
A Note from CEO Kim Jowell
It has been a busy summer at HEF and it’s hard to believe the new school year is just over a month away! This week, we are kicking off our school supply drive season and working to line up as many drives as we can with businesses, organizations and individuals. I hope you will join this important effort to help ensure all students have the tools they need for academic success as they head back to their classrooms.
Whether or not you have kids in school or know a teacher, we all can play a role in strengthening public education—for our students today and for the future of our community. With our Board of Directors' support, HEF is advocating for the upcoming millage referendum on the August 23rd ballot, because we appreciate the immense and invaluable work of our teachers and understand they deserve better pay. The majority of the approved funding would be used to increase salaries to help recruit and keep highly qualified teachers and staff to give students the best education possible.

I ask that you not only support the referendum by voting yes, but also that you share with your family and friends why they should as well. Our children need your support and our teachers deserve your support.
Why You Should Vote "YES" for the
School District Property Tax Referendum
If voters approve the 4-year millage in the primary election on August 23rd, it is projected to increase funding for the district around $146 million annually.

It's important to note that every dollar from the property tax increase would remain right here in our community and in our public schools.
Property owners would pay $1 for every $1,000 in assessed value. For example, that's about $19 per month for a $250,000 home.

The national teacher and support staff shortage is impacting our district. Right now, there are around 1,000 unfilled positions. Teachers are moving to higher-paying surrounding counties where voters have passed similar referendums or changing careers completely. HEF believes this investment in our students, teachers and public schools is critical and cannot wait.
75%+ of the referendum funding would be used to increase teacher and staff pay.
  • Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association and Hillsborough Association of School Administrators have signed agreements with the district stating at least 75 percent of the millage rate increase would be used to increase compensation for teachers and support staff.
  • This could enhance the average instructional salary by $4,000 and the average non-instructional salary by $2,000.

  • The district plans to use additional funds to improve art, music, PE, and workforce education programs.
An Oversight Committee will ensure funds are being spent as promised to voters.
  • To provide voters with transparency and accountability, the Financial Advisory Committee would review the spending and progress related to the funds generated by the one mil ad valorem tax to ensure dollars are being spent as intended.
  • It's similar to the Citizen Oversight Committee that oversees funds from the half-penny sales tax referendum, which can only be used for safety and security, maintenance and operational costs, not salaries.
HEF Joins Community Groups
Supporting Education & Endorsing the Referendum
Celebrating our Mentors, Graduating Seniors and Another PERFECT Score for our Mentoring Program
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, our mentors, mentees, their families and HEF's Take Stock in Children mentoring team came together for our Mentor Appreciation Party. This year, there was a lot to celebrate!
2022 Mentor of the Year
Each year, our amazing volunteers spend thousands of hours mentoring and empowering students to succeed in school and life. We are incredibly grateful for all our mentors and proud to honor Judy Woolheater as HEF’s 2022 Mentor of the Year!

Check out the video to see why her mentee says Judy deserves this award.
10+ Years of Mentoring

And a big congratulations as well to some of our longest-serving mentors, who were in attendance at the party: Joan Kahn, Joe Gross and Laura Grucza! Each has given the gift of their time to mentees for a decade or more!

Joe was also recognized for having the Most Mentoring Sessions this school year. He and his mentee, Leighton, met 30 times—twice as much as the program requires!
100% of our Senior Class of 2022 Graduated!

All 73 seniors in our mentoring program earned their high school diploma and those who qualified are graduating with at least a 2-year Florida Prepaid college scholarship.

We are so proud of all they've accomplished and wish them the very best as they pursue the next chapter in their educational journey!
HEF's Take Stock in Children Mentoring Program Earns Gold
This is the third year in a row that HEF's Take Stock in Children team has earned Gold Level Performance, which is the highest rating available from the TSIC state office, as well as the Luminary Award for receiving a PERFECT score on our Balanced Score Card!

This school year, HEF supported 328 students in our program, while balancing a return to in-person as well as virtual mentoring to ensure students received regular mentoring sessions, quality support from our college success coaches, college & career readiness workshop opportunities and more!

To learn more about our program and become a mentor today, visit our website.
Help Put School Supplies into the
Hands of Students Who Need them Most
Three out of five students in Hillsborough County are from economically disadvantaged families and many can't afford the basic supplies their students need as they head back to school.

Our Teaching Tools Resource Center provided more than $4.1 million dollars in free school supplies to students and teachers at our highest needs school last school year.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, including a significant contribution from Lysol, it was a record-setting year for our supply distribution. That also shows that the need to support our most vulnerable students is greater than ever, given recent financial hardships for many families.
When you donate items to our Supply Drive, you can positively impact a student's life, an entire classroom and the future of our community!
If your company has locations on both sides of the Bay, this year, we are teaming up with Pinellas Education Foundation for the Tampa Bay School Supply Drive.

Be on the lookout for upcoming drop-off events or host a supply drive in both counties to help support the 200,000+ public schools students in need in our communities.
Our work doesn't happen without the generosity of our donors. That's why we dedicate a section in our monthly newsletter to showcase the individuals and companies making our mission possible.

For this month’s feature, we are celebrating donor and mentor, Marie Whelan!
Dr. Marie Whelan knew since she was a freshman in high school that she wanted to dedicate her life to education and helping students.

Marie, her husband, Mick and her son are all graduates of Gaither High School. After earning her degree at USF, Marie pursued her dream of a career in education in Hillsborough County Public Schools. Marie first worked as a Special Education teacher at the secondary level, then as a student intervention specialist. In 2004, as a Middleton High School administrator, she learned about Hillsborough Education Foundation and our work providing resources and support to students and teachers at our highest needs schools.

“I know the partnership we have with HEF,” Dr. Whelan said. “We have the same mission—supporting our students.”
When Marie shifted from working at a school to her role in district administration, she wanted to remain directly connected to students, so she became a mentor with HEF. She couldn’t be prouder of everything her mentees have accomplished in the past 7 years—her first mentee graduated and her current mentee, Joseph’Lafay, will next year.

“Students are very near and dear to my heart. My mentee wrote me a note saying that she really looks forward to our talks and sharing updates on how she’s doing in school. I feel like I’m making an impact.”

Not only does Marie give the gift of her time, she also donates to HEF through the district's automatic payroll deduction. She encourages others in the community to support education in any way they can.

“It’s super convenient and I know it’s going into scholarships, and school supplies, and coming right back to our students. “If people are in the position to give of their finances or give of their time. HEF makes it simple. The rewards that you get back are so much more.”
We are proud to shine a spotlight on Dr. Marie Whelan and appreciate her continued dedication to help strengthen public education in Hillsborough County!