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June 2018  
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In this edition of ConnectED:
  • Erase the Need, support our school supply drive 
  • Support our mission by attending the HEF EmpowerED Luncheon
  • HEF, HCC partner to put students on path to success
  • Consortium of Florida Education Foundations meets in Tampa
  • Teaching Tools hits $3 million mark in supplies given in 2017-18
  • HEF welcomes Centro Español back to the building 
  • Change a life, mentor a student in 2018-19
  • Volunteer in the Teaching Tools Store this summer! 
  • HEF Spotlight: College Success Coach Marimar Velaz Hernandez 

In Hillsborough County,  1 in 2 public-school students qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch.  If lunch is difficult to afford, it's unlikely school supplies are in the family budget.

Could you imagine starting your first day of school without even a pencil?

With your help, we can ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom by providing free school supplies to students most in need.

Click here to sign up as a supply drive host, see a list of public drop-off locations or to support the Virtual Supply Drive.

Questions? Contact Denise Becker at

Media Partners


We hope you can join us! Click here to purchase tickets or become a sponsor. 

Partnership aims to put students on pathway to success
HEF and Hillsborough Community College are partnering to put low-income Hillsborough County Public School graduates on a seamless path to careers in high-demand industries in Tampa Bay. Students in our Take Stock in Children program will be encouraged to participate in the  FUSE program upon high-school graduation. FUSE provides an academic pathway for students graduating with an associate of arts degree from HCC to University of South Florida majors aligned with high-demand jobs in Hillsborough County. 

This collaboration also provides additional scholarship opportunities. Huge thanks to Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and LEAP Tampa Bay for supporting this initiative. 

We are excited to be a part of this opportunity to help our students reach success in college and beyond! 

From left to right:  Paul Nagy, Special Assistant to the President, Strategic Planning & Analysis at Hillsborough Community College; Hillsborough Education Foundation Board Chair Kim Thresher; HEF President Kim Jowell; Betty Castor, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay Board Chair; Marlene Spalten, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay President & CEO; Dipa Shah, HCC Board of Trustees Chair; and HCC President Ken Atwater.

CFEF honors partners at awards celebration in Tampa
On June 13, the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations gathered at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay for its Annual Partnership Celebration dinner and awards ceremony. Amscot founder Ian MacKechnie was honored as the 2018 Outstanding Private-Sector Partner. He said "yes" 12 years ago to the Just a Dollar Campaign that benefits HEF and many other education foundations across the state. He also personally made a $50,000 contribution to this year's campaign.  Also honored at the event was HEF's very own Chief Programs Officer Fred Weber, who was given the Staff Superstar Award. 

Amscot Founder Ian MacKechnie (center), 2018 Outstanding Private-Sector Partner.
Hillsborough Education Foundation Chief Programs Officer Fred Weber (fourth from left), Staff Superstar Award recipient. He is pictured with (from left to right) HEF President Kim Jowell, Board member Gordon Gillette, Board Chair Kim Thresher and Board member Fraser MacKechnie.

Teaching Tools gives $3M in supplies in 2017-18
We are happy to announce that during the 2017-18 school year, we were able to give more than $3 million in free school supplies to students in need, thanks to your support. In 2018, we will serve all 166 HCPS Title I schools, up from 150 last school year. The store will reopen for the new school year July 16. 

Click here to read a recent Tampa Bay Times column that highlights the Teaching Tools Store.

Since 2002, we have given nearly $28 million in free school supplies to our schools. Thank you to everyone who supports this critical resource! 

HEF welcomes Centro Español back to ancestral home
After 35 years, the Centro Español social club has returned home - the nonprofit group recently began renting out office space on the second floor of our West Tampa building. We are happy to welcome Centro Español back to the building! The social club was established in 1913 as the area's cultural and social center. It provided health services and amenities, including a theater, gym, library and ballroom. 

Click here to read a Tampa Bay Times story about the move. 

Change a student's life, become a mentor
If you are looking for a meaningful way to give back, consider becoming a mentor to a HCPS middle- or high-school student.  As a mentor, you will meet with your mentee at his or her school weekly throughout the academic year.  Click here  to learn more or to fill out an application.

To get matched with a student for the 2018-19 school year, contact Anna Laird at  or (813)463-4283.

Help out in the Teaching Tools Store this summer!
Help us get the Teaching Tools Store stocked for the 2018-19 school year! We are looking for individuals and groups to volunteer on week days in July.

For more information, contact Melanie Jimenez at  or  (813)574-0260.

Mari Velaz Rivero | College Success Coach


Responsibilities include:  Working with Take Stock in Children students in their college readiness process.

Time at HEF: 2 months

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My favorite teacher was Dr. Madeline Camara at the University of South Florida. Her class was the most non-traditional class I have ever taken. We didn't have a textbook and there wasn't a set syllabus. We just read poetry and novels and she provided the information we needed to know orally only. She was so passionate about the topics that she covered that it was truly impossible not to pay attention. Dr. Camara made me fall in love with Spanish poetry and literature movements.  After her class, I bought most of the books she provided on her recommended reading list. 

What was your first job?
Working with international students that were learning English at my undergraduate university. I helped organize an extracurricular club that helped them practice their English-speaking skills while getting to know the new culture and university. 
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
I wish I could fly. That way, I wouldn't have to pay for a plane ticket in order to travel! 

What was your most memorable vacation?
My most memorable vacation location was Seville, Spain. It was memorable because I got to know my boyfriend's culture and family. Also, we saw Roman bridges, an Arab palace and the river where the conquistadores would leave to go to the Americas. I loved the food and came back wanting to move there one day!