Helios Education Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: Helios seeks to improve college access and success for students in Arizona and Florida. It primarily supports early childhood education, grades 5-12, and college education. Its college grantmaking emphasize scholarships and college access networks, which includes financial planning. 

IP TAKE: In order to secure a grant, applicants must either be based in Arizona or Florida or have programs operating there. Helios does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PROFILE: Established in 2004 with the proceeds from a sale between Southwest Student Services and SLM Corporation, the Helios Foundation seeks to "enrich the lives of individuals in Arizona and Florida by creating opportunities for success in postsecondary education." It supports Early Grade SuccessCollege and Career Readiness; and Postsecondary Completion

Helios's College and Career Readiness and Postsecondary Completion programs facilitate the foundation's grantmaking to higher education in Arizona and Florida. Its Postsecondary Completion program seeks to provide students with "academic supports critical to persistence, and aligning supports and systems leading to careers, increasing numbers of underserved students [to] attain a postsecondary degree or certificate." This program aims to facilitate successful transition to credit bearing courses; construct scholarships to support persistence and completion; and support certificate and degree pathways. Helios ultimately seeks to create greater opportunities for college access and success in Arizona and Florida. Large numbers of students in both states who enter college never complete a degree program. Helios seeks to change this dynamic by fostering what it calls a “college-going culture” in the states of Arizona and Florida. 

Moreover, its College and Career Readiness program  facilitates "rigorous, high-expectation academic environments and promoting the development of a college-going culture" to help more Arizona and Florida students complete college.

As mentioned, Helios only funds organizations in Arizona and Florida or projects that operate in those states. The foundation helpfully provides an Investment History page that offers a searchable database of past giving. Because Helios does not accept unsolicited proposals, grantseekers should contact the staff and introduce themselves. In addition, the 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.” 


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