Helios Education Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: Operating exclusively in Arizona and Florida, the Helios Education Foundation supports early childhood education, college and career readiness, and postsecondary success with an emphasis on minority student populations.

IP TAKE: Aiming to close the achievement gap for minority students, the Helios Education Foundation supports early childhood education, college and career readiness and postsecondary success in the states of Arizona and Florida. This funder does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PROFILE: The Helios Education Foundation was founded in 2004 with the proceeds from the sale of the Southwest Student Services Corporation, a student loan company, to the SLM Corporation, which is also known as Sallie Mae. Based in Phoenix, Arizona and Tampa, Florida, the foundation aims to help students in these states succeed in postsecondary education, thereby enriching the lives of all residents. Investing approximately $15 million in education each year, its three main funding areas are early childhood education, college and career readiness, and postsecondary completion.

The Helios Foundation’s support of K-12 education stems from its college and career readiness initiative. This funding program aims to develop rigorous academic environments and “a college-going culture.” One past grantee  is the Bioscience Leadership Academy, a two-week certification course that prepares high school students for success in college science courses. Helios has also funded and implemented programs that provide extensive academic advisement and counseling to minority high school students with the aim of improving achievement and access to higher education.

Running most of its programs internally or through partnerships with other foundations and corporations, Helios’s college and career readiness grants range from $300,000 to $4.5 million. The foundation provides a searchable database of its funded projects in Arizona and Florida on its website.  

The Helios Education Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.

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