Helios Education Foundation: Arizona Grants

OVERVIEW: The Helios Education Foundation provides support for education nonprofits that work with students from pre-K through postsecondary education in Arizona and Florida.

FUNDING AREAS: Pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education, college readiness, early childhood education, STEM education

IP TAKE:  Reform support organizations, cultural organizations, and community organizations often see Helios support as long as they improve overall learning in Arizona or Florida.

PROFILE: Established in 2004, the Helios Education Foundation is perhaps best known for its STEM education and college prep funding. However, this Phoenix-based funder is also a significant local grantmaker that supports causes in Arizona. The Helios Education Foundation emerged from the Southwest Student Services Corporation (SSSC), the Arizona Educational Loan Marketing Corporation, and the Florida Educational Loan Marketing Corporation. SSSC was sold to SLM Corporation for over $500 million in 2004, and the net proceeds of the sale funded Helios’ endowment. The funder aims to “enrich the lives of individuals in Arizona and Florida by creating opportunities for success in postsecondary education.” Grantmaking areas of interest are pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education, college readiness, early childhood education, and STEM education.

Postsecondary education is a big focus of the Helios Education Foundation, which awards grants in three impact areas: early childhood education, the transition years and postsecondary education success. Innovative local math, literacy, and other STEM education programs are always on the Helios radar. Also, college readiness is a big cause for this funder in Arizona.

Helios grants are sometimes several millions of dollars each, although most grants are considerably smaller than this. View the funder’s investment history on its website. Grantmaking is limited to the states of Arizona and Florida. The foundation also supports organizations that have been in operation for at least two years or are a public entity. Grant recipients come from both the public and private sectors. The foundation does not provide general operating support or funds for capital campaigns, teacher recruitment, or non-programmatic professional development and classroom materials costs.

The Helios Education Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding. Nonprofits can reach out to the Phoenix office with general questions at 602-381-2260 or via email at info@helios.org.

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