Business leaders, community partners attend HEF’s EmpowerED 2022

On Wednesday, September 14th, nearly 400 business leaders, community partners and education supporters attended Hillsborough Education Foundation’s 2022 EmpowerED fundraising luncheon, held at Armature Works in Tampa. The annual event celebrated success stories and shared how, collectively, we are rewriting the narrative to help students, teachers and public schools now and in the next chapter.

“What our theme, Rewriting the Narrative, means to me and to HEF is that together, we can help accelerate academic success through our programs, so that every student can benefit from a high-quality public education and graduates ready for success,” said Hillsborough Education Foundation CEO Kim Jowell. “We all have the power to rewrite the present narrative for students that will change their future stories and transform lives.”

The event was emceed by Laura Diaz, host of the Mix Morning Show on Mix 100.7, and guest speakers included Superintendent Addison Davis, Brandon High School Teacher Sasha Fuller, former mentee and graduate Suraj Ramrakhyani, Suncoast Credit Union Foundation’s Cindy Helton, HEF CEO Kim Jowell, HEF Board Chair Drew Marshall and HEF Treasurer Mark Fernandez.

Current Hillsborough County Public Schools students also joined us to share how HEF’s support has helped them to overcome obstacles and positively impacted their lives.

“Because of BLOOM, I went from a student who was struggling academically and emotionally to bringing up my GPA to a 2.5 and my goal this year is to bring my GPA up to a 3.5! The club has also given me the confidence to become an officer and to love myself and truly see that I am worth it,” said Bloom Girls Club member, Valeria Lizardo-Cedeno. Bloom Girls Club is one of the many project submissions that has received funding through a School & Classroom Enrichment grant from HEF.  

Julian Brito, a Leto High senior and Take Stock in Children mentee, has a 7.1 GPA, is the salutatorian of his class, has earned 62 dual enrollment credits and will earn his AA degree before he graduates high school. He spoke about his mentor Don Evans and how their relationship has provided the stability and encouragement he needed to succeed.

EmpowerED 2022 program back

“All my responsibilities became the greatest balancing act of my life. My life felt like I was sailing the ocean and every day I’m hit by another storm. I need a steady anchor to rely on. Mr. Evans is that anchor.”

Plus, Alonso High School Reading Teacher Michelle Cherney was named HEF’s volunteer of the year!

If you missed this year’s event but still want to help HEF strengthen public education in Hillsborough County through our programs and initiatives, visit our donate page and learn what your investment can do!