After raising funds from business, individual, civic organization and foundation contributions, each local education foundation aligned with Florida’s 67 county-wide school districts can access the matching funds annually through CFEF. Funds can be used in five programmatic areas determined by local education foundation leaders as priorities for advancing student achievement in Florida: Increasing Graduation Rates; Teaching Quality; Literacy; Low Performing Students; STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Education and Career/Technical Education.
Because the projects funded are "home grown” with input from local school system leaders, they allow education foundations to address needs and goals specific to their community. They avoid the pitfall of imposing a "one size fits all” mentality by prescribing a particular program or approach. This system fosters greater private-sector involvement, creative problem solving and a sense of ownership by everyone involved.
One-on-one tutoring for struggling second grade readers, support for low income students to complete career/technical education industry certification programs, tuition assistance for paraprofessionals seeking to become teachers, and mentoring programs targeting at-risk students are all examples of matching grant funded projects. For the 2011-12 school year alone, more than 1.1 million students in 52 counties were directly impacted through 84 matching grant funded projects.
Florida corporations from all sectors of our economy have increased their commitment to local foundation initiatives, making the School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program a highly effective public-private partnership that is held up as a model of success for other states seeking greater resources for their students in critical academic areas.
"Despite current state budget constraints, the Legislature recognizes the matching grant program as a proven strategy for increasing private-sector interest, investment and involvement in public schools,” said Speaker Designate Will Weatherford (R-61). "I have personally seen the impact at the local level, and I’m pleased we were able to appropriate $2.3 Million to continue this powerful incentive for Florida’s local education foundations for the 2012-13 school year.”