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Champions For Learning Earns Highest 4-Star Rating From Charity Navigator

Strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned Champions For Learning (The Education Foundation of Collier County, Inc), a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

This is the sixth time that Champions For Learning has earned this top distinction. The 4-star rating is the highest possible rating and indicates that Champions For Learning adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way.

Champions For Learning is among only 23% of the charities evaluated who have received at least 3 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Champions For Learning outperforms most other charities in America.

“Champions For Learning’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. This adds Champions For Learning to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support Champions For Learning.”

“We are extremely proud to be receiving a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator,” says Lynn Davidson, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Our Board of Directors and staff are committed to ensuring that the investments from the community create life-changing learning experiences for every student in Collier County.”

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Calling All Volunteers!

Want to support our students with your time? Here are a few volunteer opportunities that can fit any time commitment.
  • Take Stock in Children Mentor: Give guidance to the same student and change their life with the gift of your time (a minimum of 15 sessions a school year).
  • Financial Aid Volunteer: Become trained to help families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during FSA ID Labs and FAFSA Completion Events (Fall 2018)
  • College and Career Coach: Help students in group settings on a periodic or short term basis to learn about career pathways, goal-setting, and employability/foundational skills. (Ongoing student lab opportunities)
To learn more contact Rachel Welch at (239) 643-4755 or RWelch@ChampionsForLearning.org
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Classroom Grants Portal Now Open

Champions For Learning’s Classroom Grants: Find It & Fund It, Collier portal is now open for the community to fund classroom projects that Collier teachers have submitted for the 2018-2019 school year.

This online grant program began in 2003, to enable the community to support teachers. Thanks to a charitable gift from Suncoast Credit Union, which supports the technology and capacity for the classroom grant portal, 100% of community contributions go directly to support teacher grants. This portal allows the community to view and fund classroom grants.

Classroom Grants are also funded through the License for Learning Fund (Florida Education Tag). Community members can buy this specialty license plate in Collier County. $20 of the annual $25 fee is donated to Champions For Learning and 100% of the funds support classroom grants.

The support provided through both the Classroom Grant Fund portal and the License for Learning tag will give teachers the funds needed to implement creative and innovative learning experiences for their students. The community can view classroom grants at FindItFundItFlorida.com/Collier

Champions For Learning encourages teachers to continue posting requests for community consideration and funding through March 2019. Teachers who are new to the process may contact Amy Snyder at ASnyder@ChampionsForLearning.org for more information.

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Join Champions For Learning’s Team

Community Engagement Coordinator

Champions For Learning is seeking a Community Engagement Coordinator to coordinate the outreach and onboarding process for prospective volunteers and donors to ensure they become fully engaged in the mission.  Job requirements include four-year degree, strong interpersonal and written/verbal communication skills, along with proven ability to build relationships.

Director of Development

Join the team at Champions For Learning to plan and execute corporate sponsorships, donor communications for small gifts, key fundraising events and acknowledgements. Requirements include four-year degree, strong interpersonal and written/verbal communication skills, along with development experience at a not for profit.


Submit resumes to HR@ChampionsForLearning.org


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Future Ready Collier Partners Recognized By The Florida College Access Network

The Future Ready Collier network of partners was recognized recently as an Unsung Hero of Community Resilience for the local efforts post-Irma to ensure that children and families stayed on track with their educational goals in the aftermath of the hurricane.  Lisa Church, Vice President Champions For Learning accepted the award on behalf of the partners at the recent FCAN Summit.

The Florida Unsung Heroes of Resilience Awards honors leaders throughout the state who helped students navigate an uncommonly tumultuous year.

During the 2017-18 school year, Florida students not only had to cope with damages to their homes and neighborhoods because of Hurricane Irma, but also had thousands of displaced students from Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean being integrated into their schools mid-year. Additionally, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shattered the sense of safety for students in Parkland and beyond.

“This award is in recognition of Florida community members who went above and beyond the call to support students impacted by extraordinary events that challenged our state over the past school year,” said Kathy McDonald, FCAN’s Assistant Director for Network Partnerships.

Future Ready Collier (futurereadycollier.org) is a network of local partners working to ensure every child is ready for Kindergarten, and every young person is career ready by graduating high school on track to obtain a degree or credential.  Champions For Learning, the Education Foundation of Collier County, is the backbone organization facilitating this collaborative effort.

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In-Demand Careers Scholars Program Participants Announced

Champions For Learning in partnership with The Florida Prepaid College Foundation is happy to announce that four students have been selected for the In-Demand Careers Scholars Program in Collier County. This program’s goal is to develop a trained workforce with entrepreneurial skills to be competitive to enter high-demand career fields in Florida.

“We’re excited to partner with Champions For Learning and bring this opportunity to the students in Collier County,” says Cynthia O’Connell, Foundation Executive at Florida Prepaid College Foundation. “It was great to meet these ambitious students and their families. We look forward to celebrating all of their future accomplishments.”

The four high school juniors are Jessica Bautista (Lorenzo Walker Technical High School), Jaslynette Burgos (Mason Classical Academy), Jamie Etienne (Lorenzo Walker Technical High School), and Sheryl Maxime (Lorenzo Walker Technical High School).

These students will be awarded a Florida Prepaid 2-Year Florida College Plan scholarship.  In addition, they will receive support from their advocate in weekly Champions College and Career Prep Program labs throughout their junior and senior year of high school, and continued support through college graduation and entry into the workforce.

“We are extremely honored to pilot this program,” says Susan McManus, President of Champions For Learning. “Through the collaborative partnership we have developed with Florida Prepaid College Foundation, we look forward to expanding this opportunity to support students in Collier County in a new way.”

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Class of 2019! Attend a Rising Senior Workshop!

Registration is open for the Class of 2019 to attend Champions For Learning’s Rising Senior Workshops this summer.

As part of an ongoing goal to ensure all Collier County students are equipped and prepared for their future learning and career goals, Champions For Learning offers a variety of community-based college and career readiness resources.

These three Rising Senior Workshops are provided at no cost to students and families thanks to the generous support of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. Collier County rising seniors (Class of 2019) and their parents will receive information about the college access process, financial aid, and scholarship resources on local college campuses. (Florida SouthWestern State College, Lorenzo Walker Technical College, and Florida Gulf Coast University)

Each session will cover a different topic and include a campus tour and a presentation from that school’s admission/financial aid team. All workshops are 9am-12pm. Spots are limited and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.

Pre-registration is required. To register for one or more of the workshops click here.

The workshops are listed below.

  • The Application Process
    • Date: Saturday, June 2nd
    • Location: Florida SouthWestern State College- Collier Campus
    • Capacity: 150
  • The Financial Aid Process
    • Date: Saturday, June 23rd
    • Location: Lorenzo Walker Technical College
    • Capacity: 150
  • Scholarships
    • Date: Saturday, July 21st
    • Location: Florida Gulf Coast University
    • Capacity: 150
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Champions For Learning and CenturyLink Surprise Collier County Teachers with Teachers and Technology Grants

On May 14, Champions For Learning and CenturyLink surprised Collier County teachers with Teacher and Technology grants to enhance educational opportunities for local school children.

During the course of the day, CenturyLink awarded seven grant checks that totaled over $25,600 to seven schools in Naples and Immokalee, Florida, as part of an effort that awarded over $108,000 to 27 schools throughout the Sunshine State. The checks will provide teachers with the funds needed to incorporate technology into their classrooms.

The Teacher and Technology program, which was established by CenturyLink in 2008, has awarded nearly $11 million since its inception. This program awards grants (up to $5,000) to teachers in CenturyLink’s local service areas who have created an innovative curriculum that allows technology to be implemented in their classrooms. This year, CenturyLink is continuing its commitment to education and students by awarding more than $1.4 million in grants in 34 states to support innovative technology solutions.

“CenturyLink recognizes the importance of introducing young people to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, concepts to better prepare them for successful careers,” said Sondra Smith, CenturyLink director of corporate social responsibility (CSR). “STEM competencies help prepare students to be critical thinkers, persevere through challenges to achieve success, communicate and collaborate across real and perceived barriers, and solve complex problems.”

Click here to see the names of recipients.

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Champions For Learning Hosts 2018 Golden Apple Celebration

On April 16, Champions For Learning hosted the 28th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. During this event the community honored and thanked the Golden Apple Recipients, Teachers of Distinction, and Collier County Public Schools Teachers of the Year.

Champions For Learning invited each Collier County School to put forward an educator and best practice to be recognized as this year’s Teacher of Distinction, providing the opportunity for every school to be involved. The result was 57 teachers representing 55 of our schools. From this group of talented teachers, the Golden Apple Selection Committee chose five to further highlight their best practices.

During the event, community members were treated to students introducing their teachers and teachers sharing their passion for the profession. Champions For Learning also honored Thomas Riley as the 2018 Heart of the Apple recipient.

All Teachers of Distinction received a $250  award, and the Golden Apple recipients received an additional $500 award thanks to the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation.  Each 2017-18 Golden Apple recipient receives a grant of up to $5,000 from Suncoast Credit Union to build on their best practices.

“At Suncoast Credit Union, we believe that the stronger we make our teachers, the stronger our students will be. For this reason, we create opportunities for educators to share best practices and to grow professionally, “ said Cindy Helton executive director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.  “The Golden Apple Awards enable us to recognized teachers whose dedication and practices stand above the rest. We hope that the grants will inspire them to continue investing in our students and to develop innovative practices.”

The Suncoast Credit Union Foundation is funded through the credit union members’ use of their debit and credit cards. The Suncoast for Schools Rewards Debit Card and VISA Credit Card program automatically generates funds that are dedicated to education and health-related initiatives benefiting children in the local community.

For those who couldn’t attend the event, Champions For Learning invites them to watch the Golden Apple television program, which will be aired on April 22 at 7:00 pm on NBC-2 and rebroadcast multiple times on The Education Channel. To stay connected text APPLE to 52182 for links to videos and photos of the Golden Apple event, tune in to watch reminders and access to fund classroom grants.

Click here to view videos highlighting the best practices of our Teachers of Distinction and Golden Apple recipients.

Presenting Sponsor: Suncoast Credit Union

Champions Level Sponsors: Adams Food, Inc./McDonalds, CenturyLink, Conditioned Air, eBella Magazine, Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, NBC-2, Perna-Rose Foundation for Hope, and Wells Fargo

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Barbara Uible Announced as Take Stock in Children Mentor of the Year

Champions For Learning is proud to announce that Barbara Uible has been named one of Take Stock in Children’s Mentors of the Year in the state of Florida. She was honored on Wednesday, January 10 at the Take Stock in Children Luncheon honoring Leaders for Life Fellows and TSIC Alumni & Mentors of the Year. This was part of the Take Stock in Children Leadership Summit & Day at the Capitol.

Champions For Learning identifies students with economic need, provides them a mentor and a college and career prep program. When the student fulfills their ongoing commitment to meet with the mentor, stay drug and crime free, and maintain their GPA, the student earns a two-year Florida state college scholarship upon high school graduation.

To date, Barbara has mentored two students and is currently mentoring her third student. Through her mentoring she has treated each mentee as family, which has built friendships that have continued beyond high school.  She has also served as a member of the Student Selection Committee for a number of years.

With her demonstration of selflessness and desire to help others succeed, Barbara is truly making a difference by providing consistent support to not only her mentees, but to the Take Stock in Children program.

Susan McManus, President, Champions For Learning, says, “We are proud of Barbara who has impacted many students through her involvement with Champions For Learning. Barbara’s passion to help students succeed is truly inspiring.”

Barbara was honored at the 4th Annual Night of Champions as Champions For Learning’s Mentor of the Year. The event honored community members for their impact on the lives of students through mentoring, leadership, collaboration and community involvement.

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