Florida Philanthropic Network Calls for Statewide Goal for Post-Secondary Education Attainment

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Philanthropic organizations in Florida care deeply about our state’s education outcomes. They know that a quality education can improve Floridians’ lives in vital ways, and greatly enhance the overall well-being of our communities.

That is why Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN), through our Education Funders Affinity Group, has announced our support for establishing a statewide goal to have 60% of working-age Floridians possess post-secondary degrees or certifications by the year 2025. Continue reading

Improving Florida Children’s Reading Proficiency – And Their Chances for Success in Life

Did you know that one of the best predictors of high school graduation and career success is whether or not a child can read proficiently by the end of third grade? A recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, for example, showed that students who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a high school diploma than proficient readers. For those who cannot master even basic reading skills by third grade, the rate is nearly six times greater.

This means that the vast majority of Florida children are at a distinct disadvantage by the time they reach fourth grade. Nearly two-thirds – 65 percent – of Florida students are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade. That figure jumps to 76 percent for students from low-income families, and to 83 percent for African American students. Anyone who cares about the future of our state should be deeply concerned by these numbers. Continue reading

Philanthropy Is Helping Improve Education in Florida

Last week I was invited to speak to the Florida Board of Education about how philanthropy and government in Florida can be effective partners to improve our state’s education outcomes. This marked the first time that Florida Philanthropic Network has ever presented to the Board of Education. The presentation was part of FPN’s ongoing efforts to improve public-private engagement in education and in other areas that our members support.

Florida Philanthropic Network President & CEO David Biemesderfer speaks to the Florida Board of Education on October 9, 2012.

FPN has a strong interest in education because it is a top funding issue for many of our members. A study by the Foundation Center revealed that 61% of Florida foundations support education – more than any other issue. That’s why FPN operates an increasingly active Education Funders Affinity Group (EAG) comprised of our members who fund education issues, organizations and needs; the group includes family foundations, independent foundations, corporate givers and community foundations across Florida. Through the EAG, FPN seeks to find ways to build bridges between government, business and philanthropy so that we can work together more effectively to improve education in Florida. Continue reading