Educational Institutions

Homeless Children's Education Fund (HCEF)

  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • www.homelessfund.org

Mission Statement

The mission of the Homeless Children's Education Fund is to provide advocacy, community engagement, and direct service programs that support the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County.

Main Programs

  1. Building Blocks for Success
  2. Mini-Grants for Educational Innovation
  3. Gear for Grades
  4. Homeless Education Network (HEN)
  5. Customized Accelerated Programs for Enrichment (CAPE)
Service Areas

Self-reported

Pennsylvania

ruling year

1999

Principal Officer since 1999

Self-reported

Joseph Lagana

Co Principal Officer since 2009

Self-reported

William Wolfe

Keywords

Self-reported

HCEF, Homeless, Education, Children, Homeless Education Network, Champions for Children, Learning Center

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EIN

25-1820564

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Other Housing Support Services (L80)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Across HCEF's thirteen years of direct experience, research, and one-on-one relationship-building with homeless provider agencies, public and parochial schools, county human services providers, regional libraries, and a host of other community partners, it has steadily broadened and deepened its efforts to significantly and positively impact the academic achievement of children and youth who are in a homeless situation. It's this experience that in 2010 motivated HCEF to form and facilitate the Homeless Education Network (HEN), a formal community collaborative of entities having the responsibility to ensure the educational rights and meeting the educational needs of children and youth who are homeless. Goals for 2012-2013 include:

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Building Blocks for Success

Building Blocks for Success Building Blocks for Success currently serves five HCEF partner sites. The program accelerates learning outcomes for students in grades K-8 through tutoring, small group activities, literacy development, and parental engagement. An annual average of 100 children and youth have participated regularly in the Building Blocks program since its inception in 2009, spending an average of 25-30 hours during their residence. The housing agencies receive assistance through HCEF's support of paid professional afterschool instructors and volunteers. We regularly provide the volunteers with professional development opportunities that enable them to recognize and address the specific needs of the children and youth with whom they work. Additional volunteers are always being sought as the program expands to other family housing agencies.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Homeless

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 2

Mini-Grants for Educational Innovation

The Mini-Grants for Educational Innovation each year grants homeless housing providers with funds for educational programs, special projects, materials, and community excursions. These grants of up to $2,000 each encourage agency staff to create education-based activities and to purchase academic supplies that meet the specific needs of children at their sites. In the 2010-11 school year, grant monies funded educational software, a Karaoka machine used to practice speeches, African drumming, dance workshops, trips to Laurel Caverns, the Carnegie Science Center's portable planetarium, onsite mini-camps provided by the Science Center, foreign language study, newscasting, trips to Lake Erie and Altoona, a lending library for teens and so much more - all funded by individual donations to the Mini-Grant endowment.

Category

Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Homeless

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 3

Gear for Grades

In partnership with Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, HCEF annually distributes more than 2,500 backpacks filled with school supplies to children and youth residing in 29 emergency shelters, transitional housing facilities, and other homeless providers in Allegheny County. Through this program, HCEF aims to ensure that every child and youth experiencing homelessness is equipped with the necessary tools for school. Each August, in time for the start of a new school year, HCEF staff and volunteers deliver to the providers the supply-packed book bags that have been donated by area businesses, civic organizations, and countless individuals. With these backpacks, the child is just another boy or girl going to school, ready to learn. For a struggling mother there is tremendous relief in knowing her child, her children will have the required school supplies she might not be able easily to provide. Citizens Bank has supported this program since 2004.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Homeless

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 4

Homeless Education Network (HEN)

Across HCEF's thirteen years of direct experience, research, and one-on-one relationship-building with homeless provider agencies, public and parochial schools, county human services providers, regional libraries, and a host of other community partners, it has steadily broadened and deepened its efforts to significantly and positively impact the academic achievement of children and youth who are homeless.It's this experience that motivated HCEF to establish a formalpartnership of entitieshaving responsibilities for ensuring the educational rights and meeting the educational needs of children and youth who are homeless. And so HCEF formed the Homeless Education Network (HEN) toserve as a catalyst and convener. HEN is a community collaborative facilitated by the Homeless Children's Education Fund (HCEF) whose mission is to provide advocacy, community engagement, and direct service programs that support the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Homeless

Other Named Groups

Budget

Program 5

Customized Accelerated Programs for Enrichment (CAPE)

CAPE - which stands for Customized Accelerated Programs for Enrichment and is supported by corporate contributions through Pennsylvania's EITC program - enables children to learn and grow academically, socially, and creatively through hands-on-experiences not found in the course of a normal school day. CAPE opportunities are offered during the summer and in after-school programs. Most programs are a series of 60-90 minute workshops with instructors from local organizations. African Art, Drumming & Dance, and Spanish Language and Dance are provided by the Institute for International Arts & Languages. LabRatz Science Club offers Hands-on-Science, Saturday Light Brigade Radio offers radio broadcasting, and the visual arts are offered by The Andy Warhol Museum, The Schmutz Company, and Art Expressions, Inc.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Homeless

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Other Named Groups

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The following are initiatives outlined in our 2013-2015 Strategic Plan:

    I. We will support every child experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County to become a successful learner.

    II. We will guide and support parents of children experiencing homelessness to provide the appropriate support for their children to be successful learners.

    III. We will partner with school districts as a trusted colleague to enable all school personnel to welcome and respond appropriately to children experiencing homelessness.

    IV. We will engage communities and appropriate local agencies to assist school districts in supporting families experiencing homelessness.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Goal I.
    a. Participate in the newly established Statewide Task Force on the Education of Children Experiencing Homelessness to improve the educational outcomes of children experiencing homelessness

    b. Expand HCEF’s roster of partnering home-less providers in order to deliver educational programs and services to more children and youth in Allegheny County

    c. Involve children and youth in out-of-school time learning by providing homeless providers with mini-grants and technical assistance to develop agency-based educational activities, including field trips

    Goal II.
    a. Create opportunities for parents to actively participate in HCEF after-school and CAPE programming

    b. Implement an Oral Health Education initiative

    Goal III.
    a. Work with the superintendents of Allegheny County school districts with large populations of children experiencing home-lessness by introducing models and “lessons learned” that have a proven impact on their education outcomes

    b. Help school districts respond effectively to the needs and identification of homeless students by facilitating McKinney-Vento leadership teams within targeted school districts (with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit and Department of Human Services)


    Goal IV.
    a. Utilize the Homeless Education Network (HEN) to facilitate relationships that improve the educational outcomes of all children in Allegheny County who experience homelessness. The HEN will develop working groups to address the feasibility of an Allegheny County system for the transportation of homeless children and the needs of unaccompanied youth

    b. Facilitate the transportation of children to school as well as after-school and summer programming in conjunction with the City of Pittsburgh Public Schools and other Allegheny County-based community organizations

    (more outlined in Strategic Plan)
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The partnerships that we have in place to achieve our goals include the following:
    I. Statewide Task Force on the Education of Children Experiencing Homelessness
    II. 25 homeless agencies throughout Allegheny County
    III. A steady set of volunteers stationed in various positions in the homeless agencies
    IV. Numerous non-profits around the city that operate Customized Accelerated Programs for Enrichment including: Lab Ratz, Andy Warhol Museum, Saturday Light Brigade Radio, Etc.
    V. Service Access for Youth - a collaborative effort of multiple non-profits based in Pittsburgh to reach unaccompanied youth
    VI. Oral Health professionals that help carry out the Oral Health Initiative
    VII. Allegheny County School Districts & District Homeless Liaisons
    VIII. Pittsburgh Public Schools
    IX. Pennsylvania State Education Association
    X. Homeless Education Network - a network of educators, political figures, law enforcers, school administrative staff, homeless shelter staff, and more.

    With such a vast array of connections, networks, and relationships, we are able to pull a myriad of people together to enhance the programs we offer to the children in the shelters, as well as their parents.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Each program that we have has its own set of criteria for success. Quarterly, we revisit the Strategic Plan to ensure that our programs are operating with our main goals in mind.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Not available.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Pennsylvania

Funding Needs

1. Volunteers are always needed to work with children in the HCEF-supported after-school programs in homeless housing agencies, as well as with special events and in-house operations. HCEF provides all such volunteers with initial and on-going training. Act 33/34 and FBI clearances are required.2. Educate your community about child homelessness in Allegheny County by sponsoring awareness-raising events, or by simply spreading the word to others.3. HCEF welcomes donations from individuals, all of which support the Mini-Grants for Educational Enrichment that finance much of the educational programming in the homeless housing facilities.4. Identify the Homeless Liaison in your school district and ask how you can help.5. Organize a small fundraiser at your business, school, or club and donate the proceeds.6. Donate new backpacks, school supplies, children's books, or in-kind services.

Accreditations

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External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

HOMELESS CHILDREN'S EDUCATION FUND
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Homeless Children's Education Fund (HCEF)

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone and website
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Joseph Lagana

Co Principal Officer

William Wolfe

BIO

Jospeh Lagana is the founder of the Homeless Children's Education Fund. He is the Executive Director Emeritus of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, a regional educator agency in the Greater Pittsburgh area coterminous with Allegheny County. From 1992 to 1999, he was responsible as CEO for the fiscal management of 140 programs that had combined budgets totaling over $110 million dollars. Since his retirement in 1999, Dr. Lagana has been a community activist and the volunteer CEO for HCEF. He has been recognized for his public service with many awards. See Awards below. Dr. Lagana currently serves on numerous Boards of Trustees, which include but are not limited to Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the Three Rivers Regatta, and the Chair Emeritus of the National Commission for Certifying Physician Assistants Foundation. He has served on the Executive Council of the American Association of Educational Service Agencies (AAESA) and served as its President in 1996. Dr. Lagana is a life-long resident of Western Pennsylvania, has been a teacher, counselor, and administrator, including superintendent of schools, during his 40 years in public education. He earned his Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 1968, M.A. from West Virginia University in 1963, and B.A. degree from Slippery Rock University in 1960. At Duquesne University, he achieved certification in Guidance and Counseling.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"According to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, there was in 2010 a 39% increase in the number of children identified as homeless in Allegheny County. The good news, however, is that our individual donors, area foundations, local corporations, and government agencies have stepped forward to support the Homeless Children's Education Fund and its partners in our efforts to ensure the educational rights of this vulnerable - though largely invisible - population. Harsh economic times have, in fact, brought the plight of children caught up in homelessness dramatically into the open. These truths have served as a catalyst for mobilizing a working network - The Homeless Education Network (HEN) - of the very many agencies with responsibility for this population. HEN is making a difference in the ways children's educational rights are addressed and it is doing so with favorable results. Dr. Joseph Lagana, Founder"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Robert Valasek

A.L. Brourman Associates, Inc.

Term: Jan 2009 - Dec 2012

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?