Educational Institutions

STEP UP FOR STUDENTS INC

  • Jacksonville, FL
  • https://www.stepupforstudents.org/

Mission Statement

Public education is rooted in the promise of equal educational opportunity, and nowhere is that covenant more relevant than in the lives of children who live in and near poverty and for students with special needs.

A quality education should not be determined by financial means or disability. Through its scholarships and educational support services, Step Up is empowering parents to give their children a chance for a brighter future.

Main Programs

  1. Tax Credit Scholarship
  2. Gardiner Scholarship
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

Geography served: Florida.

Step Up For Students is a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization that helps administer two scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) for low-income families and the Gardiner Scholarship (formerly the Personal Learning Scholarship) for children with certain special needs.

Step Up for Students helps ensure that equal educational opportunity for all children is not just a hope, but a reality. Through its scholarships and educational support services, Step Up is empowering parents to give their children a chance for a brighter future.

ruling year

2000

President since 2008

Self-reported

Doug W Tuthill

COO since 2010

Self-reported

Anne White

Keywords

Self-reported

scholarships, school choice, educational choice

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Also Known As

FSCF, PRIDE, FEFF, FACE, SUFS

EIN

59-3649371

 Number

4260937843

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

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

Step Up For Students funded more than 78,000 scholarships for low-income students for the 2015-16 school year, an increase of 13 percent over the previous year. Of those students, 70 percent are black or Hispanic and 58 percent live in single-parent households. The average student lives in a household earning $25,557, just 7.2 percent above the poverty level. Despite these disadvantages, state-appointed researchers have found in eight consecutive years that students using the scholarship achieve the same annual learning gains as children of all income levels nationally. Step Up's newest program, the Gardiner Scholarship, offers customized learning opportunities for more than 4,000 children with special needs.

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

Tax Credit Scholarship

K-12 scholarship for low-income children

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$400,000,000

Program 2

Gardiner Scholarship

Education savings account for children with special needs

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Physically Disabled nec

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Budget

$45,000,000

Results

Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

1. Average number of dollars received per donor

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Tax Credit Scholarship
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Average gift (based on 177 companies that have applied).

2. Number of first-time donors

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Our first-time donors are also considered new donors.

3. Number of new donors

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

4. Number of donors retained

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
111 companies (128 entities) or approximately 63 percent.

5. Average number of dollars given by new donors

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Average pledge amount by new donors.

6. Number of rallies or marches held and attendance

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
1 rally in January 2016 with more than 10,000 supporters in attendance including Martin Luther King III.

7. Number of students enrolled

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Approximate amount of students that used a scholarship from Step Up in the 2015-16 school year.

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?
    We recognize that not all children learn in the same way. Through our scholarships Step Up gives disadvantaged families access to new learning opportunities, allowing parents to find schools where their children will learn and thrive. Since 2001, Step Up has awarded about 480,000 K-12 scholarships to low-income students, empowering their families to find the school that best meets their children's learning needs.

    With the passage of the Gardiner Scholarship program (formerly the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts) in June 2014 by the Florida Legislature, we are now also able to help families customize educational plans for their children with certain special needs.

    While we are proud of these successes, there is still much work left to do. Step Up continues to improve the core work of administering scholarships and related support services to disadvantaged children and families. Step Up also works to strengthen the impact of these scholarships by aiding in the professional development of participating schools.

    By empowering economically disadvantaged families and parents of children with special needs, Step Up helps public education fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    • Inform parents of the scholarship opportunity through radio, print, billboard and bus card advertisements.
    • Partner with schools to inform parents, and attend trade shows or conventions to speak with prospective parents or schools
    • Maintain bilingual call center to field questions and aid parents in completing scholarship applications
    • Field trained scholarship team, including accounting specialists and specialists with experience in special education, to process applications and reimbursement requests through the Gardiner Scholarship program
    • Employ talented IT staff to develop web-based software, including online-scholarship applications, education savings account tools, classroom management tools, and data analysis
    • Utilize experienced school administrators, principals and teachers to facilitate free professional development with participating private schools
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Ensuring low-income families are informed about educational options available to their children is one of our top-priorities. Step Up tirelessly promotes the scholarship program to low-income families in key markets throughout the state through radio, print, billboard and bus card advertisements. We provide many of the 1,600 participating private schools free marketing materials, including banners, flyers and posters, to advertise the scholarship to prospective students.

    Once parents learn about the program, they'll need to apply. Our multilingual call center employs 20 full- and part-time employees, including eight bilingual speakers. Together they field more than 1,000 calls per week in English, Spanish and Creole.

    Step Up's operations department also includes 27 full- and part-time employees who processed more than 100,000 scholarship applications for 2015-16. Operations and accounting staff are responsible for handling upwards of 1,100 reimbursement requests per week through the Gardiner Scholarship program.

    Ensuring disadvantaged children have access to new learning opportunities is only half the equation. Step Up's Office of Student Learning (OSL) is on a mission to support collaborative partnerships between schools and parents to help enrich the scholarship opportunity for students.

    OSL is staffed by former public school district administrators, school principals and teachers. Together they provide free professional development training for teachers and school administrators that enroll students on scholarship. OSL provides two professional development programs – Masters Leadership Academy and Success Partners – and designed the Teaching and Learning Exchange, a free web-based classroom management application for participating schools. More than 400 schools enrolling scholarship students now partner with us, using one, or more, of these free programs.

    Step Up's 24-person Information Technology team not only keeps us plugged-in, but has developed the web-based scholarship applications, education saving account management tools for parents, and classroom management software for teachers and school administrators.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    • Is student scholarship enrollment increasing?
    • Are students performing well?
    • Are parents aware of the educational opportunities?
    • Are our partner schools improving?
    • What is the post-graduate success and/or graduation rate of scholarship students?
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Step Up has awarded about 480,000 scholarships worth more than $2 billion since our founding in 2001. Eight consecutive years of research now show that the low-income students on scholarship achieve the same annual learning gains as students all income levels nationally. To continue closing the achievement gap, Step Up must ensure that every child has access to high-quality schools. Future efforts look to expanding and enriching professional development of teachers and school administrators as well as keeping parents informed of the best options available to their children. Our business analysts and research manager are also working on a project to begin tracking graduation rates and the post-graduate achievement of former scholarship students.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

Geography served: Florida.

Step Up For Students is a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization that helps administer two scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) for low-income families and the Gardiner Scholarship (formerly the Personal Learning Scholarship) for children with certain special needs.

Step Up for Students helps ensure that equal educational opportunity for all children is not just a hope, but a reality. Through its scholarships and educational support services, Step Up is empowering parents to give their children a chance for a brighter future.

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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.

STEP UP FOR STUDENTS INC
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair
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Operations

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

STEP UP FOR STUDENTS INC

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

President

Doug W Tuthill

COO

Anne White

BIO

Doug Tuthill has devoted most of his professional life to improving education, first as a college professor and then as a classroom teacher, policy advocate and teacher union president. In 1984, he helped create Florida's first International Baccalaureate high school. He was elected President of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association in 1991, serving two terms. He served on a state commission that created Sunshine State Standards and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). He spent six years in the private sector, directing K-16 sales for an online learning company, Saba Inc., and serving as Chief Operating Officer for the media company, Creative Loafing. He received his bachelor and master of education degrees from the University of Florida.

STATEMENT FROM THE President

"Since joining Step Up in 2008, I've seen firsthand the transformative power of our scholarship program. I hear daily from school leaders how thankful they are for scholarships that enable them to serve low-income students. I get emails from parents who are grateful to be able to provide their child with the education that best fits their needs, and I get to see the smiling faces of children who are finally able to attend a school they love.

Step Up For Students scholarships change lives. Research shows that students who receive our Florida Tax Credit Scholarships are among Florida's most disadvantaged. We've seen that even the lowest-performing students can achieve at much higher levels when they have access to more appropriate learning environments. We're proud that our scholarships are empowering low-income parents to choose the best school for their child.

We are also proud to manage the Gardiner Scholarship, which enables parents to personalize the education of their children with special needs by directing their scholarship funds towards schools, therapists, specialists, technology, or even a college savings account. By customizing their educational experience, these children are given the greatest possible chance to succeed.

But Step Up provides much more than scholarships. We're working hard to go the extra mile for the families we serve by helping them gain access to the information they need to make the best decisions for their child. Our Office of Student Learning works to strengthen the relationship between families and schools to ensure learning continues beyond the classroom, and we're devoted to empowering disadvantaged parents by giving them opportunities to advocate on behalf of their children.

By providing families with access to a greater number of learning options, we're helping public education fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all students. Thank you for joining us in our mission to ensure every child has a chance to succeed.
"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

John F Kirtley

KHL Capital

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

Yes

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?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

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

Yes

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?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
Race & Ethnicity
This organization reports that it does not collect this information.
Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies
No
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
No
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
Yes
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
No
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
No
We have a diversity committee in place
Yes
We have a diversity manager in place
Yes
We have a diversity plan
No
We use other methods to support diversity