Florida Chamber Foundation Unveils The Florida Gap Map – A First in the Nation Interactive Tool Identifying Equity Gaps in Poverty and Education

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Florida Chamber Foundation Unveils The Florida Gap Map – A First in the Nation Interactive Tool Identifying Equity Gaps in Poverty and Education

Tied to Florida 2030 goal of cutting childhood poverty in half and having 100 percent of third graders reading on or above grade level

 

TALLAHASSEE, FL (September 10, 2020) – As Florida strives to become the 10th largest economy in the world by 2030, if it were a nation, the Florida Chamber Foundation continues its focus on the 39 targets and goals that must be achieved to get there. Equity gaps exist in Florida and Florida’s global competitiveness depends on a quality education system. For the business community, a commitment to this education system must begin early. Today, Florida Chamber Foundation’s unveiled the nation’s first interactive tool, the Florida Gap Map, which visualizes equity gaps in poverty and education including the third grade reading scores for every public school in Florida and childhood poverty rates in each of Florida’s 983 zip codes.

“Over the next decade the Florida Chamber wants to cut poverty in half (currently 870,505 children living in poverty) and ensure 100 percent of our third graders are reading at grade level (currently 58 percent). As a first in the nation tool, the Florida Gap Map will help parents, business leaders and policy makers identify Florida’s equity gaps in poverty and education and will help unite the business community to create opportunity for all Florida children regardless of zip code, race, gender or any other factor,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Florida business leaders are already spearheading positive solutions in their local communities and the Florida Gap Map provides critical information they need to determine where to focus their efforts.”

Children entering third grade this school year will be preparing to graduate from high school in 2030. To ensure they are prepared for an increasingly complex workforce, they must have a strong foundation.

“We developed this interactive tool as the one source in Florida to show the correlations between school reading scores and poverty. The Florida Gap Map will help guide business leaders, non-profits, governments and philanthropists who are interested in helping improve Florida’s public schools,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist, Florida Chamber Foundation.

Currently, there are more than 870,000 Florida children living in poverty. Additionally, only 58 percent of Florida’s third graders can read on or above grade-level. By the year 2030, the Florida Chamber Foundation is committed via its Florida Prosperity Initiative to cut childhood poverty in half and through the Business Alliance for Early Learning to increase the number of third graders reading at grade level to 100 percent helping to secure those who represent the future of Florida: our youngest Floridians. These vital metrics and more are available on TheFloridaScorecard.org – a dynamic online tool that identifies and tracks the key factors impacting Florida’s future.

The Florida Gap Map shows where the important work of the Business Alliance for Early learning intersects with the Prosperity Initiative. To access the Florida Gap Map and learn more about Third grade reading score and childhood poverty rates in your own zip code and neighborhood, please visit: www.TheFloridaGapMap.org.

 

 

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The Florida Chamber Foundation is the business-led, solutions development and research organization working in partnership with state business leaders to secure Florida’s future. The Foundation’s “Six Pillars” serve as a visioning platform for developing the first-ever, long-term strategic plan for the state. The Foundation’s work focuses on: 1) Talent Supply and Education, 2) Innovation and Economic Development, 3) Infrastructure and Growth Leadership, 4) Business Climate and Competitiveness, 5) Civic and Governance Systems, and 6) Quality of Life and Quality Places. Founded in 1968, the Foundation is a crucial voice for improving the state’s pro-business climate to enable Florida to grow and prosper. Visit www.FLFoundation.org  for more information.

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Are the Kids in Your County Ready for Kindergarten?

Are Florida’s Kindergartners Ready for the Future?

On February 17, the Florida Department of Education released the Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS) results for 2019-20 that show 53 percent of children were prepared for Kindergarten. The FLKRS is a tool that helps determine if children entering public school kindergarten have the foundational skills that are important as they begin school.

The current statewide score is unchanged from the previous year’s results of 53 percent. To see the FLKRS scores for your county, visit TheFloridaScorecard.org.

Developing these important life skills begins early. If children are behind in kindergarten, there is a ripple effect that can impact their education and future success.

Establishing a strong foundation is crucial as our economy and workforce needs change. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s recently released Florida Workforce 2030 report states that robots, automation, artificial intelligence, new innovations and technology are all changing the landscape of what will be required of Florida’s workforce, and the skills that Florida students will need as they plan their future.

Download Your Free Copy

Florida Workforce 2030, an Industry Roundtable and Survey Summary, along with Industry Career Path details for Florida’s five targeted growth sectors, are available at www.FLChamber.com/FloridaWorkforce2030.

2+2=Pathway to a Career in the Classroom

College Partnership Builds Pathway for Teachers

A partnership between Tallahassee Community College (TCC) and Flagler College provides a seamless path for students pursuing a career in teaching. The new “2+2 for Education” agreement is the only public-private partnership in Florida providing a path for a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

With more than 2,400 teaching vacancies statewide, this partnership is designed to help address Florida’s teaching shortage. An additional benefit to students is the ability to graduate in four years with minimal debt, and be prepared to go straight into the workforce.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 Blueprint goals state that by 2030, more than 60 percent of Floridians will have a high value post-secondary certificate, degree or training experience. The public-private partnership between TCC and Flagler College is a great example of the leadership that will help us reach this goal.

Preparing Florida’s Future Workforce

To become a part of important conversations on preparing Florida’s cradle to career continuum for the workforce of the future, join us on June 16, 2020 in Orlando during the 2020 Florida Chamber Foundation’s Learners to Earners Workforce Summit.

Early registration is now open – click here for information.

Promising Practices and Resources

Florida Nonprofits Stepping Up – Giving Back

Businesses, nonprofits, community leaders, and volunteers across Florida are supporting relief efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis. Shown below are a few of these leading organizations who are stepping up and giving back. Share how your company is giving back by emailing Michael Williams at MWilliams@Flfoundation.org.
Also available is the Florida Chamber COVID-19 Resource Center providing daily updates on what other employers are doing to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus, where the virus is spreading, and other relevant information. Please visit www.flchamber.com/follow-facts-not-fear/ and feel free to share this with your office, your family, and your friends as we’ve made this available to everyone who is interested in the latest information and guidelines.

Gulf Coast, Barancik Foundation Launch COVID-19 Response Initiative

Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation have introduced a philanthropic initiative to fortify key health and safety organizations in the region amid the growing COVID-19 crisis. The foundations announced total commitments so far of $1.5 million to support the initiative and they positioned the funding as a challenge to Gulf Coast donors and other philanthropists in the community to match that amount.

Prosperity Initiative Promising Practices

Through the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Prosperity Initiative, we are highlighting organizations that are working on issues such as food deserts, homelessness, access to healthcare, and other poverty related problems. Across the state, businesses are sharing their stories of how they are creating, supporting, or participating in programs to help their communities, teaming up with private and public sectors to come up with solutions that work, and investing back into the communities that need it the most.

Do businesses or organizations you work with have a story to share? Is there a business in your community who has started or partnered on a program that is making a difference? Share your story with us – we’ll share it with Florida’s business community as a Promising Practice.

Below are examples of how businesses, non-profits, and other organizations are working in their communities to help fight poverty-related issues.

 

4Rivers

The Florida Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program provides meals to students, but this program does not cover other hungry family members. 4Roots and 4Rivers come alongside meal program sites – over 60 in Orange and Seminole counties – to provide Family Meals to students’ family members, and others in need.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Orange and Seminole Counties

 

A Gift For Teaching

A Gift For Teaching has been providing classroom resources that empower teachers and inspire future leaders since 1998—with a vision that every student has the
tools and experiences to succeed. Through multi-platform “Free Teacher Supply Stores”, A Gift For Teaching has supplied Central Florida schools with nearly $135 million worth of learning materials.

With the understanding that art enrichment accelerates both academic and personal development, A Gift For Teaching launched A Gift For Music to provide tuition-free musical strings education to under-served urban youth in Orlando. School SmARTS was created to integrate curriculum and deliver supplies needed to bring an entirely unique arts education to students across the school district.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Central Florida

 

Achieve Escambia- Gulf Power, United Way of Escambia County

Born out of the business community with Gulf Power, Baptist Health Care and Navy Federal Credit Union leading the way, Achieve Escambia is a cradle to career collective impact effort focused on the complex system of education and workforce development. Achieve Escambia is an “all-in” partnership of Escambia County stakeholders from the education, non-nonprofit, business, faith, equity, economic development, military, law enforcement, judicial and philanthropic sectors committed to aligning community resources so everyone is empowered to achieve success.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Escambia County

 

Believe Miami

In October 2019, AT&T launched Believe Miami, a local initiative focused on removing barriers that keep local youth and young adults from achieving their dreams. The AT&T Foundation has committed $300,000 to Dibia DREAM, His House Children’s Home, Miami Marlins Foundation, Pridelines, Breakthrough Miami, Miami Rescue Mission, and Florida International University to help provide youth and young adults with resources they need to succeed in school and life.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Miami

 

Bosses for Babies – The Children’s Movement of Florida

Bosses for Babies is an initiative that brings together business leaders in Florida who are ready to take action in support of early childhood—understanding that this is an investment both in their bottom line and in community-level prosperity. The initiative highlights the many ways Florida businesses are taking action and enables more businesses to get involved. This initiative contributes to The Children’s Movement’s partnership with the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. It allows businesses to support the goal of 100% K-readiness by 2030 and drives engagement with the Business Alliance for Early Learning, leading to more business-led advocacy for greater investment in early care and education.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Statewide

 

Broward Up

Broward County is one of the areas most affected by COVID-19. It is home to 33311, the zip code with the highest number of children in poverty in the state. These two factors make life even more difficult for those families in or near the poverty line. One of 33311’s greatest champions is Broward College, and their Broward UpTM movement providing educational opportunities, workforce training, and support services directly in neighborhoods throughout the county. While many of these resources are offered for free, COVID-19 has made their job harder.  Click here to learn more.

Bullard Family Foundation Back to School Bash

The Bullard Family Foundation held a virtual Back-to-School Bash on August 1, with Thaddeus Bullard aka WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil broadcasting live from Amalie Arena. The Bash included celebrity appearances, raffles and giveaways, DJ’s and entertainment, magic shows and museum tours. The virtual event, powered by Microsoft, was sponsored by WWE, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and AdventHealth and provided information on health screenings and requirements.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Hillsborough County

Children’s Forum: Help Me Grow

Help Me Grow Florida promotes early identification of developmental, behavioral or educational concerns, then links children and families to community-based services and supports at no cost to parents and caregivers. Help Me Grow serves Florida families with young children birth to age eight.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Statewide

 

Children’s Forum: INCENTIVE$

Early Childhood Educator INCENTIVE$, an affiliate of Child Care WAGE$®, rewards early childhood educators with financial incentives based on their education and continuity of employment.  By retaining the early childhood workforce, INCENTIVE$ provides children with more stable relationships and better-educated teachers. INCENTIVE$ addresses individual professional development efforts and low wages, but does not affect budgets, regular wages or parent fees within the child care program.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Statewide

 

Circles USA

A Circles USA chapter gathers people who are motivated to move out of poverty and matches them with middle-income and high-income volunteers who can support and encourage them on their journey. Through mentoring, education and training, and the right resources, individuals and families are able to break out of poverty and become upwardly mobile.  Click here to learn more.

Location: National program.

Florida Circles located in Boynton Beach, Gainesville, Orlando and St. Petersburg

 

Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation

The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation is a Florida-based private foundation focused on making grants to promote the arts, education and initiatives that utilize nature and the sciences. The Foundation utilizes the arts to inspire and raise educational outcomes for students, and enrich the overall quality of life in marginalized communities.  Click here to learn more.

Locations: Southeast and Northeast United States

 

Delivering Good

Now in its 35th year, Delivering Good has helped millions of people living in low-income families, as well as those affected by natural disasters. Their vision is to build a more equitable world, in which children, adults, and families facing economic, medical, social, and environmental challenges have the useful items that they need and value, in order to overcome adversity and reach their full potential. Delivering Good works with a network of local community-based nonprofit and government agencies, with 15 partners currently active in Florida.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Statewide

 

Empowerment Plan

Founded in 2012, the Empowerment Plan produces durable and innovative coats that transform into sleeping bags and are distributed to those in need. The coats are distributed globally though the lasting impact lies in the company’s workforce development focus as they hire parents from homeless shelters across Detroit to manufacture the coats. Empowerment Plan is tearing down barriers to employment faced by low-income parents and providing meaningful programs intended to close the skills gap.   Click here to learn more.

Location: Based in Detroit, MI

 

Faith Health Network

Navigating the health care system can be difficult – finding the right doctor, understanding insurance coverage and the side effects of medications. To help reduce confusion, Baptist Health Care launched Faith Health Network linking the community with “navigators” who help guide people through the health care system. Currently, the program is focused on church congregations where people often congregate and have built in trust. However, the services the Faith
Health Network provides are available to  everyone, with the church and church volunteers serving to bridge the gap between those who need information and the entity that can provide it. Click here to learn more.

Location: Pensacola

 

Feeding Florida

Feeding Florida, formerly Florida Association of Food Banks, is the state’s network of food banks working to solve hunger. The statewide network unites 12 member food banks to provide a healthy, adequate, and consistent food supply to every community every day. Feeding Florida member food banks support more than 2,200 local charitable agencies, which provide food directly to individuals and families in need to ensure a hunger-free Florida. Each year, the Feeding Florida network provides food to the 2.8 million Floridians facing hunger, including over 850,00 children.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Statewide

 

Financial Freedom Workbook

The mission of the Florida Council on Economic Education is to prepare Florida’s young people for personal and financial success through educational programs in economics, the free enterprise system and personal financial literacy. Their three-pronged approach to success includes the Financial Freedom workbook., designed to provide content for use within the classroom, and meets all state standards and personal financial literacy tested skills.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Statewide

Florida Power & Light RISE to the Occasion Back to School Bash at Manatee Lagoon

The Florida Power & Light Eco-Discovery Center® host the RISE to the Occasion Back to School Bash, a free family-fun day for kids to enjoy before the new school year starts. In partnership with RISE, a community-driven public-private organization established to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in West Palm Beach’s historic north end neighborhoods, Florida Power & Light Company, Office Depot, PNC Bank, Rybovich Superyacht Marina, the Healthcare District of Palm Beach County and the Education Foundation, the Back to School Bash helps families get ready for the new school year.

Location: Palm Beach County

FutureMakers Coalition

A collective impact initiative working along the cradle-to-career pathway to create a skilled and sustainable workforce pipeline. The pathway begins with early childhood learning and ends with post-high school credential attainment and career connections. The coalition focuses on systems change to connect untapped workforce with the education and training to fill in-demand jobs by removing attainment barriers and creating a culture of career exploration and aspiration from an early age.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Southwest Florida

Grow Up Great- PNC Bank

An early learning initiative to help children succeed. A $350 million bilingual initiative founded in 2004 by The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., PNC Grow Up Great® helps prepare children from birth to age five for success in school and life.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Statewide

 

Growing Up Great
Growing Up Great is a new initiative which is designed to build a neighborhood focused educational pathway from birth to 5th grade. It is a collaboration that brings together families, preschools, elementary schools, out-of-school time providers and community partners to break down silos and think differently about the educational journey. Program objectives focus on understanding current educational pathways, increasing kindergarten readiness and advancing student and school achievement. Click here to learn more.

Location: Hillsborough County

Homelessness Collaborative

Combating homelessness is key to creating paths to prosperity. Broward County is taking a collaborative approach with the Homelessness Collaborative. The mission of the Collaborative is to help persons experiencing homelessness find a safe, stable and dignified path to permanent housing, to end homeless as we know it in our community. Click here to learn more.

Location: Broward County

Hope Place

For Forough Hosseini of ICI Homes, investing in her community to tackle homelessness in school-aged children meant engaging all parts of the community. Hope Place, a shelter for families with school aged children and unaccompanied
youth, took an abandoned elementary school in Daytona Beach and created from it a safe, stable environment with the resources needed for families to quickly move on to their own permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

Click here to learn more or download the “A Community United” White Paper.

Location: Daytona Beach

“Some community issues are too massive for any single nonprofit to solve and yet too important for community leaders to ignore. Family and youth homelessness is one such issue for communities around the country. When homeless youth or homeless families are given the opportunity (and hope!), they almost always help themselves out of homelessness. Hope Place, a shelter for families and youth, brought together the whole ‘village’ – Volusia County’s government, the school board, six cities, a nonprofit and many community leaders who all stepped up to help this very important cause. The difference Hope Place has already made in the lives of our homeless children and families, after only one year since its opening in January 2018, is well worth everyone’s involvement including five years of my own persistence and perseverance.”

Forough B. Hosseini
Senior Vice President – Information Systems
ICI Homes

Humana Bold Goal

In 2015, Humana announced Bold Goal, a population health strategy to improve the health of the communities they serve by 20% by 2020. Through community, clinical and business integration, Humana is taking that goal beyond 2020 and creating community partnerships to tackle issues such as food insecurity, loneliness and social isolation and unreliable or lack of transportation.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Nationwide – Florida Communities include Jacksonville, Broward County and Tampa Bay

 

IDignity

IDignity was created to assist the disadvantaged in Central Florida in navigating the complexities and financial burden of obtaining their various legal identification documents. These documents are often required to access education, employment, housing, proper healthcare, financial institutions, and numerous other opportunities.

Through extensive collaboration and generous support of the community, IDignity Orlando has assisted over 22,000 clients in the past decade. Access to legal identification not only empowers individuals to better their own lives, it also cultivates a society that is more inclusive, productive, and secure for us all.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Central Florida

 

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay3DE

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay has developed a partnership with Hillsborough and Pinellas County Schools to launch 3DE, an innovative high school model proven to accelerate student engagement and academic outcomes in traditional public high schools. 3DE will launch in August 2020 at three high schools with plans to expand into additional schools following the successful integration at the initial locations. The instructional model at 3DE schools is based around case method that integrates real-world concepts and experiences. Activated through local and national partners, students gain access and skills to navigate careers in high growth industries.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties

 

Launch to Tomorrow- Orlando Economic
Partnership

Advancing prosperity is no small feat and takes leaders from all areas to accomplish. The Orlando Economic Partnership’s Launch to Tomorrow program seeks to advance prosperity in their region. Click here to learn more.

Location: Orlando

 

LIFT Orlando

What happens when business leaders take on the  challenge of generational poverty and work together to help their community thrive? Look no further than LIFT
Orlando- a group of business leaders looking to make a difference. Click here to learn more.

Location: Orlando

 

Lockheed Vocational and STEM Scholarships

The first of its kind within the domestic aerospace and defense industry, Lockheed Martin is launching a vocational scholarship for high school seniors and college students pursuing vocational and trade degrees. The scholarship will fund degrees at accredited vocational-technical schools to prepare students for careers in technology and advanced manufacturing that do not require a bachelor’s or advanced degree. 

For the second year in a row, Lockheed Martin will also offer its four-year STEM Scholarship program. This program is open to high school seniors and undergraduate students who plan to pursue a major in engineering or computer science, demonstrate financial need, and come from underrepresented or under-served communities.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Nationally

 

Miami Community Venture

Designed to deliver long-term economic benefits, the Miami Community Ventures (MCV) initiative connects low income unemployed individuals to living wage jobs and provides support to help ensure they are successful in that first job and beyond. The program includes services such as job training, child care, success coaching, and education (emphasis on financial literacy). The Beacon Council Foundation under the One Community One Goal umbrella serves as the convener working with partner organizations and facilitating operational next steps.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Miami

 

Nemours Reading BrightStart!

Nemours Reading BrightStart! was developed to promote reading success and prevent reading failure in children through innovative programs, research, leadership and partnerships focused on children from birth to 8 years old. Practitioners and caregivers are given the tools to help build language, literacy and communications skills, wile also developing cognitive, physical and social emotional skills for each infant or toddler in their care. At-risk children who received Nemours BrightStart! instruction made significant gains in their reading readiness scores relative to peers who did not quality for instruction. Click here to learn more.

Location: BrightStart! Tools are being used 20 states including Florida

 

Parramore Kidz Zone – Black Bee Honey

A non-profit business founded by the youth in Parramore Kidz Zone, Black Bee Honey is now in its second year and is run by entrepreneurs from the Parramore and Holden Heights communities in Orlando. With a mission to turn their communities “from food deserts to food oases,” the business teaches students about entrepreneurship.

The Parramore Kidz Zone (PKZ) was launched in 2006 by Mayor Buddy Dyer. For the past three years, every high school senior involved with PKZ has graduated from high school on time and enrolled in college or trade school, or enlisted in the military. The continued success of PKZ earned it the Powell Legacy Award from America’s Promise Alliance for its work transforming a community and the lives of the young people and families that live there.  Click here to learn more about Black Bee Honey or click here for information on the Parramore Kidz Zone.

Location: Orlando

 

Pepin Academies Foundation Campaigns

Pepin Academies Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports all of Pepin Academies’ campuses. Pepin Academies are public, tuition-free charter schools that serve students with learning disabilities in grades 3-12. Pepin Academies Foundation launched its inaugural “Adopt-a-Classroom” to provide funds for teachers with needed academic enrichment materials. “Adopt-a-Student” funds will provide students with a backpack filled with needed school supplies that will be delivered directly to their school for collection. Click here to learn more.

Location: Tampa, Riveriew and New Port Richey

 

PGT Innovations – Sunshine Education Academy 

PGT Innovations unveiled the 7,500-square-foot Sunshine Education Academy to the community in April 2019. Operated by the Venice branch of the SKY Family YMCA, the Sunshine Education Academy offers affordable, convenient child care with a focus on early childhood development programs and services to PGT Innovations’ families with young children, as well as parents who work in the Triple Diamond Commerce Park and the surrounding area in North Venice. The PGT Innovations-owned facility accommodates parents working various shifts and operates six days a week from 4:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., with flexible pick-up and drop-off hours to best fit the needs of working parents. Staffed by professionals trained by the YMCA and operated as a licensed and accredited facility, the center offers curriculum-based programs, healthy meals, and an outdoor playground to children aged six weeks to five years old.

Location: North Venice

 

Prosperity Broward – A Six Pillars Broward Program

Prosperity Broward is an initiative of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Foundation which seeks to power prosperity for all by leveraging the county’s booming economy to benefit individuals in six economically challenged zip codes: 33311, 33309, 33313, 33319, 33069, and 33023.

The six focus areas for this initiative are: education/training, employment, small business development, employer engagement, support services, and policy.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Broward County

 

Publix

Over the last 10 years, Publix has given $2 billion in food to Feeding America member food banks and other nonprofits. Publix is now pledging another $2 billion in food over the next ten years. The food Publix donates as part of this program includes dairy, deli, meat, produce and baked goods, and goes to more than 100 Feeding America member food banks and other nonprofits. The food is good to eat but unsalable and provides individuals and families facing hunger a way to bring more meals to the table.   Click here to learn more.

Location: Statewide

 

Purpose Built- Rybovich: RISE Initiative

How is one company helping to pave a path to prosperity for communities in West Palm Beach? With a partnership with Purpose Built Communities that includes private and public sectors, Rybovich is one example of a business that is investing back into their community.

“Our goal should not be temporary relief for the poor, but rather to attain enduring equity by eradicating the underlying pathology of poverty that has precluded 3 million Florida residents from achieving their God-given potential.”

Wayne Huizenga, Jr.

 Click here to learn more or download the RISE Initiative White Paper

Location: West Palm Beach

 

Ride United

A transportation access initiative helping those in need overcome transportation barriers, Ride United launches with initial support from General Motors and Lyft, and leverages the strengths of local United Ways and the 211 network to address unmet transportation needs for individuals and families. The first cities involved in this initiative are partnering with Lyft to provide free rides to eligible 211 clients in need of transportation for  employment, health, and other needs.  Click here to learn more.

Location: National, including Jacksonville, Tallahassee and
Tampa Bay Area

 

Seedfunders Opportunity Fund

Seedfunders, a St. Petersburg-based early stage investment firm, has launched the Seedfunders Opportunity Fund, to make pre-seed investments in Black-owned startups throughout Florida. Research shows that entrepreneurs of color often have uniquely positioned ideas for technology-driven businesses, but cannot raise the capital to get started. The new Opportunity Fund will supply that capital. Seedfunders has made 24 investments in a wide range of technology startups since it was founded in 2017. The new fund will have slightly different investment criteria than the organization has used in the past.  Click here to learn more.

Location: St. Petersburg, Miami, Orlando

 

Student Finance League

How can having the right money, business, and life skills help Floridians be prosperous? The Student Finance League partners with organizations, shelters, schools, law-enforcement, and federal agencies hosting workshops and seminars to teach money, business, and life skills. The focus is on language, vocabulary, conversations, and confidence, leveraging student’s strengths, goals, and abilities, to promote equality, stability, and opportunity.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Miami

 

Tampa Bay Lightning Hunger Relief

Tampa Bay Lightning and The Mosaic Company are partnering on a program to help Feeding Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay Lightning and The Mosaic Company announced hitting the milestone of 6 million meals donated through the ‘Goals for Food’ program. The program links the success of the Lightning to feeding food insecure families across the Tampa Bay region, where approximately 700,000 people, including 250,000 children, are not sure from where their next meal will come.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Tampa Bay

 

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program offers a strategy for systematically improving the education, compensation and retention of the early childhood work force. Working work with 48 colleges, universities and vocational technical schools throughout the state as well as 14 community-based training institutions, the Florida T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program serves as an umbrella for a variety of educational scholarship opportunities for people working in early care and education programs including family child care homes. Since 1998, more than 37,000 scholarships have been awarded. The turnover rate for  these T.E.A.C.H. program participants is less than 6% – a testament to the success of this program.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Statewide

The Learning Pavilion

The Learning Pavilion, formerly known as The Dick Howser Center for Childhood Services, is a smart-play preschool that strives to be inclusive for all children, and uses a play-based curriculum that emphasizes self worth, capability, and school readiness. Since 2010, The Learning Pavilion has partnered with Goodwill Big Bend. Goodwill provides TLP with administrative support and fundraising. In addition, business and community organizations come together to provide funding that is used for scholarship programs that help families dealing with unexpected financial issues, giving them the ability to cover a portion of the monthly fees, ensuring their children continue to stay enrolled and receive the care needed to thrive.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Tallahassee

1,000 Days

1,000 is the leading non-profit organization working in the U.S. and around the world to ensure women and children have the healthiest first 1,000 days. The first 1,000 days are a time of tremendous potential and enormous vulnerability. How well or how poorly mothers and children are nourished and cared for during this time has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive. This is because the first 1,000 days are when a child’s brain begins to grow and develop and when the foundations for their lifelong health are built. Click here to learn more.

Uber Works

Uber has launched a new platform that connects workers with businesses looking to fill temporary shifts. The platform grew out of Uber’s business incubator, leveraging the company’s marketplace technology and operational know-how to help solve pain points that exist in finding on demand and temporary labor.  Click here to learn more.

Location: Miami

UHealth Jackson Urgent Care – Back to School Kits for Kids

UHealth Urgent Care and  Cutler Bay Urgent Care Center will hold back to school drive-thru events in August. The Back to School Kits for Kids will provide school supplies and free backpacks for children ages 5 to 13.  Click here to learn more.

Locations: North Miami and Cutler Bay

Year Up

Millions of young adults in the US have talent and motivation, but lack opportunity. At the same time, companies have opportunities available, but lack the talent they need to succeed. Year Up brings talented young adults together with top companies and helps bridge the opportunity divide.  Click here to learn more.

Florida Locations: Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami

Year Up

Millions of young adults in the US have talent and motivation, but lack opportunity. At the same time, companies have opportunities available, but lack the talent they need to succeed. Year Up brings talented young adults together with top companies and helps bridge the opportunity divide.  Click here to learn more.

Florida Locations: Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami

YMCA Reads

The mission of YMCA READS! is to enable at-risk and disadvantaged children in Kindergarten through third-grade, regardless of their race, economic status, or capabilities, to increase their reading skills through structured after-school reading instruction and mentoring. Currently, the program operates in 17 public schools, 9 participating YMCAs in 13 counties in Florida. YMCA READS! is implemented in partnership with the Florida State Alliance of YMCA’s Foundation, Inc. and the local YMCA’s in Florida.  Click here to learn more.

Locations: 13 Counties in Florida

National Promising Practices

Cummins Inc.

Cummins Inc. announced the launch of Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE). CARE is another step forward in Cummins’ intent to take a leading role in undoing systemic discrimination against the Black community in the U.S.  The creation of CARE is the first step in Cummins’ effort to undo systemic discrimination; and since its creation in July 2020, the company has developed strategies and initiated work in four identified areas:

 – Achieve police reform
 – Realize criminal justice reform
 – Create economic empowerment by building Black wealth and income
 – Drive social justice reform in healthcare, housing, workforce development and civil rights, including voting rights and education

 

 

Research & Resources 

For additional information on what organizations around the nation are saying about the root causes that should be addressed to create economic opportunity, check out the research, tools, and resources below.

 

Standford Social Innovation review:

Click here to find out.

 

What is collective impact and how can it help secure Florida’s future?

Click here to learn more.

 

Community Foundation of the Florida Keys

More than 27,000 homes were either destroyed completely or received substantial damage in the Florida Keys due to Hurricane Irma. How is the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys helping residents recover?

Click here to learn more.

 

Florida Children’s Council

What does a “two-generational approach” mean and why does it matter when creating pathways to prosperity?

Click here to learn more.

 

Federal Reserve System

COVID-19 response and recovery efforts have underscored both the importance and fragility of childcare. This brief was developed by a Federal Reserve System work group to provide context on childcare system challenges and considerations for addressing the needs of working families with young children. 

 

Click here to learn more.


Florida’s Graduation Rate Hits New High

Florida’s high school graduation rate continues its 15 year climb with an increase of 0.8 percentage points over the 2017-18 school year. Numbers recently released from the Florida Department of Education show Florida’s statewide high school graduation rate is 86.9 percent for 2018-19 –a considerable improvement over its low graduation rate of 59.2 percent in 2003-04.

Continued improvement is crucial to ensuring Florida students have the best opportunity for future success, and to reaching the Florida 2030 Blueprint goal that by 2030, 95 percent of all Florida high school students will graduate within four years.

While Florida’s statewide high school graduation rate is improving, some counties continue to struggle. To find the graduation rate for your county, visit TheFloridaScorecard.org and select the View County Data drop down menu.

How Do We Stay the Course?

Meeting the Florida 2030 Blueprint goal, ensuring Florida’s students are prepared for the workforce and the impact on the cradle to career continuum will be important conversations that will take place June 16, 2020 in Orlando during the 2020 Florida Chamber Foundation’s Learners to Earners Workforce Summit. Registration is now open – click here for information.

Bob Swindell: How to Ensure Florida Isn’t Left Behind

Planning Today Will Ensure Florida’s Future Infrastructure is Ready for Tomorrow

Bob Swindell, President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee, recently shared with the South Florida Sun Sentinel the importance of preparing Florida’s infrastructure today to help ensure it’s ready for 2030. And with 4.5 million new residents expected to call Florida home by that timeframe, preparing for 2030 now will help ensure Florida’s national and global footprint remains competitive.

“Florida continues to rank as one of the best places to live, work and call home.

“We’re adding 900-plus new residents each day. Eight counties, including Broward, will account for 57 percent of this population increase.

“Things like water, sound roadways and common-sense infrastructure, are goals that Floridians can get behind.

“The Florida Chamber is uniting Florida’s business community for good, and is hosting job creators and industry experts for its annual Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit on December 5 in Hollywood.

“Top transportation leaders … will share their vision and strategies to manage and anticipate current and future infrastructure needs in a county of 1.9 million residents that sits at the center of South Florida.

“The future of Florida’s infrastructure is vital to ensure Florida is prepared for 2030.”

Click here to read the letter.

Join Bob Swindell and other Florida business and industry leaders at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Transportation, Growth and Infrastructure Summit on December 5th.

Probability of a Florida Recession Continues to Drop and New County Data Available

According to Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, Florida’s probability of a recession declined for the second month in a row. This news along with new county data added to TheFloridaScorecard.org are topics discussed in the latest By the Numbers.

Access to high-speed communications is vital in today’s technical economy. The Florida 2030 Blueprint includes an infrastructure goal that by 2030, 100 percent of Florida residents will have access to high-speed communications. To learn the percentage of residents in your county with access to high-speed internet, visit www.TheFloridaScorecard.org.

Registration Closing Soon

Registration is closing soon for the 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit on December 5th in Hollywood. Click here for an updated list of speakers and register today to hear from the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition, Trade Committees, Department of Transportation Secretary, Legislators and many others on how Florida will need to adapt and plan for Florida’s future.

SPEAKER ANNOUNCEMENT: Florida’s First Resilience Officer

Is Florida resilient?
…And if not, what can we do about it?

Surrounded by water, Florida is considered by some as ground zero for sea level rise, natural disasters and aging infrastructure. What effect with this have on Florida’s economy and infrastructure?

Julia Nesheiwat, Ph.D.
Chief Resilience Officer
State of Florida

To address these issues, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Dr. Julia Nesheiwat as the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer. Dr. Nesheiwat has over 20 years of renewable energy and environmental experience focused on water and natural resources as a senior executive in federal cabinet-level agencies, academia and as a combat veteran.

Register today to hear Dr. Nesheiwat during the 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit taking place December 5 in Hollywood, Florida.

Summit attendees will also hear from the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition, Trade Committees, Department of Transportation Secretary, Legislators and many others on how Florida will need to adapt and plan for Florida’s future.

A Technology Company Delivering Energy to Move Florida Forward

Eric Silagy
President & CEO
Florida, Power & Light Company

KEYNOTE ANNOUNCED:
Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light Company

Time is running out to hear Eric Silagy, President & CEO of Florida Power & Light Company share his vision of the future of energy in Florida. Register today to attend the 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit.

With 4.5 million more residents expected in Florida by 2030, our ability to provide the energy needed for a growing population is crucial. To grow Florida from the 17th largest economy in the world to the 10th by 2030, Florida’s next strategic plan, the Florida 2030 Blueprint, calls for long-term investments in energy to meet our future demands.

Don’t miss this opportunity – Register today!

Harnessing the Free Market To Lift Floridians Out Of Poverty

At the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Future of Florida Forum, former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli announced the launching of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Prosperity Project, whose goal is to find pathways out of generational poverty and increase prosperity for all Floridians.
Today, more than 3 million Floridians live in poverty—900,000 of whom are children under 18. The Florida Prosperity Initiative’s goal is to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 50 percent by 2030. We will unite the business community to find ways to harness the free market to attack the ten root causes of poverty in the state.

Speaking to one of the biggest policy barriers, Representative Paul Renner addressed the consequences of increasing the minimum wage for Floridians, and how even modest increases can cause Floridians to turn down promotions and pay raises due to the loss of benefits that accompany higher wages.

“Government has often been a barrier to opportunity, a barrier to work and a barrier to the American Dream,” said Representative Renner. “If we could reduce just 10 percent of the poverty roles in Florida, we would see a benefit to the state coffers of between $500 million and $1 billion per year. We’ve spent trillions in the war on poverty, we don’t need to spend trillions more, we need to spend it more appropriately.”

Senator Jeff Brandes and Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown, Shon Hopwood, discussed the importance of offering second chances to Florida’s non-violent offenders and ensuring they have the tools to attain meaningful employment.

“When people get out of prison, we don’t do a great job of preparing people for success or giving them a second chance, particularly in the Google age,” said Mr. Hopwood. “We think when someone’s served their time, they get a second chance, but rarely is that the case. The stigma of their conviction follows them the rest of their lives, especially in the internet age. The business community can play a huge role in criminal justice reform by considering second chance hiring; it will strengthen communities and change lives.”

Get Involved Today

The Florida Prosperity Initiative break the cycle of generational poverty by addressing issues ranging from housing to food security to workforce issues. To learn more about the prosperity project please visit the Florida Prosperity Project website.


Registration will open soon for the Florida Chamber Foundation Prosperity Summit, May 18-19, 2020 in Sarasota. Click here and complete the online form to be notified when Summit registration opens up.

Contact Michael Williams at mwilliams@flfoundation.org for more information on how you can become more involved.

Strategies for Rural Economic Development

Florida’s economy has seen a significant reshaping over the past 20 years. By 2030, rapid advancements in technology and automation will replace nearly half of all jobs that currently exist. While many urban areas of Florida have already begun preparing for this change, a large number of our rural areas are still reeling from the economic realities of the changes in agriculture and the devastation of Hurricane Michael.

At the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Future of Florida Forum, Todd Powell, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees led a panel addressing the challenges to rural economic development and pathways to achieve the Blueprint 2030 goal of doubling the rural county share of Florida’s gross domestic product. The panel was made up of Michelle Dennard, President and CEO of CareerSource Florida, Jeff Hendry, Executive Director of the North Florida Economic Development Partnership, and Gray Swoope, President and CEO of VisionFirst Advisors.


A focus on rural and inland Florida economic development include:

• Supporting development of manufacturing and logistics operations along existing corridors such as I-10 and U.S. 27.
• Strengthening the effectiveness of Florida’s Rural Areas of Opportunity and other targeted rural development programs.
• Increase broadband access to Florida’s rural and inland counties.
• Provide higher levels of connectivity options between Florida’s urban and rural communities.

“In addition to the Florida Scorecard, the Florida Chamber has created regional scorecards for our three rural regions so we can track our metrics,” said Jeff Hendry. “The first one available is Opportunity Florida, covering the panhandle.”

“Please don’t forget about the people in Northwest Florida,” Hendry continued. “You can’t appreciate the devastation that Hurricane Michael caused if you haven’t been there. Speak with your legislators about doing what’s right to make these communities whole. It won’t happen overnight but we have to start somewhere, and we have to start now.”

Get Involved Today

Learn more about the Florida Chamber’s Blueprint 2030 Targets and Strategies.

Florida Putting a Woman On the Moon By 2024

At the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Future of Florida Forum, Frank DiBello, President & CEO of Space Florida and Mark Wiese, Gateway Logistics Element Manager from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, gave more information on the Artemis program, NASA’s plan to put the first woman on the moon by 2024.

The Artemis program will also seek to put the first human on Mars and develop support systems for both endeavors.

The economic impact to Florida’s Space Coast has enormous potential as NASA will team with the private sector and international partners to develop the material support needed for these missions.

“In the next decade, we expect over 10,000 satellites to be launched to support our insatiable demand for bandwidth globally and to connect all of the people in the world who are now unconnected to the internet,” said Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida. “More importantly there will be companies going up into lower earth orbit to create research and manufacture value in space. Our vision is for Florida to be the economic center of that activity.”

Get Involved Today

Sign the petition to strengthen Florida’s leadership in space exploration.

Lyft Discount

2019 Future of Florida Forum: Why You Want a Seat at the Table

Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson invites you to join Florida’s leaders as we discuss the issues that will impact the future of your community and Florida’s economy.

Join Florida leaders as we discuss:

• Florida’s rapidly changing economic, demographic and political changes and how they impact your future,
• Where Florida’s growth will be and in what industries,
• Florida’s key trends, headwinds, tailwinds and key projections,
• The latest leadership strategies to solve Florida’s talent gap,
• Fixing Florida’s broken lawsuit abuse problem,
• Preparing Florida’s infrastructure and transportation systems for growth,
• Promoting economic opportunity for all Floridians, and more!

Future of Florida Forum
October 28-29, 2019
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Orlando

Commerce Secretary Jamal Sowell and EFI’s Economic Plan

We are pleased to welcome Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and Enterprise Florida President and CEO Jamal Sowell as a featured speaker at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2019 Future of Florida Forum.

Secretary Sowell will discuss Governor DeSantis’ bold vision for economic growth in Florida, highlighting the Governor’s recent business development missions, industries that are important to Florida’s economy including aviation/aerospace and financial services, and opportunities for the business community to help expand and diversify Florida’s economy.

Register today to reserve your spot and be a part of this discussion and other important conversations on how we grow Florida’s economy from the 17th largest in the world to the 10th largest on the planet.

2019 Future of Florida Forum

October 28-29, 2019
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
One Grand Cypress Boulevard
Orlando, Florida