Expanding Opportunity

By: Florida Chamber of Commerce

Signed into law 15 years ago by Gov. Jeb Bush, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship is one of the most innovative education programs in America. This fall, it’s helping 93,000 students access schools that work best for them.

Florida businesses deserve the lion’s share of credit. The corporate community has contributed $2.7 billion, and funded 570,000 scholarships.

“We are enthused about seeing these kids succeed when, chances are, they wouldn’t have in a traditional setting,” said STEVE KNOPIK, CEO of Beall’s, one of the program’s founding donors.

The cause couldn’t be more worthy. Average income for a scholarship family is $24,075, and years of data show scholarship students were typically the ones who struggled most in their prior schools. But now they are making solid progress.

“The program does an excellent job of partnering with schools to distribute scholarships, and makes a difference in so many lives,” said STAN CONNALLY, chairman, president and CEO of Gulf Power, also a founding donor.

Giving is a snap. If your company has a corporate income tax or insurance premium tax liability in Florida, it can earn dollar-for-dollar tax credits in return for contributions to scholarship funding organizations.

Step Up For Students, Florida’s premier scholarship organization, has served students since the program’s inception. It earned a perfect score in accountability from Charity Navigator this year, and a platinum rating from GuideStar. Next year it expects to serve 100,000 students as the state-set contributions cap rises from $559 million to $698 million.

If you’d like to help, click here or call Step Up at 1-866-344-9553.