Brandon High School teacher Sasha Fowler spoke on the impact of her Hillsborough Education Foundation grant for the Bloom Girls Club. (Photo courtesy of Hillsborough Education Foundation.)

On September 14, nearly 400 business leaders, community partners and education supporters attended Hillsborough Education Foundation’s (HEF) 2022 EmpowerED fundraising luncheon, held at Armature Works in Tampa. The annual event celebrated success stories and shared how, collectively, people and businesses are working together to rewrite the narrative to help students, teachers and public schools now and in the next chapter.

“What our theme, Rewriting the Narrative, means to me and to HEF is that together we can help accelerate academic success through our programs so that every student can benefit from a high-quality public education and graduates ready for success,” said Hillsborough Education Foundation CEO Kim Jowell.

It was a record-setting year for HEF in 2021, raising $9.5 million to support the nonprofit’s programs, including mentoring, free school supplies, scholarships, technology to close the digital divide, school and classroom enrichment, teacher support and recognition and more. At the event, HEF celebrated two new initiatives that focus on the ‘bookends’ of education from the youngest students to graduates: early learning and college and career readiness.

The event was emceed by Laura Diaz, host of the Mix Morning Show on Mix 100.7, and included a lineup of guest speakers, including Superintendent Addison Davis, teacher Sasha Fowler and others.

Fowler, a Brandon High School English teacher, is the founder of Bloom Girls Club at Brandon High School and previously received a School and Classroom Enrichment grant from HEF to support the school’s Bloom Girls Club leadership retreat.

“With your support, HEF will continue to be a pillar of hope for youth across our district and will enable educators like me to continue to build the heroes of our next generation,” said Fowler.

“Because of Bloom, I went from a student who was struggling academically and emotionally to bringing up my GPA to a 2.5, and my goal this year is to bring my GPA up to a 3.5. The club has also given me the confidence to become an officer and to love myself and truly see that I am worth it,” said Bloom Girls Club member Valeria Lizardo-Cedeno.

Bloom Girls Club is one of the many project submissions that has received funding through a School and Classroom Enrichment grant from HEF.

Hillsborough Education Foundation is a nonprofit focused on strengthening public education by supporting teachers and empowering students to achieve academic and personal success. Learn more at

Previous articleNew Grease Monkey Ruskin Offers Years Of Experience, Knowledge And High-quality Service
Next articleExperienced Autism Alliance Gears Up For Inclusive Trunk-or-Treat Event