Left to right: Teresa Rizzo, Flagler Education Foundation executive director, and Hillsborough Education Foundation CEO Kim Jowell.

The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations recently surprised Hillsborough Education Foundation CEO Kim Jowell with special recognition for her leadership in the statewide organization.

Jowell is the first recipient of the Joe Rizzo Learner & Leader Award. It is presented annually to a local education foundation leader who is active in his or her own learning and development while serving as a leader in their organization and through engagement with the consortium.

“Our late colleague, Joe Rizzo, led the Flagler Education Foundation until his unexpected passing in March,” said Consortium President Mary Chance. “He saw the value of our network, was an avid learner and contributed to our collaborative culture. Kim exemplifies his spirit by investing in her own professional development while contributing her time and leadership to support her peers and our organization.”

Jowell’s involvement with the consortium was also highlighted, including electing to participate in its Foundations for Success Quality Standards review process and serving as a peer reviewer and consortium finance chair. In addition, the consortium recognized Jowell’s innovative work launching Hillsborough Education Foundation’s Digital Equity Initiative, which provides students in need with a computer and internet access and is now being used as a model for other Florida education foundations.

“Joe Rizzo had a tremendous commitment to education and enthusiasm for self-learning. He is missed by many, and I am appreciative to be the first person to receive this award in his honor,” Jowell said. “Continuous learning is an important piece of our work in education. I have benefited from the leadership skills Joe and others in the consortium have passed along to me and am dedicated to expanding and sharing my knowledge to continue his legacy and help improve the lives of the children and teachers we all serve.”

In the spirit of the award, Jowell received a $500 check for professional development, which she will use for her current participation in Leadership Florida Education Class 7.

To learn more about the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations, visit https://educationfoundationsfl.org/.

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