Charity of the Year will never be a category at the Grammy Awards, but Step Up For Students feels like a winner this year. An advertisement showcasing the Florida-based nonprofit will grace the pages of the official Grammy Program Guide for 2016.
“Given how few nonprofits are highlighted in the program, we’re thrilled to get our name in front of millions of people, including many celebrities, with this publication,” said Step Up For Students CMO and Vice President of Advancement Alissa Randall. “The more people who learn how Step Up empowers students and their families, the more who will want to support our mission to give educational options to those children who need them most.”
Step Up For Students is the nation’s largest provider of tax-credit scholarships, which has so far provided more than 401,000 K-12 scholarships since the program was created in 2001. With those scholarships most families choose to send their children to private schools, but they can also select a transportation scholarship to attend an out-of-district public school, if that works best for their child. Step Up also helps children with certain special needs through a state-funded program allowing parents and guardians to customize their child’s education, empowering families to choose from a variety of approved programs and providers.
This year alone, Step Up is supporting more than 80,000 scholars in the two programs. In addition, Step Up provides added benefits to the scholarships such as teaching methods to participating schools that increase parent involvement which research shows increases student success.
“We are always looking for ways to add value to the scholarships the children receive,” Randall said. “At times, these added benefits cannot be covered by the scholarship funding or administrative costs so the organization must find alternative sources to make a good educational opportunity even better.”
When the 12,000 attendees of the 58th Grammy Awards on Feb. 15 receive the 200-plus page Grammy Program Guide, they may flip to the page (Page 197 of the online version) featuring a photo of a young Step Up For Students scholar with a headline reading “Every child deserves a chance to succeed.”
“Indeed they do,” Randall said about children deserving an opportunity to succeed. “Through our tax-credit scholarships, we serve the poorest of the poor and those who, without their scholarship, wouldn’t have any educational options. Our scholarships level the playing field and they have given our students amazing success. It is literally changing lives.”
Donations from corporations, foundations and individuals make it all possible.
“Without our donors, Step Up couldn’t put the tens of thousands of children on the road to success,” Randall said. “And donors can be rest assured that their money is being well spent.”
Step Up For Students has been consistently given the highest ratings from Charity Navigator, the charity watchdog organization, for years, including this year when the nonprofit was ranked No. 4 in Charity Navigator’s list of Top-Notch Charities.
“Our goal is for every child to find the best learning environment for them” Randall said. “The more donors we have, the more children we can serve, and the better we can serve our scholars.
“Placing an ad in the Grammy book made good sense. It gave us an opportunity to reach beyond our typical audience to spread the word about our program and the good work we’ve been doing for students.”
In addition to the 12,000 Grammy attendees, the book will be shared with the 6,000 others who are invited to the Producers & Engineers wing party that kicks off Grammy Week. It’s also sent to the 22,000 members of the Recording Academy and distributed nationally for a couple of weeks around the show and sold on the Grammy Awards website.
“The possibilities are exciting,” Randall said. “The idea of our organization crossing the paths of artists like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and even Bob Dylan gives it that extra wow factor. That’s music to our ears.”