By GEOFF FOX
CLEARWATER The Tampa Bay Business Journal on June 8 named Step Up For Students Nonprofit of the Year in the education category.
Step Up For Students helps manage both the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program for students from lower-income families and the Gardiner Scholarship Program for students with certain special needs. The statewide organization has offices in Clearwater and Jacksonville.
Other organizations considered for the honor include Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County; Frameworks of Tampa Bay Inc; Girl Scouts of West Central Florida; and R’Club Child Care Inc.
“This is further validation of the great work our staff, board and donors are doing to serve our families,” said Doug Tuthill, president of Step Up For Students.
Step Up is allotted a 3 percent operating allowance, far less than most other nonprofits. Based on its record of fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency, Step Up For Students has earned Charity Navigator’s four-star rating –the highest possible – for six consecutive years.
Through the close of the 2016-17 school year, Step Up For Students has awarded nearly 580,000 tax credit scholarships to disadvantaged Florida students since its inception in 2001. And another nearly 13,500 Gardiner Scholarships have been awarded since that program began in 2014.
Also, on May 23, Step Up’s Jacksonville office was selected by the Jacksonville Business Journal as one of the best places to work in Jacksonville for a company between 100 and 245 employees.
Step Up is in good company in that size category with companies such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida Capital Bang and Omni Hotels Jacksonville, among others.
“All of the work that each of you has done to strengthen our culture and enhance our workplace has led us to this recognition this year,” Step Up COO Anne White told staff during the announcement of the recognition. “I am very proud to work among such a fantastic group of professionals.”