The Education Fund's first program awarded small grants to support teachers' innovative, hands-on classroom projects. Three decades and more than 4,800 "best practice" projects later, our collective programs continue to make a difference in the lives of 350,000+ students/families and 20,000 educators throughout Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Our initiatives have contributed $18+ million in free classroom supplies. We've engaged hundreds of business professionals to become advocates for teaching quality. We are growing schoolyard eco labs at 51 elementary schools -- 26 have become Food Forests. More than 30,000 students' eating habits have improved as a result of this multi-dimensional outdoor lab initiative.

The objective of each Education Fund program is to work side-by-side with the private sector to support and promote quality public education for every child in Miami-Dade County Public Schools by providing teachers and students with resources they need to be successful.

Our range of active programs shown below in red are hyper-linked to each active program. Other pinnacle programs during the past three decades have been adopted and/or expanded by the district. Some of those shown below have forged the path to systemic change such as FamilyTech. You can read all about them here. 

Current Programs

  • Engages students at 51 M-DCPS elementary or K-8 schools to plant and maintain vegetable, fruit, and herb Food Forests on school grounds while using the experience to promote healthy eating habits and nutritional knowledge that will last a lifetime. Having helped change school policy whereby gardens may be used to teach various subjects, plus nutrition, and produce may be used in cafeteria meals, The Education Fund continued expanding the program. In 2015, we launched the Food Foresting concept in 11 schools, creating soothing outdoor sanctuaries while growing enough produce for school meals and home bound use. To date, we have built 26 Food Forests.

  • Increases public awareness about the critical role that teachers play in student achievement. Business professionals from across the county learn about the challenges of teaching, gather support pledges from colleagues, and then experience first-hand the difficulties and rewards of a day in the classroom. Participants gain a deeper understanding for teachers, teaching quality, and its impact on student success. Are you, or do you know, a business leader? Invite them to join the CEO challenge!

  • Helps teachers make the most of innovative and creative ideas by awarding them grants to package and disseminate their ideas, providing teachers with a "best practices" catalog, detailed curriculum packets and lesson plans, the annual Idea EXPO Teacher Conference, grants to adapt and/or tailor the featured projects to their own classrooms, and professional development and Distance Learning webinars.

  • Award small cash grants to teachers who want to try something new in the classroom or wish to franchise a project by their peer -- all to stimulate learning. More than 1,100 outstanding projects have been developed with these grants.

  • Collects surplus inventory and supplies from the business community and makes them available for free to public school teachers throughout Miami-Dade County. Since its inception in 1993, the Center has hosted more than 30,000 teacher visits and has made more than $18 million in donated goods available. Celebrating 28 years of The Education Fund Ocean Bank Center for Educational Materials!

  • Provide much-needed resources, recognition, and financial support for fine arts education in M-DCPS. Students create works made from "found" objects at the Ocean Bank Center. These original works are exhibited and judged, with an awards ceremony to follow. Many art pieces are then auctioned at an annual charity gala, with proceeds benefitting the district's visual arts programs. The auction -- For the Love of Art -- includes the Sapoznik Insurance Public School Alumni Achievement Awards, which showcase how a public education can lead to great success.

  • For most students in our school district -- one of the poorest in the nation, attending college remains a dream. The Education Fund’s SmartPath program (formerly Citi Postsecondary Success Program, CPSP) is an initiative that aims to embed a college-going culture in high schools, empowering low-income and first-generation students to successfully prepare for college and career. SmartPath began as a five-year collaborative effort with our school district, community organizations, and local postsecondary institutions. Our pilot produced the highest results among national grantees and continues in five senior high schools, serving low-income students and families.

  • This annual showcase event celebrates our Teach-A-Thon Teacher Champions with a Victory Party, mini-installations of a Food Forest, art exhibit, and auction, etc. Yet another dimension -- catering provided by teams from our district’s 30 culinary programs. Teams competed a la the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, with chefs and restauranteurs judging their entries. Teams also garnered that all-important “hands-on” experience one gets when preparing for and serving 500+ party attendees. Our early-March 2020 event was a HUGE success!

  • Our newest initiative, this pilot project includes three powerful, hands-on grant opportunities: Project Citizen, UTD Effective Citizenship, and Inner-Club Council. High school students engage in project-based learning as they explore the steps involved in creating policy change on a local, state, or federal level. For the 2019-20 school year, 30 Student Power projects were funded throughout the County.

Past Programs

  • Creating Transition Coaches to Build Change (CTC)

    was a pilot program collaborating with the district's College Assistance Program (CAP) to create a structure that expanded the roles of teachers and guidance counselors so they could become mentors/coaches who could help their students appreciate the benefits of attending college and develop the practical skills needed to apply. The program targeted M-DCPS career academy high schools that serve a high percentage of low-income, minority students. It was a precursor to CPSP, now known as SmartPath to College.

  • Teachers Network Leadership Institute (TNLI)

    enables a teacher's voice to be a factor in creating educational policy through school-based action research projects. The Education Fund participated in TNLI as one of 14 affiliates throughout the country that collaborated on studies and shared their results and recommendations with policy-makers. The Education Fund's document may be found in our Publications section.

  • FamilyTech

    opened the world of computer technology to more than 10,000+ low-income students and their families by placing refurbished computers in their homes, and training parents to use the computers and supervise their children's work. In the classroom, the students' teachers learn to incorporate technology in the curriculum. FamilyTech helped Miami-Dade County Public Schools push the use of technology in the classroom well ahead of most districts across the county.

  • Success Fund

    The Citi Success Fund for 20 years served the needs of at-risk students in our community by motivating them to stay in school through teacher-directed project-based learning. We reached 168,000 at-risk students with more than 1,000 stimulating learning experiences in elementary, middle, senior high, and alternative/specialized schools throughout Miami-Dade County.

  • Team Mentor Grants

    are designed to provide an incentive for collaboration between new and veteran teachers. This collaboration is centered on classroom-based, student-learning projects that provide common ground for veteran teachers and new teachers to work together.

  • Superintendent's Urban Principal Initiative (SUPI)

    was one of the nation's most comprehensive leadership development programs for secondary school administrators. Through online assessment tools, collaboration with national experts in education, Action Research training, coaching by retired administrators, participation in the Harvard Institute, a nine-week internship and additional instruction, SUPI prepared school leaders to meet the challenges of the district's highest-need students.

  • Town Hall Meetings/Community Dialogues

    are part of an ongoing effort by The Education Fund to facilitate community discussions of public education issues. The first Town Hall Meeting, "Crisis in the Classroom," focused on teacher recruitment and retention.