inspirED

Meet our scholars, educators, donors, and partners.

Transforming Our Community.
One Scholarship at a Time.

Step Up For Students Scholarships do more than fund education. They change lives. Students thrive in environments that fit their needs. Educators extend their reach to support vulnerable students. Communities grow stronger as educational systems improve.

This is inspireEd. Welcome.

Here, you will get an inside view of that transformation in progress. See what happens when students and their families discover the power of taking control over their academics. Watch as they forge new pathways to a better future. Find inspiration in their determination to achieve their dreams.

These are the stories of Florida students who have renewed hope because they have a school that better fits their needs or educational materials to unlock their potential. They are the stories of a community that has come together to support the belief that educational choice matters. Here, you can be a part of this incredible journey.

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Step Up For Students ranked 13th in Forbes list of 100 top American charities

Step Up For Students continues to rise among the top nonprofits in the country, breaking into the top-15 of Forbes’ list of America’s Top 100 Charities 2021. Step Up is ranked 13th, the highest ranking for among education charities. “Step Up For Students is proudly celebrating its 20th anniversary of providing scholarships to underprivileged children, […]
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LiFT Academy receives boost from Tampa Bay Lightning as it prepares to move to new campus

High above the ice at Amalie Arena during a recent Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game stood Keli Mondello and Kim Kuruzovich, the founders of Learning Independence for Tomorrow (LiFT), and Holly Andrade, a founding teacher. They were bathed in the spotlight while the fans cheered, and the players on the ice below paid tribute with […]
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20 years of Educational Opportunity: Once a beneficiary of education choice, Ashley is now an advocate

The first time Ashley Elliott realized her story could make a difference was when she found herself in Washington, D.C., moving from the office of Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Orlando) to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) to talk about the importance of education choice. It works, Ashley said. You’re looking at proof. It was a Florida Tax […]
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Step Up For Students celebrates 20 years of providing Families Choices

Florida’s largest nonprofit scholarship administrator is celebrating its 20th anniversary of providing families more options in their children’s education. Step Up For Students, a 501c3 nonprofit based in Jacksonville and St. Petersburg, has awarded more than 1 million scholarships since it was founded in 2002. Today, Step Up administers five of the state’s K-12 scholarship […]
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The Foundation Academy students march for unity, education choice at MLK Jr. Day parade

For Daarina Cue, an 11th grader at The Foundation Academy in Jacksonville, marching in the city’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade is a “great experience.” The people who line the parade route cheer the students as they pass by while carrying large photos of Martin Luther King Jr. and other luminary figures of […]
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Conn’s HomePlus Supports Florida Students Through Scholarship Program

Conn’s HomePlus has contributed $174,000 to Step Up For Students, helping 23 deserving Florida schoolchildren access the right education to help them succeed. This is the first year Conn’s HomePlus has partnered with Step Up For Students to contribute to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, an income-based scholarship program funded by tax-credited contributions from […]
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Reading grades improve, love of books grows with the help of Florida's Reading Scholarship

Lindsey Pawlishen was so confident she would pass her love of reading to her daughter that she asked for and received children’s books instead of traditional gifts at the baby shower. She began reading to Samantha when Samantha was an infant expecting to instill that love of reading. But Samantha didn’t love reading. “I didn’t […]
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Education choice scholarship leads Step Up student-athlete to U.S. Naval Academy

Denim Edwards slid to his knees as he caught the ball in the end zone, scoring a touchdown on what would be his last play of his high school football career. It came late in Christopher Columbus High’s loss at Venice High during the state semifinals earlier this month. Moments later, Denim, a senior, stood […]
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Step Up receives 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for 15th year

Step Up For Students recently received the highest honor from Charity Navigator, the non-profit that evaluates more than a million charitable organizations in the United States. The four-star rating has been an annual achievement for Step Up in each of the last 15 years, since Step Up was first evaluated by Charity Navigator. “Earning this […]
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Step Up scholarship to a private school 'changed our whole entire lives'

BROOKSVILLE, Florida – Vadin Mankotya played second base for EXP Realty this season, proudly wearing the jersey sponsored by his mom. And Jennifer Mankotya, a sales associate, was equally proud to have sponsored a team in the Hernando Youth League in Brooksville. “It was,” she said, “a pretty big accomplishment.” Not long ago, Jennifer scraped […]
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