Step Up Earns Four Star Rating

August 13, 2012 | Tampa, Fla. – Sound fiscal management practices and a commitment to accountability and transparency recently earned Step Up For Students a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent charity watchdog.

This year marks the sixth time the Tampa-based nonprofit, which administers Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program, has earned the coveted distinction. One in four of the thousands of charities evaluated by Charity Navigator attain this top rating. StepUp For Students is one of 75 Florida nonprofit organizations listed as afour-star charity, and earned a near perfect score in the latest evaluation byreceiving a 68.12 out of a possible 70.

“We are proud of our sound fiscal practices and our fierce commitment to accountability and transparency,” said Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill. “The fact that 97 cents of every dollar we raise goes directly to scholarships for low-income children is also a source of pride.”

“We are proud of our sound fiscal practices and our fierce commitment to accountability and transparency. The fact that 97 cents of every dollar we raise goes directly to scholarships for low-income children is also a source of pride.”Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill

Since 2002, Charity Navigator has awarded the most fiscally responsible organizations a four-star rating and has done so by evaluating two areas of performance: a charity’s financial health and their accountability and transparency. The organization uses financial information provided in the nonprofit organization’s informational tax returns or IRS Form 990.

In 2011, Charity Navigator added additional checkpoints to its accountability and transparency rating methodology which now includes reviewing 17 governance and ethical practices, as well as measurements of access to company information. This accounts for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating. Step Up attained a perfect score in the accountability and transparency evaluation.

Step Up For Students’ latest distinction comes as it celebrates its 10th year empowering low-income families to find the best educational option for their children. Since the Florida Legislature passed the Tax Credit Scholarship Program in 2001, the corporate community has redirected more than $1 billion in tax credits to Step Up For Students, which has provided funding for more than 265,000 scholarships.

Charity Navigator is also celebrating its 10th year and exists so that donors can make well-informed giving decisions.

About Charity Navigator

 Charity Navigator is the largest charity evaluator in United States and its website attracts more visitors than all other charity rating groups combined.The organization helps guide intelligent giving by evaluating the financial health and accountability and transparency of roughly 5,500 mid-to-large sized charities that garner roughly 50 percent of all private contributions made in the United States each year (excluding houses of worship).Charity Navigator accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates, ensuring unbiased evaluations. It does not charge the public for its data. As a result, Charity Navigator, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization,depends on donor support.

For more information, visit their website at www.charitynavigator.org.

About Step Up For Students

In 2001, the Florida Legislature founded theFlorida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship Program as a way to give low-income families a voice in their children’s education. This innovative program givesdollar-for-dollar state tax credits to corporations that redirect a portion of their Florida tax liability to the scholarship program. The scholarship program is available to k-12 students who qualify for the federal free or reduced price lunch program and provides tuition assistance to the private school of their parents’ choice ortransportation help to an out-of-district public school. For the 2012-13 year,the scholarships were worth up to $4,335.

For more information or to learn how your corporation can participate in the program, visit www.StepUpForStudents.org.

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