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Proposition 123

During 2016, the Foundation stood in favor of and publicly advocated for Arizona’s Proposition 123—a successful ballot measure that settled a longstanding, K-12 funding lawsuit between the legislature and public schools. The measure is expected to provide public schools with $3.5 billion in additional revenue over the next 10 years. While these resources are necessary to meet the educational needs of students, Helios has always indicated that Prop 123 is only the first step in adequately and equitably funding education in Arizona. A long-term funding solution is needed to ensure that every child in Arizona receives a high-quality education. We remain engaged on this issue and look forward to further community dialogue about next steps.


Helios joined a statewide coalition of more than 60 community, business, philanthropic, government, and education organizations in 2016 in support of the state of Arizona adopting a statewide postsecondary attainment goal. The Foundation invested in capacity building, fundraising, and other efforts of the Achieve60AZ alliance in its mission to boost postsecondary attainment and workforce training among Arizonans.

Achieve60AZ establishes a new statewide goal that at least 60 percent of Arizonans achieve a college degree or certificate by 2030. Currently, 42 percent of Arizonans pursue and complete a postsecondary education, a rate lower than the national average. The urgency to address this problem is only expected to grow, as more than two-thirds of future jobs are expected to require education beyond high school.

While Achieve60AZ is just one of many efforts in Arizona aimed at advancing education, it is unique in its broad, grassroots, and holistic approach – underscoring the strong connections between commerce and education, growth, and equity. Studies show that a more educated workforce, with training and credentials past high school, is a critical indicator of a state’s economic health and long-term viability. If 60 percent of Arizonans aged 25-64 obtain a degree or credential past high school, the state could see an additional $3.5 billion added to its economy; improve business-recruitment efforts by providing a better workforce; increase per-capita earnings, and reduce poverty among Arizonans.

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Florida Attainment Goal

In 2016, Helios advocated for the adoption of a state attainment goal in Florida alongside partners such as Florida C.A.N., the Lumina Foundation, Florida Philanthropic Network, the Florida Chamber Foundation and others. Ultimately, the Florida Higher Education Coordinating Council adopted and recommended to the Governor and the Legislature a statewide goal that 55 percent of 25- to 64-year-olds would attain a postsecondary certificate or degree by 2025. As a Foundation whose mission it is to ensure that every individual in Arizona and Florida achieves a postsecondary education, Helios views the recommendation of this goal as a critical first step in preparing our students to pursue, persist, and complete a postsecondary education and positioning them for workforce readiness and success.

Economic forecasts have long held that by 2020, 65 percent of jobs in Florida will require some form of postsecondary education. The Foundation remains committed to working toward an agreed-upon attainment goal in Florida that not only increases the number of degree and certificate holders but secures the state’s future economic viability in a global marketplace.