2020 has been summarized in many ways, including chaotic, overwhelming, and unprecedented. While all those descriptions are true, the same challenges that characterized 2020 also brought about resilience, flexibility, and compassion. An unanticipated year imposed unprecedented change, which challenged Helios to strive for impact, in spite of ongoing uncertainty.
It is undeniable the spread of COVID-19 changed our society in 2020, from the office to the classroom. The global pandemic closed businesses, left school hallways empty, and vibrant college campuses eerily quiet while communities scrambled to provide basic services to people who found themselves housing or food insecure. COVID-19 also exacerbated inequities in our education system that disproportionately impact first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students — inequities that too often lead to the minority attainment and achievement gaps noted all along the education continuum.
While the valuable work of nonprofit organizations has always been significant, the global pandemic shone a spotlight on the impact of organizations vested in community work. With the leadership of our board of directors, Helios was proud to support our partners, their resilience, and their commitment to ensuring students’ postsecondary aspirations did not fall victim to COVID-19.
Helios and our partners met the pandemic with a firm commitment to the communities, students, educators, and the families we serve. We are proud to showcase key investments and partnerships that made 2020 not only memorable, but inspiring.
Paul J. Luna
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation