News

Thirty-one School Districts Gather for 5th LGBTQ Student Best Practices Summit

Posted on Feb 28, 2019

St. Petersburg – This week, on February 25-26, 175 school district leaders from 31 Florida school districts, as well as representation from the North East Florida Education Consortium and Florida Virtual Schools, gathered in St. Petersburg for the sixth annual All Together Now Conference. Attendees represent over 80% of Florida’s public school population. This conference provides two days of intensive trainings for attendees to gain expertise on nationally recognized best practices for creating welcoming and supportive learning environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ+) students, a population known to face elevated risk factors for a number of negative educational consequences. (Full list of participating districts below)

This was the second year St. Petersburg has hosted the conference. Mayor Rick Kriseman welcomed attendees and Pinellas Schools, Dr. Michael Grego, joined superintendents Jeff Eakins from Hillsborough, Dr. Todd Bowden from Sarasota, and Robert Runcie from Broward on the opening superintendents roundtable panel. The conference also included school board members, directors of student services, mental health professionals, school board attorneys and general counsel, state PTA leaders and leaders from community agencies that work with LGBTQ+ young people. The conference is a joint project of Orange County Public Schools, Miami Dade County Public Schools, Broward County Public Schools, Palm Beach County Public Schools, Pasco County Public Schools, Osceola County Public Schools, Equality Florida Institute, Safe Schools South Florida and Metro and is funded in part by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg whose President and CEO, Randall H. Russell, was also a panelist.

Training sessions included: building capacity and structure within school districts to serve the unique needs of LGBTQ+ youth; supporting Gay Straight Alliances (GSA’s) which are clubs for LGBTQ+ students and allies; creating LGBTQ+ policy and procedure manuals; training on gender and the special needs of transgender youth; a panel of school district attorneys from small, medium, and large districts discussing opportunities and requirements for LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

The All Together Now Conference is a central event of Equality Florida Institute’s Safe and Healthy Schools Program. The program also provides professional development trainings for school district administrators, faculty, and support staff; robust support for PTAs (Parent Teacher Associations) and GSAs (Gay Straight Alliances, which are LGBTQ+ student support clubs); and coalition building among local LGBTQ+-youth supporting nonprofit agencies and their respective school districts.

In Pinellas County, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg has funded a deep, two-year partnership between Equality Florida Institute and Pinellas County Public Schools to expand best practices for LGBTQ+ students throughout the district. Pinellas has long been a leader in supporting LGBTQ+ students. Pinellas was one of the first school districts in Florida to protect LGBTQ+ students in its bullying and harassment policies, and more than a decade ago became the first district in Florida to ensure that there was a GSA in every high school.

“Education is a fundamental building block of a healthy life. We are pleased to support Pinellas County Schools’ continued leadership in creating a safe and effective learning environment for all students, particularly those who face disproportionate challenges due to their gender expression,” said Randall H. Russell, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.

Through the Safe and Healthy Schools Program, Equality Florida Institute and Pinellas County School District are working together to provide professional development to key school district staff including principals, assistant principals, counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses; provide trainings and other forms of support for PTAs and GSAs; and deepen partnerships with agencies that provide services to LGBTQ+ youth.

According to De Palazzo, Safe and Healthy Schools Program Director for Equality Florida Institute, supportive services specifically targeted for LGBTQ+ youth are essential to ensuring their safety and wellbeing. Between 15% and 19% of Florida students identify as LGBT. These students are at dramatically increased risk for being bullied, harassed, assaulted, skipping school, dropping out, becoming homeless, using drugs, or being victims of homicide. These risks are even higher for transgender youth, who account for approximately 3.6% of Florida’s students. Most alarming of all, research shows that LGBTQ+ youth are four times more likely than heterosexual students to seriously consider suicide, and to make the attempt.

Palazzo states, “ In creating this program, we collaborated with more than two dozen top school districts in the country that prioritize LGBTQ+ student support, including L.A. Unified School District, New York City Schools, D.C. Public Schools and many others. When LGBTQ+ kids are struggling just to find a safe space to exist at school, they can’t focus on learning. Too many LGBTQ+ students drop out because they feel threatened or unsafe at school. The All Together Now Conference is especially valuable because it gives teachers and administrators the tools to create and maintain inclusive, welcoming learning environments for LGBTQ+ students. The programs our school district partners throughout Florida are working to implement are proven to be the best practices for supporting LGBTQ+ youth.”

List of School District Participants in the All Together Now Conference:

  • Alachua County Public Schools
  • Bradford County School District
  • Brevard Public Schools
  • Broward County Public Schools
  • Charlotte County Public Schools
  • Citrus County School District
  • Collier County Public Schools
  • Duval County Public Schools
  • Escambia County School District
  • Hernando County School District
  • Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • Lake County Schools
  • Lee County Schools
  • Leon County Schools
  • School District of Manatee County
  • Marion County Public Schools
  • Martin County School District
  • Miami Dade County Public Schools
  • Monroe County School District
  • Okeechobee County School District
  • Orange County Public Schools
  • School District of Osceola County
  • School District of Palm Beach County
  • Pasco County Public Schools
  • Pinellas County Schools
  • Polk County Public Schools
  • Putnam County School District
  • Sarasota County Schools
  • Seminole County Public Schools
  • St. John’s County School District
  • St. Lucie Public Schools
  • Florida Virtual School
  • North East Florida Education Consortium

About the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is a private foundation formed in 2013 following the sale of the nonprofit Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. It is the steward of community assets dedicated to supporting health equity in Pinellas County. The Foundation inspires and empowers people, ideas, information exchange, organizations and relationships to end differences in health due to social or structural disadvantages and improve population health.

About Equality Florida’s Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative

Equality Florida Institute is the largest organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Equality Florida Institute’s Safe and Healthy Schools Program aims to create a culture of inclusion and support while countering the bullying, harassment, social isolation, and bigotry that dramatically increase risk factors for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) students. Through this program, we support school districts in implementing nationally recognized best practices for meeting the needs of LGBTQ students.

De Palazzo is the Statewide Program Director for Equality Florida’s Safe and Healthy Schools Program. Prior to accepting this position, De served for over 25 years as a classroom teacher, Broward School District LGBTQ+ Coordinator, national LGBTQ+ consultant and anti-bias trainer. De helped build exemplary programs and practices in Broward Schools that are considered a national model for school districts looking for guidance. In addition to her work within the school district, she also has two decades of experience working with LGBTQ+ youth agencies and is one of the top national experts on transgender student policy. De has served as a member of the GLSEN National Board of Directors, and founded GLSEN Fort Lauderdale. She has been a nationally certified anti-bias trainer for GLSEN and the Anti-Defamation League, as well as the Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools K-5 Project, a comprehensive approach to improving school climate in elementary school environments. De co-initiated “Courageous Conversations about Race,” a race and equity-based initiative in Broward County Public Schools. De holds dual masters degrees in education and conflict resolution. She is respected for her ability to connect easily with school officials and teachers and to create spaces that allow for open, safe dialogue among participants.

U.S. Census is Hiring Locally: Earn Extra Money While Helping Our County Get a Fair and Honest Count

Equitable Services and Accurate Legislative Representation Depend Upon a Full Count of All U.S. Residents

Posted on Oct 30, 2018

The census comes around every 10 years and 2020 is our next opportunity to count every resident in Pinellas County. Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census count provides data that will determine the number of seats Florida has in Congress and will be used to distribute federal funds both to the state and to our local communities.

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Eight Nonprofits Will Create New Initiatives, Enhance Innovative Collaborations With the Help of “Empowerment Grants”

Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg Grants Support Organizations with Annual Operating Budgets Under $2 Million

Posted on Aug 23, 2018

Pinellas County has a wealth of nonprofit organizations that are poised to take their work to the next level but need a bit of a boost to fuel their efforts. This week, eight small-to-mid-sized nonprofits received Empowerment Grants from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg for their community enhancing programs.

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Improving Post-Secondary Attainment in Pinellas County

60 Educational Leaders Met to Discuss Next Steps Following the Release of The Pinellas Community Indicator Report

Posted on Jul 19, 2018

Economic studies show that the region needs more well-trained adults to meet our workforce demands and build a stronger, more vital community. LEAP Tampa Bay is at the forefront of this effort, and has set a goal to bring the number of working-age adults in our region who have a college degree or quality industry certification from the current figure of 48 percent to 60 percent by the year 2025.

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Twenty-One Pinellas County Nonprofits Receive Capacity-Building Mini-Grants from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg

Grants reflect needs revealed in recent countywide Nonprofit Assessment Report

Posted on Jul 17, 2018

This month the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg awarded 21 nonprofit organizations grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to support much-needed organizational improvements in areas such as technology, infrastructure, marketing, communications, training and planning. The grants are part of the Foundation’s investment in nonprofits in Pinellas County that are working to address social issues and problems that lead to health disparities and poor health outcomes.

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Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg Leases Space in Lakeview Shopping Center in South St. Petersburg for Social Change Center

Facility Will Fuel Community-Led Social Change Toward Health Equity

Posted on Jun 28, 2018

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg has leased a property at 2333 34th Street South, an approximately 23,250 square-foot vacant retail space on the south end of the Lakeview Shopping Center in St. Petersburg. The location will serve as a Social Change Center for at least a 10-year period until 2028.

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Foundation Announces New Trustees and Investment Committee Members

Posted on Apr 13, 2018

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is pleased to announce two new additions to its Board of Trustees. Imam Askia Muhammad Aquil and Charles Harris were elected to the Board on March 21, 2018. The Board oversees the Foundation in St. Petersburg, which uses mission-based philanthropy to improve conditions and outcomes for underserved communities in southern Pinellas County.

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Foundation Announces Joni James as Senior Impact Director

Posted on Dec 07, 2017

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg has named Joni James as Senior Impact Director, a new position at the Foundation, now in its third year. James joins the senior leadership team and will be responsible for helping align operations and resources across activities for the highest impact on the Foundation’s mission– to end differences in health due to social or structural disadvantages and improve population health.

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Jonathan M. Ellen, M.D. Elected Chair, Katurah Jenkins-Hall, PhD, Vice Chair of Foundation Board of Trustees

Board Officers and Committee Chairs Also Named

Posted on Oct 25, 2017

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg announced the election of Jonathan M. Ellen, M.D., as Chair of its Board of Trustees. Dr. Ellen is president and vice dean of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. He succeeds founding Board Chair Steven C. Dupré, who served from April 2013 to September 2017. Mr. Dupré is an attorney with Carlton Fields in Tampa.

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Tampa Bay Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund Activated

Greater Tampa Bay Nonprofits Join Forces for Irma Disaster Recovery and Rebuilding

Posted on Sep 14, 2017

While there is still uncertainty regarding the full impact Hurricane Irma will have on our region, a unique partnership has been launched in preparation for what may come. The Tampa Bay Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund (TBDRRF) is a new strategic collaboration of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Pinellas Community Foundation, United Way of Citrus County, United Way of Hernando, United Way of Pasco, and United Way Suncoast.

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Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg Grants $405,794 to Support Capacity-Building Projects at 29 Nonprofits

Funded Projects and Initiatives Will Improve Nonprofit Sector Ability to Enhance Population Health and Health Equity in South Pinellas County.

Posted on May 30, 2017

Twenty-nine nonprofit organizations have received grants ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 to support one-time projects that will enhance their ability to improve organizational capacity and advance community health and health equity in South Pinellas County.

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2017 Grantmaking Kicks Off With Capacity Building Mini Grants, Application Period for Grants Opens Today

Posted on Mar 01, 2017

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is encouraging proposals for projects that will deliver needed improvement for organizations working to improve the health of residents in South Pinellas County. The first of three planned funding rounds in 2017 launches today with a published RFP, open application, and a webinar to guide nonprofits interested in applying.

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Inaugural 2016 Funded Partners Announced

Posted on Jun 24, 2016

The Foundation has completed its first grantmaking cycle entitled Healthy Beginnings. Please click the link below for access to the details of our various investments in the population health of Southern Pinellas County. We are elated about our new funded partners and confident in our forthcoming progress together.
View Media Release

Inaugural Grant Partners to be Announced

Posted on May 01, 2016

The Foundation will announce our 2016 Inaugural Grant Partners on June 23, 2016! This will be the conclusion of our first grantmaking cycle. Please continue to check our website and your email inbox for updates.

LOI Engagement Consultations

Posted on May 01, 2016

Every idea proposed by our diligent, tireless Tampa Bay social service community has great value to us at the Foundation! We want to confer with those grant applicants who were declined for funding in our first grantmaking cycle to discuss your purpose and approach further, to hear more from you, and to discuss more intensely our goals and mission in the Foundation’s service area. Please contact June Kirch at june@healthystpete.foundation to reserve a time slot for an LOI Engagement Consultation (April 13 – June 30, 2016).

Foundation Releases Video Series

Posted on Feb 24, 2016

We are excited to announce our new video series! The Foundation developed this series to describe our Conflict of Interest policy and the decisions that were made regarding the Letters of Interest (LOI) that we received during our first grants cycle. We are always interested in your feedback so please email us with any thoughts or questions that you may have.

Foundation Releases Community Highlights

Posted on Feb 11, 2016

Our Foundation is focused on social factors that have a profound impact on health outcomes. We are excited to announce that we have published a series of Community Highlights, which describe how these social determinants play a role in the health and well-being of our community members. The series includes local statistics that provide a brief snapshot as to how St. Petersburg is faring in these different areas. We encourage you to use the Community Highlights as a local resource. Your input is very valuable to us. Please feel free to email us with your feedback on the series.

Important Foundation Deadlines Are Fast-Approaching

Posted on Jan 05, 2016

As many of you know, we recently released our inaugural Request for Proposals (RFP). We are excited to explore the collaborative and creative solutions that our community has for improving the health and well-being of St. Petersburg residents. Applicants may submit questions that they have regarding the Letters of Interest (LOI) and (or) Fluxx, our online grants portal, to info@healthystpete.foundation or by calling 727-865-4650.

We then update the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of our site to ensure that everyone has the same access to the responses. Deadline for questions: Friday, January 8, 2016 by 5:00 EST. The deadline for submitting the Letters of Interest (LOI) is NO LATER THAN Friday, January 15, 2016 by 5:00 p.m. EST. Please make sure to read and answer each question carefully.