1. The Education Gradebook

Hernando Education Foundation raises record amount

Published Feb. 8, 2014

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Education Foundation, a group responsible for providing supplemental funding to teachers and schools across the district, pulled in more than $200,000 for the most recent year — a record amount.

Between July 2012 and June 2013, the nonprofit group raised $202,889, according to its most recent income tax return.

Executive director Tammy Brinker said local sources of funding for schools have become increasingly important as state and federal funding has withered.

"We've got to step up," Brinker said. "We're the ones that can do something about that."

School Board Chairman Gus Guadagnino, who is a member of the foundation's board of directors, said the funds are an invaluable source of unrestricted money.

"That is extremely important," Guadagnino said.

While the revenue raised set a record, nearly half came from a single source: the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union Foundation, which donated $100,500, including $50,000 for broadband networking.

Roughly $116,000 of the group's revenue went to mini-grants, matching grants, scholarships and other programs to support and train teachers and students, according to the tax form. The next-largest amount, roughly $42,400, went toward the Hernando County Teacher of the Year and Employee of the Year programs, the group's largest functions.

The dinners cost about $10,000 for each event, with prizes and plaques adding an extra $10,000. Each nominee received $100, and the winner received $1,000 and a cruise for two. The rest went toward photography, flowers and printing costs, among others items, Brinker said.

The group's other expenses included roughly $24,000 to pay for subcontractors, which included the executive director position at the time. The foundation also spent nearly $15,000 on general expenses and $7,700 on fundraising expenses.

Overall, the foundation spent about $2,600 more than it earned for the year, eating into reserves.

Over the past five years, the group has raised about $800,000, according to tax returns.

Brinker, who took over the executive director position in December, has grander ambitions for the group's future fundraising efforts.

"I'm not really happy with it," she said. "I think we should have done a lot more."

Danny Valentine can be reached at or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.


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