The Mission of HCEF is to advance the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County by:
• Providing educational programs and services
• Serving as a trusted advocate
• Sharing expertise
• Facilitating collaborative relationships that maximize the collective impact among community partners. [Homeless Education Network (HEN)]
Our Guiding Principles
We believe that. . .
• Children and youth experiencing homelessness deserve equal access and full participation in the same educational and enrichment opportunities enjoyed by their stably-housed peers.
• Young people cannot soar above the barriers of homelessness without the support of individuals and organizations that are steadfastly committed to nurturing their resilience and realizing their gifts.
• Collaboration is essential to confront homelessness and ensure that the myriad needs of children and youth without homes are respectfully and effectively met.
What is HCEF?
The Homeless Children's Education Fund (HCEF), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, was established in 1999 to supplement federal funding for the educational needs of local homeless children. Over the years, HCEF's role in the community has developed and expanded to meet these needs.
The Board of Trustees and the Board of Advisors are each composed of prominent business, community, and government leaders. HCEF Founder Dr. Joseph Lagana serves as advocate before numerous local and governmental constituencies and ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees.
The annual operating budget is supported through corporate sponsors and foundation grants. The HCEF bylaws dictate that unless a donor requests otherwise 100% of all private donations are invested in an endowment fund that supports our "Mini-Grants for Educational Enrichment", an HCEF program that ensures children living in homeless housing have the after-school support necessary for them to make up and keep up with their school work.
As housing agencies throughout Allegheny County struggle to serve the various physical and familial needs of children who are homeless, they must also ensure the access of these children to a free and appropriate public education. HCEF serves as a community advocate for these service providers, building coalitions of support among corporations, foundations, institutions of higher education, religious and service organizations, and government agencies. In short, HCEF seeks to leverage community resources toward serving an urgent community need.