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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Homeless Children's Education Fund

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Education, Educational Services, Homeless & Housing, Housing Support

Mission: Our Mission: To provide advocacy, community engagement, and direct service programs that support the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County. Our Vision: That all children and youth experiencing homelessness will receive the necessary educational resources, guidance and opportunities to launch them on a path of success in school and in life.

Target demographics: Children and youth experiencing homelessness of all ages.

Geographic areas served: Our direct education services are focused primarily in Allegheny County, but we work to build awareness and outreach throughout the region and the state.

Programs: When children become homeless, the uncertainties of their situation and the accompanying emotional stress may mean they do not attend school for days, even weeks. Once back in school – often not the school they had been attending – they may have difficulty adjusting to new teachers, different expectations, and unfamiliar classmates. Children who are homeless can quickly fall behind. HCEF is committed to advocating for the educational rights of these children and to fostering within them "hope through learning." The organization does this through extensive educational programs/services, outreach events, and collaboration within the community. We are privileged to have as our partners in this endeavor the dedicated homeless housing agency directors and after-school program staffs and HCEF volunteers.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

As Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and as a volunteer for more than 8 years, I can't say enough about HCEF. The organization supports kids experiencing homelessness through shelters and other partners that serve them. Our goal is to ensure they have access to all they need to continue to learn and grow during difficult times. In addition we work to educate all about this hidden group and their issues. With 1700 homeless kids at any one time in our area (that only includes the ones who are in school - there are likely at least double that amount) we all need to ensure they have help to break the cycle of homelessness.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been a proud Board member for HCEF for more than 4 years. The organization has an extremely dedicated staff, great volunteers and a committed Board of Trustees all carrying out good work to help kids. Helping kids who are experiencing homelessness to continue their education contributes to a better future for them and their communities. HCEF has programs that directly help kids as well as programs that educate the public about the problems. By working with government, educators, and other agencies they act as a force to focus efforts and reduce costs.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a faculty member at a local university who has partnered with HCEF for service-learning classes. I am very impressed by the expertise, professionalism, and heart of the staff I have worked with at HCEF. GREAT NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I've recently become associated with HCEF and I'm quite impressed with all the charitable work this organization does. The staff are all dedicated, and caring people focused on making a difference in young people's lives. Get involved...what could be better than helping to make a positive impact on a young person.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with HCEF for a little over a year now and find the experience and organization to be awesome. The employees and volunteers have such enthusiasm for what they do. I believe that education and experience is so priceless and HCEF really goes through great lengths to provide fun and diverse educational activities for the children. Their commitment to providing these experiences and their advocacy to for the children is amazing. It's truly a refreshing and rewarding program for all involved.

Board Member

Rating: 5

HCEF is simply amazing and impressive, this organizations is full of caring, smart, and engaged employees and volunteers. I have been on many boards in the past, so I can say I am just truly impressed and excited to be a part of this company.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am brand new volunteer with HCEF but I can't say enough about how impressed I've been with everyone I've encountered and how rewarding the work has been so far. They are such wonderful advocates for homeless children and as a learning center volunteer, I get to see the direct impact on the kids. This truly is an organization that's making a difference.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of working with Joe Lagana and this wonderful organization for 10 years to develop learning centers in facilities that serve mothers and their children experiencing homelessness. Watching the children grow and thrive as a result of the programs of the Homeless Children's Education Fund, could not be more rewarding. HCEF is a blessing!

1 Carly N.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with HCEF for 7 years. First as volunteer, then as an advisor, and now as a board member. The work the organization does preserves the lives of the children it touches by providing what I believe is the difference between a difficult life and a prosperous one--an education. Through its efforts, the organization takes children in crisis and allows them to find support, confidence in themselves and hope overall through academics. I could not be more proud of this organization, its staff, leadership and donors!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to volunteer on a number of HCEF projects throughout the years. The organization stays tightly focused on their goals, which enables them to meet and exceed their goals. And to provide a desperately needed to service for a faceless, voiceless population. Dr. Lagana and his staff are tireless in their mission.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with HCEF since its inception and have seen it grow and increase the numbers of homeless children it has been able to serve. The many programs and services provided, including the learning centers, that have been started in the shelters have had positive benefits in helping the educational need of homeless children. The staff is dedicated, talented and well respected.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am very excited to be a part of the HCEF Board. This organization is one of the best run not-for-profits I have ever been associated with. HCEF understands its mission and performs its role admirably. Whether providing volunteer tutoring in the shelters, advocating for the eductional right of homeless children, or helping break down the barriers to coordinated services, HCEF is a proven leader.

Board Member

Rating: 4

I am a new Board member of the Homeless Children's Education Fund (HCEF) and couldn't be more proud to be associated with such a wonderful organization. HCEF's dedicated and passionate staff and leadership work tirelessly to serve this extremely vulnerable population of homeless children. Through HCEF's programs and advocacy work they are raising the visibility of this issue, providing critical educational support and resources, and striving every day to ensure these children start life in a positive way.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with HCEF for one summer and it was an incredible experience. This organization does so much for a population in Allegheny County that the average person probably doesn't even realize exists. Through a variety of events, educational initiatives and every day dedication to the cause HCEF provides a life saving service to homeless children in the county. They are an awesome organization and I am lucky to have spent a summer contributing to their work!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the HCEF for more than ten years. During that time the initial vision of the founders to provide program driven initiatives dedicated to helping the homeless children of Allegheny has remained at the core of the of the organization. In addition to providing expanded programs and other services to the children, the HCEF also serves as the voice in the community to promote continued awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness and education.

Rob_15

Board Member

Rating: 5

HCEF is an outstanding organization providing critical educational programs and services to children experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County. In addition to providing direct programs to kids, HCEF also serves as their voice at the local, state and federal levels to ensure that they are not left behind. It is a trusted advocate and community leader engaging homeless shelters, school districts, service providers, families, and city and county government agencies. HCEF has an extremely talented staff and dedicated board of directors.

Raymond A.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with HCEF for the past 8 years. Over that period I have worked with all of the folks at the agency and have been impressed with their dedication to the mission of the organization and the people they are helping. In these eight years I have seen the program grow and prosper and since Bill Wolfe has become the Executive Director the program has become even more well known in the community. I am impressed with the fact that in September every child that is in the system receives a book bag stocked with the things they will need as they start school. With this protracted recession there have been more families than ever who find themselves in a homeless situation. HCEF ensures that children in the myriad shelters in Southwestern Pennsylvania have the opportunity to continue their schooling while in this situation. I personlly have encountered the children in this program and with the support of HCEF these kids are going to school without interruption and that is a good thing not only for each of them but for our community as well. I commend Dr. Joe Lagana, for his leadership in starting this wonderful program and the impact it has had on the homeless children in our community. who

Donor

Rating: 5

I have watched HCEF develop from the vision of the founder, Dr. Joe Lagana, to the efficiently functioning, program-innovative organization that it is today. HCEF exemplifies the successful melding of delivering needed programs that are ground-breaking and partnering with other social service organizations to gain synergy. Then a layer of adept public awareness and fund development allows it to grow. HCEF is deservedly a national model for delivering educational services to homeless children so as to keep them engaged in their school and career pathway .

Louisa-Weezy G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I used to be an intern at HCEF. I really enjoyed working with the staff and feel my time was well spent. They fulfill their mission and I learned a lot from my experience.

Simit S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This group does a great job for the region. They provide vital services and really engage with volunteers to get them involved.

Stacy9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This group does a great job of keeping at-risk children in touch with their friends, teachers and education goals. The Pittsburgh area would be a poorer place without their great work and dedication to helping any child in need. They also have done a great job at give a voice to these children.