All students at each of three Academy Prep campuses — St. Petersburg, Tampa and Lakeland, Florida — attend on state scholarships administered by Step Up For Students.

Americans donated more than $450 billion to charities last year. Of that amount, $49.5 billion went to the top 100 charities, according to Forbes Magazine’s America’s Top Charities rankings.

Step Up for Students, a scholarship granting nonprofit that administers five school choice scholarship programs in Florida, ranked as the 21st largest nonprofit in America. Step Up, which raised $618 million in private donations last year and hosts this blog.

Step Up’s scholarship programs include the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for lower-income and working-class students, the Gardiner Scholarship for students with unique abilities, the Hope Scholarship for victims of bullying and harassment, the Reading Scholarship for public school students struggling with reading and literacy, and the Family Empowerment Scholarship for lower- and middle-class students.

Step Up’s goal for the fiscal year 2021 is to raise $700 million to fund the Florida Tax Credit and Hope Scholarship programs. The Gardiner Scholarship, Reading Scholarship and Family Empowerment Scholarship programs are funded by the Florida legislature, though Step Up advertises these scholarships, processes applications and helps manage accounts for Gardiner and Reading scholarship families.

Since offering the first scholarships during the 2002-03 school year, Step Up has awarded scholarships to more than 1 million students. The organization served more than 150,000 students during the 2020-21 school year.

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