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Local education champion named Volunteer of the Year

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Tampa Bay Chapter will recognize Anne Eason, Ph.D., a Tampa psychologist, advocate for education and volunteer with LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network, as the Gayle Sierens Volunteer of the Year at its annual National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) breakfast on Nov. 15 in Tampa.

Over the past seven years, Eason has worked to develop a college and career program at Robinson High School in Tampa – recruiting, training and managing a team of 20 volunteers who raise awareness about the range of higher education options available to students. As a result of her efforts, Robinson – a school with more than 40% of its students eligible for free or reduced lunch – is now regularly recognized as a top school in the district for completion of college applications and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

With the Robinson center perfected, Eason has championed the program as a prototype for other schools in the area. In 2019, LEAP Tampa Bay replicated her concept in two additional Tampa Bay high schools, supporting LEAP’s goal to increase the college attainment rate in our region. Over the next five years, the program will be further expanded to 17 Pinellas County schools, thanks to significant funding secured by the Pinellas Education Foundation.

“Anne’s passion for the power of education and her gift for mobilizing volunteers is inspiring,” said Chuck Tiernan, Senior Director, Community Impact for LEAP Tampa Bay. “She reminds us of the important role volunteers play in carrying out our mission. Her leadership has made an incredible difference for young people in our community.”

Eason is among seven organizations and individuals, including Richard Gonzmart (Philanthropist of the Year), receiving awards at the annual NPD celebration, which recognizes individuals and organizations for their contributions to countless charities and causes in the Tampa Bay community.

“National Philanthropy Day® is the day we recognize and pay tribute to the contributions that philanthropy – and philanthropists –  have made to our great city and our nation,” noted JL Bielon, President of the Tampa Bay Chapter. “Charities have to rely more and more on individual contributions. Our honorees have made the commitment to support philanthropy in Tampa Bay and keep the spirit of civic betterment alive and strong.”

Tickets to the National Philanthropy Day breakfast can be purchased on the AFP Suncoast Chapter’s website.

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