The Henson Fund

Skip to content

Main Menu

Empowering Children Through Education and Enrichment

All children deserve the right to achieve their dreams. But for children of poverty too often those dreams are limited by a narrow exposure to the world.

Our work is to level the playing field as much as possible through quality education and exposure to the world of possibilities through vibrant enrichment.

Our mission is to assist public education schools in bringing creative and innovative literacy programs to children of poverty.

Our Mission

The Importance of Reading

Humans are hard-wired for language; we are not hard-wired to read. Although a great joy to many, reading is incredibly difficult for some.

By 3rd grade, children should know how to read. In the early grades, there are specific skills taught, and specific measurements in place to evaluate a child’s ability to read. Reading interventions at this stage of a child’s academic development are also defined and measurable.


Nearly Half of Sarasota County School District Students Live in Poverty

The Sarasota County School Districtis home to a significant number of students, with a total of 42,568 enrolled in its schools. 

Did you Know 49.7% of Sarasota Students -- almost half -- live in poverty, as defined as income of $30,000 for a family of four (s2023 HHS Poverty Guidelines)? An income of $30,000 means the worker has to earn $15.30 per hour in wages before taxes. A cashier at Publix Grocery Stores in Florida earns on average $12.44 per hour.

Poverty in Sarasota County is a critical issue that affects educational outcomes in our community. Children of poverty often face significant challenges upon entering school. Food insecurity, English as a second language, and transportation issues can affect a child’s preparedness for early education.

child in red shirt writing name on whiteboard

Did you Know


of Sarasota Students live in poverty, as defined as income of $30,000 for a family of four

Our Impact

"Children in poverty often lack academic experiences compared to non-poverty children due to resources. They sometimes have less access to literacy and math explorations. The power of a high-quality Pre-Kindergarten allows students to engage in engaging academic materials and close achievement gaps to have all students ready for Kindergarten."

—Steve Royce, Principal, Gocio Elementary School


Nearly 1700 Students enrolled in Summer Learning before COVID


Promotion rate for
Gocio Pre-K students,
compared to 54% for other Pre-K students.


Increase in Reading Levels for Booker Middle School Students


Number of Students in this Year's Academic Initiatives