Charlotte Local Education Foundation Inc
18150 Murdock Circle
Port Charlotte FL 33948
The mission of the Charlotte Local Education Foundation, Inc. is Connecting Children, Classrooms and Community to build Student Success.  We are a direct support agency for Charlotte County Public Schools.  We believe that education for all is a tenant of community resources.  Through charitable contributions, grants, and state funding we give support to classroom projects, teacher recognition, and the Teacher Supply Depot. 
CLEF is the lead agency for the highly successful statewide scholarship mentoring program, Take Stock in Children.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Sara Wierhake
Board Chair Mr. Alexander Graham
Board Chair Affiliation Suncoast Credit Union
General Info
Organization DBA
Supported Organization Charlotte County Public Schools
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1985
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes May 2018
State Registration Yes Mar 2018
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
Impact Statement
 The Charlotte Local Education Foundation achieved Program of Exellence, Gold Level, recognition with our Take Stock in Children program. We reached a 100% graduation rate for our Take Stock in Children scholars. 100% of our students completed FAFSA. All of our seniors graduated and were accepted to college. We assisted in the application process for one of our students and he was awarded the prestigious Leaders 4 Life Fellowship. One of only 6 students in the state to receive this honor.

The Charlotte Local Education Foundation has brought over $125,000 in to the Charlotte County public schools in the 2016-2017 school year. We also provided over 1000 hours of volunteer and community service to our students and teachers.

 Over 250 people attended the Teacher and Support Employee of the Year recognition and award ceremony in January.  All school personnel felt honored and appreciated as our superintendent commended them.

 Our Teacher Supply Depot served over 100 teachers with classroom supplies, and hundreds of students in need were provided back to school supplies. We collect donations from the community and teachers shop “free”.   We Established a Leadership Council for our Take Stock in Children program.

For the second year we completed a fundraiser called War on the Peace, Dragon Boat Festival. Working with a local dragon boat club we raised over $22,000 enough to purchase a 2 scholarship from Florida Prepaid.

Goals for next year are to build and improve our existing programs while reaching out to the community is new ways.  We find that people are willing to help and want to be part of our successes.
Our goals for the year ahead:
Expand our Take Stock in Children program to serve more at risk youth.
Increase the number of College Readiness programs available to our youth, including College application workshops. 
Expand the number of volunteers we have  serving our students and increase participation in CCPS Literacy initiative.
Increase the school supplies available to children in need throughout the year, not just BTS.


Needs Statement
1.$43,500 The Charlotte Local Education Foundation would like to grow the Take Stock in Children scholarship mentoring program. At this time the greatest need is in fundraising and donations to purchase additional scholarships. This program has proven extremely successful for our at risk youth. Scholarships purchased with the Florida Prepaid Foundation cost $8,700 with a dollar for dollar match from Florida Prepaid.  We currently have over $1,000,000 in scholarships for the students in our program.  Last year we were able to add housing scholarships for a few of our graduates. 
2. $500 background checks and training supplies. After funding and donation we have need for additional volunteers to assist with our Teacher supply Depot, mentor coordination, tutoring, and general office assistance. We have an extremely active and engaged Board. this came about after the departure of the previous Executive Director. Board members rolled up their sleeves and volunteered more time, however to grow we need to continue that momentum and add skilled volunteers to provide and expand services.
3.$25,000 We need to increase our capacity to facilitate pass through grants for our schools with a part time grant writer.
4. $20,000 Part time College Readiness Coach. Our students would greatly benefit from someone to provide programming for college readiness, ACT/SAT test prep and college and scholarship application workshops.
5. Our school district is exemplary, but many people do not know that. 
We would like to open our schools to retired people and business people so they can learn about the successes first hand.  Once you meet kids who are excited about learning you want to be more involved.  This helps with donations and volunteerism.
Background Statement

The Charlotte Local Education Foundation received its Articles of Incorporation in 1985.

We are the 501(c) 3 direct support organization for the Charlotte County Public Schools.

In the past two years we have developed a new logo, but our mission remains Connecting Children, Classrooms and Community to build Student Success”  

 CLEF has hosted the Teacher and Support Employee of the Year event for 15 years. Each year we try to make the evening special as teachers and support employees are honored and appreciated. The winner from each category then competes on the state level.

 In 2000 we were designated the Take Stock in Children lead agency. Since then we have purchased over $1,000,000 in Florida Prepaid tuition contracts for low income students. 

All scholarship money is matched dollar for dollar by the Florida Prepaid Foundation. 

 Since 2004 we have held an annual school supply drive and collected and distributed school and classroom supplies for Charlotte County teachers and students in need.

The Depot is managed by volunteers. Depot hours are posted on our website. 
We are the fiscal agent for multiple grants for the school district and we are continually working to extend our capacity to serve more children, schools, and teachers and bring more community volunteers in to help.



Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Charlotte
Areas Served Comments
We serve all of Charlotte County Public Schools.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Education
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type Education
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

The past year has brought many challenges and opportunities for our organization and we are proud of all that has been accomplished. Our very successful Take Stock in Children continues to flourish as our flagship program. It's been so exciting to see this program grow in the past year and the success of the students. With the retirement of our longtime director the challenge was to renew our commitment to Connecting Children, Classrooms, and Community. The Board has worked hard to do this. We've worked to develop and strengthen our relationships within the education and business community, looking for opportunities to increase the services to youth in need. We are grateful to our mentors who make such a difference in the lives of our students. We've made it a priority to provide the training and support they need to continue their good work. We look to the future with hope and optimism, confident we are making a difference by building an organization that will continue to focus on improving the lives and education of children. 

Thank you


Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
It's an honor to have the opportunity to serve these most deserving students and of course the educators that dedicate their lives to educating our youth. With our organization so many elements come together to improve the lives and opportunities for these children. Mentors, Volunteers, Board members, community members and Businesses. All working together toward a shared goal. As a collective we know that we can improve the odds for the students in need. In addition the joy of helping children is unmatched.
Starting with the youngest members of the community and their families we are building a better tomorrow for everyone. One child at a time. 
Having been a volunteer with Take Stock in Children prior to becoming the Director, I know that miracles do happen.  Students with less than an ideal family life can be lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, and teachers, to name a few professions of our graduates. 
 Mentors are the key to these successes.  They are lifelong cheerleaders and link our students with community resources they otherwise would not have.
The CLEF board is very supportive and engaged.  Many board members are mentors.  
Change a life, change your own; be a mentor.

Take Stock in Children is a statewide, non-profit organization that has a proven record of helping low-income children stay out of trouble, graduate from high school, attend college, and become productive citizens.  In CharlotteCounty, the Take Stock in Children program is administered by Charlotte Local Education Foundation. Throughout the state over 20,000 students are involved in the program. In Charlotte County, over 100 students participate in this program, including those who have already begun their studies at college or vocational-technical schools.

 Financially eligible students (below the federal poverty level) are selected in the 8thgrade. Each child works toward earning his or her scholarship – students must promise to stay in school, get a “C” or higher in every class, maintain an overall 2.5 GPA, and stay away from drugs, alcohol, and crime, including not becoming involved in gang activities. Each student is paired with an adult mentor who dedicates 30-45 minutes weekly to meet at school to help the student reach their goals. Students who successfully complete the program standards listed above are awarded a full college tuition scholarship, valued at approximately $17,500.

Budget $65,500
Category Youth Development, General/Other Youth Development, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Short Term Success
We have several of our Take Stock in Children students enrolled at Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School.
As high school juniors they are already taking college courses.  These students will be able to go on to a university and have some tuition money left for upper division programs.  Two of our students that just graduated completed high school with there associates degree. Another student is almost there with a few hours to complete his AS. We monitor student behavior and have been able to intervene in several student conduct issues with positive outcome.
Long Term Success
The goal of Take Stock in Children is for low income students selected in the 8th grade, to complete high school, enter college and go on to lead a productive life.  Our first measurement is high school graduation. We have a 96% success rate.  Student grades, attendance and behavior are tracked with a statewide database.    Our student advocates checks grades after each grading period. They visit students often to provide resources and help.  Tutoring is offered for low performing students.  With pre and post testing we are able to measure improvements.  Students who take advange of tutoring usually raise their grades and FCAT scores.
Students from Charlotte County are now graduating from college.  We have students who will graduate next year from the University of South Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Southwestern State College, Flagler College, and Cornell University.
Many students attribute their success to their mentors.  As 8th graders most students do not comprehend the magnitude of a full tuition scholarship.  But we have had students complete their AA degree and call or come in with much pride and appreciation for Take Stock.
Program Success Monitoring
Our staff works with district support staff to load grades, attendance and behavior data into Focus each semester.  Our student advocate and program manager check grades in the school data management system.  Students receive honor roll letters or "alert" letters for low grades.
We encourage students to look at FOCUS data which tells them test scores and class project requirements online.
Each year the Take Stock in Children requires a Self-Assessment report to see if we are meeting program standards.  We always score well.
Program Success Examples
Graduation for our seniors is not always assured.  Many times mentors make contact with teachers and encourage students to complete required work and extra credit projects.  By working with teachers and "never giving up" on our students we see almost 100% graduation rate with students going onto college despite these students being from a disadvantaged background.  In three cases, students had to complete online course work to meet graduation requirements.
Another student had discipline issues and was placed on probation when we called for a parent meeting.  We are proud to say that this student is going on to college. 
Program Comments by Organization
Take Stock in Children programs could be expanded with more staff or volunteers. We've worked very hard this past year in efforts to recruit and train volunteers.  While program workshops and events can be planned, a family suddenly becoming homeless is not a planned event.  We have to be flexible and always ready to help.  Often we can connect families to community resources. 
This year we have been able through state funding to hire a part time college coach for our Take Stock in Children program.  More individual attention will help these students succeed.   
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Sara Wierhake
CEO Term Start Jan 2016
CEO/Executive Director Email
2013-2016 Director, Sterling Schools of Eiquette, LLC
2006-2013 Director of Business Development, Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce
2004- 2006 Territory Sales Executive, Thomassen Beauty Supply
2010 Leadership Charlotte, Graduate
2011-2016 Leadership Charlotte Alumni 
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Mary Fred Clemmons Jan 2008 - June
Ms. Tish Thomas Oct 2000 - Jan
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 1
Volunteers 100
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
We collaborate with the school district to provide school supplies, grant opportunities, teacher recognition and support. We are part of the non-profit network and regularly attend the council of Executive Directors for Charlotte County United Way.  CLEF holds membership in the three Chamber of Commerces in the County.
We are part of the Consortium of Education Foundations and work with the Voice, business leaders for education. With their help we facilitated classroom grants for STEM learning projects.
This year we collaborated with Adult Learning Center and New Operation Cooper Street to provide reading programs for those in need. WE also partnered with our most impoverished school on literacy programs. Providing grants for their projects to increase reading fluency and comprehension.
This year we partnered with the Tax Collector's office to open a new program, Kids TAG Art.  This highly successful program allowed 5th graders to design and sell license tags for the front of vehicles.  Tags are featured on the Tax collector's website.  All proceeds benefit Art in Charlotte County Public Schools.
This year we expanded our BTS Supply Drive, in addition to partnering with Boys & Girls Club we added more community partners than ever before. We were able to bring needed supplies to students and schools exceeding previous donations. We also replenished our Teacher Supply Depot  so supplies are ready throughout the school year to provide teachers with new and gently used supplies so they do not have to pay for them out of their own pocket.
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)
Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce2017
Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce2006
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Intergenerational partnershipsDepartment of Elder Affairs2009
Program of ExcellenceTake Stock in Children2010
Program of ExcellenceTake Stock in Children state program2014
Program of ExcellenceTake Stock in Children2015
Program of ExcellenceTake Stock in children2016
Program of Excellence- Gold LevelTake Stock in Children0
Risk Management Provisions
Commercial General Liability
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization
The challenge remains - we do not want to turn students away due to lack of resources. The opportunity to serve the youth that are in need is a privilege and we never lose sight of the growing demand. We must be resourceful in creating additional sources of funding in a community that does not enjoy a great deal of wealth. Raising awareness in an environment where there are many competing voices, is a mixed blessing- many agencies to serve yet dollars are sometimes diluted due to duplication of services.  
We address this issue by maintaining the highest standards in delivering services to our youth. The results are impressive. The students we bring into the primary program- Take Stock in Children- do so well. We are limited  in the number of students we are able to serve, but the ones that we do bring into the program enjoy intensive, proven practices that will help them graduate from high school, and move on to post secondary education. We see a tremendous difference in their lives and the lives of their families.   
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization Our organization had three Executive Directors within three years time. This last year we also brought in new board members. There has been a steep learning curve and we have risen to the challenge and continue to improve. We are still in process of reevaluating our strategic plan and fundraising plan, now that the more urgent matters of stabilizing operations have been attended to. 
Multi-Media Comments by Organization
Our website is kept up to date.  Please visit us often:
Take Stock in Children ambassadors worked with professional Steve Donaldson at Harmonic Images to delevop a TV commercial for the program.  You may view it at:
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Alexander Graham
Company Affiliation Suncoast Credit Union
Board Term July 2017 to June 2018
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms Rachel Clancy Achieva Credit Union
Mr. James Coalwell Achieva CU
Ms. Shaune Freeland Harbor Insurance
Marcy Frisina Fawcett Memorial Hospital
Mr. Russell Kirshey Kirshey Law
Mr. Kreg Maheu DMK Associates, Inc.
Ms Maura Matzko Community Representative
Mr. Robert Pietrasanta Community Volunteer
Ms Lynn Pogue Community Representative
Hope Schmidt Retired
Ms. Geri Waksler McCrory Law Firm
Ms. Sara Wierhake CLEF
Mr. Thomas Williamson Landsberg Bennet
Mr. Mathew Zwack Owen-Ames-Kimball Company
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 7
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Board Meeting Attendance % 71
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 50
Standing Committees
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Governance Comments by Organization
The Executive Committee meets two weeks before each board meeting to plan and discuss any governance issues.  All meetings are open to the public. We are working hard to update some of the operational procedures that had been in place, many had outlived there relevance ie "we've always done it that way" It was time for fresh ideas and new energy to grow our programs while maintaining consistency in the areas that were working well. Our Board has been very engaged. the Board members that have served for a while have been open to new ideas and trying new things. We've also brought in new board members and they are all working well together with the best interest of the students at the heart of their service to the organization.
We are grateful to our donors and our community for the support we receive as we look to achieving even greater goals. 
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month July
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month June
Tax Year End Day 30
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $255,750.00
Projected Expenses $255,750.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations Yes
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Form 9902017
Form 9902015
Form 9902014
Form 9902009
Audit/Financial Documents
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$328,274$336,627$306,665
Administration Expense$22,729$23,409$20,368
Fundraising Expense$33,146$27,366$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.101.000.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses9%87%94%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue8%7%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$987,004$989,654$1,080,756
Current Assets$987,004$983,654$102,237
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$14,564$23,879$11,751
Total Net Assets$972,440$965,775$1,068,994
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $289,169Contributions, gifts, grants $265,964Contributions, gifts, grants $230,395
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants - Unspecified $112,073Government Grants - State $121,530Government Grants - Unspecified $91,325
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment Income $60Investment Income $69Investment Income $60
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities67.7741.198.70
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
We have received a clean audit each year.  The school board requires that we pay for an independent audit each year.  The audit is part of the overall Charlotte County Public Schools audit records. 
Financial Comments by Foundation Foundation and corporation contributions are included with individual contributions as they were not separated in the 990s or audits.  Financial information was taken from the Federal 990s and audited financial statements.  On the Foundation's Statements of Activities, In-Kind Income was included in total revenue.
Nonprofit Charlotte Local Education Foundation Inc
Address 18150 Murdock Circle
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
Phone 941 255-7500 294