The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation is a non-profit organization that works to provide resources for retired TRS annuitants, as well as active and beginning teachers.
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A Helping Hand


If you or someone you know needs financial assistance through the "A Helping Hand" program, please call TRTF at 1.800.880.1650 (ask for Sarah) or send a request to

Program Overview

TRTF’s charitable program, “A Helping Hand," was launched statewide in October 2010.

Since the program's inception, TRTF has awarded more than $135,000 in grants for such purposes as medical, dental, and utility bills to 134 individuals.

TRTF was also able to provide funds for an individual in Houston to purchase space heaters and groceries. One recipient needed to correct an eye disease, and needed special contact lenses to reshape her cornea. TRTF helps with emergencies such as these and more!

The Foundation has a generous goal of giving away $20,000 in grants from "A Helping Hand" in 2019. Help us reach that goal by donating today at!

What is "A Helping Hand"?

"A Helping Hand" provides public education retirees with charitable assistance for a one-time special need or other short-term hardship. Recipients include anyone who is receiving or is eligible to receive an annuity from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS).

The Board of Trustees for TRTF voted in its March 2009 meeting to set aside $10,000 to launch the pilot version of the program. In February 2010, TRTF announced that “A Helping Hand” launched in the following four pilot districts: 8, 12, 17, and 20.

A pilot program allowed TRTF the opportunity to assess the efficiency of the application process and make adjustments as needed. "A Helping Hand" launched in all TRTA districts in October 2010.

This is an exciting time for the Foundation as it expands its charitable offerings. TRTF will be able to help retirees in critical need thanks to the generous support of TRTA members!


What if I need help or someone I know needs help?

If you are a member of TRTA and you (or someone you know) need(s) assistance, please contact your local unit president or Foundation representative. For additional information, email or call 1.800.880.1650. A local unit directory can be found by clicking here.

All applications are reviewed independently and remain confidential. A applicant or recipient's information will not be shared with the public unless the applicant/recipient provides permission to TRTF to share his or her story.

The Foundation provides financial assistance for a variety of needs, including but not limited to medical and dental bills, car and home repairs, energy bills, food and more. For a complete application packet, including guidelines and instructions, please contact TRTF at or 1.800.880.1650.

Classroom Assistance Grants

In 2019, TRTF will award $500 to 30 Texas public educators!

(The deadline to submit completed applications for the 2019 award year has now passed. The 2020 applications will become available online by November 1, 2019).

Recipients will be announced at the 66th Annual TRTA Convention in Austin during the Foundation Breakfast on April 2, 2019. The names of the recipients will also be posted on the TRTF website on April 2, 2019 by Noon.

What is the TRTF Classroom Assistance Grant?

Today’s classroom teachers use a variety of tools to educate children, but due to lack of sufficient funding, many find new technology items out of reach. TRTF’s Classroom Assistance Grant program helps teachers improve the learning environment for students by giving $500 towards projects, learning platforms, software, and much more.

Since 2008, TRTF has provided $93,000 in grants to 187 active educators all across Texas.

Donna Magjarevich, a dyslexia teacher at Selman Intermediate in Sealy, says that “the state of Texas mandates that a school district have a dyslexia program...but it does not allot any funding for this service.”

In 2016, she won a $500 grant from TRTF, using the money to purchase Really Great Reading Phonics. The program provides a set of tools to diagnose, group, and teach students with weaknesses in their foundational reading skills.

Donna feels the program is ideal for students growing up in a technological age, and is excited that her school’s dyslexia program will be updated for the first time in 20 years. Her students will not only improve their reading accuracy and rate, but also their use of electronic mediums to communicate.

Joel Yelton, an Industrial Technology teacher at Cypress Ridge High School in Houston, also won a grant. Mr. Yelton and his students will use the $500 to purchase materials to build a tiny house. Mr. Yelton is no stranger to taking on ambitious projects, such as building custom cars, and finds that combining “theories and concepts with real world applications” gives relevancy to his students’ education.

“Harder, more complex projects give my students a real sense of purpose,” says Joel. With 65 percent of students at Cypress Ridge qualifying for free and reduced lunch, he acknowledges that many experience financial distress. “I believe that my job is to give them the most I can with whatever materials I have.” He also wants the lessons they learn to be twofold, especially when it concerns the value of time and money: “there are people out there who are willing to help, but inevitably we make our own way.”

Laura Vrana teaches first grade at Jefferson Avenue Elementary in Seguin. Like most schools that receive grants from TRTF, Jefferson is a Title I school. Laura says “the school is always looking for new ways to encourage and provide opportunities to enhance academic achievement among these disadvantaged children. A strong academic foundation goes hand–in–hand with a strong social and emotional one.”

The Jefferson Garden Club is one result of this philosophy, and Ms. Vrana
has seen how participation in the club teaches responsibility, organizational skills and persistence. The students learn about nutrition, where food comes from and how to care for their environment, all important facets of their well–being now and in the future. The club exceeds 90 students in grades one through five. Laura was able to purchase fruit trees, rose bushes, seeds and soil for this year’s spring garden.

TRTF will continue to support current classroom teachers by providing fifteen $500 grants for innovative projects and learning platforms in the coming year. Your donations help students develop real-world skills, and provides them with a caring, creative community to explore their future!

The past award recipients

Beginning Teacher Scholarships

In 2019, TRTA will award $750 to 21 first-year educators! (The deadline to submit completed applications for the 2019 award year has passed. Applications for the 2020 award year will become available online by November 1, 2019). Recipients will be announced at the 66th Annual TRTA Convention in Austin during the Foundation Breakfast on April…
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