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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Friends of School of the Arts Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Education, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations, Secondary & High Schools

Mission: Friends of School of the Arts Foundation (FoSOTA) is dedicated to supporting quality arts and academic learning for all students attending Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA), San Francisco’s only public arts high school.

Results: SOTA offers Bay Area students from diverse backgrounds the rare opportunity to receive tuition-free conservatory-style arts training in addition to college-preparatory academics. However, the actual costs of running top-quality arts and academic programming—including fees for artists-in-residence, art supplies, musical instruments, performance spaces, etc.—run over and above the annual funding the school receives from the San Francisco Unified School District. FoSOTA plays a key role in bridging the gap between District funding and operating expenses, as well as providing support with administration, fiscal infrastructure, and branding. To learn about a few of our school-wide community achievements, visit: http://www.sfsota.org/achievements/.

Target demographics: support quality arts and academic learning for all students attending Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, San Francisco’s only public arts high school.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 732 Asawa SOTA students

Geographic areas served: San Francisco

Programs: Artists-in-Residence Program (80+ AIR) Alumni Association Annual Fund Campaign Box Office Sales Grants & Foundation Giving Community Outreach

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great organization! This company is helping others.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ruth Asawa School of the Arts High School is truly a special place. Friends of SOTA (FoSOTA) provides the services that our school needs in order to provide a well rounded high school experience for our children. Without their support, the school would not have the capacity to offer the high quality arts education that we have today. FoSOTA also manages the box office and fundraising activities. As a result teachers can focus on what matters most ...teaching our students, students can focus on learning and family members can focus on volunteering and supporting our school.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Friends of SOTA Foundation has created a blueprint for Public School Arts Management in San Francisco. With over 80 Artist-in-Residence FoSOTA funds a robust high school arts program and a host of academic and co-curricular activities, picking up where California Public School funding has left off.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Friends of SOTA works diligently behind the scenes to make it possible to offer world-class arts instruction despite cash-strapped public school budgets. In culturally-rich San Francisco, FoSOTA ensures the instruction parallels the community's dedication to arts as a means to uplift, support and inspire. Well done!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great academic program for kids who have an artistic bent.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a parent of two students at SOTA, I am thrilled to have FoSOTA keeping virtually all of the arts related activities at the school running - from handling ticketing for well over 100 performances and events annually, managing the myriad artists-in-residence without whom the school would not thrive, to critical fundraising through grant writing and an annual fund, this pubic high school would not be what it is without such a professional partner in bringing real pre-professional arts training to San Francisco's talented youth. Management is easily accessible, results are amazing, and the finances are clearly buttoned-up (and readily visible to the community).

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter attends Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, a public high school located in San Francisco. She plays violin in the school orchestra.

As one can imagine, seeking funds for the arts is a constant challenge and a full time occupation.Our school is so fortunate to have “Friends of School of the Arts Foundation”. The foundation is a vital link in raising funds for the various art and music programs for our school.

The foundation is keeping arts and music alive in San Francisco through the “artist in residency” program at the school. They provide administrative and organizational skills that are absolutely necessary to effectively run an arts program.

Based on my observations, the “Friends of School of the Arts” provides a crucial role providing support to the local artist community, aspiring young artists, and the public school community.

The foundation works with the PTA, school and district administration, parents, artists, and helps with the organization of the art and music students public performances. The foundation is like the glue that keeps the various groups operational.



Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks to the work of FOSOTA, my daughter has access not only to her formal guitar teacher but to TWO more teachers to expose her to the range of classical and jazz guitar. She also has a top notch guitar to play at school, and so does everyone in her class, eliminating disparities to access to having a guitar at home and at school. Thank you FOSOTA!

Donor

Rating: 5

FoSOTA does a wonderful job around the clock keeping the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts running smoothly, well funded, and connected to a myriad of vested parties (students, parents, artists, funders, and the like). Our school simply would not function without the support and vision of FoSOTA. From processing all necessary paperwork (background checks, insurance, etc.) for our artists-in-residence, to purchasing needed supplies across all arts disciplines, and keeping our community informed of its practices, FoSOTA does a stellar job of working to ensure all students have the high quality arts education they deserve.

Donor

Rating: 5

Solely dedicated to SOTA students education and achievement!
The best organization any school can have!
All public schools in San Francisco should have the same organization model for fund raising and supporting for the students.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

FoSoTa is an amazing organization. They make it possible for the students at SOTA to have a world-class arts education. The quality and professionalism of the student performances are second to none and would not be possible without FoSOTA.

Donor

Rating: 5

FoSOTA does a great job lining up artists for the school!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This highly competent, transparent, effective, and efficient organization enthusiastically supports our students, teachers and staff. Can't imagine our School's existence without FoSOTA! Thank you!!!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a student from SOTA who go-created the Outdoor Leadership Program. FoSota not only connected us to a grant that fitted our needs, they were there helping us through the whole process.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

The Friends of SOTA is a well managed organization with a proven track record of good fiscal management. Since 2008, the non-profit has spent over $6 million dollars to contract and pay the artists who provide instruction to the students and to furnish supplies to run the various art programs offered at the Ruth Asawa SF School of the Arts - a pubic high school. In doing so, FoSOTA has saved SFUSD thousands of hours in administrative costs, while gaining the goodwill of the artists, teachers, staff, students and parents. With public funding insufficient, FoSOTA has filled an ever increasing funding gap to allow the school to not only sustain, but improve its programs. Asawa SOTA is a well-run public school offering an excellent arts and academic education, funded through a pubic private partnership – a model that proves that this can exist in public education.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This non-profit raises funds to make up the difference between what the School of the Arts in San Francisco needs versus what it gets from the school district, to fund the all important arts program, college center, and the many shows. As a result, this school is a gem and a showcase how a public-private partnership can work. Kudos to the executive team.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a student working to get donations for the school robotics team. There were many questions I had during the entire fundraising process and FoSota was there every step of the way, giving insightful advice.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

The School of the Arts provides an unparalleled and unique education experience for students interested in the arts. And the Friends of the School of the Arts diligently works to raise the funds needed to provide that unique education experience.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been a volunteer at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts High School since 2001. I’ve seen the Friends of SOTA organization grow, from a small group (managing $30,000 a year) to the well-respected, responsible and responsive organization it is now – managing over $1 million in donated and school-generated income.

The FoSOTA budget represents ¼ of the school’s total funding. Because of excellent, collaborative, expert management, Asawa SOTA has not been forced to cut programs or staff. In fact, Arts Directors have been able to increase their Artists-in Residence hires as well as add program enhancements, such as participation in state and nation-wide competitions – an invaluable experience for our future artists. The trust that our parents and staff have in Colleen Ivie and her staff is evidenced in the monetary and volunteer support that our community gives our school.

Asawa SOTA is now engaged in an outreach program that is designed to advocate for arts education, to inspire parents and students at the elementary and middle school levels. This program is funded by the Friends of SOTA as part of their mission to support arts education for all San Francisco students. I am proud to be part of this effort.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

SOTA provides a truly unique education for San Francisco's most gifted and talented students, which is simply not available in other high schools. FOSOTA's efforts have been an instrumental part of supporting this art education by raising the funds needed to bring on the talented artists and instructors that give these students the education and training that they deserve.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been fundraising in the public and private schools for over 15 years now, and I am so grateful to FOSOTA for their professionalism, expertise and attention to detail. The FOSOTA website is a model of clarity, the fundraising income and expenditures shown there are extremely clear and easy to follow. All of my questions can be answered on their website.

The FOSOTA staff is paying attention to how each and every dollar is raised and how it is spent. FOSOTA also works very hard to get the best deal for the school on each dollar that is spent, whether it's negotiating costs with providers or contracts with artists in residence. The budget is larger than other public schools, so it is very important to have experienced professionals working with the budgets and keeping track of the money. I know that parent groups would not be able to do this, and frankly, I think that many non-profits would not be so careful tracking their income and expenditures.

I also appreciate how much the Executive Director, Colleen Ivie, is a creative problem-solver. Each time we seek to provide new or different curriculum or activities at school, I have found that it is essential to talk with Colleen to think through how to raise money and make it happen. She is a huge asset to the program. Shannon DeLeon has been really great with outreach to parents at school. I am so impressed with FOSOTA; they should be giving lessons to other fundraising groups. They give parents a lot of confidence that our children are being well-served and our dollars are being well-spent. Many thanks to FOSOTA!

4

Donor

Rating: 5

As San Francisco's only public arts high school, the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts provides our talented and committed students their only opportunity for a free arts education. And, each year, Friends of SOTA is responsible for raising the money to support that program, from parents, alumni, and anyone who understands the importance of arts education. FoSOTA knows that if you want professional artists and supportive audiences in the future, you need to provide education today. Right now.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

FoSOTA does the extremely important work of raising the funds that are necessary to keep the arts programs at the School of the Arts up and running. If not for FoSOTA's fundraising work, the arts education at SOTA would be severely curtailed.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Friends of SOTA non-profit is the reason our school can exist. As an Artist-in-Resident, parent to a freshman and senior in the Vocal Dept, and a FoSOTA Board member, I've seen the dedication and support of all teachers and departments, and the efficiency of all involved in helping with budgets, ordering supplies and equipment, making sure that Artists-in-Residents are paid on time all the time, and supporting all concerts and shows ... and there are a lot of concerts and shows here. This sole public arts high school in our district is made possible only because of this non-profit organization. I am continually impressed by the competency and professionalism of everyone in this organization.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The highly competent FOSOTA officers have strong communication skills and are accountable for their competent, transparent, and efficient work. They understand our school and its unique needs. They work with the Art Directors to create and implement budgets and make sure artists-in-residence are paid on time. They assist faculty with grant writing and provide support at all our performances. FOSOTA does the work that allows me to focus on mine: running an art department and teaching art and academic classes.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Friends of SOTA is a great resource and provider of support for teachers--I should know, I'm one! I've turned to them time and again for help finding grant funding for the clubs I coordinate, and for classes I teach. Our Farm Club would not exist without the information, fundraising efforts, and guidance the kids have received from FOSOTA. They've also played a central role in supporting our current student-run recording studio project. When I need creative ideas to get student-centered projects moving forward, I turn to FOSOTA.

4 ScottCmiel

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Friends of SOTA is a wonderful nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the students of Ruth Asawa School of the Arts get a world class education. FoSOTA raises money that enables faculty to bring practicing artists to share their art and expertise with our students giving them a practical, real world perspective. The people at FoSOTA are always friendly and supportive, as well as a great presence at every event. They are a huge help!

Scott Cmiel
Director of Guitar Program
Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

As parents of a junior at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts (SOTA), we have found FoSota to be the backbone of the school. From acquiring grants which provide more opportunities to teachers and students to being a presence at every performance and school event, FoSota has proven to be a valuable asset to not only the school as a whole but also to the school's community.

Their ability to communicate (full disclosure) with the SOTA community on a consecutive basis about how parent contributions are being distributed make us feel comfortable that our donations are being utilized appropriately and this is made apparent by such entities as the well received College Center which is 100% funded by FoSota.

On a more personal note, FoSota has always made themselves available to help us parents get questions answered that we ordinarily would not know how to find out ourselves. We have come to rely on them for their many abilities to serve our entire SOTA community.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

FoSOTA is such an asset to the school. They are represented at each performance at the school, send out regular updates and 100% fund the College Center - to name just a few things that they do!. As a parent I value the time and effort FoSOTA and its amazing staff put into helping make the school the best it can be!

4 Therese F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a teacher, I have found FOSOTA extremely helpful with supplying the talents I lack as a teacher...writing grants. I have written ideas for three grants this year and FOSOTA grant writer has polished them. I have also truly appreciated the management of the grant funding. I have spent over $1,000 at a time in grant money and never had to wait more than three business days to be reimbursed.

Review from Guidestar