Jackson Browne helped launch the annual Artists for The Arts concert in Santa Monica 10 years ago, and a decade later he’s still volunteering his time to support arts education.
Last month I attended a Jackson Browne concert in Santa Monica. As great as Jackson Browne is, that may not sound remarkable on its face, even when I add that another 1970s icon, Gary Wright, was also on the bill, and the “house band,” Venice, is a highly accomplished group with numerous albums and world tours to their credit.
No, what made this evening an indelible memory for the packed house who saw the show was the fact that these stars shared the stage with high school students, and those students delivered some knockout performances on par with any pro. Continue reading
The California Consortium of Education Foundations convened at Stanford University on March 19.
I was honored to serve as a keynote speaker at the California Consortium of Education Foundations annual conference at Stanford University last month. Attendees included representatives from school districts and foundations all over Northern and Central California (a similar gathering for Southern California was held a week prior in Anaheim).
What was remarkable about this group was the wide disparity in size and structure of the foundations represented. Whereas a few had full-time staff, highly engaged boards, and strong public presence, others had no staff at all and are being run solely by volunteers serving on a small board. One thing all held in common, though, is the knowledge that our public schools must be supported by private gifts and other revenue sources beyond state budget dollars if we are to adequately provide staffing, professional development, and programs and services to ensure that all children have an opportunity to succeed. Continue reading
I was at a dinner recently with a group of educators and administrators – high school principals, school district superintendents, a college dean – and the discussion, as one might expect, veered into the tremendous challenges facing public school districts in the current budget climate in California. While we all lamented the fact that in public education all are being forced to do more with less – less staff, less resources, more demands – there are no easy solutions to this dilemma.
As the old saying goes, challenges present opportunities. As we sat around the table, the discussion started to focus on how schools and districts might work together, on how higher education and K-12 districts in the same area could partner to sustain programs, provide vital services to students and teachers both, perhaps even seek external funding for such ideas.
As the discussion turned to fundraising, the first comments focused on the need for private funding just to sustain what schools are already doing. There was disappointment in the fact that corporate partners and philanthropic foundations did not seem to have interest in contributing funds to the region despite doing so in other regions. And there were no clear answers as to how or why this “oversight” was occurring. Continue reading