Dear SPA Supporter,
I write to you today in crisis.
As the only performing arts school in our county, the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts (“SPA”) has taken on the privilege and responsibility to lead the fight for arts in public education. As you well know, arts programming across our nation has been steadily eroded for decades. While our cultural valuation of the arts seems to maintain at high levels, our ability to properly fund and support its presence in public education continues to be a low priority. The result is an entire generation who is missing what some argue can be the lynchpin of a rigorous college and career preparatory education, not to mention an essential element of a well-rounded human being. This is the crisis I speak of and that SPA finds itself in the midst of battling.
As a public charter school, SPA is funded on the public dollar; the same way that any district school is. It is no secret that this formula only barely pays for the cost of a typical educational program, much less one that brings in master teaching artists to integrate their craft into the academics. In fact, SPA employs the equivalent of a 150% staff, the additional personnel supporting our arts programming. As you can imagine, this presents challenges when attempting to survive on only State and Federal funding. Moreover, despite the fact that California has one of the highest cost of living rates in this nation, the amount of money spent on public education has us ranked lower than at least 35 other states.
This letter serves as a charge to our community to join the cause. SPA will not nickel and dime families for the typical fees and donation requests that you see at other public middle and high schools (consumable fees, lab fees, production fees, athletic fees, club fees, etc.). We ask that you make this one donation to our Arts Annual Fund. Our goal is to raise $200,000 this year which equates to roughly $650 per student. This number is reflective of a significant portion of what it takes to fund our extra layer of arts programming. We want to make a big push toward achieving this goal within this calendar year. As we enter the holiday giving season, we hope that SPA will make its way to the top of your list.
We know that some cannot afford $650 and we know that some can afford far more. Any donation, big or small, will help this community achieve our goal. What is most important to us is 100% participation from our families. Your donation is tax deductible and you will receive a thank you letter with our tax identification information for your records. You will also be publicly recognized (without disclosing the amount of your donation). There are multiple ways you can become a part of this movement – please see the second page of this letter for details and answers to FAQs.
This community has such capacity for greatness. You make all the difference. Donate today!
In Your Service,
HOW DO I MAKE A DONATION?
There are two options for completing your donation to the SPA Arts Annual Fund. First, you can send a paper check made out to Contra Costa School of Performing Arts in with your student to be submitted to their spotlight teacher. Please be sure to put your student’s name in the memo line. Alternatively, you can make an electronic payment through the SPA Store on our website. Just go to cocospa.org and click on the “Giving” link at the bottom of the front page – it will take you straight to our SPA Store. There are several options for donation amounts (as well as the ability to write in your own). Please remember no donation is too big or too small. If it is helpful, please feel free to break up your total donation into smaller increments. We will also be working on a recurring payment system that will help facilitate this.
WHY DOESN’T THE PUBLIC DOLLAR COVER THE COST FOR MY STUDENT’S EDUCATION?
As a public charter school, SPA operates on the same funding system that any public district school does. It is widely accepted that our public school system is underfunded in general, but when you try to bring the program to another level and integrate a robust arts curriculum, the cost just simply surpasses the revenue. This is especially true for a small, start-up school.
IS MY SPA ARTS ANNUAL FUND DONATION TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
All donations made to the SPA Arts Annual Fund campaign are completely tax deductible. You will receive a letter of thanks that includes our federal tax identification number for your records. In case you misplace it, our number is 47-1506069.
I AM NOT IN A POSITION TO DONATE A LOT; DOES MY DONATION REALLY IMPACT THE SCHOOL?
We are extremely grateful and reliant on any major donor gifts, but no donation is too small. The gifts add up very quickly. It is most important that we achieve that 100% participation mark. This can assist in unlocking additional funds from grant makers and corporations (we have a potential offer already from a large grant maker who is considering a matching grant based on what our families can raise). More than anything, your participation is a valuable endorsement of the school and will inspire others to join in the cause.
CAN ANYONE DONATE TO THE SPA ARTS ANNUAL FUND?
Yes! While we are starting with our SPA families, we will be doing outreach in the broader community to solicit gifts from local businesses and charities. We would encourage you to include your extended family, friends, neighbors, and professional relationships in your efforts to add to our campaign. Also, many companies provide matching donation opportunities – please ask your employer about this.
Every gift is meaningful – please join us and give today.
Thank you for your support of the SPA Arts Annual Fund!