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Since 1993, the mission of School on Wheels has never wavered: to enhance educational opportunities for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade who are experiencing homelessness. Our goal is to shrink the gaps in their learning and provide them with the highest level of education possible. Our program serves as a consistent support system for our students during a time of great stress and fear.

When schools closed, our students lost the single greatest source of stability in their lives. With its structure and normalcy (as well as food and caring adults), school was a respite from the trauma of homelessness. The largest school district in the nation, LAUSD, reported that more than 13,000 middle and high school students consistently disengaged from their online classes in fall 2020, with an additional 56,000 who did not actively participate on a daily basis. They also found that two in three students are falling behind in both literacy and math. These are the children we serve.

A Message from Our Executive Director Charles Evans

A Message from Our Board President Josh Fein

This past year has been a unique and trying time for our students and their families. Students experiencing homelessness were severely affected by the shutdown of communities, the closure of schools, and the switch to an educational system that could only be accessed digitally. We quickly pivoted to enroll students in classes, deliver free digital devices, and establish outdoor classrooms. We worked with various partners to deliver Wi-Fi hotspot locations to the many in need—facilitating student access to both classrooms and tutors. In 2020 we implemented 100% online tutoring, making it possible for us to continue our important mission.

Thank you to our tireless staff who adapted their programs and working circumstances overnight. Thank you to our wonderful and committed tutors who persevered in the face of a pandemic and continued to support the needs of their students.

Most of all, thank you to our generous donors who recognized the challenging circumstances our students are facing and stepped up with tremendous support in 2020.

As we imagine a post-pandemic world, let us not go back to normal. Rather, let us work together to build a future that is equitable, inclusive, and just; where every one of our unhoused students has equal access to technology; and, where they can participate in and gain the benefits of this new online educational world.

Catherine Meek, Executive Advisor and Board MembeR

   A Year of Impact

We have always called our tutors the ‘wheels’ of our bus because for the last 28 years they have gone to where our kids are, meeting them in libraries, after-school clubs, shelters, group foster homes, and school sites. But last year we tutored children in over 2,500 square miles of Southern California—remotely!

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Our Students

The pandemic’s effects on our students’ education is expected to be staggering. Children experiencing homelessness have always been among the most invisible and neglected individuals in our nation, and COVID-19 has significantly damaged their prospects. It has also intensified the huge digital divide between rich and poor, especially among Black and Latinx families, exacerbating education inequalities that have existed for decades.

One study found that 40% of African-American students and 30% of Hispanic students in K-12 schools in the U.S. received no online instruction during school shutdowns. These gaps in access to online education have significantly increased learning loss among unhoused children. Some research studies predict students, on average, will lose nine months of math learning by the end of the school year. However, students of color—the majority of School on Wheels students—will be 11 months to 12 months behind.

With your support, School on Wheels is doing its part to ensure that racial and income-based disparities in access to online learning are not a permanent feature of the K-12 landscape.

We have been stretched to the maximum this year and your kindness and generosity are so very very appreciated. Thank you, School on Wheels for providing support during the year for my son.

Brianna, parent

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Where Our Students Live

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The time your volunteers spend teaching and mentoring reminds our children that although they don’t have a house, they have a home. Thank you School on Wheels for touching our lives.

Richard Renteria, VOA Emergency Shelter

Who Our Students Are

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My family and I are so grateful for all you have done for us. You not only motivated me to perform well in school, but you have also been a great friend who cares about the wellness of our family. You have been extremely patient with me and a great role model to me. Now, thanks to you I not only have a chance to go to college, I have eight colleges to choose from!

Hernan to his tutor Tulope (Tee)

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The ABC Literacy Program is designed to give students in kindergarten through fourth grade a strong foundation in literacy and help them develop a love of reading.

Literacy in young students is the single most significant predictor of future success—academic, emotional, and behavioral—and yet children experiencing homelessness almost always miss this milestone (as do almost 80% of low-income students). One out of every three children who are not reading proficiently by 3rd grade will not graduate from high school. Your support is helping to change this statistic!

My family is facing very hard times not just with COVID but also for a separation due to domestic violence. I can’t even use words enough to explain how your help has changed our lives. I will always be grateful to you.

Nicole, parent

The goal of our Digital Learning Initiative is to bridge the digital divide and provide equitable access for our students who would not have access otherwise.

In addition to distributing laptops and hot spots to students, we are training our volunteer tutors in cutting-edge distance learning techniques and in e-skills that they can share with their students.

My son was so happy to receive his computer. It is his and only his. School has been so difficult online. When my son meets his tutor, that one-on-one time gives him the opportunity to ask questions and get the answers straight away.

Ramon, Parent

Our Social and Emotional Learning Program is designed to help students process what they are feeling in a safe space, teaching them to pause, breathe, and gauge their feelings before responding to an emotional situation.

Research shows that attention to students’ holistic learning can address inequities and promote high-quality educational opportunities and outcomes for all children.

Thank you for everything. Thank you for the hard work and all the help with our homework. We just want to say that you are awesome!

Alaysia and Taraji to their tutor Marlene

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There is one main thing that has kept me volunteering for almost eight years now: I love seeing the look on a student’s face when they finally understand the thing they have been struggling with.

Nima Kharrazi, volunteer tutor

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For over 28 years, School on Wheels has sustained strong financial stability that supports our students in the best possible way. Your generosity helps us provide programs and services throughout six counties in Southern California, investing in the educational lives of students experiencing homelessness.

In 2020, you helped us raise over $3.6 million, a truly amazing gift for our students. You funded our virtual supply drives so that we could safely distribute backpacks and supplies to our students. You shared our students’ stories with your family, friends, and coworkers. You empathized with our families as you dealt with some of the same struggles they faced due to lockdown and online learning. You even gave thousands of gift cards so that families and children could enjoy a respite from the pandemic during the holidays.

We were honored to have support from foundations large and small, corporations, and colleges, as well as individual donors from $20 to $200,000. 92 cents of every dollar you donated was used to improve and expand our programs. We are grateful to be supported by so many long-time donors, new friends, and supporters, and by all our partners who believe in our mission and are invested in our students.

Revenue & Support

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Expenses

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We are filled with gratitude for our long-time loyal friends and for our brand new friends in 2020.
Thank you all for your encouragement and inspiration.

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At the start of lockdown, as I was setting up technology for my kid’s online school, I thought about School on Wheels and their students. As a supporter and donor, I wondered how the students were coping, knowing they probably had no devices or internet access. The image of these children being stuck in a shelter or a car with no escape was just overwhelming. Thankfully, School on Wheels was already on the ground, working with unhoused families to help support these incredible kids and were ready to take action.

Janvi Patel, Donor

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We partner with over 400 sites across Southern California, including shelters, after-school programs, and other nonprofits. New partners for 2020 included Kids First of SoCal, The Los Angeles Connectivity Trust, the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office, and The California Department of Education. The majority of our tutoring program was online last year but we did pilot a program with several of our partners to provide in-person tutoring to some of our most vulnerable students. You can read about that pilot program in the LA Times here.

It is a blessing to have School on Wheels help with school. I still keep in touch with my very first tutor who I met when I was 11. I like that they help the community and kids. They have helped me and my brother and sister so much. If you’re struggling in a subject, like I was with math, they really help. I am still not that good at math but I understand it better now.

Priscilla, Student, Age 14

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Shelter staff picking up backpacks for their residents
Shelter staff picking up backpacks for their residents
School on Wheels staff preparing to deliver devices to students
School on Wheels staff preparing to deliver devices to students
Shelter staff receive STEM kits
Shelter staff receive STEM kits
Students receive backpacks
Students receive backpacks
Charles Evans and Rima Fakih Slaiby
Charles Evans and Rima Fakih Slaiby
Alumni Josie's graduation
Alumni Josie's graduation
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Students receiving their very own laptops and tablets

I believe education is of the utmost importance and something we can carry with us, no matter what life may throw at us.

Tazin Yunis, Volunteer Tutor

Your donations during 2020 allowed us to deepen our impact and provide more students not only with a positive role model and mentor but also with the tools they need to succeed—laptops and Chromebooks have replaced backpacks; headsets and whiteboards have replaced pens and pencils! But our dedication and commitment to our students remain the same and your support and encouragement inspire us to help our students succeed in their number one job as a child—going to school and learning.

Special thanks to our major foundation partners:

Annenberg Foundation
Bluebird Legacy, Inc
California Community Foundation
Diane and Dorothy Brooks Foundation
Dora F. Levit Fund for People
The Edward A. and Ai O. Shay Family Foundation
The Eisner Foundation Inc.
GlobalGiving Foundation Inc.

The Green Foundation
The Kenneth T. & Eileen L. Norris Foundation
S. Mark Taper Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
The Sharon D. Lund Foundation
The Theodore J. Forstmann Charitable Trust
Windsong Trust

The Annenberg Foundation is proud to support students served by School on Wheels. The organization was able to pivot quickly to distance learning in 2020 in order to bring tutoring, mentoring, and caring to some of our most under-resourced children, helping them understand how critical education is to their future success.

Annenberg Foundation

Donor List

Gifts of $400,000+

  • Diane and Dorothy Brooks Foundation
  • The Theodore J. Forstmann Charitable Trust

Gifts of $200,000+

  • John MacFarlane

Gifts of $100,000+

  • The Eisner Foundation Inc.
  • GlobalGiving Foundation Inc.
  • S. Mark Taper Foundation
  • Windsong Trust

Gifts of $75,000+

  • Annenberg Foundation

Gifts of $50,000+

  • BLT Enterprises
  • Dora F. Levit Fund for People
  • The Edward A. and Ai O. Shay Family Foundation
  • The Green Foundation
  • The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation

Gifts of $30,000+

  • Bluebird Legacy, Inc
  • California Community Foundation
  • The Kenneth T. & Eileen L. Norris Foundation
  • Kissel Company Inc.
  • Norman Schiele and Renee Longan
  • The Sharon D. Lund Foundation

Gifts of $20,000+

  • Aristotle Capital Management, LLC
  • Catherine and Jarrod Phillips
  • Community Promise
  • Dwight Stuart Youth Fund
  • The Genevieve & Carlo Cabanilla Fund
  • Margaret M. Bloomfield Family Foundation
  • Santa Monica Westside Legacy Fund for Women and Girls
  • Sawchuk Family Foundation
  • Sherwood Family Foundation
  • Steinmetz Foundation
  • Sunair Children's Foundation
  • Universal Studios Hollywood's Discover A Star Foundation
  • The Walt Disney Company Foundation
  • Wassim Slaiby and Rima Fakih Slaiby

Gifts of $10,000+

  • Anonymous
  • ABAR Foundation
  • Amazon Smile Foundation
  • Bowen H. & Janice Arthur McCoy Charitable Foundation
  • Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation
  • Crail-Johnson Foundation
  • Ellen and Ben Padnos
  • Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation
  • J.K. Barker Foundation
  • Jackson and Jasmine George
  • Janvi Patel and Omar Al-Midani
  • Jimmy Hutcheson
  • Joe McDevitt
  • Josh Fein and MaryJo Lauterio
  • Levi Strauss
  • The Louis & Harold Price Foundation, Inc.
  • Michal and Ken Salkin
  • Property Management Associates, Inc.
  • PureLife Dental
  • Seattle-Sonoran Foundation
  • Semler Brossy Consulting Group
  • The Sylvain and Marjorie Heumann Family Foundation
  • USC Good Neighbors Campaign
  • William C. Bannerman Foundation

Gifts of $5,000+

  • A.C. Israel Foundation, Inc.
  • Apple Inc.
  • AT&T Services, Inc.
  • Beong-Soo Kim and Bonnie Wongtrakool
  • Carl E. Wynn Foundation
  • Catherine Meek and Al Earle
  • Charlotte Hughes and Christopher Combs
  • Chris Pernin
  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Deacon Charitable Foundation
  • Elizabeth Lynn Foundation
  • Freudenberg Medical
  • GHJ Foundation
  • Guy Oseary
  • The Harper / Harpoothian Family Fund
  • The Herman Foundation
  • Impact Club - Virtual Event Chapter
  • James and Cheryl Furlan
    The James Irvine Foundation
    James Moseley
    Jamie Dooner
    Joanne Bloomfield Hunter and Jim Hunter
    The Kim and Harold Louie Family Foundation
    Larissa Chapin
    Lark Ellen Lions Charities
    The Looker Foundation
    Megan Edmonds
    Melvin Morris
    Michelle Paradise
    Modern Parking, Inc.
    Mona Srivastava
    Nathan Fielder
    The Neiman Group Architects
  • O'Melveny & Myers LLP
  • Pasadena Host Lions Club
    The Pipkin Family Foundation
    Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
    The Robert and Rochelle Light Foundation
    S.C. Miller
    Santa Monica Bay Woman's Club, Inc.
    Scott Family Foundation, Inc.
    Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton
    Southern California Edison
    Spotify USA, Inc.
    Sydney Feinberg
    Weaver and Tidwell Private Foundation
    Whynter LLC

Gifts of $2,000+

  • The Adam Frand Foundation
    Andre and Mina Zimmerman
    Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.
    AZ Bus Sales
    Bel Air Internet
    Brigid O'Connor
    Bron Studios
    The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation
    Carol Hannah
    Catherine Chambers
    Christopher Pelham
    City National Bank
    Command Entertainment Group
    Craig Murray
  • Evelyn Robbrecht
  • Frances Regalado
  • Harbani Bawa
    Joann and Stan Benson
    Karl and Laura Slovin
    Loni and Jeff Rush Family Foundation
    Martingale and Company
    Max Ho
    Melissa Zukerman and Benjamin Goldfarb
    Michael Penjoyan
    Nancy and Mike Wiggins
    Nathanael Parkhill
    Omar Al-joulani
    Paper Kite Productions
    Renee Mancuso
  • Richard Bernard and Kim Sandnes
  • The Rosenthal Family Foundation
    Sarah McMullan
    Simone Maudhui
    Wescom Foundation
    Skip Paul
    Steven and Denise Yeh
    Steven Thomas
    Titan Investments, LLC
    Tracy Salisbury
    University Church of Christ
    Whole Foods Market
    Yvonne Derse

Gifts of $1,000+

  • Alan Grossbard
    Alex and Kathy Barloewen
    Amgen Foundation
    Andrew Chae
    Ankur Mehta
    Annapurna Pictures
    Anthony Bucher
    Arianne Neumark
    Ash Pournouri
    Barbara Graper
    Barbara Kreitzer
    Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc.
    Bradley Butwin
    Brandon Lopez
    Brendan O'Donnell
    The Chapman Family Foundation
    Charles Brewer Fiscus Foundation
    Chip and Sharyn Moore
    Chris DiVittorio
    Chris Wilson
    Christina Noren
    Covington Capital Management
    Craig Carlson
    Darius Jennings
    David Hajnal
    David Miner
    Denis Goss
    Denise Rosier
    Derek Stadie
    Donna Holloran
    Dun Foundation
    Easy Breathe
    Elaine Lasnik-Broida and Michael Broida
    Ellen and Donald Raab
  • Ellia Thompson
    Elyse Stelford
  • Emma and Amy Tracewell
    Ervin Cohen & Jessup, LLP
  • Gary Lisenbee
    George Graham
    George Tracewell
    Gina Cirone
    Google Inc
    Guy Moot
    The Howard Group
    JK Group, Inc.
    Jackie Hollander
    Janet Ambrosi Wertman and Adlai Wertman
    Janet Garrison
    Jay Farbstein
    Jennifer Symington
    Jeremy Poter
    Joan Bevan
    John And Carolyn Cree Marshall
    Jordan Benudiz
    Joseph Daverin
    Joshua Meyer
    Julia Phelan
    Justin Carr Wants World Peace Foundation
    Karen and Jim Houghton
    LA Kids Foundation
    Lillian Lim
    Lynn Middleton
    Madame Munchie
    Makoff Family Foundation
    Mary Auth
    Matthew Garner
    McDonalds Southern California
  • Michael Doner
    Michael J Rapino
    Michele Nadelman
    Michelle Tsay
  • Miller Family Foundation
    Million Dollar Baby Co.
    Morgan Chu
    Nanci Hibschman
    Nancy Neal
    Netflix
    Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
    Omar Mather
    Pat Wastal
    Paul Getto and Tiana Murillo
    Paul J DiRado and Kristine M Nowak
    Rebecca Rowland
    Renee Linton
    Rita Ohan
    Robert Maitino
    Roji Amir
    Ronald Guttman
    Social Justice Fund of Ventura County
    Stacey Snider
    Steve Borowski
    Steven Toscher
    Suharsh Sivakumar
    Suzanne Wilson
    Taryn O'Neil
    Terry and Karen Harstad
    Thomas Molloy and Alan Schimpff
    Tracy Choy
    Tyler Vernon
    Vicki Williams
    Virginia Tanawong
    WE Communications
    Wendy E. Pearson
    Will Tsui
    Wonderful Giving

Material Donations

Material donors provide the tools our kids need to learn and grow. In addition to backpacks, school supplies, and laptops, our students were gifted so many things they needed: earbuds, headsets, hot spots, robotics equipment, handmade knitted hats, snack boxes, face masks, hand sanitizer, and Halloween costumes, to name a few!

Major Material Donations

  • Allison Latham
    Amazon Smile Foundation
    Amy Doran
    Annie Wang
    Anonymous
    Arebesk Inc.
    Assistance League of Los Angeles
    AT&T Services, Inc.
    Beverly Seger
    The Biddy Mason Foundation
    Boss Consulting INC
  • The Broad Museum
    Bunny James Boxes LLC
    California Science Center
    Chris Ruoff
  • Gregory Castro
    Hana Salim
    Harvard Westlake Middle School
    Invitational Books
    Janvi Patel and Omar Al-Midani
  • Costco Wholesale
    Danielle Dauenhauer
    David Dowdey
    Erin Leonard
    Frances Martinez
    Freudenberg Medical
    Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Troop 981
  • Justine Siegal
    Karen Sperling
    La Canada Unified School District
  • LA Dodgers Foundation
    Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
    Maria Sterk
    Michal, Ken, Daniel, & Margalit Salkin
    Microsoft Corporation
    Nancy Knox
    Office of LA City Councilmember David Ryu
    One Cal Plaza
    SAGE Publications, Inc.
    Shout! Factory
    Spin Master
    Suellen Wagner
    Temple Judea

School on Wheels supplies technical support, supplies, tutoring, and more, helping children stay in school and continue to grow. Without support, these kids cannot thrive.

The future is in our children.

Allison Janney, Actor

Our Board

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Josh Fein,
President

Chief Financial Officer,
Property Management Associates, Inc.

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Jarrod Phillips,
Treasurer

Chief Accounting Officer,
Ares Management

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Clifford Neiman,
Secretary

Principal,
The Neiman Group Architects

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Prof. Christine C. Goodman

Pepperdine University School of Law

March 25, 2010 Los Angeles, CAJackson George PortraitPhoto: Alex J. Berliner Š Berliner Studio/BEImages

Jackson George

Senior Vice President, Disney Studios

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Steven Dahlberg

President,
The Kissel Company, Inc.

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Beong-Soo Kim

Senior Vice President and General Counsel,
University of Southern California

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Laurie Levit

Educational Consultant

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Catherine Meek

Executive Advisor,
School on Wheels

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Cecil L. Murray

Professor of Religion,
Tanzy Chair in Christian Ethics, USC

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Ellen Padnos

Co-Founder,
Joyful Giving

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Angela M. Sanchez

Program Analyst for College Success,
ECMC Foundation

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Lynn Stone

Journalist

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Janet A. Wertman

Development Consultant

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Melissa Zukerman

Managing Partner,
Principal Communications Group

I’m so inspired by these kids, their resilience and desire to learn, I’m surrounded by people passionate about making a difference in the world. It helps keep things in perspective for me and my family about what’s really important.

Lynn Stone, Board Member