Annual Report 2017

Enhancing the educational opportunities for homeless children from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

25 Years Strong

A message from our Executive Director

When Agnes Stevens founded School on Wheels, she never dreamt it would be needed more than ever 25 years later. The changes and increases we have seen in child homelessness are astonishing. Economic forces, lack of affordable housing, wage stagnation, shortage of affordable child care have led to homelessness becoming an elemental part of child and family poverty. Children are under assault today. From rifles and guns. From hunger and abuse. From poverty and homelessness. Children's health and education have become low priorities in this country and homeless kids are at the bottom of that priority list. But not for me and not for you.

Because of you, thousands of children last year had someone in their lives they could trust, someone who was there for them consistently every week to help them learn, listen to them, to give them hope. We are living in troubling times. There is great uncertainty and fear, especially in communities of color who make up the majority of our students and their families. But we cannot let hatred, fear and despair win. Let us empower love, stand together with our youth and let them know that there is possibility and hope.

Achieving a dream and building a future, especially for homeless students, can't be done alone. That's where you come in. In 2017, our 2,029 valiant volunteers spent over 100,000 hours tutoring 3,370 homeless kids. We distributed over 5,000 brand new backpacks, school supplies, uniforms and bus tokens. We developed new learning programs, improved volunteer training and created new partnerships - all with the goal of creating a stronger and more hopeful future for our students.

Looking forward, our 2018 – 2020 strategic plan builds on what we have accomplished during the past three years. We will reach more homeless students and volunteers — both through our existing programs and new initiatives. We'll continue to enhance student outcomes and increase volunteer participation and retention. We will expand digital literacy and learning opportunities for our students and we will implement a sharper focus on literacy skills for K-3 students.

While childhood homelessness and poverty are daunting, I truly believe that when people come together around a shared belief, a shared value, a shared hope, that change, though difficult, is possible. On behalf of all of our homeless students, we send our deepest appreciation for making the impossible, possible.

With gratitude and love,

Catherine Meek,
Executive Director

"Before School on Wheels, I was a statistic. I was lost in the 13,700 homeless students in Los Angeles. But my tutor saw me as a person, a girl who had lost her home, her privacy, and wanted more than anything to go to college. My tutor saw me as a human being rather than someone that most people look away from when they pass on the street. It was thanks to School on Wheels and their team of dedicated staff and volunteers that I had this powerful and empowering experience at a time when – like so many other kids in my position – I was so very vulnerable. The fact that School on Wheels targets students who need them most with quality and care ensures that the work they do is absolutely life changing."

— Angela Marie Sanchez, Board Member
(above with Catherine)

25,000 Students Served

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles "As tutors and mentors you provide homeless students with a consistent support system during a time of great stress, and your work is a reminder that while no one can do everything to solve homelessness, everyone can do something and together we can make a difference." - Eric Garcetti,
Mayor of Los Angeles

You, our School on Wheels supporters, are a rare breed. In a time of crisis and darkness, you have stepped forward. To the growing problem of homelessness in our country, you have leaned in and chosen to be part of the solution. We are so appreciative of the level of volunteerism and financial support received at School on Wheels this past year. Your involvement and continued support enable us to reach so many families and their school-aged kids during these difficult times.

The effect of homelessness can be seen throughout Southern California. The heavy financial burden of housing along with the hurdles to developing low-income housing continues to exacerbate the problem. Unfortunately, by no fault of their own, so many kids in our communities are getting caught in this predicament. Through School on Wheels, you are helping to break this cycle by supporting their educational needs and giving our kids, and their families, so much needed help and hope. Our light is strong but small. I encourage you to renew your commitment, spread the word and know that you are more than just appreciated. You are the reason we exist and the hope for the future. To our wonderful staff, our amazing executive director and loyal board, and especially all of you, thank you for a successful 2017.

Josh Fein, President of the Board

"School on Wheels is a win-win for tutors and students. There is deep satisfaction in helping a child succeed in school while navigating a tough time. And our students flourish in an ongoing relationship with a caring adult. The experience is unique and meaningful. It is not about numbers or statistics. It is about one tutor making a real difference in the life of one homeless child, while supported by an extraordinary organization," says Laurie Levit, tutor, donor, board member since 1993.

Our Board Members

Joshua Fein, President, Chief Financial Officer

Property Management Associates, Inc.

Catherine Meek

Executive Director, School on Wheels

Steven F. Dahlberg, Treasurer

President, The Kissel Company, Inc.

Cecil L. “Chip” Murray

Prof. of Religion, University of Southern California

Clifford Neiman,

The Neiman Group Architects

Ellen Padnos

Co-Founder, Joyful Giving

Lynn M. Gardner Esq.

Retired Electric Power Executive

Angela Marie Sanchez

Program Analyst for College Success, ECMC Foundation

Christine Chambers Goodman

Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law

Susan Taylor

President, OMD Entertainment

Beong-Soo Kim

Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Kaiser Permanente

Janet Ambrosi Wertman

Development Consultant

Laurie Levit

Educational Consultant

Melissa Zuckerman

Managing Partner, Principal Communications Group

Program Results

Located in the neighborhood with the highest concentration of homelessness in the U.S., our Skid Row Learning Center offers a safe place for the area's homeless children to access support every day after school. The center is open six days a week and includes a digital learning center, academic lessons and a summer program to lessen the documented loss of learning that students suffer during long school breaks.

Tutoring Locations:

Our remarkable, dedicated and amazing volunteers went out into their communities to tutor and mentor students at over 350 locations, spanning a total of more than 2,500 square miles.

Public Libraries
Shelters (Including Emergency/
Domestic Violence/Transitional)
Group Foster Homes (13 - 18 years)
Schools and Afterschool Programs
Coffee Shops/Retail Establishments

Students tutored

Volunteers hosted

Students reached through digital learning

Online tutors


Hours of volunteer tutoring

Intergenerational matches

"The thing I love the most about the learning center is how organized everyone is, and School on Wheels is always helping us reach our goals. We get breaks, playtime, and everyone is really understanding and no one is left out."

- Skid Row Student

of parents said their child is benefiting from tutoring.


of students are more successful due to their tutor.


of parents saw more confidence in either reading or math subjects.

Milestones Achieved

Counties in California reached

New digital learning centers (pictured right)

Backpacks, school supplies, uniforms, and bus tokens distributed

Donors and partners


Skid Row Learning Center students served

Scholarships awarded

"I like that my children get to have their own tutor; it allows them to be comfortable enough to ask for help. They're consistently here every week including Saturdays. Thank you all so much."

- Parent

of students say their tutor made a positive impact in their life


Students' grades increased on average a grade and a half.

Student Ages:

The average age of a student is 9.

Elementary School (5 - 10)
Middle School (11 - 13 years)
High School (14 - 18)
In 2017 we added The Conrad R. Freund Scholarship

This scholarship was created by Karyn Freund-Pistole to carry on her father's lifetime commitment to providing affordable, accessible sports programs to children in need. Scholarships awarded included ballet, gymnastics, karate, soccer and swimming to name just a few!

25 Years of Success Stories

Josephine Bailey McLein

Skid Row Learning Center Student Follows Her Dream

"When I was 16 I travelled cross-country with my mom and sister from Indiana to LA to be to closer to family, but no one had room for us, and eventually we were homeless. We spent nights sleeping on buses and trains and finally moved into the Union Rescue Mission. That's when I found School on Wheels. The Skid Row Learning Center had internet. I could do my homework somewhere I felt safe, and the staff encouraged me to keep up with my school work. It was very difficult being homeless, but I had always wanted to study medicine and I got all the requirements for college.

In high school, the only person that knew I was homeless was the Homeless Liaison Officer, who helped me with clothing, grad night and the cost of the SATs.

I never told my friends because I was embarrassed. It was hard when I couldn't hang out after school because the shelter had a curfew. It felt like you couldn't really live your own life.

I was accepted by 12 colleges! When I moved into the dorm, it was stressful and emotional because my mom and sister were still looking for housing. I felt bad having somewhere to stay when they didn't. This school year I moved in with my mom and sister; we finally found an apartment and are really enjoying having our own place."

Josie is in her junior year at USC majoring in human biology and an inspiration to us all!

Betty Glass

Professor of Education, Pepperdine University

In 1990, Betty Glass, principal of SMASH (a K - 8 school in Santa Monica) and Agnes Stevens, substitute teacher, met and instantly bonded.

Agnes shared her dream with Betty. She was deeply moved by the number and plight of homeless students she saw; they were falling behind academically as they moved from place to place. Agnes knew from her own teaching experience that these students could succeed with the help of a one-to-one, stable tutoring relationship, and she was creating a new nonprofit based on that belief.

Betty was honored to join the first board of School on Wheels in 1993. "I was so impressed with Agnes. Her determination and perseverance were the stuff of legend." She has supported School on Wheels ever since as an adviser, volunteer tutor, fundraiser and donor. At Pepperdine University, Betty involved her student teachers, who continue to tutor at our Skid Row Learning Center weekly. "It’s not a big thing; kids just need role models to connect with and friends that truly care. Just one friend can make all the difference; finding that personal connection is so important in a child's life."

School on Wheels Give Homeless Kids a Future - August 1994

"My son in high school mentioned volunteering for you a few months ago. It's amazing how things come full circle" — Perry Palencio

Perry Palencio and Mark Sauter were two of our first volunteers. "In 1993 Perry and I had recently graduated as civil engineers and were working in downtown Los Angeles," says Mark. “Perry read about Agnes in the newspaper, gave her a call and invited me along after work. With her encouragement, we were soon tutoring one day a week at a shelter. The first kid I worked with was Robert Rhone. I have never forgotten him. Robert was such a super smart kid. Agnes believed in people. She showed it's possible for just one person to change the world for the better, one small step at a time." — Mark Sauter

Josh Lamprecht

"We were homeless for a few years when I was 12. I probably went to 5 or 6 different schools during that time. We slept in shelters and abandoned buildings, my mom even slept in her car, but she was doing the best she could. The situation was bad, but at least we were all together. I remember being cold when we had to leave the emergency shelters at 6:30 a.m., way before it was time to go to school.

I met my tutor at a shelter in Oxnard. We used a chair for a desk in the corner of the cafeteria, and I started to hand my homework in for a change! School on Wheels gave us backpacks and school supplies and signed me up for the local AYSO soccer team. My tutor came to watch all my games, and we won the league that year. My mom scraped together enough money for a place in Oregon, and my tutor gave me a Harry Potter book for the train. It took a few years to adjust to having a home, but I got my GED and went to college to train to be a mechanic. My dream is to own a car repair shop, but in the meantime, life is good. I am happy and have a full-time job and lots to look forward to." — Josh Lamprecht

Narciso King

"I was 13 and living with my family at the Salvation Army shelter in Westwood when I met my tutor, Blue Mc Donnell. Blue was my savior! I still remember all the tips and tricks she taught me. She helped me get a scholarship and a computer, and by 11th grade, I was getting A's and taking AP and honor classes. We were homeless for a long time and it was really tough. We moved from place to place, and I was always switching schools. Blue was more than just a tutor; she helped me gain confidence in who I was and in what I wanted to become. Although it's taken me a bit longer than I had planned, I am on track to finish my bachelor's in nursing. Blue and I still email and talk on the phone. Since the day we met, she has always been there for me." — Narciso King

"Blue was more than just a tutor; she helped me gain confidence in who I was and what I wanted to become."

Taree Mayfield

Represents Homeless Children on Child Jury

The World's Children's Prize (WCP) is the world's largest annual education initiative for children. The WCP program is run annually in schools worldwide, and a Child Jury consisting of children from 15 countries who have been enslaved, homeless, trafficked or child soldiers nominates three outstanding child rights advocates for the World's Children's Prize. Taree is on our front cover with some other members of the Child Jury. Agnes Stevens was nominated in 2008.

2017 Financial Results

Revenue and Support

Material Donations
Corporate Foundations
Special Events
Interest/Other Income


Program Services

For 25 years, School on Wheels has sustained strong financial stability to ensure our growth 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 our homeless students. Key highlights for 2017:

  • You helped us raise $1,965,414.
  • We spent 94 cents of every dollar donated for programs and services that help homeless kids with their education.
  • You will note that our special event category looks pretty slim. This is because we had to reschedule our annual fundraiser from November 2017 to January 2018.
  • Our material donors continue to allow us to provide backpacks, bus tokens, school supplies and uniforms to over 5,000 students.

Please find our audited financial statement and 990 form online here →

25 Years of Partners

Every year since 2000, over 200 students have been treated to the holiday party of the year at Paradise Cove Beach Café. Bob Morris, Steve Dahlberg, the County of LA's Sheriff and Fire Departments, the Highway Patrol, and the awesome crew at the Café provide wonderful food, gifts, and cheer. "It has always amazed me that a lot of the kids have never been to the beach or seen the ocean," says Bob Morris, Owner. "Everyone involved feels so much better knowing they have helped bring some joy to School on Wheels kids."

Trent Stamp CEO

"I am continually impressed with School on Wheels' intergenerational network of volunteers, who are providing stability and support to the children who need it most."

Dave Muckley Foundation Administrator

“Thank you for your continued efforts to enhance the education and welfare of students who are facing steep challenges every day. Keep up the great work!”

Wendy Wachtell President

“Education is a powerful tool that can break the cycle of poverty, and we are pleased to support School on Wheels’ efforts to provide educational opportunities and services to our most vulnerable youth. With the homeless population still on the rise, programs such as this are essential and becoming more critical every day.”

Karen Presley Vice President, Grants and Community Relations

“In its 25th year, School on Wheels is needed now more than ever. We are honored to support its powerful mission to help kids not just stay in school, but thrive under challenging circumstances.”

Mariette Sawchuk President

"School on Wheels serves homeless children, who are often invisible and forgotten. The staff and its wonderful volunteers provide opportunity, stability and hope to young people whose lives are desperate and chaotic. It is an honor to support this work."

Angel Chandler Homeless Education Program

“Throughout the years the LAUSD's Homeless Education Program has established a close partnership with School on Wheels. During the 2016-17 school year, the LAUSD has identified over 17,000 students experiencing homelessness. Together, School on Wheels and the LAUSD Homeless Education Program work collaboratively to enrich the lives of students while helping them excel as they navigate their educational journey."

Michael Hughes Director of Operations, Bible Tabernacle

"We remember Agnes Stevens and the vision that she had for School on Wheels in 1993. Agnes and her volunteers never gave up, never got discouraged and always showed love, determination and compassion in an effort to offer an increased and heightened academic reality for our children. The participation through School on Wheels has been invaluable to every family, every child and to every one of us. We will be forever grateful for our partnership."

25 Years of Friends and Support

"Homelessness stole my humanity. I had neither a literal or figurative foundation for which to understand I was, in fact, a human being. It was with this sense of quiet panic and pain I walked with my mom along Skid Row. Among the scary, mistreated and abandoned buildings and shiny syringes, I stumbled upon School on Wheels. I was eight years old. Years later, I returned again, Harvard degree in hand. Agnes's creation lived on, her legacy continues. I stood among the new staff and new children and saw a version of my young self. I spoke with the staff, the donors, those who were in the background all those years ago. I'm thriving now and happy to see this organization continue to provide support to those in need."

-Khadijah Williams
Former Student

Thank you to all our wonderful $1 - $999 donors too numerous to mention here.

A complete listing of our donors can be viewed on our website here →

Thank you to all our wonderful donors.

Gifts of $100,000+

  • Dora F. Levit Fund for People
  • The Eisner Foundation, Inc.
  • Windsong Trust

Gifts of $75,000+

  • Anonymous
  • The Ahmanson Foundation
  • Universal Studios Hollywood's Discover A Star Foundation

Gifts of $50,000+

  • BLT Enterprises
  • Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation

Gifts of $30,000+

  • CBS EcoMedia Inc.
  • Josh Fein & MaryJo Lauterio
  • Margaret M. Bloomfield Family Foundation
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea
  • The Sharon D. Lund Foundation

Gifts of $20,000+

  • The David Salomon Charitable Fund
  • ECMC Foundation
  • Jackson & Jasmine George Joseph Drown Foundation
  • The Kenneth T. & Eileen L. Norris Foundation
  • The Louis & Harold Price Founda-tion, Inc.
  • Sawchuk Family Foundation Stephanie & Steve Dahlberg
  • The Rose Hills Foundation
  • Women in Institutional Investments Network

Gifts of $10,000+

  • Bowen H. & Janice Arthur McCoy Charitable Foundation
  • Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation
  • Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc.
  • Devan & Tara Marshall
  • Dwight Stuart Youth Fund
  • Edward A. & Ai O. Shay Family Foundation
  • Frederick R. Weisman Philanthropic Foundation
  • Jeffrey Neu
  • The Kim & Harold Louie Family Foundation
  • Lynn Gardner & Paul Multari
  • Mitchell Leib
  • The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California
  • Nick Temple
  • Target Los Angeles
  • WASH Multifamily Laundry Systems, LLC
  • Wasserman Foundation

Gifts of $5,000+

  • Annapurna Pictures
  • The Allstate Foundation
  • Beong-Soo Kim & Bonnie Wongtrakool
  • BLAZOR Group
  • Catherine Meek & Al Earle
  • Comerica Bank
  • Elaine Lasnik-Broida & Michael Broida
  • Ellen & Ben Padnos
  • Golden State Foods Foundation
  • The Herman Foundation
  • InSync Plus
  • J.K. Barker Foundation
  • James & Cheryl Furlan
  • Josephine S. Gumbiner Foundation
  • Karyn Freund-Pistole & Daniel Pistole
  • Liberty Hill Foundation
  • The Looker Foundation
  • Melissa Zukerman & Benjamin Goldfarb
  • Nathan Fielder/Nathan for You
  • The Neiman Group Architects
  • Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
  • Property Management Associates, Inc.
  • Rachel Kropa
  • S & Lori Miller
  • SAGE Publications, Inc.
  • Scott Family Foundation, Inc.
  • Sempra Energy Foundation
  • Shrontz Family Foundation
  • Skip Paul
  • St. Bernardine Of Siena Church
  • Wendy E. Pearson
  • XL Catlin

Gifts of $2,000+

  • Anonymous
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Amgen Foundation
  • Andrew Glanzman
  • Ares Operations, LLC
  • Barton Shroyer
  • Brigid O'Connor & Kevin Vollmer
  • California Community Foundation
  • Carl E. Wynn Foundation
  • Charlotte Hughes & Christopher Combs
  • Citizens Business Bank
  • Dorothy Patapoff
  • Eddie Xue
  • Hani Saleh-Had
  • Harry & Jan Sweere Foundation
  • Hulu, LLC
  • Jennie & Erik Linthorst
  • John & Carolyn Cree Marshall
  • Joseph Farnan
  • Karl & Laura Slovin
  • Kristiana Wilson
  • Lark Ellen Lions Charities
  • Lois & Stephen Baar
  • M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
  • Mary Rafferty
  • Max Ho
  • Mount Cross Lutheran Church
  • Nancy & Mike Wiggins
  • Nathanael Parkhill
  • Robert A. Waller Foundation
  • Santa Monica Bay Woman's Club, Inc.
  • Sheeva Banton
  • St. Aidan's Episcopal Church
  • Steven Mynsberge
  • Sunair Children's Foundation
  • Sydney & B.D. Bennett
  • Titan Management, LLC
  • United Way Of The Bay Area
  • University Church of Christ
  • Vance Maddocks
  • Wells Fargo
  • Western Asset Management

Gifts of $1,000+

  • Adrienne Pabst
  • Andre & Mina Zimmerman
  • Ann Buxbaum
  • Arianne Neumark
  • Audrey Hse
  • Barbara Graper
  • Barry Waite
  • Bart Wheeler
  • Benjamin Wong
  • Bill & Raissa Choi
  • Brendan O'Donnell
  • Bridget & Frederick Hartmann
  • Bright Funds Foundation
  • Joann & Stan Benson
  • Josh Cooper
  • Joshua Ritti
  • Kathy Salazar
  • Kimley-Horn Foundation
  • Leah Levit
  • Makoff Family Foundation
  • Mary Auth
  • Matthew Solari
  • Michael Earnhardt
  • Michael Rittersbacher
  • Montobbio Benson Gift Fund
  • Morgan & Helen Chu
  • The Morty Frank Memorial Fund National Charity League, Inc. Irvine Chapter
  • North Hollywood Church of Religious Science
  • Odyssey Charter School
  • Peter Iwers
  • Primex International Trading Corp.
  • Radhika Kakkar
  • Richard Kratt
  • Robert Finucane
  • Rockwell & Marna Schnabel
  • Sebastian Mc Call
  • Shiao-Yang Chen
  • Star Le
  • Steven Thomas
  • Taylor Kirk
  • Terry & Karen Harstad
  • Thomas Molloy
  • Timothy & Rachel White United Methodist Church Of Westlake Village
  • Victor Lebedovych
  • Victor Shaburov
  • Virginia Tanawong
  • Yvonne Derse
  • Bruce & Nancy Newberg
  • Cathie Alter
  • Charity Cars, Inc.
  • Charles Brewer Fiscus Foundation
  • Chris & Marc Goodman
  • Chris Wilson
  • Crispin Porter & Bogusky
  • David Lawrence Gray Architects
  • David Liberman
  • David Miner
  • David Schneiderman
  • Donna Komm
  • Dun Foundation
  • Dwight Liu
  • Edward Johnson
  • Elaine Hahn
  • Elizabeth Miller
  • Ellie Kanner
  • Fausto Mares-Davila
  • Frank Marshall
  • Gap Foundation
  • General Dynamics Mission Systems
  • Gerard Tellis
  • GlobalGiving Foundation Inc. Homayoun Kandari
  • Ifeyinwa Olie
  • James Martin
  • Janet Ambrosi Wertman & Adlai Wertman
  • Jeff Appel
  • Jim Collins

Major Material Donors

  • Artlala
  • Beverly Seger
  • Cavalia
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Curtis School
  • Digital Media Management
  • FAME Renaissance Corporation
  • Four Threads
  • Frances Martinez
  • Gilead
  • Glendale Community College - Center For Student Involvement
  • Hans-Dieter Kopal
  • Hollenbeck Middle School
  • Hulu
  • Insperity
  • Laura Farrand
  • Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy
  • Lindsay Streufert
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
  • Micro Kickboard
  • Morrison & Foerster, LLP
  • Nadine Macaluso
  • Nikki Kendall
  • Palisades Cares
  • Paradise Cove Beach Café Patagonia
  • Q95.10
  • Ross Currens
  • SAGE Publications, Inc.
  • Sally Galvin
  • Sares-Regis Group
  • STAPLES Center Foundation
  • Temple Israel
  • Temple Judea
  • The Reo Bakpak Company
  • The Young & The Restless
  • Werkit Photo Booth

A complete listing of our donors can be viewed on our website here →