FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2018
David Heiman, Board Chair
Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation
Tamara Alvarado Named Executive Director for the Shortino Family Foundation
Long-time leader for the School of Arts and Culture at MHP in East San José takes on new role in local philanthropy, education, and youth
San José, Calif. – Long-time arts education leader Tamara Alvarado has been appointed by the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation to become its new Executive Director. She succeeds Elaine Curran, the Foundation’s founding Executive Director, who is retiring in July.
Alvarado has been Executive Director for the School of Arts and Culture at MHP in East San José since it was started in 2011.
“I’m delighted that Tamara will join us at the Foundation to follow the great work done by Elaine Curran, who has been critical to growing our positive impact for the children in our community,” said David Heiman, chair of the Shortino Foundation board of trustees. “Tamara’s passion, commitment, and leadership so fully seen at the School of Arts and Culture make her an excellent fit for our mission.”
The Shortino Family Foundation invests in programs and services consistent with its mission to act as a catalyst to support at-risk youth and their families through education, healthy lifestyles, and the arts. The Foundation focuses its funding on Santa Clara County organizations that strengthen children’s educational achievement, creating pathways for underserved students to achieve their educational and career goals and contribute to our region’s vibrant economy.
“Although I will certainly miss the School and the people who have enriched the East Side community, the Foundation’s mission for education and children is also close to my heart,” said Alvarado. “I am looking forward to working with the Shortino Foundation and continuing to invest in the futures of our children and their families who need the most help.”
Foundation founder Leo Shortino, the son of Italian immigrants, grew up during the depression where he learned firsthand about poverty, hard work, and the importance of a good education. As an educator and accomplished musician, he also saw the arts as a critical way to enrich student’s education.
Today the Foundation has assets of $50 million and an annual grantmaking budget of approximately $2.4 million. It currently awards grants to approximately 70 high-impact programs and services that help ensure children have the skills and support to grow into self-sufficient adults.
“We look for programs that can serve as models for successful partnerships with education agencies and other nonprofit organizations so that we can achieve the greatest impact of public and philanthropic funds to serve children and their families,” said Heiman. “Tamara’s deep knowledge of the people of this community, their challenges, and the power of education and collaboration will serve our mission well.”
During Alvarado’s leadership at the School of Arts and Culture, the School and the Mexican Heritage Plaza earned a positive reputation for their commitment to their East San José communities and the excellence of their programs. The School has developed a strong financial position and enjoys the committed support of many multi-year funders. It recently completed a long-term strategic plan to carry out its vision for enriching the arts and culture of the people of San José
Prior to her service at the School, Alvarado was director of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute at 1stAct Silicon Valleybefore it became a program at the School of Arts and Culture, and was Executive Director of MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana) in San José. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature from Stanford University.
About the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation
Established in 1990, the Foundation’s mission is to act as a catalyst to enhance the quality of life in Santa Clara County through charitable giving to support at-risk kindergarten -12th grade youth and their families through education and the arts. The most vulnerable youth receive encouragement and opportunities resulting in healthy, well-educated citizens with high self-esteem and personal and professional goals, who successfully contribute to our local community and economy.
The Foundation addresses barriers to educational achievement for at-risk youth, such as limited English language skills and poverty, in order to close the persistent achievement gap and creating economic opportunity. It pursues innovative partnerships that address these barriers and enhance school curricula to meet the social and emotional needs of students and families so that they can achieve their educational goals. The Foundation also supports access to the arts that enhance a child’s development, foster academic achievement, and help motivate them to learn, particularly among low-income and other at-risk students. For more information, go to www.shortino.org.
About the School of Arts and Culture
Guided by an extensive community planning process designed to re-imagine the future of the Mexican Heritage Plaza in East San José, the School of Arts and Culture at MHP was created, embraced by the community, and adopted by the City of San José in 2011. The School has become a vibrant place of learning, culture, and community that nurtures the soul and brings joy, skill building, and a sense of belonging to children, families, and all who participate.
The School offers afterschool sessions and summer sessions in visual and performing arts, and it provides a multicultural and intercultural venue for community events and programs that embrace all cultures, while exploring the artistic traditions, cultural history, and contemporary creative expression of Mexican Arts. All school sessions culminate in a student performance/exhibition, coordinated by School faculty and staff and attended by family and community members. For more information go to http://schoolofartsandculture.org.