An ARTS project in Kimball Park. Courtesy of the organization.

The Rotary Club of San Diego Foundation, in cooperation with San Diego Rotary, the fourth largest Rotary Club in the world, announced Saturday its award of $50,000 in grants to two arts organization.

A Reason To Survive (ARTS) and David’s Harp Foundation will receive $25,000 to support their programs.
“Our club’s theme for this year highlights the positive and vital role arts play in a well-rounded education,” said Suzy Spafford, president of San Diego Rotary. “Unfortunately, for many students, budget cuts curtailed many of these programs. Through the issuance of our grants, we aim to fund the most effective arts education projects in school, after school, and out of school to enrich young people’s lives. Our members’ generous support of this important endeavor made this happen!”
San Diego Rotary called for proposals in October and received 40 qualified applications. A regimented selection process followed with the final two selected and approved by the club and foundation in January.
ARTS is a creative youth development organization located in National City. ARTS’ mission is to lift young people to become confidence, compassionate, and courageous community builders through the transformative power of creativity. At the 20,000-square-feet ARTS Center on Kimball Park, the organization offers high-quality creative arts experiences to youth ages 5-18, through its “ARTS After School” programs and “Family + Me” workshops.
Beyond its walls, ARTS makes the connection between creativity and community through its “Community ARTS” program, where young people work alongside partners and volunteers to design and build the future of their city. Just as important as the skill development of young artists is their social-emotional well-being.
The emerging “Community of Care” network that ARTS is building is an invitation for community health organizations and public agencies to collaborate with ARTS to ensure these young people gain access to crucial support services in areas like nutrition, stress management, and mental and behavioral health.
“We’ll use the funds toward our ‘Design Challenge’ internship program where students from the Sweetwater Union High School District spend three months working to address community issues, such as health access, food insecurity and age-friendly neighborhoods, be designing and realizing creative solutions,” said James Halliday, executive director of ARTS. “This grant will make a huge difference in the lives of young people seeking creative ways to improve their lives, get involved in their communities, and discover opportunities and careers in the regional creative economy. We’re grateful for San Diego Rotary’s support!”
David’s Harp Foundation serves to inspire, educate and empower at-risk and homeless youth to achieve academic success through music education, sound engineering and multimedia production. High school-aged foster children, juvenile offenders and homeless kids can shape their passion into art under the guidance of the organization’s instructors.
“The monies will sponsor two classes for an entire year and cover director program costs, including instructor hourly wage and overhead,” said Brandon Steppe, executive director of David’s Harp Foundation. “This would not happen without San Diego Rotary’s generous contributions. We’re honored to be one of the recipients!”
More information about the Rotary Club of San Diego Foundation is available at
–San Diego Rotary