Photo By: Courtesy of CSMA
Colette Rodgers, Community School of Music and Arts development director, raises funds for the program.
Colette Rodgers has proven repeatedly that hard work, determination and passion can realize hard-to-reach goals. The Champaign, Ill., native raised her two younger brothers on her own, but that challenge did not deter her from acceptance into Harvard and Stanford universities, where she majored in civil engineering.
Rodgers’ new challenge is raising money for the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View. The nonprofit organization’s development director since September, Rodgers keeps busy retaining the support of the school’s current donors while soliciting contributions from new ones.
“Any given day, we have two or three grants due,” she said. “There’s a lot of meetings, research and strategizing.”
Founded in 1968, the school offers a wide range of arts education, reaching more than 40,000 people of all ages annually. The school offers lessons, classes, camps and workshops in music, visual and new media arts, as well as free concerts, exhibitions and special cultural events. School officials claim that CSMA is the region’s largest school of its kind.
Fundraising for CSMA is a demanding job, but Rodgers sees her role as contributing to the cause of a strong arts school and its excellent staff.
“I was surprised at the (efforts of) the staff and what they bring to the table,” she said. “People always produce well and give their all. When I feel passion from the staff, it’s easier to do the job.”
Rodgers’ history makes clear her desire to help others and her refusal to back down from challenges. She volunteered and worked at the National Urban League. She started an afterschool program that taught youth skills and helped them find work in the construction industry. When the federal government pulled funding for the program, Rodgers raised the money herself to keep it afloat.
As for goals in her current position, Rodgers said she would like to see more CSMA outreach to schools in low-income areas.
“Kids are not getting access (to the arts),” she said.
For more information, visit www.arts4all.org.