PLATINUM2024

Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona

Building hope. Healing children's trauma.

aka Free Arts   |   Phoenix, AZ   |  http://www.freeartsaz.org

Mission

MISSION: To transform childhood trauma to resilience through the arts.

VISION: Every child who has experienced trauma has access to resilience-building arts programs.

Notes from the nonprofit

The best example of our impact can be seen in the success of our alumni. Autumn first participated in Free Arts when she was 18 years old and joined Theater Camp where she and 30 other teens used music, dance, theater, poetry and visual arts to creatively share stories from their lives with an audience of more than 800 people. Autumn is a gifted visual artist and works from home for Hulu. Gordy discovered his love of theater and dance seven years ago through participating in Free Arts programs. Since then he has performed in more than a dozen plays and musicals. He graduated from high school last year and has continued his journey acting, dancing and teaching with local arts agencies. Rica had been a Free Arts participant and alumni for two years. She is a gifted writer and will be attending college at Arizona State University this fall to pursue a degree in creative writing. She is a 2020 Nina Mason Pullium Legacy Scholar.

Ruling year info

1994

Executive Director

Mr. Matt Sandoval

Main address

352 E. Camelback Rd. Suite 100

Phoenix, AZ 85012 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

86-0739613

NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Dance (A62)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2023, 2022 and 2021.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Free Arts serves children living in homeless/domestic violence shelters, foster care group homes, and residential treatment centers. Many of these children have been removed from their parents/families and have been traumatized due to physical and/or sexual abuse, neglect or other dangerous conditions. Many experience conflicting feelings, including anger, fear, shame, isolation and sadness. Without appropriate intervention, these same children, as they become adults, are likely to see their lives thwarted by drugs, crime and other destructive behaviors as a result of their childhood trauma. Free Arts is committed to interrupting the cycle of pain and violence in these children's lives and through the arts, provide a path to a healthier life as engaged members of their communities. Free Arts is the only nonprofit in Maricopa County that delivers creative and therapeutic arts programs, at no charge, to children in out-of-home care.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

WEEKLY MENTOR PROGRAM matches mentors with children living in social service agencies for weekly art sessions for up to 16 weeks.
PROFESSIONAL ARTIST SERIES Teaching artists lead the children through focused art-making sessions.
FREE ARTS DAYS bring children from different partner agencies together for a one-day program hosted by arts and culture organizations.
CAMP SERIES engages children from multiple partner agencies in art activities in a safe and supportive environment. Lunch and snacks are provided. Participants spend 35 hours in camp a week with 20 hours of specific art classes.
YOUNG ADULT EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM offers skill building, promotion of self-efficacy, and engagement through expressive arts, peer mentorship, leadership opportunities, and internships.
The FAMILY PROGRAM encourages harmony and resilience within the family by empowering parents through education on trauma informed care, and engaging children in artistic opportunities for self-discovery.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Victims and oppressed people

Where we work

Awards

Community Organization 2011

Arizona Governor's Arts Award

Arts Organization of the Year 2011

Art and Business Council

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of individuals attending community events or trainings

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Victims and oppressed people

Related Program

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed social skills (e.g., interpersonal communication, conflict resolution)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

2022 numbers were considerably lower than previously years because we were only able to survey small number of children.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed positive relationships

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

At-risk youth, Homeless people, Children and youth

Related Program

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2022 the number of children is low because we were not able to survey all the children participating in our programs.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed coping skills

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth

Related Program

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2022 the number of children is low because we were not able to survey all the children participating in our programs.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed a strong sense of self

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth

Related Program

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2022 the number of children is low because we were not able to survey all the children participating in our programs.

Number of children that feel safe with Free Arts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth

Related Program

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2022 the number of children is low because we were not able to survey all the children participating in our programs.

Number of children that develop self-efficacy

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth

Related Program

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2022 the number of children is low because we were not able to survey all the children participating in our programs.

Number of childre who learn and practice artistic and life skills

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth

Related Program

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In FY21 87% of participating children build skills.

Number of children who are able to freely express themselves

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth

Related Program

Weekly Mentor, Professional Artist Series, Camp, Free Arts Days, Families, Young Adult Empowerment.

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2022 the number of children is low because we were not able to survey all the children participating in our programs.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Free Arts' mission is transforming children’s trauma to resilience through the arts.

Vision: Every child who has experienced the trauma of abuse, neglect, and/or homelessness has access to resilience-building arts programs and caring adult volunteer mentors.

Free Arts uses intentional art combined with adult mentorship to transform children’s trauma to resilience. We serve children ages 3 to 21 years old residing in homeless and domestic violence shelters, foster care group homes, residential treatment centers, foster and kinship families, or attend alternative program schools. Many children who have been removed from their families have been traumatized due to physical and/or sexual abuse, neglect, or other dangerous conditions. Undergoing this type of trauma often results in feelings of shame and isolation, inability to function at school, the use of negative coping tools (like drug abuse or self-harm), and significant health risks. Children in these situations need to be connected with positive, caring adults and the opportunity to build skills and discover their talents. Our volunteer mentors support and build healthy relationships with children as they engage in the arts. Free Arts is committed to interrupting the cycle of trauma in these children’s lives and, through the arts, provide a path to a healthier life. Free Arts creates a safe environment where children can express themselves, learn new skills, developed self-efficacy, and build resilience.

Our Sustainable Development Goal is aligned with Good Health and Well Being. The children we serve, living in out-of-home care, have suffered from neglect and abuse. Their stress breeds trauma which affects their lives negatively. Undergoing this type of trauma often results in feelings of shame and isolation, inability to function at school, the use of negative coping tools (like drug abuse or self-harm), and significant health risks. Children in these situations need to be connected with positive, caring adults and the opportunity to build skills and discover their talents. Our strategy is to combine adult mentorship with intentional art projects that build resilience. Resilience is needed to process and overcome hardship. Resilient people tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems. Children living in foster care have little to no access to programs that help them deal with their trauma. Our free programs give them tools and resources to work through their challenges to become successful adults.
Free Arts volunteer mentors are trained to promote the following outcomes that promote resilience in homeless and abused children.
Safety – Every Free Arts program is designed to create a safe space physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Additionally, our programs have an average 3:1 child to adult ratio, guaranteeing focused time in a peer support setting with a trained adult mentor.
Expression – Children who engage in the arts find new ways to express themselves and their stories. Through the arts, they are able to practice self-reflection and identify emotions in a new way.
Skill Building – Our programs allow children to practice artistic and transferrable life skills. Communication, collaboration, leadership, and coping skills are a few examples of skills that are practiced in Free Arts programs.
Self-Efficacy – Children in Free Arts programs consistently do the thing they think they cannot do so that the next time they are faced with a challenge, they may remember how they overcame that challenge.
Resilience – Our mission is to build resilience within the children who participate in our programs giving them the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and overcome future challenges. We define resilience as the ability of children to face real life adversity and be able to recover, promote their own mental well-being, develop coping mechanisms, and be able to take care of themselves and their future. We help children build these skills through a community of peers and adult mentors using the arts so that children feel capable to break the cycle of abuse.

Free Arts has a 28 year history of providing resilience-building programs for abused and homeless children. We partner with 14 foster care group homes, 11 emergency shelter/transitional housing agencies, 1 unaccompanied minor program, 1 residential treatment center and 12 multiservice agencies to provide emotional support using a combination of arts, a therapy-based curriculum, mentoring, and peer support to children who are in out-of-home care. We recruit and train volunteer mentors and professional teaching artists on an ongoing basis. Artists and mentors are required to take 6 hours of mandatory training in Trauma Informed Care, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and our own outcomes pyramid. Each mentor and artist receives a Training Handbook and Project Manual, in English or Spanish. Additional training is available in the form quarterly workshops and a yearly conference. Trainings include information about Free Arts’ unique population, and tools to build safe and supportive environments. Mentors are committed, caring individuals from the community with a strong interest to assist in the healing process of children who have experienced trauma.

Free Arts also partners with approximately 30 major arts and cultural facilities across the Valley to offer Free Arts programs at their sites. These valued partners share their resources and provide venues for Free Arts Day programs and events. Free Arts provides a way for these arts agencies to reach a vulnerable, protected population. It is often difficult for arts organizations that focus on serving the greater community to know how to maneuver the systems such as foster care and shelter services. These community-minded arts institutions can instead funnel their resources through channels already established by Free Arts and open their services, such as tickets and classes, to the children served by Free Arts.

We are in the midst of a 10 year strategic plan that is focusing on building our financial strengthen, optimizing our resources, and expanding our programs statewide. This plan is reviewed quarterly and progress reports are delivered to board, staff and our constituents, to make sure we are staying on track to achieve our goals.

Free Arts was founded in 1993 and over the past 27 years, has served more than 130,000 children in Maricopa County. From an initial volunteer base of five individuals serving 50 children, Free Arts has grown to using over 800 volunteer mentors who serve over 6,000 children each year. In October of 2018 Free Arts purchased a building and now has a permanent home - Parsons Place for Art and Transformation. We are now able to hold programs for kinship and foster families on site along with conferences and small special events.

In the summer of 2020 Free Arts created a statewide Bravery Box program in response to the COVID-19 quarantine. In partnership with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, we were able to spread our resilience building programming throughout the state by shipping packages of art supplies and instructions booklets in English and Spanish to children entering foster care for the first time. Even though most quarantine restrictions have lifted, these packages are still being requested by many social service agencies.

Free Arts values diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. In seeking to embed a long-term DEAI strategy, we have been working with The Miller Consulting Group since early 2021 to guide us in identifying growth opportunities and creating oppression-free policies and procedures. This work includes an internal equity assessment, organizational review, and planning for future integration. We are committed to long-term change and equitable practices to create safe, impactful experiences for our community and are working diligently in every area of our organization to accomplish this goal.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals, To determine if our theory of change - Art + Mentors = Resilience - is actually building resilience.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We are working with a contracted evaluation firm to upgrade all our survey processes.

Financials

Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona

Board of directors
as of 04/08/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Matt Hargis

Overlap Consulting

Term: 2023 - 2024

Margaret Blackwell

MUFG/Union Bank

Margarita Cortez

Phoenix Suns Charities & Social Responsibility

Nura Eltaib

American Airlines

Mayra Flores

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation

Matt Hargis

Overlap Consulting

Amanda Ho

Arizona Public Service

Lisa Ludolph

Global Payments

Elizabeth Shabaker

Versant Capital Management

Coree Neumeyer

Quarles & Brady LLP

Julia A Soto

Phoenix Children's Hospital

Cathy Graham

Desert Financial Credit Union

Manny Taranto

SRP

Jessica Restrepo

Cihuapactli Collective

Dee Moore

Fidelity Investments

Chanel Vegh Lamb

Prime Healthcare

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/8/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/08/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.