aka School on Wheels   |   Ventura, CA   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 95-4422640


The mission of School on Wheels is the enhancement of educational opportunities for children experiencing homelessness from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Our goal is to shrink the gaps in their education and provide them with the highest education possible.

Notes from the nonprofit

Homelessness has an impact on children's education that is more devastating than any other condition. A new study from the Intelligence for Social Policy Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania found that students who had ever been homeless or highly mobile and significantly lower academic achievement in reading and math throughout elementary and middle school – and lower rates of academic growth – than students who had stable homes. The gap remained even as against children from families with very low income, special education students, and English-language learners. Homeless children need special help to overcome the statistics that would condemn them to a life of poverty – and yet School on Wheels remains the only organization in the greater Los Angeles area focused on their educational needs.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Charles Evans

Main address

P O Box 23371

Ventura, CA 93002 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Elementary and secondary education

Education services

Reading promotion


Youth development

Population served info

Children and youth

Homeless people


NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our organizing is working to address the need that children experiencing homelessness have for extra support in order to succeed in school. The number of homeless students has doubled since 2007. Nationwide, some 2.5 million children (one in 30) do not have a stable place to sleep at night – and California alone has 526,708 homeless children, the third most in the nation per capita. This is tragic as homelessness takes a significant and devastating toll on their lives, their health, their relationships, and their education. Research studies show that students who have ever been homeless or highly mobile have significantly lower academic achievement in reading and math throughout elementary and middle school—and lower rates of academic growth—than students who had stable homes. They also have higher rates of suicide, mental illness, substance abuse and premature death.

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?

One-on-one tutoring and mentoring services

Our major program is one-on-one weekly tutoring. In addition, we provide backpacks, school supplies and school uniforms; a toll-free number for kids to keep in touch with us; assistance in entering school; help in locating lost records; parent guidance in educational matters for their children; awarding scholarships.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


Minerva Award 2009

California Governor's award

Woman of Worth 2012

LOreal Paris

Children's "Nobel Prize" 2008

World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child,

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Total number of students participating in private lessons

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

Children and youth

Related Program

One-on-one tutoring and mentoring services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Over the past 29 years, we have served more than 50,000 students Every one of these kids has a story, a past, and a future All have one thing in common—a volunteer tutor to help them succeed in school

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

One-on-one tutoring and mentoring services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Volunteer tutors meet students consistently for a minimum of one hour per week. We provide training and support and they commit to a full year of volunteering.

Number of students registered for online courses

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

Children and youth

Related Program

One-on-one tutoring and mentoring services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

In 2021 we tutored 95% of our students remotely - we were fortunate to already have a robust online tutoring program that allowed us to connect students and tutors quickly and safely.

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.

Our overarching goal is always to help children k-12th grade, who are homeless with their education. The most important element of that goal: our tutoring program. Our volunteers are the very heart of our organization. They come from all backgrounds and professions to spend at least an hour each week teaching, mentoring, and assisting the educational life of a homeless child. Hundreds of tutors meet their students at our Skid Row Learning Center but the vast majority travel to where the children live in a service area that spans more than 2,500 square miles. Together last year, they provided more than 100,000 hours of focused educational support to over 3,624 homeless children.

The importance of just one caring adult for at-risk youth has been documented by studies of resilience, and positive support from teachers (a group in which we count our tutors) is related to greater educational success of their students. Supportive relationships are known to be critical for youth development; they provide an environment of reinforcement, positive modeling, and constructive feedback for physical, intellectual, psychological, and social growth. By matching volunteer tutors with students experiencing homelessness over the course of a year, we are providing these kids a chance to break the vicious cycle of homelessness through education, and showing them positive role models and mentors whose influence can last a lifetime.

In order to achieve our Strategic Plan, we created a number of action plans and strategies to govern the expansion of our tutoring services: 1. Add additional staff members to recruit, conduct outreach and match homeless students with volunteers. Target special populations of volunteers - high school students, higher-aged and retired individuals, home-bound and long-distance volunteers who can participate in online tutoring. 2. Create partnerships with organizations to leverage our scope and deepen our impact. Share resources and costs with synergistic organizations who provide services and products we cannot.. 3. Enhance our core program through the design, development, and implementation of a digital learning environment, a combination of online learning and one-on-one tutoring. We will supplement our traditional tutoring methods with the use of technology, including online tutoring, adaptive learning and assessment programs, and educational apps.

We are extremely fortunate in the extent of our human resources capabilities. First, we benefit from a committed and active Board. Several Board members have strong relationships with outside funders and have used those relationships to spark site visits that led to proposals and funding. One Board member uses his extensive connections to get us not only financial donations but also services. One Director hosts holiday parties at his beachfront restaurant for hundreds of homeless children each year, giving them a rare chance to enjoy a carefree day in a setting that is completely foreign to too many of them; another represents a beacon of hope and inspiration for the entire South Los Angeles community and provides regular introductions to organizations that solicit volunteers on our behalf. All our directors are deeply committed to our mission and do what they can to support and further our goals.
These leaders are a wonderful complementary asset to our staff, the key members of whom have all been with us for more than 10 years and have extensive business knowledge and experience working with homeless students. Our Executive Director has over 30 years of for-profit and nonprofit business and programmatic experience.

Our long-term partnerships with hundreds of shelters, large and small school districts, social service agencies, corporations, major and family foundations and universities and colleges throughout our service areas contribute in every way to strengthening and deepening our impact on the education of homeless students.

In 2019 we tutored 3,200 students, distributed over 7,400 backpacks and school supplies, hosted 2,464 volunteers, tutored in six counties in Southern California.
Our remarkable, dedicated volunteers continue to change the lives of our students, providing them not only with educational help but also friendship, stability, and support during a time of great anxiety and fear. School on Wheels is the only organization in Southern California exclusively dedicated to the educational needs of children devasted by homelessness. There are many organizations that serve children, but these tend to provide basic services (shelter, food, clothing) and refer to us to provide the educational ones (indeed, we currently have working relationships with more than 175 shelters). There are also many organizations that focus on education, but these serve all children who are struggling and do not address the particular needs of children experiencing homelessness. Our impact is based on the fact that we focus on the specific barriers that stand between children and the education they need and deserve to escape a life on the streets, providing both the concrete assistance and emotional supports that research (and youth who are homeless themselves) have identified as important to their ability to stay in and do well in school. Every year we grow and work towards our goal of helping more homeless students. Unfortunately, the number of homeless children keeps increasing, so too does the need for School on Wheels!


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 11.94 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 8.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 14% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of SCHOOL ON WHEELS INC’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $209,823 $96,873 $359,103 $178,709 $499,169
As % of expenses 8.2% 3.9% 12.0% 5.4% 16.6%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $144,766 $34,888 $309,868 $156,829 $490,279
As % of expenses 5.5% 1.4% 10.2% 4.7% 16.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $2,677,259 $2,550,931 $3,646,583 $3,376,457 $3,478,320
Total revenue, % change over prior year 36.2% -4.7% 43.0% -7.4% 3.0%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.2% 0.4% 0.4% 0.2% 0.4%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 99.8% 99.6% 99.6% 91.6% 99.6%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 8.3% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $2,567,696 $2,468,956 $3,003,407 $3,305,066 $3,013,260
Total expenses, % change over prior year 25.2% -3.8% 21.6% 10.0% -8.8%
Personnel 60.2% 62.3% 62.3% 64.6% 68.6%
Professional fees 1.2% 1.6% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3%
Occupancy 4.2% 4.5% 3.2% 2.0% 3.1%
Interest 0.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 34.1% 31.6% 34.2% 33.2% 28.0%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $2,632,753 $2,530,941 $3,052,642 $3,326,946 $3,022,150
One month of savings $213,975 $205,746 $250,284 $275,422 $251,105
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $2,846,728 $2,736,687 $3,302,926 $3,602,368 $3,273,255

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 7.0 7.2 10.1 8.7 9.2
Months of cash and investments 7.0 7.2 10.1 8.7 10.6
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 5.4 6.1 6.4 6.5 8.4
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $1,507,083 $1,482,620 $2,537,808 $2,390,607 $2,315,920
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $339,748
Receivables $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $436,582 $436,582 $445,349 $445,349 $787,924
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 71.5% 85.7% 95.1% 100.0% 77.8%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 11.8% 5.6% 20.3% 12.7% 11.1%
Unrestricted net assets $1,285,028 $1,319,916 $1,629,784 $1,786,613 $2,279,681
Temporarily restricted net assets $161,553 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $161,553 $146,655 $430,728 $318,292 $244,451
Total net assets $1,446,581 $1,466,571 $2,060,512 $2,104,905 $2,524,132

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Mr. Charles Evans

Charles Evans joined School on Wheels in 2008 as a regional coordinator in South Los Angeles, where he was born and raised. He was subsequently promoted to executive leadership positions, and prior to being named Executive Director served as SOW’s Chief Regional Officer. In this role, he oversaw 11 regions in six counties in Southern California, covering more than 3,600 students and 2,300 volunteers. As part of the leadership team, Evans serves on the Board Strategic Planning Committee where he contributed to the development and enhancement of SOW’s student outreach program by partnering with several school districts and agencies serving homeless children. Prior to School on Wheels, Evans worked for FAME Renaissance as an Environmental Outreach Field Representative, under the leadership of Reverend Cecil “Chip” Murray.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.


Board of directors
as of 01/04/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Josh Fein

Chief Financial Officer, Property Management Associates, Inc.

Term: 2015 -

Steven Dahlberg

The Kissel Company, Inc.

Joshua Fein

Property Management Associates, Inc.

Laurie Levit

Catherine Meek

School on Wheels, Inc.

Rev. Cecil L. "Chip” Murray

Tanzy Chair in Christian Ethics, University of Southern California

Clifford Neiman

Principal, The Neiman Group

Janet Ambrosi Wertman

JAW Consulting

Beong-Soo Kim

Kaiser Permanente

Angela Sanchez

ECMC Foundation

Christine Chambers Goodman

Pepperdine University

Ellen Padnos

Joyful Giving

Lynne M Gardner

Melissa Zuckerman

Principal Communications

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

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/31/2021

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/31/2021

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

  • 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 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 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 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.