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Boston String Academy Inc

 162 Boylston Street, Suite 69
 Boston, MA 02116
[P] (617) 7806728
[F] --
www.bostonstringacademy.org
[email protected]
Marielisa Alvarez
Facebook
INCORPORATED: 2014
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 46-1423890

LAST UPDATED: 05/30/2018
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

Our mission is to provide a vibrant string program for inner-city young students, offering high quality string instrument instruction, using standards that will give them the necessary skills to build a strong foundation in their musical growth. To offer many performance opportunities, master classes, lessons and ensemble settings, which will enable students to build self-confidence, discipline, commitment, social skills, and other fundamental values essential to every child’s development. To forge social integration through music by creating a path for young people to become sensitive, responsible and creative human beings.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide a vibrant string program for inner-city young students, offering high quality string instrument instruction, using standards that will give them the necessary skills to build a strong foundation in their musical growth. To offer many performance opportunities, master classes, lessons and ensemble settings, which will enable students to build self-confidence, discipline, commitment, social skills, and other fundamental values essential to every child’s development. To forge social integration through music by creating a path for young people to become sensitive, responsible and creative human beings.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $240,973.00
Projected Expense $240,973.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • String Orchestra Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide a vibrant string program for inner-city young students, offering high quality string instrument instruction, using standards that will give them the necessary skills to build a strong foundation in their musical growth. To offer many performance opportunities, master classes, lessons and ensemble settings, which will enable students to build self-confidence, discipline, commitment, social skills, and other fundamental values essential to every child’s development. To forge social integration through music by creating a path for young people to become sensitive, responsible and creative human beings.

Background Statement

Boston String Academy (BSA) is a non-profit organization inspired by El Sistema - a very successful music education philosophy that utilizes music as a vehicle for social change - El Sistema originated in Venezuela over 40 years ago and has inspired thousands of educators around the world. We are passionate about introducing children at an early age to music and promoting a love for and engagement in music making. BSA is a social change/youth development program that uses ensemble music to enable every child to experience being an asset within her or his community.

BSA was founded in 2012 by Boston Conservatory graduates Marielisa and Mariesther Alvarez, and Taide Prieto, accomplished violinists and cellist who are also graduates of Venezuela's "El Sistema", and Peru's homologue program. In El Sistema, teachers are often former students of the program which speaks to its ability to instill humanistic connections and music learning in its students. BSA is one of the few El Sistema programs in the United States lead by Venezuelans who actually grew up and were trained in Venezuela. In 2016 co-directors, Marielisa and Mariesther Alvarez were chosen among the 100 most influential people for the Hispanic community in Massachusetts, an outstanding recognition by El Planeta's power meter.

BSA currently serves 110 children in three locations: Chinatown, Roxbury and Allston. BSA serves children in both public and parochial schools and is funded through a mix of school budget, public and private grants, as well as modest tuition payments from those parents who are able to contribute. Forty-nine percent (49%) of revenue comes from needs-based tuition.





Impact Statement

In its first five years, BSA has delivered impressive results. In August 2015 BSA hosted the 3rd Annual El Sistema Summer Academy at Longy School of Music. BSA admitted over 80 national and international students. BSA continues to partner with Longy School of Music, offering a wonderful summer programs for local students and abroad.

Through a rigorous audition process, 11 BSA students were selected for a national El Sistema orchestra and flown to Los Angeles for a week-long festival. Students have enjoyed the opportunity to perform for renowned conductors, including Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, and Benjamin Zander, and have performed on the Esplanade with Boston Landmarks Orchestra. BSA students were accepted into the prestigious music performance programs Greenwood and Sphinx. Further, 100% of our students have been accepted into exam schools over the past three years.

In the current year BSA's goals are to increase access to quality music education in these communities and develop a teacher training strategy which includes training in string pedagogy, strengthening classroom management strategies and promoting children's prosocial behavior.

Needs Statement

As early as 24 months, children in low-income families have been found to show lags in cognitive and behavioral development compared to their peers in higher-income families. Other risk factors, such as living in a single-parent family or low parent education levels, especially when combined with poverty, can markedly decrease children's chances of education attainment, graduating high school, being employed, and avoiding teen parenthood (National Center for Children Living in Poverty Fact Sheet 2012). Many students living in poverty do not have career aspirations or realize they can work toward a career; they lack the hope that so many educators agree is critical to their future success.

BSA is committed to fulfilling its mission to provide vibrant after school string programs for inner-city young students giving them the necessary skills to build a strong foundation in their musical and personal growth. BSA's pressing needs to fulfill its mission include:

1. Teaching and rehearsal space for the downtown/chinatown program.

2. Human Resources: administrative assistant, marketing developer, development expert.

3. Scholarship Fund

 

CEO Statement

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Board Chair Statement

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Geographic Area Served

City of Boston- Allston/ Brighton
City of Boston- Downtown
City of Boston- South End/Bay Village
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA
City of Boston- Chinatown/ Leather District

BSA currently serves the communities of Chinatown, Roxbury and Allston. The communities served by BSA are home to many immigrant populations, the largest groups originating from East Asia, South Asia, Africa, particularly Cape Verde, and Central and South America. The majority of parents and caregivers of the children from these neighborhoods are high-need, low-skilled, low-income, and poorly educated immigrants who come for economic opportunities and family reunification.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Music
  2. Education - Elementary & Secondary Schools
  3. Youth Development -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

String Orchestra Program

Students experience group, ensemble and individual lessons on a weekly basis, masterclasses with renowned guest artists several times per year, solo and ensemble performances in different halls in Boston and other cities throughout the year. They all participate in collaborating performances with the students from our two sites for the end of the semester concerts. They also participate in collaborating activities and and performances with students from other El Sistema inspired programs in Massachusetts, such as: the Annual El Sistema Showcase, performance in Pittsfield with Kids for Harmony students, Day of Joy in Somerville, Sistema Side by Side organized by Longy School of Music, El Sistema Summer Academy, among others.

Students receive daily group and orchestral instruction. In addition they all receive an individual lesson once a week.  

Budget  $300,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) Minorities
Program Short-Term Success 
­ Academic performance:
Improvements in GPA, increased number of Honors classes in both programs and acceptances into exam schools.
 
They show proficiency in music theory, rhythmic skills, ear training, Solfege reading and singing, music history, instrument technical skills as assessed by teachers’ observations, quizzes and survey data shows maturity in their interactions with their instructors, visiting artists and peers as assessed by teacher feedback in meetings and observations. 
 
90% BSA attendance and punctuality, and therefore improved school attendance ­ Parents and teachers report that children feel motivated, encouraged, proud of themselves, trusted, challenged, confident, sensitive. They behave better at home and at school. We will implement surveys to students and parents starting in the fall to document these developments. 
Program Long-Term Success  Develop life­long learners with multiple intelligences. Prepare students for advanced study or careers in music Strong foundation for musical growth. Students build self­-confidence, discipline, persistence, and social skills. Empower children from underserved neighborhoods to become vital citizens, leaders, and agents of change. Improve academic achievement.
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success  A handful of world renowned musicians have praised the artistic level of Boston String Academy students. Among these artist are Midori Goto (international concert violinist), Gustavo Dudamel (music director of Los Angeles Philharmonic), Jose Antonio Abreu (Founder of Venezuelan Youth Orchestra program better known as El Sistema), David Ying (cellist of Grammy-Award winning Ying Quartet), Lynn Chang (winner of Paganini Competition and faculty at The Boston Conservatory), Edicson Ruiz (International double bass soloist and member of the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic). 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Marielisa Alvarez
CEO Term Start Nov 2012
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Marielisa Alvarez is a graduate of “El Sistema”, the National System of Youth and Children Orchestras of Venezuela. During her time in Venezuela she performed in several orchestras, including the Barquisimeto Youth Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and the Lara Symphony Orchestra. In addition she was featured as a soloist with orchestras and recitals organized by the Latin American Violin Academy.

Ms. Alvarez has performed at festivals and master classes in countries such as Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, United States, Switzerland, Hungary, and Finland. She has studied and collaborated with members of the Berlin Philharmonic String Quartet, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Irina Muresanu, Andres Cardenes, Pamela Franck, Joseph Silverstein, and Gustavo Dudamel, among others. Her principal mentors during her violin and string pedagogy studies have been Francisco Díaz, José Francisco Del Castillo, Sophie Vilker, Rictor Noren, Mela Tenenbaum, Mimi Zweig, and Geza Szilvay.

Ms. Alvarez is also faculty at Longy School of Music of Bard College and its Sistema Side by Side Series. She has been a guest speaker at Harvard University, New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, Day to Aspire String Teacher Workshop in Boston, among others. Recently, in the Spring of 2016, Marielisa was chosen among the 100 most influential people for the Hispanic community in Massachusetts.

Ms. Alvarez continues to collaborate with Venezuela by teaching in its different nucleos and summer festivals. She also collaborates with other El Sistema-inspired programs in the U.S. and abroad. Marielisa holds a Master of Music Degree and a Graduate Performance Diploma from The Boston Conservatory. As a co-director she is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic planning of the organization. Other key responsibilities include fundraising, marketing, community outreach and board development.


Co-CEO Ms. Mariesther Alvarez
Co-CEO Term Start Nov 2012
Co-CEO Email [email protected]
Co-CEO Experience

Mariesther Alvarez is a founder and co-director of the Boston String Academy, an El Sistema- inspired program which hosts an outstanding children’s string orchestra curriculum.  Ms. Alvarez holds a Master of Music Degree and a Graduate Performance Diploma from The Boston Conservatory, where she was a student of Professor Rictor Noren. Previous violin instructors include Sophie Vilker, Francisco Diaz, and Jose Francisco Del Castillo. A native of Venezuela, Mariesther is a graduate of ”El Sistema”, the National System of Youth and Children Orchestras. In Venezuela, she was a member of the Lara Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. She also performed as a soloist and chamber musician at several festivals organized by the Latin American Violin Academy.

Mariesther has attended a number of international festivals including the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, and the Liminka International Music Course in Finland; Prelude Music Academy in Wisconsin and Argentina; the summer violin courses provided by the Latin American Violin Academy in Venezuela. Mariesther applies a unique pedagogical approach combining different methods and techniques from her own training at El Sistema in Venezuela, studies with Rictor Noren at the Boston Conservatory, the period of study with Mimi Zweig at the String Academy of Indiana University, and with the founder of the Colourstrings method, Geza Szilvay in Hungary and Finland. In the Spring of 2016, she was chosen among the 100 most influential people for the Hispanic community in Massachusetts.

Ms. Alvarez is currently faculty Longy School of Music of Bard College and its Sistema Side by Side Series. As a co-director she is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic planning of the organization. Other key responsibilities include fundraising, marketing, community outreach and board development.   

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
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Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
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Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

BSA has deepened its partnerships with Gardner Pilot Academy and St. Patrick schools to provide the string orchestra program on their respective campuses. BSA continues to expand its pool of collaborating organizations every year including the Boston Conservatory, Youth and Family Enrichment Services (YOFES), Boston Children's Chorus, Kids 4 Harmony, Longy School of Music, Massachusetts Cultural Council, The Boston Cultural Council, Harvard/Allston Partnership Fund, Bravo Youth Orchestras, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic's Take a Stand Festival. These partnerships deepen our connection with each community and strengthen our ability to provide high quality instruction and a musical foundation that is something traditionally available only to higher income students.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 6
Number of Contract Staff 5
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 1
Hispanic/Latino: 5
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 1
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 5
Male: 8
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

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Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A

Governance


Board Chair Dr Erik Gregory
Board Chair Company Affiliation Harvard Humanist Hub
Board Chair Term Nov 2012 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Dr. Erik Gregory Harvard Humanist Hub Voting
Gregory Karas Mount Ida College Voting
Taide Prieto Longy School of Music Voting
Maria Rodman Boys and Girls Clubs of Farmington Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths --
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 50%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $240,973.00
Projected Expense $240,973.00
Form 990s

2016 990

2015 990

2015 Form PC

2014 990

2013 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $186,900 $128,616 $69,689
Total Expenses $167,793 $110,783 $69,684

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $44,597 $10,613 $14,230
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $142,303 $118,003 $55,459
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $151,948 $85,000 $55,000
Administration Expense $15,845 $25,783 $14,684
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.11 1.16 1.00
Program Expense/Total Expenses 91% 77% 79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $46,694 $23,283 $5,450
Current Assets $46,694 $23,283 $5,450
Long-Term Liabilities -- $0 $0
Current Liabilities $4,304 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $42,390 $23,283 $5,450

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 10.85 -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS Form 990s for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, and per the Form PC for fiscal year 2015.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

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4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

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5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

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