A Partnership for the Arts + Minds of Chicago


The Chicago High School for the Arts is proud to launch the ChiArts Foundation, the school’s arts fundraising partner. Our mission is to support arts education opportunities for, and inspire and nurture current, future, and former students of The Chicago High School for the Arts. The Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer board of philanthropic, civic, and cultural leaders. Consider making a gift today to support arts education opportunities for ChiArts scholar-artists.

Supporting 5 Tuition-Free Conservatories, Alumni, & Community Building Programs

The Chicago High School for the Arts receives funding from the Chicago Public School district on a per-pupil basis, which supports its academic offerings. As the School’s fundraising partner, the ChiArts Foundation invites individuals, corporations, and foundations to provide funding for the arts conservatories. Pre-professional arts training at this level would not be possible without the help of our supporters. 

As Chicago’s only tuition-free, pre-professional arts high school, ChiArts and the Foundation aim to disrupt historical biases and inequities within the arts field and the greater community. In the scope of arts programs, ChiArts is the only pre-professional arts high school that actively recruits novice-level students who may not have had access to formal arts training but exhibit a natural ability and desire to hone their skills.

The Foundation ensures the lasting legacy of the Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts conservatories. Our work also includes developing community and arts partnerships, supporting outreach and admissions through external programming and providing professional development support and networks for alumni and current students.



José Ochoa, President

ChiArts Founding Executive Director, José Ochoa, leads ChiArts Foundation as its first President. José excitedly shares, “The last 12 years have been an unforgettable journey for me. Moving forward as the President of ChiArts Foundation, I look forward to the next chapter in our wonderful school history and am eager to see all the amazing work our students and alumni will create for themselves and others for years to come."


Paul Cook

Executive Assistant & Operations Manager


Dr. Heather V McCowen

Director of Programs


Johnny Merrifield

Director of Development & Marketing


Megan Sauve

Development Manager


Jo Marie Sison

Grants Coordinator


Natasha Mraz

Marketing & Communications Manager


Ronald B. Grais, Chair Anthony Barash Mirja Haffner Michael McIntosh Neal Zucker
Shruti Jayaraman, Vice Chair Dana Berkowitz John H. Hart Gary Metzner
Erin Clifford, Secretary Steven Collens Betsy Holden Sylvia Neil
Christina Huizar, Treasurer Elissa Hamid Efroymson Tom Hurvis Jonathan Plotkin    
Arnett Faulkner Pamela Garmon Johnson Cynthia Plouché* *Ex Officio  
Lori Gray Faversham Marshall Lindsey Amisha Rigia    
Christine Gallagher* Samera Ludwig Carol Stein  
Sandra P. Guthman  David Mabie John Yonover  



Please join our family of supporters. Your contribution helps over 600 scholar-artists from all 50 wards of Chicago access tuition-free, pre-professional arts training.


Mail a check payable to ChiArts Foundation:

ChiArts Foundation
PO Box 772076
Chicago, IL 60677-2076

For gifts of stock, wires, and all other forms of giving please contact Megan Sauve, Development Manager, at msauve@chiartsfoundation.org.


Did you know you can increase the impact of your gift by utilizing your employer’s matching gift program? Contact your Human Resources or Corporate Giving representative to find out if your employer will match your gift.


ChiArts Foundation Launches in Support of First Public Arts High School in Chicago, Receives $1 Million Gift from Founders Jim and Kay Mabie

Today, ChiArts Foundation announced its formation as a public charity and fundraising partner to Chicago’s first public arts high school, The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). The Foundation also announced a generous $1 million gift from philanthropists and entrepreneurs Jim and Kay Mabie…

2021 Virtual Event - Standing Ovation

In lieu of our annual gala, we are hosting Standing Ovation, a virtual event on May 19th honoring founding ChiArts Board Members, Jim and Kay Mabie. We give a standing ovation to Jim and Kay for their impact, our scholar-artists for their hard work, creativity, and accomplishments this year, our educators and staff, and to all of our supporters. Event sponsors will be invited to join us for an in-person event in Fall 2021, pending city guidelines…

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