Photography by Southwest parent: Scott Streble, Photography Helping Nonprofits (

What does the Southwest Foundation do?

Programs like AVID, Project Success, Link Crew, Passport to College, ACT Prep and many student group initiatives would not exist without the Southwest Foundation. The Southwest administration, student groups, affinity groups and staff members apply for grants from the Southwest Foundation each year. A decade ago, we somehow raised $100-150,000 per year to supplement our school's meager budget, but recent years have garnered only $30-50,000. Many may believe school referendums have supplanted our needs, but they haven't-- at least not at Southwest.

The Southwest Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to work with Southwest High School and its alumni to create an exceptional educational experience for all Southwest students.  The Foundation raises money to support academic, athletic, and artistic opportunities for students and to provide scholarships to graduating seniors, always with a focus on supporting the full IB learner profile and equitable opportunities. Every spring we host Laker Legacy Fundraiser. The Southwest Foundation extends special thanks to the Minikahda Club for hosting our 2019 event and for supporting Southwest’s Golf Teams for over 25 years. Through our Spring fundraising drive, including the spring newsletter and Laker Legacy Fundraiser, we have so far raised approximately $35,000 toward our $150,000 goal for school-start 2019. We thank every contributor helping us toward our goal!

We still need about $115,000 to fund all the requests we have received. Please take a look to see examples of what we fund. These are real needs, so if they speak to you or touch your heart, please click a link and donate today!

20 Requests in NEED of funding …………………

#1:$4,000 request from the PTSO to fulfill supply requests from staff, buy food for community breakfasts, teacher conference meals, and all other hospitality events, secure free store contributions, and any other events that the PTSO are asked to be involved in/contribute to. The PTSO does SO MUCH to support EVERY student and their family at SW and this ask is crucial to their continued successful outreach. 
Please help by donating now.

#2: $941 request from our Japanese program for SW IB students and host students to go on a field trip to the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul with our visiting students from Kasugaoka High School, our sister school in Japan. The group will also meet with Mayor Frye. A similar exchange is done when our SW students visit Japan in the summer. The request funds transportation and admission to the museum.
Please help by donating now.

#3: $2,000 request by our media center to purchase supplies "the Maker Space." Funding will be spent on foam board, poster paper, markers, pens, pencils, stencils, SD cards for Video Cameras and other consumables for the maker space.This space is especially important to students who do not have the means (financial, transportation, time, or otherwise) to work and fund school projects outside of school.
Please help by donating now.

#4: $1,000 request for our band students to participate in an August summer band camp. Funds will be used to purchase new music, pay for the drum line coach and busing to the Minnesota State Fair. (Did you know SW has been marching in the State Fair's parade each summer for decades?)

The August Band camp is vital to the growth of the band and the performance at the various parades throughout the fall. These parades - at the Linden Hills Festival, ECCO Labor Day Festival, Fulton Neighborhood Fall Festival and the Minnesota State Fair - are a wonderful opportunity for our school to reach the local community. When the community sees a strong band they see a strong school.
Please help by donating now.

#5: $5,000 request from Admin to fund Project Success. Project Success has been conducting monthly in-class workshops to help Southwest students dream, ignite and grow dating back to 2000. In addition to connecting with all students in class, they offer free tickets to live theater performances, run Career and College tours to help students plan for their life after graduation and offer workshops and certificates in performing arts, financial literacy, wellness and computer coding. These workshops provide students with a broader knowledge of the occupations and lifestyles available to them, today and for the future.

This is one of the best partnerships we have at Southwest, and it would be detrimental to lose it.
Please help by donating now.

#6: $10,000 request from Administration to continue funding ACT prep tests for SW students. Taking the pretest has proven to increase test scores for students when they take the actual test. Such practice is especially important for students with the highest academic needs. 
Please help by donating now.

#7: $1,500 request from SW'S People of Color Association for related expenses to put on an event for African American History month, open to the community.
Please help by donating now.

#8: $500 request by "School within a School" program to fund busses for field trips to visit community colleges and hold academic celebrations for students. 90% of students in this program are on free and reduced lunch and funding this request can have a huge impact to some of our students with the greatest needs.
Please help by donating now.

#9: $1,500 request from the Latinx Club to engage all the students and parents from Southwest to learn more about Hispanic/Latinx culture. "Our goal is to make a welcoming space, where parents and students have fun with our fashion show, poem, dance, live music, that is unique from South and Central America."
Another great student organization needs your help to make their visions come to fruition.
Please help by donating now.

#10: $1,540 request by English teacher Megan Marsnik to take both her creative writing classes on two field trips. "We will go to the Minnesota Center for Book Arts to learn how to make books as we complete our first semester manuscripts. We will also go to the Walker art center and sculpture garden in the spring for our unit on Writing inspired by visual art." The costs include transportation, workshops, lunch and related supplies.
Please help by donating now.

#11: $950 request from the Native Student Club to support programming, art expression and cultural experiences.
Please help by donating now.

#12 $5,000 request for our adaptive music ensemble, 3 Strings, to travel to Orlando, Florida to present at the National Convention Keynote Address in November for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).
SW was chosen as one of 385 applicants nation-wide for this prestigious honor. This performance at the national level in front of potentially hundreds of music educator has the potential to begin a movement that can alter the face of music education and inclusion. That is a powerful and dramatic statement and so are these young musicians. Finally, there is a way for people to participate in instrumental music making that have previously been denied that human right, based solely upon their disability. This methodology removes that barrier. See more about 3 Strings here:
Please help by donating now.

#13 The Math Department requests $500 to purchase tests for the American Mathematics Competition during the 2019-20 school year. Students can earn extra credit for participating.
Please help by donating now.

#14: Advanced Academics requests
$10,500 for Student Scholarships for Exams and CAS/Personal Projects.
With still more to achieve, your financial gifts have truly been impactful: from 2015 to 2018, Advanced Academics course participation for Southwest students of color increased from 53% to 78%, largely because of Foundation grants.
In May 2019, 260 eleventh and twelfth grade students took 681 IB exams, and 684 ninth, tenth, eleventh and 790 twelfth grade students took AP exams. Many of these students would not be able to afford these college-level exams without the Southwest Foundation's scholarships.
FUND THIS NEED to ensure that next year no Southwest student will ever be denied these college prep tests due to financial hardship.
Please help by donating now.

$350 Request from our ASL faculty to help support SW's annual ASL Silent Night.
ASL level 3 & 4 students plan the event which includes games, story telling by a Deaf Adult, prizes and snacks. Bringing the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community to SW helps students interact with native signers and show the DHH community that SW supports them.
Please help by donating now.

#16: $7,030 for Freshman Orientation led by the Link Crew staff and student-leaders.
Funding to support new trainings and related costs, Freshman dance, tee shirts and supplies.
Faculty tell us classroom communities are stronger in Freshman classes because of the teamwork and relationship building done at the beginning of the year amongst students on teams, and between teachers and students, during 9th Grade Orientation.
Please help by donating now.

We are so grateful to the family and friends of our dear friend and former SW social worker, the late Bruce Sabatke, for donating $1,400 towards these costs in his memory. They chose to fund this need because it aligns with Bruce's mission of social work and ensuring every kid feels like they belong. You can honor Bruce's work, and that of our current staff, by getting us closer to funding this entire need.

$825 request from our Robotics Teams to cover yearly national registration costs.
Alumni Maya Lassiter would have benefited greatly from such a program during her time at Southwest. Ensure that more students can receive such prestigious accolades by funding this need!
Please help by donating now.

#18: $1,300 request from our DCD Anchor Program to implement a functioning sensory room for students with severe to profound needs.
As many of our students learn best when sensory stimulation is used, this will promote active engagement in and outside of the classroom.
Please help by donating now.

$1,500 request to fund the AVID student’s Fall student retreat facilitated by Project Success.
AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college readiness program designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. The program places special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills.
Please help by donating now.

$500 request from the Counseling Department for "Passport to College" Day
Funds will be used to assist Southwest students and families in successfully navigating the post-secondary planning and application process during a workshop day.
Please help by donating now.

Every year we host an annual grant request. Find our 2019 Grant Application HERE. Using specific guidelines and principles, the Southwest Foundation Board reviews all requests and awards grants.  Grants are awarded at the end of the school year for the following year.  Grants for the 2019-2020 school year we hope to fund with your help include:

  • Study Buddies

  • ACT preparation and testing for every student

  • 9th and 10th grade play, guest artists, guest actors

  • Field trip costs and classroom supplies

  • The Link Crew student mentorship program

  • The 9th Grade Academy to promote community and school spirit

  • Project Success to help students explore possibilities and make real plans for their future 

  • Hospitality activities throughout the year to focus on student and staff well-being

  • Resources for newcomer English language learners at Southwest

  • Field trip for IB Japanese students with visitors from our sister school in Japan - Kasugaoka HS,

  • Student scholarships and supplies for service projects

  • Offsite testing locations

  • Student awards & postage

  • Field trips and incentives for School within School program

  • Event evening for the ASL program known as Silent Night

  • Supplies for a Sensory Room for students in the ASD program

  • Passport to College workshop

  • Author visits

  • Respect Retreat with Youth Frontiers

  • Model UN local and Chicago conferences

  • Many after-school clubs and activities

  • Scholarships for graduating seniors

And more.... 

You can make a difference for the students at Southwest high school with a donation here.


See our latest Newsletter: Spring 2019