BACK IN THE spring, a group of 30 parents and staff from the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts had dinner with one of its more famous alums: Ahmir Thompson, the founder of the Roots.
Conversation centered on the esteemed arts school and its needs during budget cuts. Principal Joanne Beaver attended the dinner and remembers Thompson, better known as Questlove, sharing his CAPA experience with the group.
"When Questlove spoke, it was so heartfelt and genuine and downright sweet," said Beaver, in her first year at the South Philadelphia school on Broad Street near Christian. "There's a definite tie people have to this place."
This CAPA tie apparently can't be broken.
Questlove and Tariq Trotter, his fellow CAPA alum and Roots co-founder, a/k/a Black Thought, will be at CAPA Tuesday to announce a partnership with the CAPA community. They have teamed up with the CAPA Home and School Association, CAPA Alumni and their alma mater to launch the CAPA Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization that would provide long-term support to the esteemed arts high school.
The foundation aims to raise $500,000 annually over the next five years and $1 million in later years, a district press release announced yesterday.
"This effort's goal is to bring things back as close to what they once were" at the school, Beaver said, citing the financial cuts CAPA has experienced over the years.
The money raised through the foundation, for example, would go toward the annual CAPA musical, reinstate programs, renovate the school's theater - the list could go on, she said. And, hopefully, restore a position or two at the school.
"This has the potential to be able to do all those things that are needed to make CAPA an amazing place," she said. "Well, it's already amazing, but there's just a lot of things we can't do."
And it's not just money. The Roots have committed to attend future fundraising events and give the CAPA band a slot on the Questlove Stage at the Wawa Welcome America! Festival.