History of Alumni & Friends
Alumni & Friends of LaGuardia was created in 1983 when the two legacy schools, the High School of Music & Art and the High School of Performing Arts, were first merged.
New York City finances still were reeling in the wake of the fiscal crisis of the late 1970s, and concerned alumni of both schools, working with the school’s leadership, wanted to assure the continuation of the highest quality of arts education for LaGuardia students.
They also wanted to assist in the integration of the new school into the dynamic art and music world of the city; to expose LaGuardia students to the opportunities within the community, and to build support for the school among arts organizations.
At that time there were few models for an endowment funded by private donors to support a public high school. Wealthy funders would be approached by school leaders to meet a specific school need, and the money raised was used exclusively for that purpose. This process would be repeated each time a funding crisis arose.
The intent of A&F was to create a permanent organization that would coalesce support from those committed to the success of the school. It allowed for large or small donations, so that alumni could express their appreciation for the education they received by supporting current students at whatever level they felt comfortable. Additionally, A&F provided an alumni association that assisted in reunions, encouraged attendance at school performances, and kept people in touch with what was happening at this incredible and unique school of the arts.
A&F was formed by graduates of the two legacy schools without regard to which school they came from. Assistance was similarly provided, recognizing need and talent wherever it was found. It has become the focal point for those who want to help and participate.
In its early years A&F’s endowment and membership base was small and its contributions to the school was limited. As it has grown, and since it moved into its current office on the 8th floor of the school in 1998, A&F has solidified its relations with the leadership of the school and the broader support network of LaGuardia. While an independent 501 (c)(3) organization in structure, the mission and commitment of A&F is to support LaGuardia and its gifted students, and to assure that future generations receive the same high quality arts education that was provided to its alumni.