Foundation for the Arts and Trauma Inc
19 Edwards Street
New Haven CT 06511-3913
Contact Information
Address 19 Edwards Street
New Haven, CT 06511-3913
Telephone (203) 624-2146 x
Fax 203-624-2791
Web and Social Media

ALIVE’s vision is to create schools that support open conversations about the truth in our students' lives, and thereby liberate their energies and spirits for the important work of learning. By attending to students’ stresses before they break down with symptoms and negative behaviors, ALIVE helps entire classrooms and schools to maintain focus.

We believe that the primary cause of the achievement gap is not in the conditions of schools, but in the conditions of students, who have been exposed to toxic levels of psychological stress.

At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1976
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
CEO/Executive Director Dr. David Read Johnson
Board Chair David Read Johnson Ph.D.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Post Traumatic Stress Center
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years

ALIVE’s vision is to create schools that support open conversations about the truth in our students' lives, and thereby liberate their energies and spirits for the important work of learning. By attending to students’ stresses before they break down with symptoms and negative behaviors, ALIVE helps entire classrooms and schools to maintain focus.

We believe that the primary cause of the achievement gap is not in the conditions of schools, but in the conditions of students, who have been exposed to toxic levels of psychological stress.

Background The Foundation for the Arts and Trauma, Inc. was incorporated in 1976 as Theater That, Inc, which ran a community theater that incorporated former psychiatric patients.  Over the years, the Foundation has funded various projects in foster care, veterans with PTSD, and children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, among others.  Since 2007, the Foundation has been the primary sponsor of ALIVE, a trauma-informed program in the public schools.  It is managed by a 6 member board and contracts with the staff of the Post Traumatic Stress Center to conduct the program.  ALIVE is now being conducted in 17 schools in New Haven, New Britain, Bridgeport, and Minneapolis.

The Foundation for the Arts and Trauma, Inc. is invested in supporting the educational goals of students and teachers in Connecticut’s public schools. We draw on a preventive, trauma-informed, arts-based approach to facilitating student success that we call A.L.I.V.E. (Animating Learning by Integrating and Validating Experience), which has been influenced by and incorporates elements of the Comer Method and Achievement First models of school intervention and the Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) model of trauma treatment. This year we provided programs in 8 elementary schools (Barnard, Strong, Wexler Grant, Truman, Curiale, DiLoreto, Bishop Woods, and Brennan Rogers.), and 5 high schools (Metropolitan Business Academy, High School in the Community, International Academy at Wilbur Cross, New Horizons, and Hillhouse) from September 1, 2016 – July 31, 2017.  We also conducted programs at Gateway Community College, Westville Manor, and during the summer at the Sullivan Basketball Academy.  The overall aims were:


•       To increase collaboration between the Foundation and schools.

•       To develop school specific interventions, in collaboration with each school, from a trauma-informed perspective.

•       To improve students’ engagement in the educational task of the school by reducing incidents of disruptive and withdrawn behavior, increasing time spent learning, and improving the overall social atmosphere in the classroom.

•       To evaluate the effectiveness of our programs through school records, self-report, and observational methods. 


Needs Having established a method that has shown strong positive effects in both elementary and high schools, we have embarked on three efforts: 1) to expand the number of schools in the New Haven school district so we can have a city-wide impact; 2) to expand into Gateway Community College to serve young adult students who are burdened by toxic stress, and 3) to establish ALIVE schools throughout the country, beginning in Minneapolis in January, 2017.
CEO Statement

Our nation’s current policy is to wait until highly stressed young children cannot hold on any longer and break down into symptoms of anxiety, depression, and disruptive behaviors in the classroom, and only then to provide expensive support services and treatments. ALIVE aims to reach these highly stressed students before they need to break down. This is accomplished through methods of early identification, in which every child is asked what is happening in their lives on a regular basis.


Currently teachers, principals, and social workers are spending much of their time attending to the many students who are disruptive during the school day. They are not however attending to those students who might be disruptive tomorrow. The result is an unending cascade of upset students. By interrupting this pipeline, ALIVE has lowered office referrals and therefore freed up teachers’ and administrators’ time to attend to their actual duties.

Board Chair Statement see above
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Education / Educational Services
Secondary Organization Category Mental Health & Crisis Intervention / Counseling
Tertiary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Arts,Culture & Humanities NEC
Areas Served
State wide
New Haven
We currently serve 14 elementary and high schools in New Haven, one in Bridgeport, and one in New Britain.  We are available to conduct programs state-wide. We are also conducting programs in 4 elementary schools and one transitional living program in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Description ALIVE is a trauma-informed, preventative socioemotional program for youth from Kindergarten through High School, which aims to identify highly stressed youth prior to their breaking down into symptoms or negative behaviors.  The program is conducted within school classrooms by trained ALIVE counselors working in partnership with teachers and school administrators.  The program is delivered to ALL students because a student's behavior is not an indicator of whether or not they have been exposed to traumatic stressors.  Activities include classroom based discussions concerning child safety from their own experiences, to individual stress reduction sessions lasting about 15 minutes outside the classroom.  Significant reductions in disciplinary behaviors such as suspensions, truancy, and fighting have occurred in all ALIVE schools.
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Immediate calming down of upset students; engagement of students in the classroom due to their connecting their personal experiences with the curriculum; support for teachers.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. In all of our schools that ALIVE has been conducted for more than a year, decreases of 80-90% in office referrals, suspensions, and fighting have been documented.  Classrooms have been calmed, and students have been able to focus on their academic work much more.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. School records of disciplinary behaviors; student and teacher feedback forms; questionnaire assessment of children by teachers; independent external review conducted in 2015 by Curriculum, Research, and Evaluation, Inc.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. At DiLoreto School in New Britain, suspensions dropped from 90 to 7 in one year; at Curiale School in Bridgeport, suspensions dropped from 184 to 20 in one year.  Data on individual stress reduction sessions derived from each student rating their stress before and after each session, on 8,000 sessions, indicated nearly 90% drop in stress within 15 minutes.
Program Comments
CEO Comments Due to our success, as well as being highlighted in a film documentary, "Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope," directed by James Redford, we have been contacted by many districts across the country, and have conducted ALIVE at four schools in Minneapolis. Preparing to conduct training and hiring staff in other states is a current challenge.
CEO/Executive Director
Dr. David Read Johnson
Term Start Jan 2010
Experience We actually do not have a separate CEO.  Dr. Johnson, as President, with help from other board members, manages the operation.  The program is conducted by the Post Traumatic Stress Center through a separate contract.
Number of Full Time Staff 18
Number of Part Time Staff 15
Number of Volunteers 25
Number of Contract Staff 7
Staff Retention Rate 90%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 8
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 3
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 7 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 18
Unspecified 10
Senior Staff
Title ALIVE Program Director
Experience/Biography Ms. Davis manages the day to day operations of the ALIVE program.
Title Assistant Director for High Schools
Title Assistant Director for Elementary Schools
Title Assistant Director for Staff Development
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation N/A
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
New Haven Trauma Coalition; Clifford Beers Child Guidance Clinic; Solar Youth; New Haven City YouthStat; Housing Authority of New Haven; Guns Down Books Up; Fresh Start; Gateway Community College
Screening of the documentary "Resilience" at White HouseWhite House Council on Women2016
Community Partner of the YearCity of New Haven Department of Youth Services2017
CEO Comments Originally our focus has been exclusively on improving academic outcomes for youth.  However, the positive impact on misbehavior and reduction in disciplinary actions has linked us with efforts to reduce their involvement with the criminal justice system.  We are therefore pursuing funding opportunities in the area of restorative justice and prison redirection.
Board Chair
David Read Johnson Ph.D.
Company Affiliation Post Traumatic Stress Center
Term Jan 2019 to Dec 2020
Board of Directors
Cecilia DintinoColumbia University, New York City
Warren McCommonsRetired
Robert MillerMiller Associates, Hoboken, NJ
Nisha SajnaniLesley University, Cambridge, MA
Daniel WienerCentral Connecticut State University
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 2
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 25%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Risk Management Provisions
Accident and Injury Coverage
Commercial General Liability
Directors and Officers Policy
Standing Committees
CEO Comments
We have been challenged by donors preferring to contribute to more urgent needs rather than our preventive approach.  We have been challenged by people not believing that disciplinary behaviors are dropping as strongly as our data show.  We have been challenged by districts not recognizing that our per student yearly cost, $300, is within their current budgets and that they could fund ALIVE throughout their districts without spending more money than they are currently.
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2019
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2019
Projected Revenue $1,400,000.00
Projected Expenses $1,350,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
Form 990s
Form 9902018
Form 9902017
Form 9902015
Form 9902014
Form 9902013
Audit Documents
Audit 2016
Financial Statements 2013-20152013
IRS Letter of Exemption
Determination Letter
Other Documents
Other Documents 3
Drop in Suspensions at DiLoreto School2017View
External Evaluation by CRE2016View
Published Chapter on ALIVE2014View
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201820172016
Total Assets$39,623$22,330--
Current Assets$39,389$22,330--
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0--
Current Liabilities$4,778$0--
Total Net Assets$34,845$22,330--
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201820172016
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- ----
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- ----
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- ----
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
CEO Comments Our financial situation has been gradually increasing and its stability is due to having four or five major sources of funding.  We intend to convince school districts to include ALIVE in their annual budgets as a long term plan.  Philanthropy and grants will be used to establish ourselves in the meantime. Our income rose to $1,250,000 this year, a 78% rise.
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 19 Edwards Street
New Haven, CT 065113913
Primary Phone 203 624-2146
CEO/Executive Director Dr. David Read Johnson
Board Chair David Read Johnson Ph.D.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Post Traumatic Stress Center


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