From Goldman Sachs to Tanzania: How Christine Lott Founded the Organization of Her Dreams

Christine Lott is one of the Arts Extension Service’s alumni success stories. A student in the UMass-Amherst University Without Walls (UWW) program and AES’s non-profit arts management courses, Christine graduated with a concentration in Management and Leadership in 2010. Like many AES alumni, Christine had a passion for starting her own organization and used AES coursework to help her get there. Unlike many AES alumni, Christine completed her coursework while living between Massachusetts and Tanzania.

While studying at UMass, Christine founded the Tanzania School Foundation in 2009, an organization dedicated to helping children and the poor in Tanzania. Because Christine was dividing her time between two countries, she took advantage of the convenient 24-hour access to AES courses and the ability to do coursework anywhere in world with a Wi-Fi connection.

Christine also found using a real-world non-profit cultural organization as a case study important; this is a key component of all AES courses. In Christine’s situation, she was able to use the organization she was founding as a case study focus in her Financial Management in the Arts, Strategic Planning and Arts Fundraising courses. She was able to generate financial, strategic, and 3-year fundraising plans for the Tanzania School Foundation – all as an integrated part of her coursework.

The Tanzania School Foundation has grown rapidly since its founding. In 2011, the foundation created the School of St. Nicholas for children born into chronic poverty in the remote village of Moivaro in Northern Tanzania. The school started in a living room of a rented house, but in 2013 the foundation began building an official school building, and now has over 100 students on their waiting list. While the building is under construction, the school is still able to provide 100% free, quality education, as well as uniforms, shoes, back packs, books, pencils, games, breakfast, and creative learning tools to more than 30 children.

“I learn something new every day and am always grateful to have taken my Arts Extension Service classes as they have prepared me for this journey,” says Christine. “Prior to this, I worked at Goldman Sachs as a VP for 25 years...two very different fields and I couldn't have made the transition without taking non-profit management classes at AES.”

You can read more about the exceptional work of the Tanzania School Foundation here. To learn more about AES’s online courses here