CoachArt was founded by childhood friends Zander Lurie and Leah Bernthal in memory of Zander’s father, Dr. Arthur Lurie, a cardiac surgeon who recognized the need for long-term support and enrichment amongst the pediatric patient population. Inspired by the model introduced by eBay, which created a platform to connect interested parties, Zander and Leah envisioned an organization that would connect families impacted by childhood chronic illness with volunteers who could provide coaching in arts or athletics. In 2001, they incorporated CoachArt as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and began providing services at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
In 2011 CoachArt expanded into the San Francisco Bay Area in partnership with Children’s Hospital Oakland. In 2017 we launched the CoachArt Connect app, which streamlined the process of matching volunteers with kids for lessons. In 2019 we expanded to San Diego. In 2020 we introduced online lessons and began offering them to students in Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Denver, New York City, and Portland OR in addition to our other service areas. In 2021 we celebrated our 20th anniversary and expanded our services nationwide.
Today, CoachArt offers free, high-quality arts and athletics activities to more than 1,300 children — including not only chronically ill children but also their siblings, who are often neglected due to the needs of the other child.