College of Adaptive Arts (San Jose, CA)


  • Name:DeAnna Pursai
  • Title:Executive Director

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:College of Adaptive Arts
  • Address:1401 Parkmoor Ave.
    Suite 260
    San Jose, CA 95126
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:408-384-8674

Organization Web

User Web and Email


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  • Mission:
  • The mission of the College of Adaptive Arts (CAA) is building an innovative college of the arts for students with disabilities. CAA provides a safe, engaging, and stimulating equitable collegiate experience whereby adults with disabilities learn from a diverse and rich arts curriculum that will enable them to live a full and empowered life as successful contributing members of the community.

  • Overview:
  • Through arts and healthy-lifestyle instruction, CAA develops and showcases the artistic abilities of a presently marginalized and underutilized population.

    CAA began teaching a musical theatre class in July of 2009 with 12 students enrolled. This past March, 2015, CAA has grown to serving over 195 adults ages 18+ with special needs since its inception, enrolling 70+ adults with special needs each quarter. CAA's motto is lifelong collegiate experience through exposure, education, and friendship.

    Schools of CAA include:
    *Health & Wellness
    *New & Upcoming Department: Education & Media Resource Library

    Students ages 18+ can enroll in classes each quarter, which runs 8 weeks of instruction plus a mid-quarter break designed for field trips, workshops, and community touring performances. Classes run Monday - Friday, day and evening times, and each class is 1 1/2 hours long once a week.

    Demographics of disability include autism, Asperger's syndrome, cerebral palsy, schizophrenia, Down syndrome, blindness, deafness, nonverbal learning disabilities, & medical conditions such as epilepsy, respiratory conditions, and cancer.

    Teachers of CAA are referred to as professors. Over half of the staff have disabilities. 15 of the 16 professors hold university degrees. Over 70% of support staff has degrees.

    CAA's vision is empowering the student body to creatively transform the way the world views individuals with disabilities.

    CAA provides an equitable, lifelong collegiate experience to adults with special needs who have historically not had access to a collegiate experience.

  • History:
  • CAA was established as a nonprofit in August of 2009. Co-Founders DeAnna Pursai, former special education teacher with a sister with Down syndrome who is a natural performer, and Pamela Lindsay, professional actress/singer/dancer with a daughter with Asperger’s syndrome, joined forces to provide a collegiate experience for adults who are not able to access a junior college level education. CAA provides an equitable college diploma path.

    For adults with disabilities, the current system creates wards of the state. It is a based on a vocational training model which does not optimize human potential. Existing programs do not address:

    • development of full human potential
    • burgeoning medical costs
    • reforming a system of lifelong wards of the state
    • changing an entrenched perception that disabled adults have nothing to contribute

    Within Santa Clara County there are over 133,000 adults with disabilities. Research shows a higher prevalence of poor physical and mental health, resulting in the costliest population in health and social service dollars.

    CAA addresses these problems by providing an innovative arts college experience in areas where many disabled adults possess keen skills and abilities. CAA increases confidence and self-esteem among students resulting in less reliance upon family and society for basic needs, thereby reducing depression, obesity, and chronic health-related issues, such as Type II diabetes.

    Major accomplishments include a California State Commendation by the State Legislature in 2009, San Andreas Service Provider of the Year in 2012, and a Lifelong Learning Award by the San Jose Down Syndrome Buddy Walk Organization. In 2014, CAA’s Graduate Television Production students won the CreaTV CreaTiVe Awards 2014 Best Television Series. CAA performing troupes have performed over 100 times throughout the Bay Area, including at Great America’s Disability Awareness Day for the past 4 years, the Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority Conference at the San Jose Museum of Art, City of San Jose Disability Awareness Day, Abilities Expo, and Christmas in the Park. In 2011 CAA students were invited to speak at the Jewish Film Festival during the showing of the film Anita, and in 2013 the CAA TV/Film Arts Department took the Celebrating Differing Abilities Film Festival on tour at Santa Clara University in collaboration with SCU’s SCAAP Social Justice Program and the SCU Film.

  • Year established:2009
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:9
  • Advisory board size:7
  • Staff size:15

Board and Executive Names

  • Board Members / Trustees:
  • Jen Pleimann, Personal Trainer & Founder of VidaPost, lives in San Francisco, joined board in 2011,Chair.

    Mimi Giannini, VP of Saratoga Springs, lives in San Jose, joined board is 2013, Treasurer.

    Shar Yorgey, Entrenpeneur, lives in San Jose, joined board in 2013, Secretary.

    Loni Spratt, Founder of Intellitalent, lives in San Jose, joined board in 2013, Head of Technology & Social Media Committee.

    Brian Appleton, Applications Engineer at 16500, Inc., lives in San Jose, joined board in 2013, Head of Program Committee.

    Kirsty Duncan, Realtor at the Sereno Group of Willow Glen, lives in San Jose, joined board in 2013, Head of Development Committee.

    Suchita Chetia, Engineer at VMWare, lives in Saratoga, joined board in 2015, sits on Development committee.

    Toni Cook, Delta Kappa Gamma Education Sorority Leader & Retired Principal, lives in San Jose, sits on Events committee.

    Joe Siecinski, Founder/President of ActionCOACH of Santa Clara, joined board in 2015, lives in San Jose, sits on Finance committee.

  • Executive Director / President:
  • DeAnna Pursai, Executive Director, Co-Founder, began working in 2009, former special education teacher with a MA in Policy Analysis.

    Responsiblities: Growing program, working with the Dean of Instruction, development, community engagement, & operations/facilities.

Staff Names

  • Key Staff:
  • Pamela Lindsay, Dean of Instruction, Co-founded CAA in 2009; former professional actress with an adult child with Asperger's syndrome; working on Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in higher education, special needs curriculum, and instructional development.

    Responsibities: Overseeing staff, curriculum design, professional development, staff evaluations, working with partnering arts organizations.

    Janet Heathcote, Director of the Dance Arts, Part-time HR Director, and volunteer site supervisor. began working at CAA in 2013; former professional dancer, has 3 children with autism, has background in HR.

    Katie Zeisl, Site Manager & Assistant Professor. Graduated from San Jose State in Theatre. Responsibilities: opening the site each morning, making sure students are checked in/out, safety/management, support with classroom instruciton.


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Unknown
  • IRS Section:
  • Tax ID:27-0342896

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:270342896
  • Organization Name:COLLEGE OF ADAPTIVE ARTS
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:% DEANNA PURSAI
  • Organization Address:1401 PARKMOOR AVE STE 260
  • Organization City:SAN JOSE
  • Organization State:CA
  • Organization Zip:95126-3407
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1, 2
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization, Educational Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:August, 2009
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:16
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization that normally receives no more than one third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business income and at the same time more than one third of its support from contributions, fees, and gross receipts related to exempt purposes. 509(a)(2)
  • Activity Code(s):
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:June, 2017
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:June
  • NTEE Code:A6E
  • Asset Amount:$49,654
  • Asset Code:3 ($25,000 - $99,999)
  • Income Amount:$590,102
  • Income Code:5 ($500,000 - $999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$540,324
  • Last Updated:2/25/2018 7:26:51 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.