Mary Elizabeth Cantu ’01, Founder, Spare Parts

Mary Elizabeth Cantu '01 Mary Elizabeth Cantu ’01 founded Spare Parts, an organization that supplies art materials to schools in Texas—a much needed program when the state legislature chopped $5 billion out of school budgets in 2011.

From an interview with Texas Public Radio:

“By sustaining arts in our schools and supporting our youth in the arts, we are building artists, we are creating patrons and thespians and concert-goers,” Cantu said.

Spare Parts gives materials that could be used to create art for pre-school ages through high school. Cantu said sometimes getting those supplies is as simple as getting a call from someone saying, “I just had a wedding and I have all this extra stuff, or we’re going out of business, or we just had a big convention and we have 200 binders for Spare Parts to pick up. Can you take these items now?”

Spare Parts aligns those with the need with the people who have the stuff.

“What Spare Parts is about is teaching people how to re-use the stuff that’s around them, look at the stuff around them differently” said Cantu. “The truth is there isn’t a lot of landfill space, things don’t disappear when we throw them in the trash can.”

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