Tacolicious Raises $1,000,000 for Public Education in San Francisco

Sara Desaran is a public school mom and the co-founder of Tacolicious. She tells us her story of starting the Tacolicious School Project and their success in raising $1,000,000 for public schools. 

When my husband Joe and I started Tacolicious in 2010, we aspired to do more than sling tacos. Restaurants regularly get asked to donate to all sorts of things, which can leave you feeling a little scattershot. We wanted to participate in our community in a bigger, more impactful way. But what?

Two years later, my oldest son (who’s now a junior at Mission High) gave us the answer when he came home with a note from his public school elementary teacher asking for a donation of pencils and Kleenex. Let me reiterate that: Pencils. And Kleenex. It was such a sad little ask, but it spoke mountains about how in-need our SFUSD schools are. It also reminded me that the burden is put upon parents. As a mother with a full-time job, I’d found myself struggling to help our school while maintaining my sanity. I mean, let’s face it, you can only sit on so many committees and organize so many carnivals.

Call it selfish but on that day in 2012, the Tacolicious School Project (or TSP) was born.  

Since then, the goal of the School Project has been two-fold: To provide a fun and painless way for public school parents to fundraise. And more importantly, to encourage the whole community to come out and support along with them. Not every school has the same parental bandwidth and it’s often the schools with the greatest amount of disparity that need the most support, which is why every table that dines with us on a Monday participates in giving back.

To top this off, Joe and I decided to give 15 percent of our Monday proceeds for an entire month’s time. One day just isn’t enough. To foster community and keep it simple, we also work with schools in closest proximity to our restaurants. Today we have five Tacolicious and partner with 36 schools in total from San Francisco to San Jose. We don’t require that the funds go to anything specific but trust that each school has its own needs.

After six years of the TSP being in effect, I have some big news. (Can I get a drum roll here?)

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As of this month of May, the Tacolicious School Project has raised $1,000,000! We’ve also had the pleasure of funding an SF Education Fund Maisin Scholar Award for 2018 and benefitting the awesome folks at Parents for Public Schools to boot.

To celebrate, we are pulling out the stops and throwing a big ole party May 14 at our Mission District location (cocktails, tacos, a Beychella-esque drumline from Galileo High!). We would be thrilled if everyone who values public education comes out to celebrate. Tickets are available on Eventbrite and proceeds go to fund our second Maisin Scholar Award.

And btw, we couldn’t agree more with PPSSF’s logo: Strong Schools. Strong City. (Just add to that strong parents bolstered by strong margaritas.) So, come in on a Monday, bring your friends and neighbors, and raise a glass. Public schools are only as good as the community that supports them.


For more information about the Tacolicious School Project, click here.

To buy tickets to our $1,000,000 Party, click here. 

The opinions expressed by guest bloggers are of the individual author only and not necessarily those of Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco or its staff or board of directors.