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Burbank Arts for All celebrates fundraising, calls for more

Excitement generated from another year of successful fundraising and grant-giving was tempered by a call for even more support from Burbank Arts for All Foundation’s Trena Pitchford.

The nonprofit’s executive director celebrated her organization’s financial success and impact, while laying out future plans at the first community-engagement event of the new school year Wednesday morning at the Ovrom Community Center.

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“We did a lot last year, and this year we’re looking to do more,” Pitchford said.

Burbank Arts for All handed out 37 grants last year, totaling $92,018.56. Some of the highlights included ukuleles for fifth-grade music classes and hallway museum galleries at four elementary schools.

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During the past 12 years, the foundation has awarded $482,718.90 in grant money, with the average size of an endowment totaling $1,644.55. The number of grants and totals donated grows when other projects, such as a fundraiser to encourage 1,000 people to donate $100 each for musical-instrument repairs, are factored into the tally.

“With our grant-making program and the giving that we were able to help with the ‘1,000 for $100’ and the ‘Music is Instrumental’ campaigns, we’ve raised $544,893.97 and given 293 grants,” Pitchford said.

She also outlined the growth of arts programs in the district since 2005, the year before the foundation began awarding grants.

For example, Providencia Elementary School provided only visual-arts and media curriculum under the arts program 13 years ago.

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Now, Providencia offers general music from transitional kindergarten to fifth grade, ukuleles, string instruments, dance and theater, along with visual arts and media.

While the district itself has added some of those programs, others have been made possible through fundraising efforts led by the foundation.

“Burbank is a special town,” Pitchford said. “Arts education is one of the biggest investments we can make for our future, both individually and collectively as a community. It has an impact on the economic level for Burbank, but it also has a social, cultural impact for the students, parents and citizens.”

While few specific plans were laid out for the 2018-19 school year, the organization is planning to launch a new website and find opportunities to be more effective in fundraising efforts.

“We’ve been looking for ways to make an even bigger difference for the lives of kids, and we always look to streamline our processes,” Pitchford said. “As we move into this next school year, there is more that we can do, but we can’t do it alone.”

As for upcoming grants, the foundation is accepting applications for its fall cycle with the deadline set for 5 p.m. on Sept. 17.

Foundation members will consider grant proposals from educators for projects set only during school hours that are curriculum-based and have a direct connection to learning, fulfill a need or gap in arts education, utilize the money within a year and are aligned to district and California Visual and Performing Arts standards.

For more information, visit burbankartsforall.org/grants.

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Saundra Montijo, the foundation’s program and outreach manager, is encouraging district art educators and those with some art included in their classes to apply.

“Our grants fund district arts-education programs, parts integrated into other core subjects, facilities upgrades, supplies and materials,” Montijo said. “We run the gamut from all different arts forms: visual, music, theater, dance, media and culinary arts.”

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