BURBANK : Center for Retarded Launches Fund Drive

A 30-year-old Burbank organization that provides recreation and education programs for the developmentally disabled is embarking on a three-year fund-raising program in hopes of consolidating its various activities and offices into a single location.

Mike Meeker, chairman of the board of trustees of the Burbank Center for the Retarded, said the organization has hired its first full-time executive director, whose task it will be to raise money over the next three years. The center hopes to buy and, if possible, develop a new headquarters.

The center's functions are now spread out among four sites in Burbank. Its youth and adult programs are housed at leased space in two churches. Its monthly dances are held at a park and at its offices on Olive Avenue.

A new building would help the center operate more efficiently, and provide more space for its children's programs, he said. "Our goal is to be in a new facility within four years. We're looking at several sites within the city of Burbank, but we have not settled on anything yet."

Meeker said it's too early to tell how much money the center needs to raise. The amount will be determined by the land costs and the need for any construction, he said. Fund-raising will be achieved through a combination of grants and donor solicitations, he said.

The center's new executive director, Rachel Galperin, is a former professor of educational psychology at Cal State Northridge and has worked for 15 years in the nonprofit sector, Meeker said.

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