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Life and Arts

On the Town: Burbank Arts for All Foundation holds scaled-down fundraising event to raise more money

Burbank Arts For All Foundation
Out in force to thank Burbank Arts For All Foundation supporters were the event’s chairwoman Joan McCarthy, from left, Carrie Brown, Cathy Stevens, Suzanne Weerts and Karen Volpei-Gussow.
(David Laurell)

Since the establishment of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation in 2006, the nonprofit organization has worked in partnership with the Burbank Unified School District to ensure every student in Burbank’s public schools receives a quality arts education as part of their core curriculum.

To show gratitude to the district, major studios, local businesses, media companies, parents, educators, community members and the city of Burbank for their support, the leadership of Burbank Arts for All recently hosted a sunset soiree on the campus of the Walt Disney Studios.

This year, instead of staging the traditional gala fundraiser, Burbank Arts for All held a monthlong event billed as the Give Instead Gala, conceptualized as a way of raising more funding for the cause by eliminating the costs of a festive sit-down dinner and entertainment.

Burbank Arts For All Foundation
Among those who apprised the gathering of the work their support is making possible were Burbank Arts For All Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford, from left, Tom Vice and Jill Vander Borght, who serve as co-chairs of the foundation’s board of directors.
(David Laurell)

The Disney-sponsored event, chaired by Joan McCarthy, Carrie Brown, Cathy Stevens, Suzanne Weerts and Karen Volpei-Gussow saw more than 150 supporters enjoy the early-evening cocktail reception that included a silent auction, buffet and updates about the organization’s work.

Welcomed by Trena Pitchford, executive director of the Burbank Arts For All Foundation, board member McCarthy, and Tom Vice and Jill Vander Borght, who serve as co-chairs of the foundation’s board of directors, they lauded the assemblage for their support.

“We’ve done really unique and important things for this community, and it has been through your donations that we are making a difference,” McCarthy said.

Vander Borght said she appreciated both new supporters as well as the founding partners who stepped up to help reach the recently closed funding cycle’s goals.


“The arts are critical to the development of children of Burbank, just as they are in any community,” Vander Borght said.

Burbank Arts For All
School board member Armond Aghakhanian and Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy where among those who gathered to hear of the work that is being done by Burbank Arts For All.
(David Laurell)

“Burbank, however, is unique in that the arts don’t just benefit our children’s development, but also the economy and economic development of our city,” she added.

Embraced and well-received by the community since its establishment, the recent Burbank Arts for All event included the presence of Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, City Council members Jess Talamantes, Bob Frutos and Tim Murphy, school board members Armond Aghakhanian, Steve Frintner and Charlene Tabet as well as former Mayors Tom Flavin and Jef Vander Borght.

Others who made the event a success were committee members Christina Ellixon, Brenda Etterbeek, Scott Pappas and Ian Waterhouse.

For more information about the work of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation, membership and future events, visit

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at or (818) 563-1007.

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