For 65 years, the Family Service Agency of Burbank has forged, cultivated and celebrated relationships with the community as well as with those who have been in need of its vital services.
Those relationships were honored as the agency presented its annual “Imagine a City” gala on the new terrace at the Burbank Town Center this past Friday evening.
The more than 300 supporters who gathered for the event enjoyed perusing an elaborate silent auction during a pre-dinner sunset cocktail reception.
Welcomed by Laurie Bleick, the agency’s executive director, Pat Smola, the organization's finance director, and agency board members Mary Alvord and Teri Stein, supporters joined in to honor the city of Burbank as the 2018 recipient of the Mary Alice O’Connor Vision Award.
The award is given annually to honor the memory, work and spirit of O’Connor, a long-time dedicated community volunteer and founding board member of the agency, who died in 2010.
Serving as the event's mistress of ceremonies was Joan McCarthy of the Walt Disney Co., who joined the Cusumano family, represented by Chuck, Tracy, Roger, Evelyn, Michael and Caroline Cusumano, and Cartoon Network Studios, represented by the studio’s senior vice president Brian Miller, as the evening’s principal sponsors.
Among the dignitaries and special guests in attendance were Joan “J.P.” O’Connor, daughter of Mary Alice O’Connor, state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, Vice Mayor Sharon Springer, council members Jess Talamantes, Bob Frutos and Tim Murphy, school board members Roberta Reynolds, Steve Frintner, Char Tabet and Armond Aghakhanian, and seven former mayors: Bill Wiggins, Dave Golonski, Marsha Ramos, Gary Bric, Anja Reinke, Bob Frutos and Jess Talamantes.
Dedicated to its mission of offering quality counseling, care, education and advocacy at low or no cost, the agency has dramatically changed and saved the lives of local individuals, couples, families and active and veteran members of the armed forces.
Providing housing, crisis intervention, legal guidance, safety in the face of domestic violence and hope for those in the grips of mental illness and substance addiction, the agency has been embraced and supported by Burbank's governmental, corporate, business, residential and faith-based community.
The gala was made possible by the event’s committee and board members including Anita Schackmann, Bruce Osgood, Jim O’Neil, Michael Albanese, Michael Wilford, Ross Purdy, Stacy Cashman and Yasmine Wolfe.
For more information about the Family Service Agency and its services, to volunteer or to make a financial donation, call (818) 845-7671.