Although the Burbank Educational Foundation has been working with the Burbank Unified School District to provide events, programs, projects, classroom supplies and instructional materials for 36 years, the all-volunteer fundraising organization has maintained a lower profile than other local nonprofit groups.
Last week, the educational foundation’s leadership staged an event in hopes of heightening the knowledge of the work they do beyond the local schools community.
Billed as a “Fall Wine Night,” the organization took over the Urban Press Winery in Downtown Burbank to kick off what they plan to be regularly held mixers to better highlight their mission.
“Our fundraising committee is committed to giving the community-at-large a better understanding of the work we do,” said the organization’s co-chairman, Eric Carter.
“We felt that by doing outreach mixers we could invite those who aren’t familiar with us and provide them with information on what we do. It’s a way to bring about awareness — to remind those who know what we do that we’re still very active — and to introduce ourselves to local residents and the business community who aren’t aware of us.”
Established in 1982, the Burbank Educational Foundation has been dedicated to the science, technology, engineering, math, art and athletic programs at local schools. They award grants to district teachers to assist in the purchase of needed materials, and also help students prepare for college and their future careers.
Among the programs they support are California Next Generation Science Standards. By providing the necessary materials for this program, students are able to participate in an array of hands-on learning experiences in the fields of science, technology and engineering.
They also supplement the school district’s budget for student transportation. This funding allows students to take advantage of the arts and cultural performances available in the greater Los Angeles area, and also assists in travel costs to other schools associated with athletic events.
Perhaps, most importantly, is the $10,000-plus the foundation provides annually through its teacher grant program. This funding, of up to $350 per teacher, allows students to have teaching materials, art supplies, books, supplies and equipment that would otherwise not be available.
Along with Carter, and his co-chair, Julie Grair, last week’s event was made possible by Gina Boulanger, Krista Ghaman, Eva Sippel, Laurie Harmon, Ana Connell, Michelle Duarte, Annette Fiol, Amy Kamm, Jen Lurie, Barbara Miller, Russell Freesland and Barbara Wise.
Among the special guests who enjoyed last week’s event that included the opportunity to sample Urban Press Winery’s extensive and eclectic wine offerings, a silent auction, a light dinner, and the music of Sheila Mann, were school board members Steve Frintner and Char Tabet who also serve as advisory board members for the educational foundation.
Other notables in attendance included Stacy Cashman who serves as the director of student services at BUSD, Burbank Chamber of Commerce board chairwoman Gema Sanchez, and Trena Pitchford, the executive director of Burbank Arts for All.
For more information on the Burbank Educational Foundation and its upcoming events, visit befgives.org.