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Life and Arts

An air of animated affection

With the winds of love swirling throughout Burbank, Zita Lefebvre, the director of operations of Cartoon Network Studios, tapped into the air of affection to serve as hostess for the animation studio’s eighth annual Valentine’s Day luncheon.

“We started doing this as our way of showing our appreciation and saying thank you to representatives from the city of Burbank, the community and nonprofit organizations that we work with all year. We owe them all a big debt of gratitude, and this is our small way of saying what a pleasure it is to work in Burbank,” Lefebvre said as she welcomed Mayor Jess Talamantes, City Manager Mike Flad, Police Chief Scott LaChasse and Fire Chief Ray Krakowski.

“We always thank the Burbank police and fire departments because they help us all year long,” Lefebvre said.” They are our neighbors, and it’s a great comfort to have them right across the street.”

With a deep belief that companies must find ways to show gratitude for their success and give back, Lefebvre has championed Cartoon Network’s engagement with local charitable and nonprofit organizations. She has established numerous partnerships with local schools and organizations, including the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, the local Family Promise chapter, BCR — A Place to Grow, the Burbank Kids Community Dental Clinic and the Boys and Girls Club of the East San Fernando Valley. “It’s a natural fit for us,” Lefebvre said.


Cartoon Network recently presented a $20,000 grant to the Young Writers program at Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School. The winner of the contest will have their story animated and screened by the studio later this year. It has partnered with the Family Service Agency of Burbank, whom it just provided a grant to support an art therapy program that will result in artworks that will be displayed and available for purchase at a Cartoon Network Studios art show in September. It also has a long history of support for the Boys and Girls Club, which just received a grant from the studio to produce their Artists Showcase program and a video that will be shown at their annual fundraiser in May. Representing those organizations at the Valentine’s Day luncheon were Laurie Bleik of Family Service Agency and Shanna Warren and Jeudy Mom of the Boys and Girls Club.

Others who enjoyed the luncheon included Terry Walker of Providence Urgent Care Center, Lonna Grant and Teri Prince of BCR — A Place to Grow, Rick Madrid, who serves as the head of security investigations and emergency services at Paramount Pictures, Lisa Rawlins, who serves as the senior vice president of studio and production affairs at Warner Bros., Family Promise of the East San Fernando Valley Executive Director Jacqueline White, Dale Gorman of Burbank Kids Community Dental Clinic, and longtime community volunteer and philanthropist Janet Killian.

The downtown Burbank-based Cartoon Network Studios, owned by Turner Broadcasting, a Time-Warner Company, which also owns Hanna-Barbera Productions, was launched in 1992 to establish a cable animation showcase.