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Burbank Arts for All Foundation honored at California Capitol

Burbank Arts for All Foundation honored at California Capitol
Burbank Arts for All Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford, center, with board co-chairs Tom Vice and Jill Vander Borght, were grateful to find out Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) named the foundation the 43rd Assembly District’s 2019 Nonprofit of the Year. (File Art)

A year of unparalleled fundraising by the educational nonprofit Burbank Arts for All Foundation was honored this week by a government official in Sacramento.

On Wednesday, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) named the foundation the 43rd Assembly District’s 2019 Nonprofit of the Year.

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“The Burbank Arts for All Foundation is one of the most successful nonprofits in my district,” Friedman said in a statement. “For over a decade, they’ve helped open the doors to a quality arts education for tens of thousands of students in Burbank schools.”

The foundation was one of 100 nonprofits recognized statewide.

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Burbank Arts for All has raised and donated more than $662,000 in grants since partnering with Burbank Unified in 2006.

"Burbank Arts for All Foundation is deeply humbled to be recognized ... as Nonprofit of the Year for District 43,” said foundation board co-chairs Jill Vander Borght and Tom Vice in a joint statement.

“Working together with the community and Burbank Unified, the foundation believes all students should have equal access to a quality arts education that nurtures a balanced approach to life, develops 21st-century skills for any career path a student chooses and further enriches a healthy community and creative economy in Burbank," they added.

While the foundation is perhaps best known for its biannual grants awarded to district teachers for a variety of uses including materials, field trips and guest instructors, the past few months have marked a year of bold changes.

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Burbank Arts for All made it a mission to save three elementary music-teaching positions set to be eliminated by the school district as it tried to balance a $3.5-million structural deficit.

The foundation presented the district with its largest-ever single donation of $100,000 in February to save one of the elementary music-teacher jobs from being cut, and helped keep another.

Burbank Arts for All also changed its main gala format this year from a glitzy party usually held at the Globe Theatre in Universal Studios to a virtual shindig aimed at raising even more money.

The efforts by the foundation, along with other groups such as the Chuck Lorre and Burbank Education foundations, helped the district rescind layoffs of all three music-teaching positions it had earlier proposed to eliminate.

“We are a small arts education foundation committed to our mission, and it is incredible to be recognized at the state level,” foundation executive director Trena Pitchford said during a phone interview Thursday. “The foundation’s strength derives from the coalition of foundation board members, small staff, amazing volunteers, dedicated parent leaders, and, of course, our donors and business partners who believe in our work.”

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