After Virtual Year, Local Fundraiser Delight Supporters

First published in the Oct. 23 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

After far too many months of local fundraising events being canceled, put on hold or presented virtually, the good times are back — so much so, that many had to decide which event to attend this week.
Some supporters even made it a “twofer,” attending both benefits held by the Burbank Arts & Education Foundation and Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley, with fun and fundraising for the good causes going all night long.

For the 16th year, the local Boys & Girls Club presented its annual Poker & Bingo Tournament. While traditionally held on the campus of Woodbury University, this year’s event was held at the club’s new East Angeleno Avenue home.
“This is a very special night for us in that we now have the space to do our tournament at our own facility,” said the club’s CEO Shanna Warren. “This gives us the opportunity to welcome supporters into our home and, along with having a fun evening, get to see our new facility and hear about the huge strides we have made in serving the youth of our community.”
Following a Mexican buffet dinner, a suggested buy-in of $100 gave more than 100 supporters the opportunity to employ their best poker face in hopes of winning an eclectic array of prizes including a private Staples Center box for a Kings game and Rams tickets.

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Boys & Girls Club staff members Jay “Jax” Jackson and Arp Ineh welcoming Councilwoman Sharon Springer to last week’s poker tournament fundraiser.

Hosted by the club’s board President Dan Stillwell and staff including Jay “Jax” Jackson, Arp Ineh and Susan Sebastian, the evening drew a cross-section of locals from the media, business, and nonprofit communities. Among the special guests in attendance were state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Mayor Bob Frutos, Councilwoman Sharon Springer and Raha Arnold, who serves as the director of operations and asset management at the Burbank Housing Corporation.
“Our goal is to raise $20,000 at this event,” said Warren, who is already busy preparing for the club’s next fundraiser on Nov. 13, Ladies Shopping Day.
“We have hosted this event in the past and it has been extremely successful,” Warren said about the upcoming fundraiser. “This year we will have 20 venders representing women-owned local businesses. It’s a great way for people to support our club, local businesswomen, and to pick up some great gifts for the holidays.”
Since 1995, the local Boys & Girls Club has touched the lives of thousands of local children and their families, providing regular programming as well as affordable after-school and summer programs. With more than 1,600 kids being served on a daily basis at the club’s main facility and its additional satellite sites, a community and culture of caring has been created that has enabled members to participate in educational, athletic and artistic programs, including performing arts, homework assistance, tutoring, college prep and leadership training.
For more information on the club and their upcoming event, visit bgcburbank.org, or call (818) 842-9333.

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos and actress Stephanie Weir were among those out in support of the Burbank Arts & Education Foundation.

While folks were tangling with Lady Luck at the Boys & Girls Club, others were gathering at Burbank Water and Power’s Centennial Courtyard as the Burbank Arts & Education Foundation presented their IMPACT Party 2021.
Along with local dignitaries, school administrators, teachers and representatives of the arts and media, the organization played host to parents of students who attend public schools in Burbank and numerous representatives of the Burbank business community.
Presented as an elaborate cocktail party complete with music and dancing, the evening gave attendees the opportunity to bid on items both in silent and live auctions while enjoying treats provided by women-owned businesses, Burbank Bites and the Recess Truck.
Hosted by actor and comedian Tom Kenny, best known for voicing SpongeBob SquarePants, special guests included Councilman Nick Schultz, former and current members of the Burbank Unified School District School Board, and actress Stephanie Weir of “Mad TV” fame, who is currently appearing in ABC’s “A Million Little Things” as Jane Goodman, the station manager of WCLN.
Other notables in attendance included Burbank Arts & Education Foundation co-chairs Ana Connell and Bob Mohler, Tom Vice, who chairs the organization’s development committee, and Dr. Oscar Macias, who serves as the principal of Luther Burbank Middle School.

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Burbank Arts & Education Foundation board members Tom Vice, Ana Connell and Bob Muller enjoyed the organization’s Impact Party fundraiser last Friday.

“Your attendance here this evening and your support of this foundation is greatly appreciated,” Macias told the assemblage. “Each one of you is playing a vital role in supporting Burbank’s next generation of fixers, doers, dreamers and leaders.”
The Burbank Arts & Education Foundation was created in October of 2020, after the Burbank Educational Foundation and the Burbank Arts for All Foundation merged to create a singular, unified voice for Burbank students. The foundation’s mission is to engage and inspire the community to invest in meeting the diverse educational needs of all 15,000-plus BUSD students.
For more information on how to become involved or to donate to the foundation, visit BurbankArtsandEd.org.

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