Boys & Girls Club of Burbank Hosts Kentucky Derby Style Fundraiser Gala “Run For the Roses”

Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley Fundraising Gala 2024. Photo by Ross A. Benson.

The prestigious Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake was filled with heirloom elegance as guests enjoyed the Kentucky Derby themed gala “Run For the Roses,” hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley (BGCB). On Saturday, May 4th, over 400 people came out to support the organization that nurtures and enriches the lives of children during after school hours and through the summer.

Guests entered donning seersucker blazers and floral dresses with a rainbow of fascinators atop their heads, enjoying an evening honoring Leadership Burbank’s Mary Alvord and Sue Georgino, as well as Sage Pena, named Youth of the Year. 

Two jockeys in red and white checkered racing silks waved in attendees who were also welcomed with a mint julep upon arrival in a commemorative souvenir cup. Over 150 silent auction items lined the grass in rows for people to bid on while enjoying an open bar and exquisite three-shelved cheese board.

Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley Fundraising Gala 2024. Photo by Ross A. Benson.

Mayor Nick Schultz and Vice Mayor Nikki Perez were in attendance along with many other community leaders from the City of Burbank, the Burbank Police Department, Burbank School Board, The Burbank Chamber of Commerce and local businesses and non-profit organizations.

Lynette Romero, award-winning journalist and anchor from NBC4’s “Today in LA,” was the emcee of the event. “This is a chance for us to have some hope and to believe in the next generation and to give them the resources and the stepping stones to do something positive in this world, and what an honor and privilege it is for us to be here,” said Romero in her welcome message to the audience.

In addition to raising money for the BGCB, the event also recognized Leadership Burbank’s beloved facilitators, Mary Alvord and Sue Georgino. “To date, Leadership Burbank’s class projects have successfully invested a half a million dollars in goods and services beautifying the city, improving construction projects in schools and nonprofit charities and building awareness for causes that impact Burbank,” said BGCB CEO Shanna Warren.

Alvord and Georgino facilitate the program and mentor each Leadership Burbank class, offering expansive expertise and dedication to the city, inspiring the future leaders of our community. “Mary and Sue, you are trailblazers and truly inspirational. We are so grateful for all you have done.” added Warren. 

Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley Fundraising Gala 2024. Photo by Ross A. Benson.

Student Sage Pena, was also welcomed to the stage as an honoree of the night. Pena was named the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank’s Youth of the Year and was chosen by her peers to represent the club for a year due to her strong character, good communication skills and leadership.

Over 20 Students that are members of the BGCB came out in their best formal wear carrying long stem red roses, waving to the large crowd as they took the stage singing “Run for the Roses,” by Dan Fogelberg. As their sweet soft voices filled the air, it was clear to all in attendance how special the BGCB is and what difference it has made in the lives of our youth.

The rest of the night included a live auction of items and opportunities hosted by Burbank Coach, Mike Graceffo. Items included a Rolex watch valued at $10,000, a Las Vegas concert trip to meet Donny Osmond, LA Kings and Dodgers sports packages, hot rod tours, and culinary experiences. Two puppies also made their way into the auction, as part of the organization Hand in Paw, who works to rescue, rehabilitate and adopt out abandoned, homeless, and abused dogs.  

Despite the crisp May weather and chilly breeze, the event was beautifully organized and orchestrated by BGCB, and the money raised will continue to provide a safe and enriching environment to over 3,900 kids from the Burbank and surrounding communities.