The Burbank Arts For All Foundation, a nonprofit fundraising organization dedicated to supporting arts education in Burbank public schools, announced a $100,000 donation to the Burbank Unified School District to help support the elementary school music program in 2019.
The check was presented to Superintendent Dr. Matt Hill and Board of Education President Dr. Roberta Reynolds in the Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School music room lined with ukeleles and dotted with music stands and other musical instruments.
After parcel tax Measure QS narrowly failed passage in November 2018, Superintendent Dr. Matt Hill reached out to the Foundation to ask for support for the elementary school music program, which costs $275,328 annually to fund three teachers for 11 schools. The program currently provides weekly music instruction to all students in grades two through five.
“I am moved deeply by this. Dr. Reynolds and I thank you on behalf of the over 15,000 students in the school district,” commented Hill. “Burbank Arts For All [Foundation] has always been there for the school district, working with us.”
“It’s devastating to look at children, and the state where we have the fifth largest economy in the world… and we have to tell students ‘you may not have music instruction next year.'” he added. “Something’s wrong with that. We have to have partnerships like this to advocate for funding.”
“California should not be 43rd in the country for funding for education,” Hill continued. “Not with all the wealth and resources we have.”
“We see what happens when we give students the access to music, the arts. They thrive. They accomplish so much more [with] self-worth, academics.”
“The partnership and this gift of $100,000 gets us on a path to help prevent [the loss of the elementary music program.]”
“The Burbank Arts For All Foundation offers the largest grant in the Foundation’s history during BUSD’s time of unprecedented need,” Board of Directors Co-chairs Jill Vander Borght and Tom Vice jointly stated. “The Foundation will continue its financial investments throughout 2019 to ensure creativity in the classroom for all of BUSD’s students.”
Vander Borght and Vice called for matching donations from local businesses and studios and the community of Burbank to preserve the elementary school music program.
They also announced a donation from Warner Bros. Entertainment to support “creative design proposals for BUSD schools in alignment with the City of Burbank’s Art in Public Places ordinance.”
“As the founding benefactor of Burbank Arts for All Foundation, Warner Bros. is proud to continue its legacy of investing in creative learning by donating a portion of the Arts in Public Places development fee assessed to a new development to the Foundation,” commented Mary-Elizabeth Michaels, Director of Community Engagement for Warner Bros. “We look forward to celebrating the reveal of the project that will be funded with this donation in the next year.”
“The City of Burbank recognizes the importance of public art in our community; it enriches the City’s cultural and educational identity,” said Parks and Recreation Director Judie Wilke. “It is rewarding that the City of Burbank is able to support art and art education within the Burbank Unified School District through the wonderful partnership between the City’s Art in Public Places Program and Burbank Arts for All Foundation.”
“The Foundation has a long-standing partnership with the City of Burbank through its Arts in Public Places Ordinance (APPO) program,” explained Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “Developers have options when they build development projects (buildings, etc.) in the City of Burbank. A developer can choose to build a work of art in their project or pay a fee to the City under APPO.”
“If they choose to pay that fee, then the developer can designate one-half of 1% of that fee to Burbank Arts for All Foundation for arts education projects – in alignment with the City’s ordinance – in Burbank Unified schools,” Pitchford continued. “It is restricted and can only be used for those purposes. Historically, the Foundation has disbursed those funds through our bi-annual grantmaking program, where we review the projects, ensure student impact and support BUSD arts education.”
The Burbank Unified School District faces a potential of $3.5 million in reductions for the 2019-20 budget.
Support “can’t be done by just one foundation, one giver, one supporter,” said Hill. “It’s going to take all of us as a community in Burbank.”
“We’ve got to bring other people in, tell the story: what is funding in California, why do school districts have to make the difficult decisions between arts and mental health and academics,” he also said. “We should be investing in all of those things.”
“I think we can work together to change the narrative in Sacramento,” Hill added.
The Burbank Arts For All Foundation has granted more than $659,000 since its inception in 2006 to support the Burbank Unified Arts For All master plan, funding 298 different proposals.