Disney Fêtes Burbank Arts For All Foundation Supporters

By On July 17, 2019

The Walt Disney Studios hosted a celebratory event on Thursday, July 11, for donors, sponsors, partners, board members and city and school officials who supported the Burbank Arts For All Foundation’s Give Instead Gala. The Give Instead Gala, held from April 12 through May 10, raised funds for the Foundation’s efforts to support arts education in Burbank public schools.

Approximately 150 people attended the summer fête on the Disney studios lot in Burbank. Joan McCarthy, Director, Enterprise Community Engagement for The Walt Disney Company, welcomed the attendees to the evening event, which also included a silent auction.

burbank arts for all foundation

Burbank Arts For All Foundation supporters celebrate the success of the Give Instead Gala 2019: (from left to right) Suzanne Weerts, Kevin McCarney, Karen Volpei-Gussow, Lili Rossi, Freddy Jarjour, Joan McCarthy, Alexandra Helfrich, Barbara Beckley, Jill Vander Borght, Tom Vice, Carrie Brown, Bob Mohler, Brenda Etterbeek, Trena Pitchford, Cathy Stevens. (Photo By Ross Benson)

“The Foundation is very grateful to The Walt Disney Company for hosting this celebratory evening,” commented Burbank Arts For All Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “We are also extremely grateful to the community of Burbank for believing in the Foundation’s work, investing in our mission and volunteering to join us in support BUSD’s Arts for All plan.”

“All funds raised from our Give Instead Gala will be put to work through our Fall grant cycle and community outreach efforts in the 2019-2020 school year!” she added. “Everyone is invited to become involved.”

Tom Vice and Jill Vander Borght, co-chairs of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, also spoke at the event.

“Because of your donations to the Give Instead Gala, we are looking forward to providing even more funding for arts education programs through our upcoming Fall Grant Cycle,” Vice said as he addressed the crowd. “We will continue to support teachers who need critical supplies or to help mitigate any additional cuts to current arts education programs at the school site level.”

“The Foundation will also continue our community outreach programs and advocacy work. These programs help parents as they learn how to be solution partners and advocates at their school site,” he said. “We also inform and engage the community about the critical needs facing public education right here in Burbank today.”

burbank arts for all foundation

The Walt Disney Company’s Director, Enterprise Community Engagement, Joan McCarthy welcomes Burbank Arts For All Foundation’s Give Instead Gala supporters to a celebration on the studio lot in Burbank. (Photo By Ross Benson)

“The Give Instead Gala was a new way to allow the Foundation to respond to BUSD’s increased need for funding and advocacy support,” commented Vander Borght. “We greatly appreciate everyone’s support in giving to this campaign.”

“We especially want to thank our Presenting [and] Premiere Sponsors: The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, NBCUniversal, along with the many other sponsors and donors who are here with us tonight,” she added.

The Give Instead Gala was a new concept for 2019 to replace the Foundation’s annual fundraising event, which had a lot of overhead and systemic expenses. Instead of throwing a costly party and in order to give more money to programs in the Burbank Unified School District, the Foundation asked for direct donations for their campaign and marshalled an army of supporters to spread the word.

While the Give Instead Gala grossed more than $155,000 this year and the Foundation’s Party on the Plaza events grossed over $200,000 in previous years, the Foundation sees the direct donation approach as the more effective.

Although she didn’t answer a query about the actual financial net gain from each event, Pitchford responded, “because we were able to save on our expenses, we have been able to net more [via the Give Instead Gala] and those funds will be put to work this next school year through our grant giving and community outreach programs.”

The Disney-hosted celebration Thursday evening was dotted with poster boards detailing some of the recent projects and programs the Burbank Arts For All Foundation has supported through its semi-annual grant cycle.

“Art in school has the power to change a child’s life and in changing a child’s life we will change the world,” added Vice. “The Foundation believes the arts transform the lives of our students, not just those who elect to study music or theater, but also students who study science or history, those for whom English is a second language and those students who learn best with alternative structures.”

“On this celebratory evening, we honor the ecosystem of parents, civic and community leaders, corporations and small business owners, who believe in our work and join with us to support creativity and innovation in Burbank’s local public schools,” Pitchford said to the audience.

She outlined some of the upcoming Burbank Arts For All Foundation efforts, including the Fall grant application deadline of September 16 and the Autumn Community Exchange. The Community Exchange is a free event the Foundation puts on twice a year and “provide[s] critical updates, round table discussions and ideas to support our local educators and students.”

More information on the Burbank Arts For All Foundation and their mission to support arts education in Burbank public schools can be found online here.