Attending the fundraiser for the Veterans Housing Program are, from left, architect Gianni Zatta, Judith Arandes, executive director of the Burbank Housing Corp., Leadership Burbank Alumni President Renee Johnson and Juan Guillen, former board member of Leadership Burbank. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)
The Leadership Burbank Alumni Assn. turned its quarterly networking mixer into “A Salute to Veterans” fundraiser and made $1,265 for the nonprofit Burbank Housing Corp.’s Veterans Housing Program.
Guests gathered for a buffet of hors d’oeuvres and drinks on Nov. 12 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.
“We have quarterly mixers and for this one we decided to make it a fundraiser for the Veterans Housing Program,” said Renee Johnson, president of the alumni association. She was in the 2012 Leadership Burbank Class. “We are like a marketing arm for Leadership Burbank.”
The alumni association organizes different events throughout the year and its major focus is to raise funds for scholarships to send either a small business owner or someone who works for a nonprofit through the Leadership Burbank Program.
Leadership Burbank is a nine-month training program that provides leaders and emerging leaders a chance to develop their personal and professional skills, gain a deeper understanding of community dynamics and build a network of colleagues and associates throughout the city. It is hoped they will use those strengths to serve the community.
“This year we put one person through the program with a scholarship and the year prior we split one scholarship between two people,” Johnson said. “That’s what we do mostly but this fundraiser is a one-time event for a project we believe in and wanted to help out.”
Proceeds from the mixer will go to furnish basic home necessities for an 11-unit apartment complex being renovated in Burbank to house homeless veterans. Funds for the purchase of the property and its rehabilitation were provided by the Burbank Housing Corp., the city of Burbank and the state of California, said Judith Arandes, executive director of the Burbank Housing Corp.
Arandes gave mixer guests an update on the project, which is expected to be completed by the holidays. The housing corporation is already working on selecting the tenants and the goal is to have the facility filled by January.
It will provide veterans with Permanent Supportive Housing, which will include access to social services, like job training, legal assistance and mental health counseling, she said.
The public is being asked to donate items or funds to supply such items as towels, linens, pots and pans, dishes and drinking glasses for the new inhabitants.
“These homeless veterans are coming from shelters, transitional housing or the street, so when they get to those apartments, we want to make sure that the apartments have perfectly livable conditions,” Arandes said. “So people are helping us with cash donations that will enable us to furnish all the units so we can buy a bed, a dresser and a chair. They can either donate cash or adopt a unit to furnish.”
During the mixer, a representative from Logix Federal Credit Union presented a donation from the company.
“Logix Federal Credit Union is fortunate to have a fantastic partnership with the Leadership Burbank Alumni Assn.,” said Alethia Calagias, senior community relations specialist. “The veterans’ mixer was the perfect opportunity to support Leadership Burbank alumni and the Burbank Housing Corp.’s Veterans’ Housing Program. We’re grateful to participate and help the community.”