The Burbank Arts & Education Foundation co-chairs Ana Connell and Bob Mohler announced full funding for all submitted applications during its first cycle of grant giving with investments made in mathematics, music, literacy and art to Burbank Unified Schools at the Board of Education meeting on Thursday. Funding supported a variety of programs with a direct impact on thousands of students in grades TK-12.
In alignment with the Burbank Unified School District, the Foundation said it a statement that it has made diversity, equity and inclusion a part of its core mission. They encouraged teachers to think about classroom grants through a diversity and equity lens.
“We are proud to fund several grants this year that foster inclusivity in the classroom,” Foundation co-chairs Connell and Mohler said in a joint statement. “From reading about different cultures and religions to playing with diverse toys, the projects we’ve funded will allow all children to see themselves in their learning.”
BUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Hill added: “We appreciate partnering with the Burbank Arts & Education Foundation in supporting critical needs in our schools and in their support of our diversity, equity and inclusion priorities. I encourage everyone in the community to donate to the Foundation.”
Highlights from these investments include 2nd-grade guided reading book sets that feature main characters of a different race, culture, family structure and/or religion; hands-on manipulatives to reinforce math concepts with tangible objects which will be used for games, strategies and small group learning, along with oil pastels integrated into math lessons for third grade.
Transitional kindergarten classrooms requested “support for basic art supplies and materials in all skin colors so that every student may feel represented and seen; toys, puzzles, puppets, games, play figures and dolls that will be utilized to expand vocabulary and language arts skills and better represent Burbank families with different skin colors, cultures, and with traditional and non-traditional members of varying physical abilities; and creative play materials and gender neutral dress up clothing and costumes to help all students see themselves as productive members of our society,” according to a press release.
Dolores Huerta Middle School received funding for an artist created mural in its Library Learning Garden of a young Dolores Huerta reading a book, representing the convergence of reading and idealism, knowledge and power. It illustrates the “seeds” of Huerta’s dedication to learning and activism to protect farm workers in California and honors her place in history. Interpretive signs surrounding the mural will showcase graphics to support science lessons and highlight examples of the ecosystem within the garden.
The Burbank High School instrumental music program received funding to provide instrument specific music instruction to students by professional musicians who specialize in the same instrument. This support is beneficial to all students in the program, including those with disabilities and special needs.
On behalf of the Nelson Family, the Foundation is pleased to recognize the recipient of the 2021 Burbank High School David Nelson Memorial Scholarship, Liana Mirzakhani, along with 2020 recipient Rebecca Audette. This award is given each year to a BHS student who has demonstrated outstanding effort in academics and community service.
Meanwhile, the 2021 John Burroughs High School Career Technical Education recipients of the Robert Handloser Scholarships include cabinet technology students Bryce Kennedy and Harper Fortsmith; culinary arts science students Elizabeth Fraser and Aida Muradyan; and engineering students Evan Rife and Skyler Bates.
The Foundation also announced that the deadline for the Fall Grant Cycle is Friday, Sept. 17. For more information, visit burbankartsanded.org/grants.
The Burbank Arts & Education Foundation was created on October 1, 2020, after the Burbank Educational Foundation and the Burbank Arts for All Foundation merged to create a “singular, unified voice” for Burbank students. Its mission is to engage and inspire the community to invest in meeting the diverse educational needs of all 15,000 BUSD students.
“By merging two powerful organizations, we aim to maximize our impact through more strategic fundraising efforts,” the Foundation said in a statement. “The new foundation will continue to support innovation and excellence in schools, including arts education, STEM programs, student safety, wellness and other needs within BUSD.”
Burbank Educational Foundation was established in 1982 to raise money for the BUSD. In recent years, it provided more than $437,000 in funds in support of STEM programs, teacher classroom grants, SAT Prep classes, and more, to benefit as many students as possible.
Burbank Arts for All Foundation was founded in 2006 to ensure that every student received quality arts education as part of their core curriculum. Burbank Arts for All gave more than $758,000 in funds to Burbank schools supporting a wide variety of visual, media, and performing art programs, artist-in-residency programs, arts integration programs, professional development for teachers, facility upgrades, and strategic planning for BUSD’s Arts for All Plan.
The Burbank Arts & Education Foundation welcomes the support of the community to continue its mission. For more information on how to become involved or to donate, visit BurbankArtsandEd.org.