El Segundo TV: Local Education Foundation’s capstone event celebrates funds raised for schools
by Amy Lieu
Barbara Briney, Director of Events for The El Segundo Education Foundation board, graduated from El Segundo High School. Decades later, she finds herself still in love with education and contributing to the community.
Briney said while she was a student at El Segundo, she took woodshop, “but that’s not a possibility anymore because the state doesn’t fund it.”
That’s where the El Segundo Education foundation comes in. The local non-profit organization plans to fundraise close to one million dollars in donations to local schools. Their capstone event of the year, Ed Gala: Party in the Park on a Friday night in spring aims to reach the last hundred thousand dollars for their ambitious fundraising goal. This is also the second year that the foundation is hosting the party at Chevron Park.
“This is the biggest one, this is the best attended one,” Briney said.
Carol Pirsztuk, CEO of the El Segundo Education Foundation, said she hopes to raise about $120,000 at the culmination event. She also explained that the sole mission of the foundation is to raise money for schools.
“This year, we are going to give $950,000 to schools, to fund programs that would normally be cut.”
Subsequently, the El Segundo Unified School District has lost over $4 million dollars in less than five years, according the El Segundo Education Foundation’s website.
However, the education foundation has raised money to fund programs such as music, art, physical education and robotics in local schools, according to Briney. The funds are also used to hire counselors, who help students decide what classes to take, Briney said.
All food, drinks and auction items were donated. The Ed Gala event had about 300 silent auction items and nine live auctions; its proceeds will be donated to schools. There were 23 restaurants and three wineries. 100 percent of ticket sales from the event are also donated to El Segundo schools.
Briney’s daughter is currently a teacher El Segundo High School, while her 4-year old grandchild will soon be a young El Segundo student. She wants to ensure that her children will have the same opportunities that she had.
“I think that [the opportunities] made me understand what was possible, what I could come and do and make a difference,” Briney said. “Without those, you miss some of the essence of life.”
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