Berkeley businesses join forces to support high school

BHSDG Business Partners steering committee: Rolf Bell of Home Repair Extraordinaire, Rosa Luevano (liaison with BHSDG board), Cynthia Blumgardt of State Farm, David Mayer of Mayer Laboratories, and Charles Kahn of Kahn Design Associates. Not pictured: Marty Kaufman of Kaufman Construction

What are you doing for lunch on Friday? One option is to head to Caffe Venezia and join a group of local business players who, for the second year running, have set themselves a goal of raising funds for the Berkeley High Development Group while enjoying good Italian fare and convivial conversation.

Architect Charles Kahn (Kahn Design Associates) co-founded BHSDG Business Partners last year with David Mayer of Mayer Laboratories. Mayer had been asked to take over “business outreach” for the Berkeley High School Development Group and he was stunned to find that, historically, only a few thousand dollars had been made available annually in direct donations to the group. He resolved to accept the assignment only if he could significantly improve the results.

“Berkeley High School is the only public high school in our community — we rely upon it for the education of our children and our employees’ children,” says Kahn. “We recognize it is in our self-interest to support Berkeley High.” The group also recognizes that the school has a national reputation for academic excellence, diversity and social enrichment.

Albert Nahman of Nahman Plumbing and Marty Kaufman of Kaufman Construction (founding member of BHSDG Business Partners) at last year’s luncheon

The BHS Development Group was founded in 1991 when a group of Berkeley High parents were called to action because of extensive and continuing budget cuts to education.


When Mayer and Kahn put their heads together, they decided to develop a business lunch at 500-$1,000/plate that would tap more deeply into the desire of local businesses to support their community and schools.

In its first year the group had 24 attendees, including Mayor Tom Bates, Council Member Laurie Capitelli and BHS Principal Pasquale Scuderi, and raised $15,000 for the school. “This year we hope to double that number,” says Kahn. “If we reach that goal, the Business Partnership will stand alongside the annual Gala as the largest voluntary fundraising instrument for the High School.”

The second annual Berkeley High School Development Group Business Partners Luncheon is on Friday October 12, 12:00-1:30 p.m. at Caffe Venezia, 1799 University Avenue (between Grant St. and McGee Ave.) Berkeley. BHS Principal Pasquale Scuderi is the guest speaker. Minimum participation is $500. For information, or to RSVP, 2012 contact David Mayer: davidmayer@mayerlabs.com or 510-915-1687.

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