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: or 510-915-1687.

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  • bgal4

    “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.

    the statement above is an error, B-Tech is a publicly funded high school.

    More money alone with not improve educational outcomes.

  • TizziLish

    How much influence on the public school system should 24 mostly business people be able to buy for $14K?  How much of a percentage of our public high school budget if $14K?

    I don’t want private citizens to be able to buy accountability for $14K? that amount is a microscopic percent of the budget and should not be able to buy outsized influence.

  • bgal4

     That was not want I was suggesting. 

    Parents contribute tons of money, parents are stakeholders, businesses are stakeholders. Demanding compliance with the standard education systems for accountability as a requirement of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars makes good sense.

  • Guest

    This is a wonderful thing for Berkeley High School. Thank you to the community for supporting BHS.

  • Julie Holcomb

    Thank you, Berkeleyside, for covering this excellent event!

  • guest

    Thank you to the business community for helping to support and fund programs for Berkeley High School students. They can use all the help they can get.

  • Sarah

    Realm Charter School and California College Preparatory are also publicly funded high schools in Berkeley. 

  • bgal4

    thanks, yes charters are publicly funded schools.