Help us reach our $2 million fundraising goal

We have only a few weeks left to raise the final $550,000 of our $2 million goal to both sustain our existing programs and hire a new Director of Innovation. 

This new district-wide resource would:

  • Drive digital literacy and creative use of technology in our classrooms
  • Ensure close alignment with tech standards
  • Recruit and onboard new, highly-skilled teachers
  • Foster private/public partnerships
  • Establish design-focused instruction and STEAM best practices across our district leveraging existing investments and strategic new ones
  • Lead a new Innovation Institute that will equip teachers with new skills and tools

If we can come together and give what we can to make a $2 million investment in our schools with our grant next year, we can sustain our amazing programs and help BSD fund the Director of Innovation – but time is short. 

Please donate today so we can make this happen for our kids!


Fire and Ice Gala was a Sizzling Success

The hottest ticket in Burlingame was the BCE Dinner Dance and Auction this year, sold out for the fourth consecutive year with more than 450 supporters!

Check out the photos from the event.

BCE President Angela Dubovsky and President Elect Sari McConnell

Thank you to the donors and sponsors who supported BCE’s annual Dinner Dance and Auction, and all of the dedicated volunteers who made it happen. On behalf of the TK-8th grade students of Burlingame School District who directly benefit from your generosity, we thank you.

Dinner Dance Auction Item Pick-Up Details

If you won an item in the online auction, silent auction or live auction, congrats! If you didn’t get your item at the event, you can pick it up at the Burlingame School District office, 1825 Trousdale Avenue, on the following dates:

  • Friday, April 28 from 9:00-11:30 am
  • Monday, May 1 from 3:30-5:30 pm
  • Thursday, May 4 from 1:00-3:00pm

If you cannot personally pick up your item, you may designate someone else to pick up for you. Please have them bring a printed or emailed proof of your winning item with your authorization so that we can release your item to them. For any questions, please call BCE at (650) 766-8969 or email Any items not claimed by May 30, 2017 will be forfeited and non-refundable.

Thanks to Our Volunteers

A large team of volunteers worked this entire school year to bring the event to life. Thank you for all of your time and effort!

Dinner Dance Team Chairs: Jaime Burton and Fabiola Price (Auction Co-Chairs), Kate Reed (Dinner Dance Chair), Kim Cannon Doren (Marketing Chair), Phuong Tran (Graphic Design Chair), Karen Lynch (Registration Chair), Lisa Hong (Registration Admin Assistant), Karen Lynch (Registration/Seating Chair), Erica Carmel and Eugene Podkaminer (Wine Coordinator Co-Chairs)

Volunteer Team: Felynn Haberecht (Volunteer Coordinator), Mark Haberecht (Volunteer Registration), Errica Lee (“Day of” Event Manager)

Fund-A-Dream Team: Hildur Carlen, Penny Crespo, Cam Daly, Angela Dubovsky, Jennifer Kulin, Sari McConnell, Christine O’Brien, Gaird Schlesinger, Michele Tatos, Katie Ward, Kendra Wehmeyer

Marketing Team: Jennifer Kulin, Ann Townsager, Amanda Rogowski, Liane Louie-Badua, Andrea DeMichele, Winnie Wong, Jennifer Colvin

Auction Team: Tram Nguyen (Live Auction Chair), Molly St. Clair (Silent Auction Chair), Stacy Nawrocki (Online Auction Chair), Amy Johnstone (Auction Clearing Chair), Kevin Lafferty and Arvind Raghavan (Auction Clearing Room), Alix O’Brien, Lisa Mudd, Gaby Nejasmich, (Creative Writers), Erica Jackson, Meredith Dunn (Greater Giving Data Entry Team), Sanchita Shetty, Kyong Yi (Physical and Virtual Packaging Co-Chairs), Liz Anderson (Program Coordinator/Editor), Karla Cahue (Program Graphic Designer)

Auction – Site Teams: Tania Forrest and Betsy Kitchens (Franklin Auction Reps), Nirmala Brandapali (Lincoln Auction Rep), Liz Anderson and Judy Gum (McKinley Auction Reps), Gena Dalziel and Michelle Roberts (Roosevelt Auction Rep), Jennifer Ellison Paz (Washington Auction Rep), Malinda Pauley (BIS), Ariane Trimuschat (Hoover)

Business Solicitation Team: Quynh Trinh, Liz Anderson, Emily Brady, Jamie Burton, Annette Doherty, Judy Gum, Amy Johnstone, Jennifer Kulin, Kate Reed, Paola Lancellotti, Irby Morvant, Tram Nguyen, Sari McConnell, Fabiola Price, Molly St.Clair, Kendra Wehmeyer, Alix O’Brien

Night of Event Volunteers: Lisa Janosky, Errica Lee, Anne Soler, Joscelyn Voegeli, Sabrina Jorgensen, Carol Palacio, Jimmy Aliaga, Mina Cima, Betsy Kitchens, Ipek Tunca, Deniz Tunca, Kara Gardner, Lesley Bowler, Amanda Rogowski, Rachell Kim, Michele McIlwain, Erica Carmel, Eugene Podkaminer, Deepika Ahuja, Elizabeth Wrotniewski, Winnie Wong, LinLin Ma, Maya Scofield, Kali Taylor, Katie Ward, Alan Skokan, Delyn Simons, Amy Grenier, Anita Huang, Michael Dybbs, Amna Mahmood, Natalie DeRanieri, Jill Johnson, Ginger Penn, Gary Andreacchi, Olivia Canniffe, Claire Cintel, Adel Sabirova, Evan McCulloch, Jen Liebhaber, Debbie Sodini, Gianluca Biccari, Elliott Margulies, Mike Reed, Abby Edling, Matt Edling


Get Ready for the BCE Dinner Dance and Auction

Are you ready for the Dinner Dance and Auction this Saturday? Here’s what’s new this year…

The program

First off, we’re going digital with this year’s Dinner Dance and Auction program, and it’s available now to download. After all, the Dinner Dance does fall on Earth Day this year. Check out all of the super cool silent and live auction items and start planning your bidding now. 

Silent auction

New this year, we’re starting the silent auction bidding at 2:00 pm on April 22, and ending at 9:00 pm. So while you are wrapping up the day’s events and donning that fiery hot semi-formal attire, you’ll receive an email with a link to start bidding. Like last year, all bidding will be done via your mobile phone. Check out these quick tips on mobile bidding, and make sure to have your phones charged and ready to go.


We’re excited to introduce Fund-A-Dream (formerly Fund-A-Need). It’s a new name with the same significant goal of going above and beyond just sustaining important resources and tools for our schools. This year, we’re striving to fund the dream of the new BSD Innovation Institute. The BSD Innovation Institute will provide expertise and resources to principals and teachers to develop science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) best practices and tools across the district. 

Thanks to our sponsors

Title Sponsor:  Swun Math 

Principal Sponsor: Wells Fargo

Scholar Sponsors: Big Red Softball Team, Caroline K. Huo – Fine Homes & Estates, inSite Design, Putnam, SummerHill Homes 

Supporting Sponsors: Backstrom McCarley Berry & Co., LLC, Ristorante Rocca, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Arts Ed Matters, Buckley Education, All Natural Stone 

Contributing Sponsors: Alain Pinel Realtors, Burlingame, Boston Private Bank and Trust, Burlingame Education Association, Councilmember Emily Beach, Dreiling Terrones Architecture Inc., The Garland Company, Peninsula Health Care District, Redwood Debris Box Service, Timberline Tree Service, Inc., TRG Architecture + Interior Design


One Day Left for the Online Auction

The BCE Dinner Dance Online Auction will close at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, April 18. So many great items, so little time! Here’s just a few of the items up for bid:




If you are the lucky recipient of some sizzling auction items, you’ll be notified after the auction closes. You can pick up your items at the Dinner Dance & Auction in the clearing room from 9:00 pm to midnight.

If you are not attending the Dinner Dance & Auction, you can pick up your items at the Burlingame School District office at 1825 Trousdale Avenue in Burlingame on the following days:

  • Wednesday, April 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
  • Friday, April 28, 9:00 – 11:30 am
  • Monday, May 1, 3:30 – 5:30 pm


BCE’s A Fire and Ice Gala

Tickets go on sale on March 6 for BCE’s largest fundraiser of the year, the Dinner Dance and Auction. Don’t wait to get yours here – this event sells out in advance! 

Scholars Circle Members

If you’re a Scholars Circle member, you should have already received an email with instructions on how to purchase your tickets in advance. If you haven’t yet made your Scholars Circle donation, be sure to donate before April 1 to be recognized at the event. 

First Timers

If this is your first time attending the BCE Dinner Dance and Auction, see this post on what to expect. This year, this theme is fire and ice. Dress to impress and get ready to dance to the red hot tunes of the cover band Pop Fiction!

New This Year

When you purchase your tickets this year, you’ll also have the opportunity to buy a bag containing one mystery item. Each of the 100 bags, which cost $100 each, will have one super hot item, which could be a Kerns “Fire and Ice” diamond and ruby bracelet worth $6,500. Other items could be a $500 Sam Malouf gift certificate, a $20 Mokutanya Charcoal Grill gift card or a Halo Blow-Dry Bar gift card. Bags will be distributed at the event on April 22. 

The Online Auction for BCE’s Dinner Dance is now OPEN!

You don’t have to wait until the event on April 22 to bid on sizzling parties, summer camps (Galileo, Skyhawks and Steve and Kate’s), SF Giants and Warriors tickets, exciting vacation getaways and MUCH MORE!  The Online Auction runs through April 18.  So click HERE to start bidding and check back often, as we are adding new items daily!

Call for Volunteers

We need volunteers leading up to, during and after the event. This is a great chance to collaborate with fellow parents and members of the community to help support Burlingame School District. There are many ways to help, including decoration and auction set-up, registration, live auction spotters and more. See the full list of volunteer opportunities

Sponsor Spotlight

We’re thrilled to announce that for the second year in a row, we will have a title sponsor for the event – Burlingame School District’s math program, Swun Math. Other major sponsors include Wells Fargo and Putnam Subaru. Thank you for your support!


Thank You for Making BCE Read-a-thon a Success!

This year, our children read an amazing 959,579 minutes in one week, and helped to raise funds in support of BCE. All contributions collected by BCE benefit the educational experience of all TK-8 Burlingame School District students. 

Thank you to our awesome BCE Read-a-thon volunteer team, teachers, principals and librarians with whom this event would not be possible!


  • Read Reps: Sara Wong and Betsy Rosen
  • Volunteers: Manny Navarro, Julie Kraus, BIS Student Council


  • Read Rep: Manisha Loonawat
  • Volunteers: Kathryn Wong, Jeannette Laxague, Miho Matias, Nipa Badhwar, Marni Fligel, Angela Dubovsky, Mike Dybbs, Alex O’Brien, Melissa Bender, Jenese Sieben, Shan Hou, Betsy Kitchens


  • Read Reps: Sherri Jarret and Sara Frazer
  • Volunteers: John Healy, Irene Motovilof


  • Read Reps: Emily Brady and Keeley Wettan
  • Volunteers: Gretchen Kindberg, Julia Correll, Dalit Lewis, Marria Nazif


  • Read Reps: Elizabeth Anderson and Darci Rosenblum
  • Volunteers: Hildur Carlen, Hamta Podesta, Kasey Schuh, Angela Bennett, Kim Doren, Alex Galanter, Kristie Cairns


  • Read Reps:  Erika and Kevin Kelly
  • Volunteers: Justin Angelos , Jennifer Vancini, Sharon Dotson


  • Read Reps: Cami Erickson and Amy Flanzer
  • Volunteers: Farimah Erlandson, Delyn  Simons, The Hurin Family, Joscelyn Voegli, Nora Kiewlich, Anne Beringer, Teresa Wall-Cyb, Margaret Burke, Julie Eastman, Jane Stevenson, Rebekah Lane

BCE Read-a-thon Team

  • Chair: Amanda Virani 
  • Volunteers: Fabiola Price, Quynh Trinh, Jennifer Kulin, Jennifer Colvin, Alix O’brien, Winnie Wong, Mike Jarret, Karla Cahue


Thank you to our sponsors: TextureBurlingamerMaverick Jack’sThe Studio ShopBooks Inc. and Five Little Monkeys for their generous support.



Save the Date for A Fire and Ice Gala

The annual BCE Dinner Dance and Auction will take place on April 22 this year at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Burlingame. So mark your calendar for an incredible evening of dinner, drinks, red hot auctions and dancing to the cool tunes of locally renowned band Pop Fiction! 

New this year, BCE Scholars Circle members will be able to purchase tickets on February 28 before they go on sale to the general public on March 6. If you haven’t already made your Scholars Circle-level donation yet, now’s the time. The Dinner Dance and Auction has been sold out the past three years, so don’t wait to get your tickets.

Call for auction item donations

If you or someone you know has access to some sizzling hot auction items like autographed sports memorabilia, special wine, a vacation home getaway or wants to be a party host, please let us know! All proceeds from the auctions help the Burlingame School District sustain and enhance exceptional public education for all Burlingame TK-8 students.

To donate, complete and email the auction item form to by February 15. 

Physical items can be given to your school’s BCE site representative or sent to: BCE Dinner Dance and Auction Donations, Attn: Auction Chairs, PO Box 117730, Burlingame, CA 94010

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing you at BCE’s A Fire and Ice Gala! 



Thank You for Investing in BCE

Thank you to everyone who donated to BCE this year during the fall campaign. Donations in the fall were up 32% over last year, putting BCE in a wonderful position to have another great year of supporting Burlingame public schools.

If you haven’t yet made your donation, please donate today. By receiving donations earlier in the year, the district is better able to plan for the following year and hire staff before school starts in the fall. If you typically wait to raise your paddle for your donation at the BCE Dinner Dance and Auction, don’t worry – donors who give now will be recognized at the gala. 

There are a variety of ways to contribute to BCE:

Thank you for supporting BCE!


Rocket into Reading

The BCE Read-a-thon kicked off on Saturday, when students begin tracking their reading minutes for the week. Parents, use the online form to track the number of minutes your children read. Pledges can be made online, or donations can be made by check payable to BCE. The Read-a-thon envelopes and checks should be returned to the school by January 31.  

During the week, students compete for classroom and individual prizes for the most minutes read, including gift cards, drawings for an iPad Mini and more surprises provided by our sponsors: Texture, Burlingamer, Maverick Jack’s, The Studio Shop, Books Inc, and Five Little Monkeys.

In addition, Texture is offering all students and parents a one month free trial to their app with access to more than 200 magazines. 

On January 24, stock up on new books at a special shopping event at Books Inc. From 6:00-8:00 pm, Books Inc will donate 20% of all purchases to BCE.

Don’t forget to track your reading minutes this week, and have fun reading!


Donating Appreciated Stock

Stop throwing away money! If you are making donations to charitable organizations like BCE using cash, check or credit card, you are most likely giving up federal and state tax dollars that could be saved by donating appreciated stock instead. One way to greatly simplify this process for all your charitable donations is to leverage donor-advised charitable funds. This article explains these donation strategies and hopefully everyone will use the additional tax savings to increase their donations!

David Shaffer

Author: David Shaffer

First, a little background on tax benefits before we get to the benefits of donating appreciated stock. When you donate to a charity, you are eligible for a deduction on your federal and state taxes, as long as you itemize your deductions on your taxes. So, assuming your combined Federal and State marginal tax rates add up to about 40% (family income of $150,000 or greater), when you donate $10,000 to your local public school you will save at least $4,000 on your taxes.

This is great — however, it would be even better if you donate appreciated stock because you get additional tax savings.

Say you own shares of a stock or mutual fund that you bought in 2008, which are now worth twice what you paid. If you were to sell $10,000 worth of those shares, you would owe capital gains taxes on the $5,000 increase in value. In California, where capital gains are treated like ordinary income, you might owe 15% or 20% federal capital gains tax plus, say 9.3% California state tax (if your family makes more than $100,000 a year). Estimating a 25% total tax rate, you would pay approximately $1,250 in taxes on the sale of the stock. The taxes would of course be even higher if the stock had appreciated more — say you bought Apple stock at the same time, for example, the tax bill might be closer to double that — $2,500 on the $10,000 stock sale since most of the value would be taxable gain.

What the government allows you to do is to make a charitable donation of your appreciated stock directly, instead of cash and without ever selling the stock. By doing this, you get the full $10,000 tax deduction, and never have to pay taxes on the gain in stock value. So by donating appreciated stock in this example, you can give $10,000 to your school and the government will effectively pay you back $5,250 of your donation!

To maximize the value of this, our family keeps a few of our most highly appreciated stocks in our portfolio just for our charitable donations. If you have something that has increased in value many-fold over the years, that is the perfect candidate for a stock donation.

Most charities, including of course our local BCE, will accept stock donations, which typically requires instructing your financial institution to transfer a given number of shares to a specific account for your charity. Learn more about BCE stock donation information or email for details. Given that you may have purchased different lots of your shares at different times, you should also make sure that your financial institution specifically transfers the shares that have the lowest cost basis.

This is great, and not too difficult for your larger donations. However, our family also makes a number of smaller donations, to colleges we attended, charities and non-profits we support and the occasional one-off donations when a friend or family member is fundraising. In the case of one-off donations of $50, $100, etc., it may not be worth the effort to make those donations with appreciated stock. This is one way that “donor-advised funds” can come in handy and a perfect segue to that topic. 

Donor-Advised Funds

Briefly, the way donor-advised funds work is that you make a donation to the fund (in our case, we use Fidelity Charitable) who will then set up an account for you to hold your donation(s). This is basically like having your own family foundation, though it can be done with much smaller amounts of money (Fidelity Charitable’s minimum to set up an account is $5,000, and after that initial donation, there is no minimum balance required). You get the tax deduction at the time you donate to your fund account and cannot ever get the money back for your own personal use thereafter, so you should only do this with funds you know you will eventually want to donate.

Once your account is funded, you can select from various investment choices, much like a 401(k), and the account may grow in value, depending on how you invest it. Then, over time, you direct the fund to make donations from your account to your preferred charities, with the timing and amounts that you select. When a donation is made to your selected charity from your account, you do not get a tax deduction, since you got the deduction already when you made the initial donation to the donor-advised fund.

There are several benefits to donor-advised fund accounts:

  • You can very easily donate appreciated stock. In our case, we use Fidelity to manage many of our securities and it is literally a 2 minute task to select the stock that has the greatest appreciation and transfer some shares of it to our donor-advised fund account.
  • You can very easily make small donations from the account. Fidelity has a super simple interface to find a charity (say, American Red Cross) and make a donation of any amount. It’s also very easy to set up annual donations, which we do for all our colleges, so the money goes to the charity every year without us needing to do anything.
  • Very interestingly, you can now control the tax year of your donations much more flexibly. For example, if you have one particularly high income year, you can fund your donor-advised fund account with several years worth of charitable donations. This maximizes the tax deduction value of those donations. Or, if you have some years when you itemize deductions and some when you do not, you can group all your donations into the tax year when you are itemizing. The same approach can apply if you have some years when you are subject to the AMT (which has a lower deductible rate for charitable donations) and some when you are not. You get the idea…
  • You can have the fund donate in your name, or anonymously, and with or without your address. This can decrease the mail you get when non-profits sell or rent their donor lists to other charities.

There are of course potential disadvantages which you should be aware of:

  • Once you give the money to the donor-advised fund, you cannot get it back. You (or your heirs) can choose when and who to give it to, but you can’t undo your donation. So if you are making several years’ worth of donations at once, make sure you will not change your mind.
  • Your fund account can grow in value, which is great since you will have more money to donate to your favorite non-profits. However, if you instead kept the stock in your personal account and let it grow there, and then donated it to the fund later, your deduction would be even larger. So there is a tradeoff between controlling the tax year for your donation and “just in time donating,” which may maximize your deduction, assuming the market always goes steadily up.
  • There are some fees associated with donor-advised fund accounts. For example, Fidelity charges $100 a year or 0.6% (whichever is greater) from your giving account balance. For us, this is dwarfed by the tax savings of making small donations with appreciated stock, but it is something to be aware of.

And critically, if your employer matches your charitable donations, this donor-advised fund strategy may not be right for you because your company might not match your donation to your own donor-advised fund account and they certainly won’t match the donation from the account to your selected charity. If you take advantage of corporate matching, I would suggest: (a) checking with your company to see if they will match donations to donor-advised funds and, if not, (b) donating appreciated stock directly to your charity to get your maximum company match and then using a donor-advised fund for additional giving or for any donations for which you will not get the company match.

Finally, I should say that I am not a lawyer, nor an accountant, nor have any official connection to Fidelity (other than as a customer). I’m sure other large investment banks offer donor-advised funds. So you should investigate these options for yourself and see what is right for your family. But, any time you are making a charitable donation with cash, check or credit card and not getting your employer to match your donation, you should be thinking about making the donation instead with appreciated stock, either directly or via a donor-advised fund.

For those of you who give to BCE, now that you understand how the government will effectively reimburse you for 50% or more of your donation, hopefully you will adopt this strategy and then double your BCE donation next year. 

About Dave

Dave Shaffer is a software professional and Burlingame Dad with a wife (Linda) who is very involved in BCE, two kids at BIS and one puppy constantly hunting squirrels throughout the Easton Addition. He welcomes questions or comments regarding this article at  This article was originally published on his blog