Think Together, California’s largest nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning, and school improvement programs, held its annual Raise A Hand event raising $515,000 on Friday, April 23.
Think Together’s annual fundraiser was reimagined this year as a virtual experience with nearly 300 guests registered to attend. The event brought together passionate individuals and corporations to raise funds for student learning recovery programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic and honor students who have overcome challenges in pursuit of their education.
“We are so grateful for the overwhelming support we have received statewide,” said Randy Barth, founder and CEO at Think Together. “From seasoned supporters to first-time donors, we want to say thank you to each of you. Every donation matters in funding our mission to change the odds for kids.”
Among longtime sponsors is champion sponsor Medtronic, which committed $25,000 this year and every year since 2016, totaling $125,000. Joining Medtronic as champion sponsors are Crevier Family Foundation; PIMCO Foundation; Leona Aronoff-Sadacca; Eric and Connie Boden; D. John Miller Family Charitable Foundation; Patrick and Gretchen Salyer Family Fund; and Worah Family Foundation. Dan and Leslee Young sponsored Raise a Hand as a promise sponsor coming in at $50,000.
PIMCO Executive Vice President and Think Together Board Chair John Lee shared he was thrilled with the outpouring of support. “Where we were concerned about COVID causing disconnect, we’ve found it’s the opposite. Hosting Raise a Hand virtually allowed us to expand our circle of impact in ways we haven’t been able to do in the past. We are able to share and celebrate the meaningful work Think Together is doing to support students no matter where we are,” said Lee.
At this year’s event, Think Together presented its Think Legacy award to board veteran Leona Aronoff-Sadacca, who is retiring from the board after ten years of service. Like many Think Together board members and families, Leona is a first-generation immigrant. Born in 1936 into a Jewish family in Germany, her family fled from the horrors of the Holocaust during World War II, landing in New York before moving to Los Angeles, and finally raising her own family in Rialto while running Gate City Beverage in San Bernardino as president, CEO and owner.
Think Together also honored Broadcom with its Champion of Change award which recognizes an outstanding partner dedicated to changing the odds for kids. When classrooms closed last spring, Think Together partnered with schools to provide virtual expanded learning programs to more than 125,000 youth including students experiencing homelessness, in foster care and children of essential workers across California. Broadcom Inc., through its foundation, worked with Think Together to provide an estimated 600 laptops to staff and students to support the transition to distance learning.
To round out the evening’s awards, Think Together delivered its annual Faces of the Future scholarship, presented by Pacific Life, to three deserving high school seniors enrolled in Think Together’s program who faced extraordinary challenges. Each student received a $3,000 scholarship and a personal laptop to start their college career.