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BHEF’s New CEO Devoted To The School District

On July 1, Dev Hankin officially became the new boss of the Beverly Hills Education Found-ation as chief executive officer.  It’s a position Hankin was more than qualified to accept. She has raised money for the March of Dimes, The Help Group and co-founded Stop Cancer. Having served as a member of BHEF for seven years and the last two as president of its board of directors, she decided to commit herself full-time.

“It allows me to focus all my energy and dedicate my time to assure this organization achieves our goals,” said Hankin, whose two sons attend El Rodeo. When her eldest son was in kindergarten, she saw the first School Spirit Calendar, and knew she wanted to get involved with the non-profit fundraising organization which provides financial support to the Beverly Hills Unified School District.

Hankin grew up in Beverly Hills, attended public schools in the district and graduated in 1981.  After college, she got a job in the corporate world, working in the entertainment industry.  Hankin ran movie companies. She was vice president of Imagine Entertainment owned by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Hankin also was president of Barry Kemp’s Bunglow 78 Productions at Universal and then Paramount Pictures where she co-produced such films as Patch Adams and Catch Me If You Can.

“I enjoy connecting people and ideas and creating,” said Hankin. “The skill set I needed to produce motion pictures is no different than what I needed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve the school district.”

Since Hankin has been affiliated with BHEF, the organization has raised a tremendous amount of money through successful fundraising events such as the Apple Ball. This past May, the ball brought in $650,000.  Later this month, BHEF will donate $600,000 to the district for technology.

Before the end of the year, BHEF will also give the district another $300,000 designated to Arts education through money collected from the successful Summer School Enrichment program.

“We have increased from a quarter of a million dollar base donation to well over $1 million annually in each of the last two years,” added Hankin, who’s spearheaded a number of other programs to raise money, including the Athletic Alumni Association. The School Spirit, the Apple Harvest Faire and  the Mercedes Benz-Beverly Hills Classics for Charity Car Show have been around for a while. She said additional funds are raised through matching gift programs, donor estate planning, sponsorships, naming opportunities and a tribute program.

 “I’d like to see us double it and become a $2 million dollar a year donor to the district to make more of an impact on programming, maintaining small class sizes and assuring excellence in public education,” said Hankin.

The BHEF Endowment has reached nearly $4,000,000. A percentage goes toward Performing Arts, libraries, English, student scholarships, and athletics.

One goal Hankin is strongly focusing in on is a branding initiative. “We need to start using our own name for our benefit as opposed to watching others profit using the Beverly Hills name,” she said.   School board member and former BHEF board member Steven Fenton suggested the branding idea to the district.  Currently, proposals are being considered.

Hankin said she enjoys working in conjunction with the school board members and Superintendent Kari McVeigh. “They are very open to new ideas and are an excellent partner in our shared desire to raise more money for the district,” she said. Hankin also is thrilled to partner with the city through the Joint Powers Agreement.

 “These schools should set the standards for excellence,” said Hankin. “We should be a lighthouse district and a model for other districts to emulate.”

 With some residents in the city choosing to send their children to private schools, Hankin assures parents that public school teachers and staff are doing a phenomenal job in teaching students. “I feel my kids are not getting anything less than what our friends’ kids are receiving in private school,” added Hankin.

Hankin, who considers her duties with BHEF her calling, said “It is challenging and more creatively satisfying than I thought it would be.”

 jechavez@bhcourier.com

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