Award will be presented at 2018 Dinner Benefit on April 14, 2018

Torrance, CA – Torrance Education Foundation (TEF) today announced it will honor businessman and philanthropist Kurt Robinson, President and CEO of Torrance-based Robinson Helicopter, with the James R. Armstrong Community Leadership Award.

The award, which honors a community member for extraordinary leadership in support of education and community growth, will be presented to Mr. Robinson as a highlight of the 2018 TEF Dinner Benefit – Eat, Drink and be Giving – a Black & White Affair, to be held on April 14th at the Torrance DoubleTree Hotel.


About Kurt Robinson

Businessman, employer, parent, and philanthropist Kurt Robinson is the epitome of an enlightened community leader. As president of Robinson Helicopter, the nation’s largest civilian designer and manufacturer of lightweight helicopters, Robinson has been at the forefront of flight for his entire lifetime.

Raised at the knee of his visionary father, Robinson Helicopter founder Frank Robinson, Kurt moved with the family to Torrance as a youth, growing up in the South Bay. First college, then graduate school were interspersed with progressively more challenging professional roles at Robinson Helicopter. Obtaining both private and commercial helicopter pilot ratings, Kurt continued to advance in the company, and was elected to the Robinson Board of Directors. In 2010, the board elected him President and CEO.

Along the way, Kurt married his wife Laura and together they raised their son Nick (20) and daughter Heather (18). Reflecting on the place Robinson holds in Torrance, Kurt says, “Since we have been here over twenty years, one of the satisfying things is when we see long-time employees bringing in their sons and daughters to work here… I am inspired by our Torrance employees and how much they have contributed to our success. That’s one reason we stay here, the people. I am part of the community.”

In May, 2018, Robinson Helicopter will complete its three-year, $100,000 pledge as lead donor for the TEF Campaign to equip all seventeen new Elementary Science Lab Classrooms.


About the James R. Armstrong Community Leadership Award

Torrance Education Foundation’s James R. Armstrong Community Leadership Award honors a prominent community member whose personal contributions of time, energy, vision, and financial resources in support of the Foundation and the broader Torrance community distinguish them as an exemplary leader. The award remembers the life, service and contributions of the late James R. Armstrong, an iconic and beloved Torrance civic leader who served the city of Torrance for six years on the City Council and eight years as Mayor, after retiring from a three-decade career teaching U.S. Government at Torrance High School.

Honoree recipients of the James R. Armstrong Community Leadership Award are selected by a committee of Foundation board members. In 2017, Commissioner Betty Lieu and Congressman Ted Lieu were honored. Prior honorees include former Torrance Mayor and founding TEF board member, the late Dee Hardison; founding TEF board member, the late Gene Drevno; Melissa and Garrett Wright; TEF immediate past President, Kevin O’Brien; current City of Torrance Mayor, Patrick Furey; and local Torrance business and community leader, Chef Michael Shafer. The award is presented as a highlight of the Annual Dinner Event benefiting Torrance Education Foundation Philanthropy Programs for Torrance students and schools.


About Eat, Drink and be Giving – a Black & White Affair benefiting TEF

Eat, Drink and be Giving – A Black & White Affair will take place on Saturday, April 14th, 2018. The annual fundraising gala benefiting Torrance Education Foundation is open to the public and includes a cocktail reception, 3-course dinner, opportunity drawings, and silent and live auctions. Proceeds support TEF programs for TUSD priorities and student activities, including: STEM competitions and enrichment programs; scholarships; school site and teacher-led projects at elementary, middle and high schools; Academic Decathlon teams; and school/community partnerships.

The cocktail lounge-themed dinner will be held at the Torrance DoubleTree Hotel and will be chaired by TEF Board President Dr. Chad Mabery and Mrs. Maggie Mabery. Black and White cocktail attire is encouraged.

Tickets to Eat, Drink and be Giving, A Black & White Affair are $150 each. To purchase tickets, receive and invitation, become a sponsor, or for more information, visit, phone (310) 320-7232, or email .


About Torrance Education Foundation

Torrance Education Foundation (TEF) promotes and financially supports academic excellence for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Torrance Unified School District. Founded in 1992, TEF is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, and the chief philanthropic partner to Torrance Unified School District. TEF gathers and channels financial support from Torrance citizens, businesses and area philanthropies to ensure that all TUSD students have access to the widest variety of exciting, cutting-edge, enriching educational and learning opportunities.

In the past five years, TEF has provided more than $6 million to support TUSD priorities. Currently, the Foundation’s highest priority goal is raising a total of $700,000 to equip new elementary science laboratory classrooms being constructed at all seventeen TUSD elementary schools. Other important recent projects include providing STEM Initiative grants for 169 Teacher-led projects since 2014 for hands-on learning and enrichment projects at all grade levels; and partnerships with local businesses and family sponsors offering college scholarships to graduates from all five District High Schools. TEF also provides grants for a wide variety of student needs, including but not limited to Academic Decathlon teams, middle school leadership workshops, and direct support for myriad school-based projects and priorities.

Since 2009, TEF has also administered the South Bay Enrichment Academy, a fully WASC accredited summer school program that annually enrolls more than 1,600 Torrance area children for academic advancement and enrichment.