Arriving for an evening of murderous fundraising are from left, realtors Chris Habitz, Dana Russo, Brian Paul and Marty del Cid. (David Laurell / February 17, 2006)

Ask any nonprofit or charitable organization how they are doing and you will most likely get an eye-roll, a shrug and an explanation that in today's economic environment raising funds is murder. The Burbank Assn. of Realtors and the Burbank Temporary Aid Center recently staged respective fundraisers that played right into that theme by presenting a murder mystery dinner and by slaying an audience with some killer comedy.

The association, a professional trade organization representing affiliate members engaged in the Burbank real estate business since 1922, invited members and guests to their Magnolia Boulevard headquarters for an evening of who-done-it dining and drama. While cocktails were flowing and attendees were preparing to view a priceless painting and enjoy dinner, shots rang out resulting in a dead woman and a room full of suspects.

For the remainder of the evening, "Detective" Eric Howell Sharp interrogated numerous individuals on what happened and where they were when it happened. Among those who rendered alibis were the association's current president, Chris Habitz, President-elect Alexandra Kelly and board member Dana Russo. Others who suspiciously eyed one another throughout the evening included Richard Eaton and Lisa Matzner, Marty and Bella del Cid, Brian Paul, Jessica and Nicole Gil, Claudia Bonis, Nat and Alma Rubinfeld, Nicole Adams, Marion and Darin Chase, Susan Featherly, Jennie Izumi, Ed Sanchez, Tom Paul, Jerry Strickland, Phyllis Yanagihara, Jim Paul, Lily Bachor, Mary Adams and Lou Morreale.

Funds raised during the evening of murder and mayhem will assist the association in providing and promoting programs and services that will improve their ability to conduct their charitable giving and business to better serve the buyers and sellers of local real estate.

Fundraising continued as a slate of comedians slayed the audience at the newly opened downtown Flappers Comedy Club as they hosted a turkey dinner and comedy show to benefit the Burbank Temporary Aid Center on Thanksgiving eve.

Supporters of both BTAC and the comedy club were asked to bring canned food and make a financial donation to enjoy the evening of laughs that was headlined by NBC4 weatherman Fritz Coleman. Welcomed by Flappers operators Barbara Holliday and Dave Reinitz along with the club's manager, William Nickerson, and BTAC board chairman, Will Rogers, guests enjoyed a dinner of traditional Thanksgiving fare along with the comedic stylings of Samuel J. Comroe, Charles Jaffee, Dustin Roads, Ralph Guerra and Dean Delray.

Created in 1974 to address the need for a centralized source of services for the less fortunate in our community, BTAC, as all charitable organizations, is struggling with the double whammy of a higher demand for their services and lower level of support.

According to their executive director, Barbara Howell, BTAC is in urgent need of donations to stock the shelves of their food pantry. Only permitted to accept monetary donations, or contributions of commercially prepared, unopened food, the organization can specifically use macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, cereals, canned fruits and vegetables, canned soups, canned meats, rice, pasta, instant potatoes, pancake mixes, syrup and personal hygiene supplies.

For information on how you can make BTAC a part of your holiday giving, call (818) 848-2822 or go to http://www.theBTAC.org.