Chef Michael Shafer to receive James R. Armstrong Community Leadership Award from Torrance Education Foundation

Iconic chef and philanthropist to be honored for generosity to education and children

Chef-Shafer-TEF-honoreeTorrance, CA – Torrance Education Foundation (TEF) today announced it will honor Chef Michael Shafer 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 Chef Shafer on April 30th, 2016, as a highlight of the 2016 Round Up for Education Dinner which celebrates educators and educational successes in Torrance.

The 2016 Round Up for Education Dinner is open to the public, and benefits Torrance Education Foundation programs, which support a wide array of TUSD priorities and student support activities, including: STEM competitions and enrichment programs; scholarships; school site and teacher-led projects at elementary, middle and high schools; Academic Decathlon teams; iLead middle school leadership workshops; and school/community partnerships.

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, which is not presented every year, 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. Prior honorees include former Torrance Mayor and founding TEF board member, Dee Hardison; founding TEF President, the late Gene Drevno; Melissa and Garrett Wright; current TEF President, Kevin O’Brien; and current City of Torrance Mayor, Patrick Furey. The award is presented as a highlight of the Annual Dinner celebrating Education and benefiting Torrance Education Foundation Philanthropy Programs for Torrance schools.

About Chef Michael Shafer

Chef Michael Shafer has been a respected restauranteur and businessman, and a prominent personality in the Torrance community, for more than 25 years. Since opening his eclectic and consistently lauded restaurant The Depot in 1991, Chef Shafer has contributed mightily to the community and to a wide variety of charitable organizations that serve the needs of residents and youth.

Chef Shafer is well known in Torrance and throughout the greater South Bay for his philanthropic endeavors, most notably for Torrance Education Foundation (TEF), and Pediatric Therapy Network (PTN). He has raised millions of dollars for a wide variety of charities. For many years, he has personally hosted two events a year, raising more than $100,000 annually for PTN, a nonprofit children’s research, education and therapy center located in Torrance, and the Volunteer Center of South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach. In addition, Mr. Shafer donates time, money and his culinary skills to other community charities including: Little Company of Mary Hospital serving the South Bay and based in Torrance, Palos Verdes
Education Foundation, The Trinity Care Hospice, the Concern Foundation, and For Our Children, Inc. which hosts an annual Food and Wine Festival benefiting a variety of children’s charities.

Chef Shafer is also a citizen leader in the cause of neighborhood revitalization. He has been an active and unflagging advocate for the ongoing movement to increase the economic strength of Torrance’s downtown “Old Torrance” commercial hub. His Depot and Buffalo Fire Department Restaurants are anchors of the growing residential, commercial and retail core of the district, and his vision and creativity in mounting special events such as festivals and concerts to attract audiences and participants have made key contributions to the area’s ongoing transformation.

About Torrance Education Foundation

Torrance Education Foundation (TEF) promotes and supports academic excellence for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Torrance Unified School District. TEF recognizes outstanding teachers and education contributors; develops strategic alliances with business organizations, parents and the community; supports innovation and curiosity; and champions an inspirational, well-rounded education for all students served by the TUSD. Founded in 1992, TEF is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. In partnership with Torrance Unified School District and the community, TEF gathers and channels financial support from Torrance citizens, businesses and area philanthropies to ensure that all students have access to the widest variety of exciting, cutting-edge, enriching educational and learning opportunities.

In the past five years, TEF has provided major funding totaling more than $5 million to (1) acquire, install and maintain WiFi technology in all TUSD schools; (2) build out and equip a computer learning laboratory at the TUSD District office for faculty, staff and others; and (3) underwrite the cost of Common Core training in literacy, math, and science for elementary, middle and high school teachers, including placing substitute instructors in all classrooms during the months when TUSD teachers were attending the mandated training courses. In partnership with local businesses and family sponsors, TEF annually provides college scholarships to graduates from all five District High Schools. In addition to the STEM Initiative Grants, TEF also provides grants for a wide variety of District needs, including but not limited to Academic Decathlon teams, middle school leadership workshops, and direct support for myriad schoolbased projects and priorities.

Since 2009, TEF has also administered the South Bay Enrichment Academy, which annually enrolls more than 2,000 Torrance area children an in accredited summer school.

About the Round Up for Education Dinner benefiting TEF

The Round Up for Education Dinner continues TEF’s annual tradition of hosting a festive dinner event to raise funds in support of its programs for K-12 students and other district initiatives at Torrance Unified School District. The Western-themed dinner, to be chaired by Terry Furey, will take place on Saturday, April 30th at the Torrance DoubleTree Hotel, and includes a reception with silent auction, raffles and opportunities drawings. A full BBQ dinner will follow, along with dancing and a live auction featuring vacations, unique entertainment experiences, and other special auction items. Western attire is encouraged.

Tickets to the 2016 Round Up for Education Dinner are $125 each. To purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or for more information, visit, phone (310) 972-6418, or email