Dancing star Cheryl Burke raises funds for PH scholarships
MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Multi-awarded Filipino American choreographer and “Dancing With the Stars” star instructor Cheryl Stephanie Burke on June 6 hosted a big fundraising event for scholarships and entrepreneurship programs in the Philippines.
The $150-a-plate dinner featured dancing, silent and live auctions, organized by the non-profit Philippine Development (PhilDev) Foundation, which is trying to boost economic development in the Philippines.
“You Should Be Dancing — an Evening of Giving and Grooving,” host Burke is of
half Filipino and Irish-Russian ancestry. She was a Primetime Emmy Award nominee for Outstanding Choreography in ABC 7’s “Dancing With the Stars” for the “Freestyle” and “Paso Doble” dances in 2005.
Born in San Francisco, Burke began her dancing career when she started training in ballet at the age of four, and at the age of 11 she began ballroom dancing. She opened her own dance studio, offering professional ballroom dancing lessons, in Silicon Valley in the spring of 2008.
Her mother, Sherri, runs the Cheryl Burke Dance Studio in Mountain View, appeared live recently on ABC 7 (KGO) before veteran TV anchor and journalist Cheryl Jennings, along with entrepreneur and philanthropist Dado Banatao to publicize the fundraising event.
The Burkes are helping PhilDev connect Silicon Valley to the Philippines through Banatao, a man tagged by Jennings as “the Bill Gates of the Philippines.”
“We may be crazy enough to be the only foundation that says we build the economy of the Philippines,” Banatao said during interview.
Banatao founded several Silicon Valley businesses (MOSTron Elektronik, S3 Graphics and Tallwood Venture Capital), but his heart is in philanthropy due to his humble beginnings. He was born in the Philippines. “My father was a farmer and my mother a simple housewife,” he told Jennings.
Banatao came to America and graduated from Stanford University with a master’s in electrical engineering. His charity, PhilDev, has a longterm strategy, Jennings said, “to graduate as many Phd’s as possible in the Philippines in science and engineering.”
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