Bob’s Biker Blast Raises $1M for Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Bikers, bike enthusiasts and music lovers gathered Nov. 7 for Bob’s Biker Blast to benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation pledged to round out funds raised to make this fourth annual event $1 million.

“Bob’s Biker Blast is an epic celebration of motorcycling and the riding community, but it’s also about helping those in need,” said Bob Parsons, entrepreneur and philanthropist. “Renee and I believe that every child deserves access to outstanding medical care, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital provides the absolute best in terms of staff, quality care and pediatric specialties.”

The event coincided with the grand opening of Parsons’ new Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale. Celebrating the diversity within motorcycling and the positive impact bikers have on our community, the event began with more than 500 riders participating in the “I Ride for PCH” kick-off. Later that evening the Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald performed before a crowd of 10,000.

Citing their commitment to philanthropy and community support, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey along with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane proclaimed Nov. 7, 2015, “Bob and Renee Parsons Day.”

Last year’s event raised more than $63,000 before the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation matched the results – times five – bringing the total donation to nearly $380,000. With the $1 million gift, this year’s Bob’s Biker Blast broke a Phoenix Children’s record for most funds raised during an event hosted by an outside organization.

Fiesta Bowl Grants $10K to Save the Family


Save the Family, a nonprofit agency that provides transitional housing and supportive services to homeless families with children, will receive a $10,000 donation from the Fiesta Bowl in honor of baseball Hall of Famer and Arizona Diamondback legend Randy Johnson’s commitment to the community and his selection as Grand Marshall of the 45th Annual National Bank of Arizona Fiesta Bowl Parade on Jan. 2, 2016.

Johnson also will serve as special guest at the 45th Annual Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 and the 27th Annual Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2.

“Save the Family is so grateful for the support of Fiesta Bowl Charities and Randy Johnson,” says Jacki Taylor, Save the Family CEO. “Because of their generosity, hundreds of children from homeless, low-income and veteran families from around the Valley will receive much-needed support.”

With the donation, Save the Family will be able to provide tuition for extracurricular activities and classes like photography, sports camps, dance classes and art camps for more than 300 school-aged children grades K-12.

Johnson is one of the most decorated pitchers in Major League Baseball history, having accumulated 303 wins, 4,875 strikeouts and five Cy Young Awards during his 22-year career with five teams. “The Big Unit” was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in July and became the first member of the Hall to be depicted in an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform on his plaque.

“I was living in Peoria before I became a Diamondback in 1999, and this has become my home and my community. So it’s an honor to have been asked to be the Grand Marshal of this year’s parade,” Johnson says. “I am deeply honored, and this has been a year that has kept on giving and I appreciate that. To be able to give a grant to Save the Family and help those families is what it’s about for me. This is my community, and this is the mark I want to leave.”

The Fiesta Bowl Parade is a family-friendly event that showcases rich pageantry and boasts myriad entries that cultivate this year’s theme, Arizona’s Got Game.

Annually, the Jan. 2 celebration is attended by more than 100,000 spectators, who line Central Avenue in Phoenix. The long-standing Valley tradition will begin at 11 a.m. Admission is free, with premium reserved seating available for $25.

Steele Foundation Grants $2M to ASU Law School

The Steele Foundation has made a grant award of $2 million to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University to endow the Daniel Cracchiolo Chair in Civil and Criminal Law, thus founding the largest named chair in the school’s history.

“With this type of support, we anticipate that our ability to draw an even more prominent pool of talent to ASU Law will be further strengthened,” said Douglas Sylvester, dean of ASU Law. “With this gift, ASU Law will dedicate resources to innovative education opportunities, allowing our highly knowledgeable faculty members to excel in their work.”

In recognition of this gift, ASU Law will name its new downtown Phoenix executive conference room at the Arizona Center for Law and Society after Cracchiolo, chairman and CEO of the Steele Foundation and co-founder of one of Phoenix’s most prominent law firms, Burch & Cracchiolo.

“I am humbled by our board of directors’ decision to bestow this honor in my name. It is wonderful to have my name associated with the ASU Law, and I am equally ecstatic our grant will provide scholarships for first-generation law school students,” said Cracchiolo. “For over 60 years I have practiced law in Arizona, and I am excited to see ASU Law coming into downtown Phoenix. I’m thrilled our foundation will be an integral part of supporting this move.”

A graduate of the University of Arizona Law in 1952, Cracchiolo considers Phoenix his home and has received numerous accolades for his leadership role within the legal community. In 1970, Cracchiolo co-founded the firm of Burch & Cracchiolo, P.A. He is an inductee of the Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame; a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the American Judicature Society, and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; and is listed in two categories within the “Best Lawyers in America.”

Established in 1980, the Steele Foundation has a long tradition of supporting early-childhood education and programs that promote first-generation college attendance and graduation. With this gift, the foundation is expanding its focus to higher education and is partnering with ASU Law as it continues to offer a diverse and comprehensive selection of programs and courses to its students.

5th Season of Parties of Note

Local philanthropists open their homes for Phoenix Symphony fundraising events.



Left to right: Maestro Tito Muñoz and Laura Pogue, March 19, 2015, Silverleaf Club; Priscilla Nicholas, Libby Cohen and Nancy Teets, Nov. 9, 2014, the home of Priscilla and Michael Nicholas; classic cars, April 14, 2015, the home of Bruce Covill and Lucia Renshaw; Lucia Renshaw and Bruce Covill, April 14, 2015, in their home.


For the fifth season, Valley music lovers will be able to support The Phoenix Symphony by attending parties in the magnificent homes and spaces of generous philanthropists.

Chaired by Molly DeFilippis, Phoenix Symphony board member, Parties of Note will kick off Nov. 19 at the home of Mac and Russ Perlich. Each party will feature something special, like world-class art collections, historical locations, stunning views and beautiful gardens, as well as opportunities to mingle with Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz and Phoenix Symphony musicians, who will provide private ensembles in each home.

Each party is underwritten by its host, allowing all proceeds to support The Phoenix Symphony’s Annual Fund.



Essen and Allison Otu Give Back

In honor of Black Philanthropy Month, 

Arizona Community Foundation highlights

people and projects advancing Black

philanthropy throughout Arizona.


Essen and Allison Otu have been active philanthropists and leaders of Arizona Community Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative for more than five years. Only a short time after attending their first meeting, Essen and Allison are now proud founding members of two giving circles established under the BPI and are looking forward to seeing the circles engage more Black Arizonans as philanthropists and make a positive impact in the community.


Allison Otu, Director of Outreach and Communications,

University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix


Philanthropists can give in a variety of ways. They might donate to a cause they care about, lend their time to a local school, offer their expertise to a nonprofit board or dedicate their professional lives to organizations making the changes they wish to see in the world.

And there are those, like Essen and Allison Otu, who do it all. In addition to making an impact through their work with the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and Mountain Park Health Center, Allison and Essen have been actively involved in ACF’s Black Philanthropy Initiative for more than five years.

Their involvement started by simply attending a meeting after being invited by friends who were involved, and it grew as they went on to become founding members of the Initiative’s two giving circles. Allison learned that members of the BPI were contemplating establishing a giving circle for women and was interested in becoming a member the effect it could have both on her and the community.

Essen Otu, Senior Director of Diversity and Community Affairs,

Mountain Park Health Center


“I wanted to be part of a sisterhood striving to create positive change in our community,” she says.

The African American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle was established in 2013 and now has more than 20 members.

“We just completed our first grant cycle, and so we are in the process of celebrating that milestone and looking to the future,” Allison says. “We want to look for opportunities to improve the grantmaking process as we continue our recruitment efforts.”

As the African American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle developed, Essen and his friend Terry Love were discussing establishing a similar giving circle for men under the BPI.

“Terry had been involved with a giving circle in Birmingham before moving to Phoenix and mentioned the idea at a meeting,” Essen says.

Essen was enthusiastic about pursuing the idea because “it was an opportunity to engage Black men in creating a new expectation of ourselves and develop a community of givers.”

Essen and Terry joined with two other men – Chuck Kelly and Tyrone Benson – to found Real Engagement through Active Philanthropy, or REAP, in 2014. The circle now has 13 members who are looking to grow the circle’s membership and begin making grants to organizations that support Black males’ education, college preparation and career exploration. The members also launched the REAP Reads program, which brings members into Crockett Elementary School to read to students.

According to Allison, members of the BPI and its giving circles often serve as community leaders by serving on boards and committees that focus on arts and culture, health care, education and more.

Essen, who has served as a trustee to St. Luke’s Health Initiatives for more than four years, sees the work of BPI and its giving circles as part of a movement and a means for Black Arizonans to achieve great impact.

"We believe we can give big by giving collectively,” he says. “The potential in collective philanthropy is that it has the ability to grow, shift and move the way communities are created and to make philanthropy more inclusive.”

For more information about Black Philanthropy Month, CLICK HERE.


Photos and story courtesy the Arizona Community Foundation

Parsons Foundation Awards Grant

The Bob & Renee Parsons

Foundation continues long-

standing support of Free Arts

for Abused Children of Arizona


The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has awarded Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona a $250,000 grant to enhance existing programs.

Free Arts provides creative and therapeutic arts programs at no charge to children who live in group homes, residential treatment centers, child crisis centers and domestic violence and homeless shelters. The organization’s mission is to provide healing through artistic expression.

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has been an active supporter of Free Arts for several years, and the most recent grant will allow the organization to expand programs and provide even more children with a positive outlet to channel their emotions and creatively express themselves.

A mentor and child work on an art project at Free Arts fall Pumpkin Festival.


Free Arts provides a complex program, working to restore hope, build self-esteem and help children grow emotionally. Programs include visual and performing arts, creative writing, theater camps, the Professional Artists Series and other artistic projects. The organization serves 32 partner agencies at more than 115 sites across Maricopa County.

“Working with Free Arts for the past few years, I have seen firsthand the enormous impact on children and the positive change these programs create,” says entrepreneur and businessman Bob Parsons. “Free Arts is making a difference, and giving hope to children facing stresses in the home environment that are unbelievably difficult.”

“Art is an effective form of therapy. The work Free Arts is doing is changing and empowering vulnerable children, and we are delighted to continue our partnership with this inspiring organization,” Renee Parsons says.

The grant also helps increase awareness in the greater community of the Arizona Foster Care Tax Credit. Free Arts will use grant dollars to educate the community about this unique tax program designed to support agencies working with foster children. Additionally, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will match dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000, all tax credit donations made by first-time donors and returning donors who have not donated since Dec. 31, 2012.



The Parsons Wish House

Make-A-Wish Arizona celebrated the

grand opening of its new home,

The Parsons Wish House, on April 29.

The event was held on the 35th

anniversary of the very first wish,

Chris Greicius’ wish to be a police



Wish Kid Tiffany and her grandfather John talk with Bob Parsons at the grand opening celebration.

The new property will enable the organization to expand its wish-granting capacity to eventually grant the wish of every eligible child in Arizona.

The Parsons Wish House was made possible by a $2.8 million gift from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. The Parsons are active donors with Make-A-Wish Arizona, having pledged more than $6.3 million to the organization over the last two years. Renee Parsons also volunteers her time to the organization as a member of the board of directors and as a co-chair for the annual Wish Ball.

We deal in hope

“Our slogan for The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation is simple – we deal in hope,” Bob Parsons said during the opening celebration. “Make-A-Wish gives someone in a tough situation something to hope for, something to live for, something to get by for.”

Located near Thomas and Hayden Roads in Scottsdale, The Parsons Wish House will serve the entire state of Arizona. It is estimated that 540 children are diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions every year in the state, making them eligible for a wish. Currently, children are referred to Make-A-Wish Arizona at a rate of approximately 400 per year.

“The Parsons Wish House will enable our chapter to work toward our vision of granting the wish of every eligible child in Arizona,” said Elizabeth Reich, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Arizona. “We are proud to be the founding chapter of Make-A-Wish, and this new home celebrates not only our future, but our history.”

Make-A-Wish Arizona relies entirely on donors, both individual and corporate, to support their mission of granting the wishes of Arizona children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, their entire family is sent into a tailspin – challenged in ways most of us can’t imagine,” Renee Parsons said. “The new Wish House will be a beacon of hope for these families, and every wish granted a chance to inspire strength and joy.”



(left) Derrick Hall, president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is also the chairman of the board for Make-A-Wish Arizona. He and the board have been instrumental in helping the chapter grant more wishes each year.

(right) Bob and Renee Parsons with Linda Pauling, mother of Chris Greicius (in relief on the wall) and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. Chris was the wish that inspired the creation of the Make-A-Wish organization.


(left) Wish Kid Kyle, 6, and his sister Jenna check out the toy closet at The Parsons Wish House. The toy closet is used by volunteers for their first meeting with wish kids.

(right) Col. Frank Milstead of the Arizona Department of Public Safety; Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane; Renee Parsons; Derrick Hall; Elizabeth Reich, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Arizona; and Bob Parsons after cutting the ribbon to open The Parsons Wish House.


Another side of Tony LaRussa

Few people in baseball are more

decorated than Diamondbacks chief

baseball officer Tony LaRussa.


The Hall of Fame manager is one of the winningest

baseball managers in history with six pennants, three

World Series titles and four Manager of the Year

designations. He’s one of only two managers to win a

World Series in both the National and the American

leagues, and he is the only manager to win in three

different decades.


The man is tough, competitive and passionate about baseball.

But there is another side to Tony LaRussa, things you might not know.

For one, he has a law degree. When he saw that his major-league playing days were numbered, he studied law at Florida State University during the offseason and graduated from law school, prepared to enter another line of business. A call from the Chicago White Sox to manage their Double-A affiliate in the Southern League changed his mind, and his career course was set.

        Tony LaRussa with rescue dog Griffon



A second thing people might not know is that baseball is not his only passion. In addition to his family, LaRussa has a passion for animals. He and his wife, Elaine, are founders of the Animal Rescue Foundation, ARF, headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif.

“Our mission,” says LaRussa, “is specifically to save animals who are on death row. Shelters just run out of space. We take in animals that would be euthanized 24 hours later.”

The inspiration for ARF was a cat that came to be known as “Evie” (after Evie Haas, wife of Walter A. Haas, Jr., owner of the Oakland Athletics from 1980 to 1995), when LaRussa was manager.

“If we were still at the ballpark late or if we had an early workout, you would see feral cats feeding on the scraps,” LaRussa recalls. “They should have been trapped, but there wasn’t an active program to trap them.”

One evening during a game at home against the Yankees, a stray cat decided to make an appearance, running onto center field. The huge crowd of spectators cheered, but the cat was terrified.

“You could just see her panic,” LaRussa says. “She couldn’t find the hole she had come out of.”

                                                                                                                                                     Evie finds her way to the A's dugout – and                                                                                                                                                                      Tony LaRussa's heart.

As she neared the wall around third base side, she tried to run up and over it, but she couldn’t make it. “She was just too tired,” LaRussa says.

LaRussa coaxed her into the Oakland dugout, where she spent the rest of the game in safety.

The problem of a feral cat population wasn’t unique to Oakland. LaRussa says outdoor stadiums, in particular, have access points that allow entrance to cats, who can survive in an environment like a coliseum.

”Evie” became the impetus for LaRussa and his wife, Elaine, a lifelong advocate for animals, to found ARF.

The nonprofit organization is run out of a nearly 38,000 square-foot facility on six-and-a-half acres. ARF now has the complementary mission of animals rescuing people, with 23,000 square feet dedicated to animals, and 15,000 square feet dedicated to connecting animals to people.

“Animals provide unconditional love,” LaRussa says, “especially for victims of violence, seniors, people with special needs, people in hospitals, children and veterans.”


Bianca, Elaine, Tony and Devon LaRussa at Maddie's Animal Care Center in Pleasanton, Calif.



Typically, small shelters are really strained. They save as many animals as they can, but are limited in what they can do. But thousands of organizations like that can make a serious dent, one animal at a time,” LaRussa says.

While ARF provides services and isn’t a grant-making foundation, the LaRussas and their daughters have formed the LaRussa Family Foundation, which does make grants. Elaine and their daughters Bianca and Devon research and screen animal organizations around the country and donate to their cause. Several months ago, Elaine learned of Rockstar Rescue in Phoenix and the foundation is helping it move into a church they purchased and are renovating in downtown Phoenix.

“Typically, small shelters are really strained. They save as many animals as they can, but are limited in what they can do. But thousands of organizations like that can make a serious dent, one animal at a time,” LaRussa says.



When LaRussa took the job with the Diamondbacks in 2014, he already knew the organization’s reputation as stellar community partners. “You can’t overstate or exaggerate how highly involved the Diamondbacks are,” he says. “Their reputation is tops. They roll up their sleeves and donate to so many causes in the Valley.”

LaRussa fits that mold, inspired in part by Walter Haas who was chairman of Levi Strauss and owner of the Oakland Athletics when LaRussa was with the A’s. Haas’ mantra for employees was to get involved, give back to the community. In addition to animals, the LaRussa family was involved with children and education.

Getting involved with Ryan House is the easiest decision I’ve made in a long time. They asked, and I gladly accepted.”                                                                             Tony LaRussa adjusts Ryan Cottor's chair at the                                                                                                                                                                                  kickoff for the Ryan House Community                                                                                                                                                                                                  Breakfast. Ryan House was named for Ryan.

When he arrived in Phoenix, a friend recommended he learn about Ryan House, which provides respite and palliative care to children with life-threatening conditions. It is the first of its kind in the United States.

“It’s unique, and it’s powerful,” LaRussa says. “I’ve met the kids and I’ve met the families. Ryan House makes their situation as good as it could possibly be, and it’s up to the rest of us to get the funding they need.”

LaRussa is the honorary chair of the May 6, 2015, Ryan House Community Breakfast ”Team Ryan.” It is the seventh annual community breakfast to provide guests the opportunity to learn more about Ryan House and to hear stories about the inspiring work being done by the organization for children and their families.

“Getting involved with Ryan House is the easiest decision I’ve made in a long time,” LaRussa says. “They asked, and I gladly accepted.”

“What Ryan House is providing these children improves the quality of life for the entire family. We need to help fund what’s being done there. It starts with awareness.”


A Giving Milestone


5 Arts Circle members celebrate 15 years of fundraising for Arizona’s major

arts organizations at a private event with Arizona Opera at Symphony Hall.


Dinner at the Arizona Opera with remarks by Opera Director Ryan Taylor


The 19-year-old nonprofit 5 Arts Circle has raised $4 million for five Valley arts organizations since its inception in 1999. The social group, which supports five premier visual and performing arts organization vital to the cultural and economic life of the Valley community, celebrated the milestone at a private event the group held with the Arizona Opera on Feb. 25 at Symphony Hall.

The occasion was held during the student night dress rehearsal of The Magic Flute. 5 Arts Circle members enjoyed dinner and remarks by Arizona Opera General Director Ryan Taylor.

The membership organization is an advocate for the arts in the greater Phoenix area, contributing money to the Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum, Scottsdale Cultural Council and The Phoenix Symphony.



(left) Harry Papp, Dorothy Lincoln Smith, Linda Jones and Ryan Taylor

array(right) Lois Tatelman, Mickie Zatulove and Judith Wolf 


(left) Ellen and Ralph Andres and Mimi and David Horwitz

array(right) Larry Cohn, Erin Stapp and Ryan Taylor

MaKenna Albrecht, Harry Papp and Jenny St. John



Delta Dental Spreads Sunshine


February 6 was a day of

celebration as the generous

people at Delta Dental

Foundation awarded $494,086

in grants to help create beautiful,

healthy smiles around the State

of Arizona.

Amy Gibbons, president/executive director Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix; Allan Allford, president/CEO Delta Dental of Arizona; Delta Dental of Arizona Tooth Fairy

The theme for the luncheon event at Tempe Center for the Arts was “You Are Our Sunshine,” and it was reflected in the cheerful yellow tablecloths, music that followed “the sun” and the words spoken by Foundation representatives. Delta Dental of Arizona Vice President of Communications and Community Benefits Sandi Perez, Ph.D., helped shine the light on the good work of nonprofits around the state that work to make lives better for Arizona citizens by preventing childhood dental disease, providing dental health education programs, being proponents of good dental hygiene and more.

Some of the grants were awarded for innovative technology, such as A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health’s Text2Floss program, which encourages oral health literacy and behaviors through mobile phone technology. Some were for dental care, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix Children’s Dental clinic, which provides services for 900 children.

The recipient organizations reach well beyond Maricopa County, with awards going to, among others, the Navajo County Public Health Services District, the Overgaard Ponderosa Lions Foundation and River Cities United Way, which serves children residing in La Paz or Mohave Counties. In all, 27 organizations received grants ranging from $4,250 to Southwest Behavioral Health Services to $50,000 (over two years) to the University of Arizona Foundation Mobile Health Program.

For a complete list of 2015 grantees, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation and its programs, CLICK HERE.



(left) Dr. Dale Hallberg and his wife, Terri, of the Poore Free Medical Clinic in Flagstaff with Felix Durazo, senior vice president of National Bank of Arizona and chair of Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation board of directors

(middle) Dr. Fred Olsen and his wife, Kim, with Alisa Diggs, administrator for Maricopa County Department of Public Health and member of the Delta Dental of Arizona board of directors

(right) Robin House, Oral Health Educator Navajo County Public Health Services District



(left) Dr. Sandi Perez, Delta Dental of Arizona vice president of communications and community benefits, looks on as Diane Nystrom, mobile dental unit program manager Sun Life Family Health Care, explains the mobile dental unit program

(middle) Karen Resseguie, program director Esperanca, and Keith Gauza, business development manager Henry Schein Dental Secretary Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation board of directors

(right) Deanne Sangster, health services administrator Native Health; Anh Thu Becker, DMD, dental director Native Health; and Keith Gauzza, business development manager Henry Schein Dental Secretary Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation board of directors 



(left) Julie Carlberg, director of development Maggie's Place; Alisa Diggs, MPH, PA-C, administrator Public Health Emergency Management Program Maricopa County Department of Public Health and member Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation board of directors; and Kim DeMeritt, director of programs Maggie's Place

(middle) Nancy Garrett, RDH, dental department Marana Health Center, and Alisa Diggs, MPH, PA-C, administrator Public Health Emergency Management Program Maricopa County Department of Public Health and member Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation board of directors

(right) Dale Hallberg, DDS, dental director Poore Free Medical Clinic, and Richard Fefer, DDS, member Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation board of directors





2015 Barrow Grand Ball


Women’s Board of Barrow Neurological Foundation celebrates 50 years at

Barrow Grand Ball

The 2015 Barrow Grand Ball celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Women’s Board of Barrow Neurological Foundation. In their 50 years, this group of loyal supporters has raised $50 million to support Barrow Neurological Institute, more than any other single organization.

The board selects a special project to support each year with funds raised from the ball. This year, the Women’s Board designated The Spetzler Legacy Project as its beneficiary. Dr. Robert Spetzler has directed BNI since 1986.

Barrow Neurological Institute was dedicated in 1962. Three years later, the Women’s Board was formed to raise funds for research at Barrow Neurological Institute and to foster community interest in the new institute. The first event hosted by the Women’s Board, a New Year’s Eve Ball at Casa Blanca Inn in Paradise Valley, netted $26,000. Over the ensuing five decades, this enterprising group of women has continued to raise much-needed funds annually for Barrow.

This year’s ball was held Jan. 17 at the Arizona Biltmore and was co-chaired by Carole Moreno and Sarah Suggs. The intimate group of 360 guests dined on an elegant dinner prepared under the direction of Arizona Biltmore Executive Chef Gordon Maybury. The Biltmore provided the dinner wine.

Among the guests attending the gala were some of the Valley's most well-known leaders and philanthropists, including Governor Doug Ducey and his wife, Angela; former Senator Jon Kyl and his wife, Caryll; Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance; Stevie and Karl Eller; Nancy Hanley; Linda and Bill Hunt; Catherine Ivy; Ellen and Howard Katz; Francis Najafi; Carole and Arte Moreno; and Melani and Rob Walton.

During dinner, Dr. Spetzler, known for his piano proficiency, and his wife, Nancy, a classical flutist, entertained with a performance of “Il Pastore Swizzero,” or “The Swiss Shepherd,” by Pietro Morlacchi.

Following dinner, guests danced to the music of the Jim May Orchestra with Alice Tatum.


Barrett-Jackson Raises $8.6M for Charity


Celebrities bring star power to

Scottsdale auction block


The Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction raised more than $8.6 million for local and national charitable organizations. The Jan. 10 to Jan. 18 event at WestWorld in Scottsdale, got a little help from a long list of celebrities, including professional athletes, NASCAR legends and Hollywood stars who used their star power to help raise millions for U.S. veterans, children, cancer patients and others across the country.

“Our Scottsdale auction brought unbelievable vehicles and celebrity star power to help raise much-needed awareness and funds for charities across the country,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “I’m proud that our auction can be a platform and a voice for generous people and companies, like Ron Pratte, Ford and GM, to support organizations who strive to make our world a better place. I’m especially grateful for the generosity of our bidders this year who helped us raise $8.6 million to support deserving individuals and families.”


(right) Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson, with actress Sharon Stone

Hollywood actress Sharon Stone and “Miss Hurst Golden Shifter” Linda Vaughn combined their celebrity status to support The Cancer Research Fund at TGen in memory of Russ and Brian Jackson. Hammering in at $140,000, the

’79 Hurst Oldsmobile Olds is one of the last Hurst vehicles presented to Linda Vaughn for her dedication to the Hurst brand.

Among the most electrifying moments of the auction was the sale of the ’50 GM Futurliner, which was donated by Ron Pratte. Set against the backdrop of a packed house with audience members waving American flags, the Futurliner sold for $4 million to benefit the Armed Forces Foundation.

“We have a deep appreciation for the service and bravery of our nation’s military,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “The energy in the room when the GM Futurliner rolled on the block was infectious and tangible. We were also moved when wounded veterans joined us on the block during the auction of the Victory Cross County motorcycle benefitting Ride to Recovery. These were inspirational moments in Barrett-Jackson history that everyone in attendance, as well as those who watched on                                                                                                                           TV and online, will remember for years to come.”

Davis purchased the Victory Cross Country motorcycle for $90,000 to support Ride 2 Recovery. In an incredible show of appreciation, business leader and philanthropist Brett Torino matched Davis’ donation to bring the total donation up to $180,000. Ride 2 Recovery, which features cycling as its core activity, is produced by the nonprofit Fitness Challenge in partnership with the Military and VA Volunteer Service Office to benefit mental and physical rehabilitation programs for our country’s wounded veterans and healing heroes.

NASCAR racing legends Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham were on the auction block when their 1999 No. 24 Pepsi Chevrolet Monte Carlo sold for $500,000 to benefit Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. Gordon’s car won the inaugural Busch Series event at Phoenix International Raceway in 1999. The team’s Pepsi-sponsored cars ran six races with Gordon as driver and Evernham as crew chief.

Ford CEO Mark Fields and Aaron Shelby, Carroll Shelby’s grandson, piloted the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, VIN #001 on the block in support of JDRF. Selling to a full auction house, the crowd favorite GT350R sold for $1 million.

Bubba Watson, pro golfer and two-time Masters champion, was on the block when his ’39 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk Custom Hardtop Roadster hammered in at $410,000. Proceeds from Watson’s donation will benefit Birdies for the Brave, which supports critical programs and services to meet the specialized needs of wounded veterans and military.



Other charity cars included:

>> 2015 Jeep Wrangler Custom SUV – $85,000

>> 2015 BMW M5 – $700,000

>> 2016 Cadillac CTS-V – $170,000

       >> 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible “1st Retail” – $800,000


UA Announces $20M Gift


Fred Fox, a popular visitor, guest and teacher in the UA School of Music, performed as a horn player with the National Symphony, the Minneapolis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.


Family’s donation recognizes the stellar career of 100-year-old Fred Fox,

a  legendary horn player and instructor who has coached the

Graduate Wind Quintet in the School of Music.


The University of Arizona College of Fine Arts has received a $20 million gift to the School of Music from Alan and Daveen Fox, in honor of Alan’s 100-year-old father, master teacher and legendary horn performer Fred Fox.

In recognition of the gift, and pending approval, the school will be renamed the Fred Fox School of Music.

The Foxes’ generosity puts the UA even closer to its goal of raising $1.5 billion during the Arizona NOW campaign, which was launched publicly in April 2014 and concludes in June 2018. The comprehensive fundraising campaign is distinguished by its unprecedented scope as well as its ties to Never Settle, the UA’s strategic academic and business plan. To date, the campaign is ahead of pace with more than 70 percent of the goal already accomplished. The vast majority of gifts are “restricted,” which means they can be used only for a specific purpose or project.

“Alan and Daveen Fox have been such strong supporters of the School of Music through our connections with the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet and our personal friendships,” said professor Edward Reid, the school’s director and a close friend of the Fox family.

“Their passion is and always has been education. These past four years of working together with the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet as the centerpiece, seeing what our school has been doing in outreach and education, and how much we love Fred, have led to this extraordinary and wonderful gift. The relationship between the School of Music and Alan, Daveen and Fred is as magical as it gets.”

(right) Fred Fox in December 2014 with members of the UA’s premier

chamber group, the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet.

UA President Ann Weaver Hart said the gift would extend the reputation of the School of Music.

“The generosity of the Fox family will be reflected in the continued excellence of our faculty and students, who always have been the best ambassadors for our music school,” Hart said. “Fred’s support of the arts at the University of Arizona has been steadfast. We not only appreciate his unwavering support, but also the incredible generosity of Alan and Daveen.”

Alan Fox said that he and his wife “strongly believe in education, and especially in music education. We believe that the University of Arizona already has a respected music school, and we would like to help make it become one of the very finest.”

Jory Hancock, dean of the College of Fine Arts, said, “The school, and the college as well, will be elevated and energized by this gift. And the campus, Tucson community and arts patrons locally, regionally and nationally will enjoy the fruits of this remarkable support.” 

The gift will provide support for the School of Music by creating several endowments and scholarships. In recognition of the gift, the school will be renamed pending completion of the UA’s internal process that involves a recommendation from the UA Naming Advisory Committee and approval of the Faculty Senate.

“We are so grateful to Alan and Daveen Fox for their generous gift, and join with them in celebrating the legacy of Fred and his love of music,” said James H. Moore Jr., president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation. “This transformative gift represents the best of what philanthropy aspires to achieve. It supports faculty through endowed chairs, students through endowed scholarships, and the sustained growth of the School of Music through a general operating fund. It aligns with the Arizona NOW campaign priorities perfectly.”

About $4 million of the gift will be used to establish three endowed chairs in the School of Music: the Alan C. and Daveen Fox Endowed Chair for the Director of the School of Music; the Fred Fox Endowed Chair for French Horn Studies; and the Daveen Fox Endowed Chair for Music. Alan and Daveen Fox established the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet in 2012, and $1.25 million will be used to establish an endowed fund to provide support for the quintet in perpetuity.

In addition, $2 million of the gift will be used to establish an endowed scholarship fund, to be named the Fox Family Scholarship Fund. The fund will provide scholarships each year for up to three undergraduate students who are majoring in music and three graduate students who are attending the Fred Fox School of Music and whose studies emphasize brass instrument performance. 

The Foxes’ connection to the UA is through associate professor of music Daniel Katzen, who is a former student of Fred Fox’s.

Fred Fox was born in 1914 in Brooklyn, New York, and studied violin before he took up the French horn. He graduated from the Juilliard School and performed as solo horn player with the National Symphony, the Minneapolis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as at Paramount and RKO studios in Hollywood.

Fox served on the faculties of California State University, Northridge; the University of Southern California; and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. Hewas also professor of brass instruments at California State University, Los Angeles. His book Essentials of Brass Playing, published in 1974, is considered an authoritative source on brass technique.

Considered a legend in his field, Fox was honored at age 97 with the Punto Award at the 2011 International Horn Symposium in San Francisco. The award is given to individuals who have made a major contribution at the regional or national level to the art of horn playing.

“I believe that learning an instrument in school teaches kids to use their whole mind and requires total concentration,” Fred Fox said. “Once music enters a child’s life in this way, for the rest of their life they will always know how to use their full mind at any task, no matter what they are doing. The end result will be that they will be more effective at whatever they choose to do. I am very happy to have my name associated with such a wonderful music school and look forward to great things from the students enrolled there.”

Fred, Alan and Daveen Fox reside in southern California.


(left) Fred Fox wrote Essentials of Brass Playing, still considered an authoritative source on brass technique 40 years after its publication.


This story originally appeared in UANews. Reprinted with permission from The University of Arizona Foundation.



Big Game Big Give


Erika Williams and Linda Pope PHOTO BY JOHN HALL

Valley residents Erika and Matt Williams and Linda and Bill Pope

create star-studded Super Bowl soiree


Based on the team that has been fielded, Big Game Big Give could well be named “Super Game Super Give.“ This sixth annual Super Bowl gathering of celebrities, athletes, business leaders and philanthropists previously has been called by ESPN The Magazine the “#1 Super Bowl Party of the Year.“

Big Game Big Give is an event of The Giving Back Fund (, a national public charity that creates and professionally manages charitable foundations and other philanthropic programs for athletes, entertainers, business entrepreneurs and corporation.

The red-carpet affair benefits The Giving Back Fund, Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. Twenty-five percent will go to the BGCMP, and guests can also direct an additional 20 percent to their favorite charity.



>>  Blockbuster feature film producer/director Michael Bay will co-host the Arizona edition of The Giving Back Fund’s Big Game Big Give on Sat., Jan. 31.

>> Mark Wahlberg is also a celebrity co-host.

>> Former Arizona Diamondback and current Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams and his wife, Erika Monroe Williams, co-chairs, will host the party for 500 in their Paradise Valley home.

>> Philanthropists Linda and Bill Pope are co-chairs as well.

>> The list of two dozen or so honorary Arizona hosts includes names of some of the Valley’s most generous givers.

>> Celebrity attendees include Bay, Wahlberg, athletes and luminaries of business and philanthropy. 

Producer/director Michael Bay             

PHOTO BY GREG GORMAN                            


Erika Williams and Linda Pope have mindfully put together an evening of surprises that will showcase Arizona. The theme Arizona Shines will be played out in vignettes that highlight original elements of Arizona for the hundreds of people attending from throughout the country.

As guests arrive, a fire feature created by Phoenix Theatre in the front-yard fountain to show Phoenix rising from the ashes will great them. One part of the Williams family's large yard will highlight medical and scientific research in the state. Guests will have fun at the Snow Bowl vignette, complete with snow, a vintage chairlift, cozy fireplace and hot food. There will be a Route 66 section. And more – golf, the beauty of the landscape, snow.

Linda, who has been involved in countless successful – and glamorous – fundraisers, knows how to roll up her sleeves and go to work. She also knows how to add the sizzle. And no one works harder, Erika says. "Linda has the same birthday as my husband, and their personalities are similar. They don't like to have anything on their to-do list." Erika Williams is accustomed to using her homes, in Arizona and in Washington, D.C., for charitable events, including one – complete with live animals for Phoenix Zoo’s capital campaign. That party raised $1.2 million in one evening. It was Erika and Matt whom the Super Bowl host committee approached last year to consider hosting the party.

No detail has been overlooked. Food and drink offerings will complement the various vignettes, with a different cocktail for each. In the Sedona vignette, a tequila sunrise will be offered. Along Route 66? Vintage candy and a cocktail version of a root beer float. And because they wanted Arizona to shine, the host chef is Vincent Guerithault, recipient of a long list of national and international accolades. Guerithault will coordinate the efforts of additional Arizona James Beard-awarded chefs. Tammie Coe has taken on the task of creating a University of Phoenix cake.

Honorary hosts have assembled an amazing selection of unusual, one-of-a-kind auction items, and bidding will open on well before the event, carrying over to the live auction with the bids as starting bids at the event. Or a guest might buy a ticket package to taste wine with Mark Wahlberg in the Williams wine cellar. Or fly with the Dbacks to an away game and stay in the team hotel. For a list of auction items available, CLICK HERE.

Big Game Big Give is produced by Scottsdale-based R Entertainment.



Snagging an invitation to this soiree is an accomplishment, indeed. Only 200 were printed, and the only way to attend this exclusive party is to be one of the celebrity guests or by invitation from one of the celebrities or honorary hosts. Nationally, viewers can catch a glimpse of Big Game Big Give festivities on EXTRA, Entertainment Tonight, El News and more.



>> The Giving Back Fund

>> Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation

>> Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix

>> The State of Arizona


Bradshaw Roast


Sports legend Terry Bradshaw to be

skewered at roast in Phoenix


NFL Hall of Famer, four-

time Super Bowl winning

quarterback and current NFL

broadcaster Terry Bradshaw

will be roasted by his peers

and comics at the premiere 

Friars Club’s ESPN Roast.


Bradshaw will get the full

Friars comedy treatment

as guest of honor at the

next Friars Club Roast on

Thurs., Jan. 29, 2015,

at a noon luncheon at the

Arizona Biltmore.


The one-hour comedy roast, which will take place during the week of the Super Bowl, will premiere on ESPN2 in an hour-long special before the Super Bowl, on Fri., Jan. 30, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. MST.



One of the most prolific quarterbacks in history, leading the Steelers to an unprecedented four Super Bowl championships, Bradshaw has seen football from inside the game to analyzing and commentating on games  – more fodder for the Friars comedians and his peers to use against him as they turn their Roasting spits of wit.

“What can these guys possibly say to me that isn’t being said daily on social media? Heck . . . I may even leave here uplifted,” says Bradshaw.

Redd’s Apple Ale will join the fun as the title sponsor of the roast and broadcast. Redd’s has been a friend of the Friars, having sponsored previous Friars Roasts including Boomer Esiason and Jack Black.

Bradshaw joins the ranks of recent honorees Jack Black, Quentin Tarantino, Betty White and fellow NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason. Also expected to be in attendance are Matthew McConaughey, Curt Menefee, Erin Andrews, Jeffrey Ross, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Lampanelli, Howie Long, Frank Callendo, Larry King and more.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Gift of Laughter Wounded Warrior Program, a project of the Friars Foundation that provides uplifting the well-being and positive attitude of troops injued in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are currently in military hospitals throughout the U.S. and in Europe, and Make-A-Wish Arizona, the local and founding chapter of the now international wish-granting organization which dedicates itself to the mission of granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

According to Friars Club Abbot, Jerrry Lewis, “It’s about time we start roasting some hard-hitting athletes who have the brawn to face their roasters. Terry has gone from tossing the balls to talking the balls so let’s see if he has the balls to handle a Friars Roast. I’m pretty sure he does. He’s the consummate professional and I look forward to adding him to our roster of good sports!"

Comedian Joel McHale will be the Roast Master.

Arizona business magnate and philanthropist Eric Crown will also be honored at the event with the Humanitarian Award. The co-founder and chairman of Insight Enterprises will be recognized for his successful achievements in business at the event as well.

Joel McHale      

Tickets for the roast start at $500. For more information, CLICK HERE.

To purchase tickets, tables or sponsorships, contact Jennifer Moser at 480-423-1414, Ext. 2, or


Flower Power


Board of Visitors Flower Girls hold annual philanthropic event


The Board of Visitors Flower Girls, seniors in high school, recently gathered to donate their time and talent to UMOM New Day Centers. The young women helped children residing at UMOM to decorate keepsake water bottles, play games and do special arts and crafts projects.

“The event at UMOM helps those in need and educates the young women selected to be Flower Girls at our Annual Charity Ball about how The Board of Visitors works with charities in our community,” says Mona Smith, the organization's chairman.

Established in 1908, The Board of Visitors raises funds to serve the health-care needs of women, children and the elderly. The organization has donated more than $18 million to local charities. UMOM’s mission is to provide homeless families and individuals with safe shelter, housing and supportive services to assist them in reaching their greatest potential The Board of Visitors has awarded more than $300,000 to provide medical, dental and behavioral health services to UMOM.


Eller College Gift Commitments


UA Eller College announces

$6M in commitments from

Arizona philanthropists


The University of Arizona Eller College of Management has announced three new gift commitments totaling $6 million from Shamrock Foods, Karl and Stevie Eller of Phoenix, and the Diamond family of Tucson.

More than 240 people attended the celebration of Arizona NOW: The Campaign for the University of Arizona, hosted by Eller College and the UA foundation National Leadership Council at the Musical Instrument Museum. The overall goal of Arizona NOW is set at $1.5 billion.

Above, Biltmore residents Karl and Stevie Eller, left, with University of Arizona Eller College of Management Dean Len Jessup on Oct. 9 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. The Eller gift of $1.5 million will name the Professional Development Center, a two-story addition to the business school that will house undergraduate career coaches, recruiter meeting space, and student collaboration space.

Right, University of Arizona Eller College of Management Dean Len Jessup with Norman and Barbara McClelland and Celia and Kent McClelland on Oct. 9 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. The Shamrock Foods gift of $3.5 million establishes the McClelland Family Endowment for Faculty Excellence, which will help Eller College attract and retain outstanding teachers and researchers in the business disciplines.


Celebrity Fight Night, Tuscany



Reba McEntire, Lionel Richie, David Foster, John Legend and others  joined Andrea Bocelli for the international debut of Celebrity Fight Night in Tuscany, Italy. The event ran from Sept. 3 through Sept 7, the first time it was celebrated outside the United States. Andrea Bocelli extended a personal invitation to hold the event in Tuscany.

The trip brought together 100 philanthropic donors and special guests from the region, showcasing the best in arts, culture and entertainment.

Sophia Loren was honored at an exclusive event at Bocelli’s villa in Forte dei Marmi, a few days before her 80th birthday. Grammy-winning producer David Foster directed the entertainment at the private party that included Lionel Richie, John Legend, Reba McEntire and Ronnie Dunn.

"Although we have been asked many times to bring our annual charity event to other cities, we have always politely declined." said Jimmy Walker, chairman of Celebrity Fight Night. "All that changed when Andrea Bocelli personally invited us into his home country to join him for this tremendous endeavor. We are fortunate to have the partnership of such an iconic superstar, along with the welcoming cooperation and support of many people and companies in Italy."

The festivities continued with a star-studded charity gala dinner on Sun., Sept. 7, at Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Bocelli sang along with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra. George Clooney was honored during the evening commemorating her long-term support for charities. When he accepted his award, he announced that he and his fiancee, Amal Alamuddin, would be getting married in Venice in two weeks. 

Proceeds from the event benefit the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, whose mission is to help people in need by supporting national and international projects that address issues of illness, disability, poverty and social exclusion, and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute along with homeless at St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix.

In total, Celebrity Fight Night has raised more than $100 million over its 20 years.



UA to Host Vet School

Kemper and Ethel

Marley Foundation’s

$9 gift makes new

veterinary degree

program possible 


Thanks to a gift of $9 million from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation, the University of Arizona will soon be the home of the state’s first public veterinary medical and surgical program to train doctors of veterinary medicine. The UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been actively developing a program to train veterinarians in Arizona and help improve animal and public health.

The new program, slated to begin in fall 2015, will help address the veterinarian shortage in rural Arizona communities and tribal nations, benefit bioscience businesses and promote public health.

Facing eight, nine or more years of college and student loan debt, some students abandon their dream of becoming a veterinarian before they even start. If they get into one of the 28 accredited public and private programs in the U.S., most students have been paying an average $50,000 annually in tuition alone.

"The bottom line is it costs too much and it takes too long to become a veterinarian in the United States," said Noble Jackson, associate professor of practice in veterinary science and microbiology in the UA School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences.

"These kids come out of school with tremendous debt and have to work for several years to get school debt paid off. So anytime, I think, that we can produce good quality, qualified veterinarians for much less cost, much less time and get them out in the workforce sooner, it's a big win all the way around," said Cottonwood cattle rancher Andrew Groseta.

The UA program will run year-round so students complete their degrees faster, accumulate less debt and enter the workforce sooner. In what is called a distributive model, the final two semesters will be spent working in private veterinary practices, government agencies or other community partnerships to secure hands-on, real-world learning in communities throughout the state.

Other clinical training partners will include federal and state animal health labs and regulators, U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security, and animal shelter and rescue agencies. The UA already has letters of interest from many prospective partners.

Facilities for students will be built, refurbished or renovated at satellite locations in Douglas, Yuma, Maricopa and in the Verde Valley. In these settings, students will have the opportunity to learn about border health issues, rural medicine, food safety, large-scale animal production and wildlife, as well as the cattle and dairy industries.

As a cost-saving measure, the program will not build a veterinary teaching hospital, which can cost tens of millions of dollars and place a very large continuing financial burden on institutions.


Jean Fairfax: Champion for Education




In celebration of Black Philanthropy Month this August, the Arizona Community Foundation will be highlighting some of the people and projects contributing to the quality of life and advancing Black philanthropy throughout Arizona. Jean Fairfax’s story is one of compassion, commitment and change. From her work in the Civil Rights Movement to her philanthropy in Arizona today, Jean has made a great deal of difference. Her work continues to this day through funds established at the Arizona Community Foundation, which provide scholarships to students and financial support to nonprofits serving the needs of youth and advancing educational equity.

Wherever she has lived, Jean Fairfax has championed education to elevate people, and she has been a key motivator of meaningful change.

The daughter of two college graduates, Jean excelled in higher education, graduating with Honors in Liberal Arts from the University of Michigan and being inducted into the honorary fraternity Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to earn a master’s degree in World Religions from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Jean began her career as Dean of Women at Kentucky State College and later served in the same post at Tuskegee Institute. She committed much of her time and talents to the American Friends Service Committee working as a direct relief worker in Austria following World War II, a director of college programs and as an administrator of Southern Civil Rights programs. She was a leader among citizens who rallied behind the cause of free- and reduced-lunch programs following publication of the 1968 study, “The Daily Bread,” and she was instrumental in the desegregation of higher education.

Jean and her sister Betty moved to Arizona where they were teachers and began new philanthropic pursuits. They created the Betty H. & Jean E. Fairfax Fund for Educational Equity, and Jean went on to found the Black Legacy Endowed Fund, which she still serves as a trustee.


The Black Philanthropy Initiative

The Arizona Community Foundation leverages philanthropy as a tool to transform and build community. In 2008, dedicated staff, board members and a task force of respected African-American leaders came together to establish the Black Philanthropy Initiative to address relevant issues in Arizona’s Black community.

Through strategic grantmaking, the endowment supports nonprofit organizations that serve African Americans in such critical areas as health, education, workforce development and community building.

If you would like to get involved, you can make an online donation or contact Keva Womble to learn how you can contribute your time and talents.

For more information about Black Philanthropy Month, CLICK HERE

Photo and story courtesy the Arizona Community Foundation


Valley’s 3rd Ronald McDonald House


Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix has completed a two-year, $2.1 million fundraising campaign to cover all construction, furnishing and decorating expenses for the Valley’s third Ronald McDonald House and the first in the East Valley.

Renovation has begun on the 12,600-square-foot former health care facility on the campus of Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa.

The new facility is expected to open in November and will feature 16 bedrooms, including two apartments with kitchens for families with children with suppressed immune systems; a community kitchen, living and dining room; a play area for children and an outdoor area for adults and children. When completed, and in combination with the other two Ronald McDonald Houses, up to 79 families will have a home-away-from home every night. The new house will provide 5,840 nights a year.

The $2.1 million was secured primarily through private donations from individuals, foundations, corporate supporters and Valley-based McDonald’s owner/operators, who have committed to provide up to $150,000 of required operating expenses for the first three years. The Ronald McDonald House does not receive direct funding from the McDonald’s Corporation, but is supported by McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators in central and northern Arizona.

Among the largest donors to the project are the Gila River Indian Community, the Kemper Marley Foundation, the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation, SRP, the Thunderbirds, Ronald McDonald House Charities Global and other community donors.

HKS Architects of Phoenix designed the new house. UEB Builders is the general contractor.

At top, rendering of the Ronald McDonald House to be located on the campus of Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa

Thunderbirds Donate Sports Chairs






More children and youth with disabilities can now experience and participate in team sports like basketball and power soccer thanks to a $25,000 donation from Thunderbirds Charities. The money was used to buy 10 specialty sports wheelchairs for the Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities.

Instead of watching from the

sidelines or on TV,

they can be on the court

and part of the action.

“For children with spina bifida, a spinal cord injury or other disabilities, this incredibly generous donation opens up tremendous opportunities to explore new sports, learn new skills and simply have fun, said Phil Pangrazio, president and CEO of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL), which operates and manages SpoFit, one of only two facilities of its kind in the nation. “Instead of watching from the sidelines or on TV, they can be on the court and part of the action.”

Thunderbirds Charities association with SpoFit, a program of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, began before the building was built in 2011 with a $100,000 contribution during the capital campaign. The organization followed with a $25,000 grant during SpoFit’s first year of operation to provide adaptive fitness and recreation programs and specialized classes.

“We are excited to be able to provide opportunities for more kids to come out and engage in more sports activities,” said Tom King, president of Thunderbirds Charities. “We’re extremely proud of our relationship with SpoFit and the value and benefits this venue and ABIL bring to the community.”

SpoFit holds monthly clinics for youth wheelchair basketball and power soccer. The clinics, sponsored by SpoFit and MaxinMotion, are scheduled Aug. 16, Oct. 18 and Dec. 13 for power soccer and Sept. 20 and Nov. 22 for wheelchair basketball.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

Lou Grubb Friends Fore Golf




As a longtime volunteer organizer of the Lou Grubb Friends Fore Golf, Roger Maxwell declared this year’s event, May 1-2, the most successful tournament ever, having raised approximately $500,000 to benefit Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Maxwell, a golf professional of more than 40 years, was a friend of Grubb, a well-known businessman who started the tournament in 1973 to raise money for charity. After suffering a ruptured aneurysm while golfing in 1986, Grubb underwent successful surgery at Barrow, prompting him to name the institute as beneficiary of tournament proceeds. To date, more than $5 million has been donated to Barrow on behalf of the Lou Grubb Friends Fore Golf.

Approximately 450 guests attended the 2014 opening ceremony at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort on May 1. The evening featured cocktails, casino-like gambling, dinner and a lively auction. The following day, 240-plus golfers headed out for a friendly, competitive round of golf at McCormick Ranch Golf Club, also in Scottsdale.

Scottie Button chaired the event’s volunteer committee. 

At top: Golfers clown around on the green

Right: Tournament organizer Roger Maxwell with Lou Grubb's wife, Evelyn, and son, Dan



Left: Former TV news anchor Tara Hitchcock introduces her stepson, Dylan, a Barrow patient who received treatment for a brain tumor

Right: Nicholas and Elizabeth Oviedo celebrate a win with golf partners Cortney and Billy Long


ASU Honors Julie Wrigley



Julie Ann Wrigley remembers seeing Santa Catalina Island so clearly from her childhood home in Newport Beach, Calif., she felt she could reach out and touch it. She remembers the smog taking that away from her. She remembers the many abalone on the rocks below that house disappearing as the water grew more polluted. She says she knew about sustainability issues before they became sustainability issues.

“For me, it’s a second career,” says Wrigley, a co-chair on the board of directors at Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and a longtime conservationist and philanthropist. “I spend as much time working on my world of sustainability as I spend on my other business endeavors. And to me, that’s how people can make a positive impact at every level; everyone is capable of participating.”

Wrigley’s most serious conservation concerns are for human prosperity and well-being and protecting the Earth’s life-support systems. To address them, she has increased her support of research at the ASU institute with an additional $25 million investment, bringing her commitment to the university’s sustainability efforts to more than $50 million. In recognition of her support and leadership, ASU has announced the renaming of the institute to the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

She has worked over a lifetime to do something meaningful to turn the tide. Her understanding of environmental issues and her deep-seated passion for philanthropy has led Wrigley to focus on the environmental, economic and social implications encompassed by sustainability.

Wrigley believes the place to start solving the world’s sustainability issues is with those organizations, agencies and institutions willing to become change agents. She says ASU is already developing solutions to environmental challenges. While co-chairing the Wrigley Institute’s board, she also helped found its School of Sustainability, the first comprehensive degree-granting program of its kind in the United States. Her impact has been profound, transforming ASU’s education, discovery, innovation and operations advances:

>> Launched in 2007, the School of Sustainability now boasts 550 alumni employed in fields such as government, education, nonprofits and NGOs, business and industry, recycling and waste, energy and environmental design, food and farming, finance and more.

>> ASU now offers more than 500 courses that include concepts of sustainability, engaging thousands of students.

>> The university’s innovation and use-inspired research through ASU LightWorks have led to the development of new technologies that will make the world more sustainable.

>> As a sample of its commitment to operate its four campuses sustainably, ASU invested $52 million in campus sustainability projects in fiscal year 2013, including energy efficiency, dining, transportation, renewable energy and other projects.

Wrigley’s latest $25 million investment will be used to enhance the institute’s work understanding and teaching students about the “Anthropocene,” the current period in history in which human activity is increasingly impacting the Earth’s capacity to sustain populations of all species. From this broad perspective, the Wrigley Institute will accelerate its work on issues such as the water-energy nexus, rapid urbanization, social transitions and many other challenges to sustainability. And, the investment serves to solidify and perpetuate ASU’s commitment to sustainability research, teaching and application.

“I cannot think of a more deserving person than Julie Wrigley to have her name connected with this great Global Institute of Sustainability,” says Michael M. Crow, president of ASU. “ASU and Julie Wrigley have been dedicated partners in building the nation’s most comprehensive program in sustainability teaching, learning and discovery, and we could not have done it without her generous investment and leadership.

“She recognized and trusted that our university is one of the rare places that can tackle issues of sustainability across disciplines and find real-world solutions. Julie shares our commitment to making the world a better place for future generations and, through her partnership with us, is helping to invent that future.”

In 2004, Wrigley – whose interests in conservation have led her to board and chair positions with the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, Keep America Beautiful and the Peregrine Fund, as well as a state trustee for the conservancy in Nevada and Idaho – made a $15 million contribution to ASU to establish the Global Institute of Sustainability. From that institute grew the School of Sustainability. In the summer of 2007, she made an additional $10 million investment in ASU to recruit four of the world's leading sustainability scholar-researchers to fill professorships focused on renewable energy systems, sustainable business practices, global environmental change and complex systems dynamics.

“Julie’s continued support is an affirmation that we’re going in the right direction, and a challenge to continually strive to do more,” says Rob Melnick, Wrigley Institute COO and executive director. “We have launched the nation’s first School of Sustainability, and we continue to grow enrollment and expand the degrees and programs we offer, so we can educate as many future leaders as possible. We have built a foundation for collaborating across academic disciplines and internal and external partnerships – and even institutional and international boundaries – to approach our sustainability research in innovative ways.”

Wrigley relates that her concept of high-impact philanthropy was developed by her grandfather, a successful industrialist who believed in the power of giving.

“I learned about philanthropy as a child,” she says. “My grandfather was someone who understood the world of giving back long before I was born. He set up a family foundation, and even as children we were asked to look at the bigger world and see how we could help make it better. And so my early education was focused on giving back. Over the years it has evolved to not just giving back but investing, participating, following through on your commitment.”

The impact Julie Ann Wrigley has made – and continues to make – at ASU has catapulted the university to a global leadership position in sustainability. She believes others can be just as effective.

“Find your passion, go with your heart and then follow through,” she advises. “Don’t just pay your money and leave. Participate! It becomes a part of your life, and it’s a very, very beneficial, heartwarming part of your life.

“ASU has given me that gift, and I always have found that when I make an investment – and I believe these are investments in the future – part of it, a big part of it, is a gift back to myself.”


St. Joseph’s ReceIves $19 Million Grant


St. Joseph’s Foundation has

received the largest donation

in its history, a $19-million

gift that will help create one

of the nation’s foremost

centers for lung, heart and

esophageal medicine at

Dignity Health’s St. Joseph’s

Hospital and Medical Center.


The historic donation from long-time Arizona philanthropists John and Doris Norton is one of the biggest ever given to any hospital in the state.

“St. Joseph’s is the leading hospital in the Valley, and the new Institute will quickly take its place among the few truly elite medical centers of its kind anywhere,” said John Norton, who was born at St. Joseph’s. “We are blessed to be able to do this and hope others will join us in supporting this important effort,” added Doris, his wife.

St. Joseph’s will use the gift to drastically expand the hospital’s already highly acclaimed thoracic and lung transplant program. Hospital leaders expect the new Institute will become as nationally respected as St. Joseph’s Barrow Neurological Institute. Barrow is among the nation’s top brain and spine centers. The new John and Doris Norton Thoracic Institute will stretch across several buildings on the St. Joseph’s campus. A critical focus of the Institute will be research into organ rejection. The body’s rejection of transplanted lungs is a paramount problem for many patients. Additionally, researchers and physicians will concentrate on the epidemic increase in esophageal cancer. The incidence of esophageal cancer is rising at a rate greater than any other cancer in the United States. It has seen a sevenfold increase in the last three decades, and many experts blame the increase on the nation’s mounting obesity issue.

The historic gift will also help extend lung cancer research, new cardiac services and medical education programs. The current number of thoracic clinical and research staff at St. Joseph’s is expected to triple.

“St. Joseph’s already has a national reputation as a ‘destination hospital’ because of the highly specialized medicine practiced here,” says Patty White, president of St. Joseph’s. “When doctors around the country need another level of care for patients, they often turn to us. With the launch of this Institute and the generosity of the Nortons, we will expand our national reputation even farther.”

The Norton’s gift will be invested in several areas:

· Recruitment of national heart and lung specialists

·  Addition of needed cardiac services, such as a heart failure program

· Recruitment of nationally known scientists

·  Creation of a publications division to disseminate research findings internationally

·  Development of a telemedicine program connecting St. Joseph's experts to rural doctors

"With the help of this donation we will become a national leader in cardiothoracic disease," said Ross Bremner, M.D., director of the Institute, left. Dr. Bremner said he was especially excited about the establishment of the Institute’s telemedicine program. "Many, many people with cardiothoracic disease are underserved. Through this gift, the people of Arizona, and patients from around the western United States, will be able to obtain cutting-edge care for esophageal, lung and heart diseases.”

Under Bremner’s leadership, thoracic and lung transplantation services at St. Joseph’s have grown rapidly. Today, St. Joseph’s has the only lung transplantation program in the state. The   transplantation team has performed more than 250 lung transplants since the 2007 program launched. St. Joseph’s patients have a survival rate that exceeds the national average, and the program has a remarkable success rate in finding donor lungs rapidly. While the wait for a lung transplant can take many months or years at other hospitals, St. Joseph’s team has developed such expertise that the average wait time is only 45 days. This has resulted in individuals from all over the nation traveling to St. Joseph’s for their care.

Brian Mortenson, president and CEO of St. Joseph's Foundation, says that the Nortons' gift provides important seed funding for the new Institute to grow into “another Barrow.”

"In the 1950s the Barrow family gave a lead gift of $2.1 million to launch the much needed neurological institute. Since then, thousands of others have joined in their support and created the world-class Barrow Neurological Institute," said Mortenson. "With the Norton’s amazing gift and support of others in the community, we will accomplish the same thing in the field of cardiothoracic medicine. We so appreciate the Norton family for their faith in St. Joseph's and their commitment to the health of this community."


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The Norton Thoracic Institute medical team



Move It!


With an assist from the Arizona Diamondbacks,

the Children’s Museum of Phoenix opened its

first permanent outdoor exhibit Sat., April 26.

More than 1,500 people showed up for

“opening day.”


The new baseball-themed exhibit features

The Snake, The Willie Maze, The Bases,

The Diamond and The Dugout. The Snake

element of the exhibit is the first of its kind

in the U.S.


Made of repurposed materials, the exhibit encourages children to learn through play and movement. Move It! encompasses what used to be the front lawn area of the museum, facing Seventh Street. The exhibit was funded by a $100,000 donation from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Additional funding support was provided by Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority as well as the Steele Foundation.

On hand for the opening were Arizona Diamondbacks J.J. Putz, pitcher; Derrick Hall, president and CEO; Baxter, mascot; Debbie Castaldo, vice president corporate and community impact; and Josh Rawitch, senior vice president communications. Robin Lea-Amos, Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, and Kate Wells, president and CEO Children’s Museum of Phoenix, were also present. The Opening Ceremony ended with Wells raising a D-backs flag up the flagpole at the center of the exhibit.

Baseball-themed activities took place throughout the day.

At top, Derrick Hall, Baxter and J.J. Putz




Baxter makes a new friend.


Ribbon dancing with Baxter


Derrick Hall, J.J. Putz and Baxter on the Snake



Left, Kate Wells raises the Diamondbacks flag. Right, a youngster practices catching the pop fly


Proud Home Run for Health Day participants


The Willie Maze


The Diamond


Filling the Water Cooler Challenge



D-Backs Give Back


The D-Backs Give Back League, McCarthy Building Companies and Architectural Resource Team have created and donated a family-visitation center to Devereux Arizona, a nonprofit behavioral-health organization that helps youths ages 5 to 17 with emotional, behavioral and/or substance-abuse challenges learn skills to transition back to their families and communities. The D-backs chose Devereux because of the organization’s long-time dedication to helping youth and families.

Employees from the Arizona Diamondbacks recognized a need for a family visitation center when they toured and met the children receiving services at Devereux Arizona’s Residential Treatment Center in Scottsdale. The Diamondbacks staff was inspired after meeting the children at the RTC and began raising funds to make the Family Center a reality. The inspiration became a reality with the help of McCarthy Building Companies and Architectural Resource Team. Several other companies provided support through in-kind contributions. ART donated professional architectural design services and site planning. McCarthy Building Companies donated construction management work to install the 1,100 square-foot modular building onsite.

“Having a place for families to spend time together and interact is crucial for our youth,” said Diane Crerand, director of residential programs. “The children need to know that they are supported by family and having a Family Center helps youth transition to less restrictive environments, teaching transferabl skills in a more natural, home-like setting.”

The grand opening and dedication were April 17, 2014.

Photo: Bob Zweig, D-backs vice president of information technology and chief information officer; Chris Brown, superintendent-SW division with McCarthy Building Companies; Lane Barker, executive director of Devereux Arizona; Erica Quintana, principal with Architectural Resource Team; and Dev Pawar, principal with Architectural Resource Team

‘Living About Giving’



Waiting for Mamu debuted at the 2014 Sedona Film Festival in early March in partnership with AZADI Fine Rugs, a Scottsdale-based company founded by Valley antique collector and philanthropist David Neishabori. The story by Morgan Spurlock and Susan Sarandon is based on the work of the CNN 2012 Hero of the Year, a 29 year-old Nepalese woman named Pushpa Basnet. 

In some places around the world, including Nepal, if a parent is sentenced to prison and there is no guardian for his or her child, the child is imprisoned with the parent. Through Butterfly Home, a nonprofit organization founded by Basnet and based in Nepal, she supports these children so they don’t have to grow up behind bars. Many of these children go to prison at a young age and are released to the world at age 18, with no life skills or support system. Waiting for Mamu shares the story of what it means for a child to grow up in prison and yet find hope in unlikely places.

Butterfly Home, a nonprofit organization in Nepal, provides safe housing and education for a small group of disabled and handicapped children who have suffered as a result of Nepal’s Civil War. Its purpose is to see that these children are educated and become healthy, active and vibrant members of the community.

At the presentation of the film in Sedona, Neishabori surprised the producers with the donation of a year’s worth of rent for Butterfly Home.

“I was so tremendously moved by the film and the tireless work of Pushpa to create a haven for abandoned children that I wanted to help any way I could,” Neishabori said. “I will never forget the look on producer Susan Sarandon and Pushpa’s faces when we presented the gift to them at the Q&A session during the Sedona Film Festival,” he said. 

Above, Pushpa Basnet, Susan Sarandon and David Neishabori

Promoting Healthy Smiles

Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation distributed checks totaling just more than $455,000 to nonprofit agencies at its annual grants award luncheon Feb. 14. Representatives – including the tooth fairy, who works with the Overgaard Ponderosa Lions Foundation – from the various organizations accepted the checks.

The 26 selected agencies promote dental health and use the funds to provide dental exams, supplies such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, fluoride varnish applications for children, cleanings, mobile health programs and more.

The foundation is committed to improving oral health for the state’s underserved and uninsured communities and invests 100 percent of its contributions in programs that serve Arizona.

Top left: Sheri Dollin and Maureen McDannel of SARRC and Felix Durazo, DDAZF board and grants committee member

Top right: Sandi Perez, Ph.D., vice president of communications and community benefit, Dental Dental of Arizona


2014 Grant Recipients

· A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health

· Bagdad Unified School District

· Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix

· Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation

· Chicanos Por La Causa

· Coconino County Public Health Services District

· Desert Mission, Inc.

· Dignity Health Foundation

· El Rio Health Center Foundation

· Feeding Matters

· Flagstaff Medical Center

· Homeward Bound

· La Paz/Mohave Regional Partnership Council – First Things First

· Legacy Foundation Chris-Town YMCA

· Maggie’s Place

· Maricopa County Oral Health Leaders, Advocates and Resources

· Native Health

· Navajo County Public Health Services District

· Overgaard Ponderosa Lions Foundation

· Phoenix Rescue Mission

· St. Vincent De Paul

· Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center

· Southwest Human Development

· Sun Life Family Health Center

· The University of Arizona Foundation

· Verde Valley Medical Center

Click to learn more



Remembrance: Verde Vance Dickey

Verde Vance Dickey, 81, husband, father, businessman, community leader and philanthropist, passed away Feb. 15, 2014. He was born to Lucille and Verde Dickey in Sherman, Texas, on Aug. 13, 1932.

His family moved to Dallas in 1938, where he played football and baseball at Adamson High School. He attended Southern Methodist University on a baseball scholarship, earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education and later a master’s degree in administration education. While at SMU, Verde was a three-year letterman in baseball and a unanimous selection for All Southwest Conference catcher.

After graduating, Verde was drafted into the Army, serving in the Seventh Infantry Division in South Korea for two years. When he returned, he played professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians organization from 1955 to 1956.

Verde was hired by a homebuilder in 1957 and was so successful in sales he made partner in the first year. In 1964, he moved to Phoenix to start Verco Manufacturing. Over 45 years, Verde crafted a small manufacturing business into the largest steel decking company in the western United States. Many prominent buildings and sports complexes, including Sun Devil Stadium, US Airways Arena, Chase Field and University of Phoenix Stadium, showcase Verco’s decking products. His other business ventures included a golf course management company and Arizona’s largest grain operations.

His competitive spirit and skill in complex negotiating fueled his success in business, and his heart for people and his community drove his desire for philanthropy. Verde’s generosity reached deep into the community, mostly without recognition or praise. Many students, military veterans and others in need can attest to his investment in their lives. Verde and his wife, Cathy, were significant contributors to Arizona State University, where they supported a variety of endeavors including ASU football, golf and the Sun Devil marching band. They contributed to the renovations of the football, basketball, golf, gymnastics and wrestling facilities. In 2008, the Verde Dickey East Athletic Village and the Verde Dickey Dome, an indoor football practice facility, were named in his honor.

Verde learned his love for sports from his father, who coached high school football for 35 years and entered the Texas High School Coaches’ Hall of Honor. In sports, his greatest love was golf. He played the greatest courses in the world and would delight in giving lessons to friends and family. In 1982, he was the first businessman asked to join the Professional Golfers Association Board of Directors, and he was chairman of the PGA National Advisory Committee for three years. Verde was instrumental in bringing business acumen and experience to the PGA.

Verde is survived by his wife of 19 years, Cathy; sons, Tod (Suzanne), Ken and Russ (Erika); and granddaughters, Jacqueline and Lauren. 

Phoenix Theatre Receives $2 Million

Valley philanthropist Jamie Hormel has given a $2 million donation to Phoenix Theatre. It is the largest donation in the theater’s 93-year history. The theater’s recently completed black box space is being named The Hormel Theatre.

Hormel has been a close friend of Phoenix Theatre for many years and is the sponsor of the Hormel Festival of New Plays and Musicals. She believes in the organization’s vision of creating the Lincoln Center of the Southwest and when she learned the black box theater would be the festival’s new home, she seized the opportunity to name the new space.

Phoenix Theatre has raised more than $17 million in the capital campaign that built the 250-seat black box theater as well as the atrium lobby and new 40-foot deco-inspired bar. Hormel’s gift moves the organization closer to its goal. 

At top, Artistic Director Michael Barnard, Jamie Hormel and Managing Director Vincent VanVleet


$10 million gift for UA


The University of Arizona’s College of

Optical Sciences has received a $10 million gift

for graduate student scholarships, setting a new

precedent as the largest gift toward any scholarship

in the university’s history.


                           Dr. James C. Wyant with Maria Ruiz in the lab

Professor Ermeritus James C. Wyant, who is well-known throughout the optics industry for his academic and professional society leadership, expertise and establishment of several commercial enterprises, made this gift in celebration of the college’s 50th anniversary.

Since 1964, the College of Optical Sciences has grown as a center of innovation and interdisciplinary research. It is now the largest and most diverse academic optics education and research program in the nation. It is also an abundant producer of patents and licenses, bringing in half of the UA’s patents from 2012 to 2013.

“The college has shaped the field of optics with advances in imaging systems for scientific, medical, industrial and defense applications, and research increasing the speed of the Internet, improving technologies for solar energy, and innovating better ways to detect and diagnose cancer,” said Thomas L. Koch, dean for the College of Optical Sciences. “Discoveries in optics not only provide cutting-edge tools for the laboratory, but also influence the creation of everyday products.”

Wyant’s scholarship gift will help the college attract the top talent in the nation by providing for a dramatically enriched education and research experience for entering graduate students. According to Koch, this talent is key to producing tomorrow’s leaders and to further accelerating the college’s and UA’s leadership in the field.

“Jim’s contributions to the college have already been tremendous, and now are simply staggering,” said Koch. “His gift helps ensure that our legacy of innovation and excellence continues for another 50 years and beyond.” 

To increase the impact of his gift, Dr. Wyant structured the commitment as a 4:1 matching gift offer on donations made to endowments known as FoTO (Friends of Tucson Optics) endowed scholarships.  

While contributions at any level to the FoTO scholarship general fund will be matched, single donors, or a group of donors, making a $100,000 gift – either outright or over a one-to-four year pledge plan – to establish a new scholarship endowment will get a $400,000 match from Dr. Wyant and have the privilege to name their scholarship. Thirteen FoTO scholarship endowments have been already established by supporters of the college as a result of Wyant’s multimillion dollar gift.                                                                                                  

Wyant is a pioneer in the field and today is often called upon by many companies, universities and professional societies throughout the world. He co-founded several businesses, including the WYKO Corporation and Tucson’s 4D Technology Corporation, where he continues to serve as chairman.  

Wyant arrived at the university as a professor in optical sciences in 1974. In 1999, he was named director of what was then the Optical Sciences Center and became the founding dean when the center became a college in 2005.  

During his tenure as dean, he oversaw tremendous growth in research as well as the                       Dr. James C. Wyant  

expansion of the Meinel Optical Sciences Building, which added 47,000 square-feet

of state-of-the-art teaching and research space. He stepped down in 2012 but

continues teaching as a professor emeritus. 




A Human HERO

The Friends of Animal Care & Control will honor Sandy Day as their Human HERO of the Year. She will receive the award at a fundraising dinner sponsored by the organization at the Montelucia Resort and Spa on Feb. 8.

The 11th annual Hero Awards will honor both animal and human heroes who have made a significant and positive impact in the community. The money raised will support the organization’s life-saving neuter program in Maricopa County. More than 300 business and community leaders are expected to attend.

Over the course of the last three years, through the Timothy T. Day Foundation/Lulu’s Fund, Day has provided more than $242,000 in funding to support the Friends of Animal Care & Control and Maricopa County Animal Care & Control. This money has been used to fund more than 3,841 life-saving spay/neuter surgeries for pets of low-income families in the community. Her generosity has impacted not only the animals within Maricopa County but also those across Arizona and the country as a whole.

Lulu’s Fund, which is part of the Timothy T. Day Foundation, was founded in 2012. Named after the family’s pug Lulu, the fund assists rescue organizations with medical bills for animals, allowing them to assist extreme cases of abuse, neglect and injury they may otherwise not be able to afford.

Learn more about the HERO Awards

Grant to ASU Art Museum

The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

has received a $2.5 million challenge grant from

the Windgate Charitable Foundation in support of

the ASU Art Museum. 


The Windgate Charitable Foundation will match

each dollar donated in the next three years to the

ASU Art Museum and the Herberger Institute for

Design and the Arts. The matched portion will go

to support the ASU Art Museum International

Artist Residency Program at Combine Studio

       Visiting artist Rose Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo) collaborated with 

       ASU School of Art students in fibers and ceramics to create an 

       interactive hands-on exhibition that allowed members of the public

       to create their own adornments from hand-made ceramic beads and fibers.


Each gift will assist the ASU Art Museum in its mission to be a center for the exchange of new ideas, perspectives and experiences among artists, students and the public, as well as fulfill the mission of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts to educate the designers, artists, architects, performers and creative scholars who are essential to developing solutions to current and future issues facing society.

The ASU Art Museum’s relationship with the Windgate Charitable Foundation has been strong for more than 15 years prior to this current gift, with the foundation providing financial support for several museum exhibitions, ranging from Turned Wood Now: Redefining the Lathe-Turned Object IV (1997) to the recent Wayne Higby: Infinite Place (2013) and Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft(2013). Also in 2013, support from the Windgate made possible the museum’s symposium FlashBackForward: Rethinking Craft, which explored critical issues facing the field of contemporary craft locally, nationally and internationally.

Windgate has also supported the museum in providing two paid curatorial internships each year since January 2005. Art and art history graduate and undergraduate students in the ASU Herberger Institute School of Art are eligible for the annual internships. These interns are integrated into departments across the museum, working hands-on alongside the museum’s staff. After their graduation, many have become staff members at the ASU Art Museum and other museums across the country.

Established Feb. 14, 2011, the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program brings accomplished professional artists from around the world to develop new work in partnership with the intellectual resources of Arizona State University and the diverse communities within Arizona. Through the program, artists develop work in collaboration with scientists, technologists, social agencies and community organizations that investigate the pressing issues of our time.

Above right: Feast on the Street, a project of artists Clare Patey (London) and Matthew Moore (Phoenix), brought together more than 9,000 guests around a half-mile long dining table set in the center of First Street in downtown Phoenix to consider issues around food including food justice, food deserts and the connection of food distribution systems and climate change. PHOTO BY ANDREW PIELAGE


Tamale Party

Bobby Barnes, president of Capstone Mortgage, and Jack Luciano, Realtor at Walt Danley Realty, raised $11,308 for Valley Youth Theatre at their annual Tamale Party. The party was their 21st. They co-hosted the event with Lisa and Ali Khan at the Khan’s home in Phoenix.

“It is amazing to think that so much money can be raised through an annual holiday party,” Barnes says. “We are blessed to have some very generous friends who believe in the good work of Valley Youth Theatre.”

 “We started the Tamale Party years ago as an easy and fun way to raise money for local nonprofits,” Luciano adds. “It is a festive occasion with a little bit of fundraising, which goes a long way for these nonprofit organizations. It’s also an opportunity to give some great exposure to them.”

      Back: Bobby Barnes, Jack Luciano, Ali Khan,

     Lisa Khan and Tyler Stone

     Front: Valley Youth Theatre's

     Bobb Cooper, producing artistic director

Women & Philanthropy Holiday Luncheon

Women & Philanthropy members gathered Dec. 3 for their annual holiday luncheon. The day afforded an opportunity to hear from grant recipients.

Co-chair Melanie Walton (left) reflected on author Shel Silverstein and his book The Giving Tree as a parable of selfless giving. She pointed out that the act of giving brings joy, as does the act of receiving, especially when the receiver makes good use of, and gives purpose to, what was given.

This year, Women & Philanthropy invested in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s News 21 project. Their support enabled ASU students Caitlin Cruz and Mary Shinn to work with advanced journalism students from around the country under the guidance of leading journalists on an investigative series documenting how government and social systems are failing post 9/11 veterans.

Attendees also heard from co-chair Sybil Francis, who placed into context the idea of entrepreneurship at ASU and its importance to arts education, as illustrated by the afternoon’s featured program, the PAVE Program in Arts Entrepreneurship. The PAVE program teaches artists, performers and creative practitioners to turn their artistic endeavors into viable enterprises.

Attendees watched and participated in performances and short presentations from three student projects PAVE helped nurture: The Blue Bike Kids Show, Rising Youth Theatre and Opera Revolution.

Opera Revolution founder Joel Wolcott ended the day singing a holiday song.

Eller Grand Reveal

It was standing room only in

Barrow Neurological Institute’s

Goldman Auditorium on Dec. 12

as guests gathered for the

reveal of Barrow’s new

3D Video Projection System,

made possible by a gift from

Stevie and Karl Eller. The evening

began with cocktails in the 

Marley Lobby.

Left, Dr. Robert Spetzler thanks the Ellers, who received a standing ovation.


As people entered the 200-seat auditorium, “movie theater” candy was given to them, and 3D glasses were distributed. The glasses enabled guests to appreciate the experience medical residents and students will have with the use of the equipment. The first part of the 3D presentation was an almost-choreographed journey through the operating room, with Johan Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz" playing in the background.

Dr. Robert Spetzler, director of Barrow Neurological Institute, then left the OR and came into the auditorium to explain that the projection system made possible by the Ellers gave surgeons the ability to translate 2D images into 3D images. As with the “Reveal” video, surgical procedures can be streamed in 3D directly from the surgery microscope in the OR into the auditorium.                                   

The technology is expected to revolutionize medical training and education, and opens the OR to hundreds of internal and external hospital staff, providers, researchers and students, who previously would never have been able to observe and learn from the innermost workings of brain surgery. The projection allows for more clarity and precision than when observing from directly inside the operating room.

Because Barrow has now built an infrastructure to stream 3D video beyond the auditorium, surgical cases can be broadcasted to hospitals and teaching institutions anywhere in the world, broadening the opportunity for medical professionals to witness and learn from Barrow’s renowned brain surgeons.

Above, right: Judy and Ross Shannon

Left, the Ellers






Red Kettle Income Down

In 2012, The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign in the Valley raised $1.86 million, but this year donations are down 36 percent compared to last year. Kettle gifts stay in the community where the money is donated and help provide meals and shelter for families in need, Christmas toys for thousands of children and many other services throughout the year.

This year, because of a late Thanksgiving date, the kettle season is shorter by five vital days – which equates to potentially $670,000 less than in previous years – so donations coming in between now and the end of the year are critically important to The Salvation Army’s ability to meet needs in the Valley. Five fewer bell-ringing days equates to about $20 million less in donations to The Salvation Army nationwide.

The Salvation Army is encouraging the public to donate generously to the Red Kettles found on street corners, in malls and at local retailers  or online to make up the shortfall. Donations can also be mailed to 2707 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85008, or called into 1 800 SAL ARMY. Gifts of stock are always welcome, too. Call 602-267-4100 for more information about how to donate appreciated stock.

The public’s support will help ensure that The Salvation Army can continue to do the most good for those in need this holiday season and throughout the year.

Golf Classic Raises $275K

The Fresh Start Men's Council

Fresh Start Women’s Foundation hosted its 19th Annual Charity Golf Classic on Nov. 8 at Kierland Golf Club. Two hundred golfers enjoyed a beautiful day on the greens to support Fresh Start. The event raised $275,000 for the programs and services Fresh Start offers to women in Arizona.

The Fresh Start Men’s Council, a volunteer group of men who support the organization through this annual outing, organized the tournament. Presenting sponsors for the 2013 event included Universal Technical Institute and Greenberg Traurig.

Aid to Yarnell

The Arizona Community Foundation and its affiliated Yavapai County Community Foundation will award $400,000 to the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group to address Phase I of the group’s recovery plan for the community of Yarnell. Phase I of the three-phase plan addresses the most critical post-emergency recovery needs, including the rebuilding of homes, help for the underinsured, unmet needs of fire victims, and aid to the Yarnell Water Improvement Association and the Yarnell and Peeples Valley fire departments.

The Yarnell Hill Recovery Group was formed by local volunteers to identify unmet needs of residents and businesses in the Yarnell Hill Fire area and ways to meet those needs. It is recognized by the State of Arizona and Yavapai County as the official recovery group for Yarnell.

The $400,000 in grants being awarded by ACF and YCCF came from the Yarnell Disaster Relief Fund created in early July when the Yarnell Hill Fire destroyed one-quarter of the homes in the town and took the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters, making it the deadliest fire in Arizona history. Making national news headlines, the fire and shocking loss of life generated an unprecedented outpouring of support from across Arizona and the country.

Since July 1, the Yarnell Disaster Relief Fund has received about $750,000 in contributions. Gifts from YCCF funds established by the Kieckhefer family to honor Bob and Dudie Kieckhefer were added to the original matching dollars, which were contributed by YCCF, ACF, generous community partners, private foundations, businesses and individuals.

A second fund, the Yarnell Memorial Scholarship Endowment, was established shortly after the fire with a $100,000 lead gift from Helios Education Foundation, followed by a $200,000 gift from Arizona Public Service. The long-range fund will provide college scholarships for the children of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and other fallen firefighters when they come of age, supporting tuition and other academic needs for any college, university, vocational or technical school the students attend. Gifts to this fund now total about $460,000 and will continue to grow over time and through additional gifts.

Donors may continue to make tax-deductible gifts to either fund online with a credit card at or by phone at 602-682-2042; or checks may be mailed to Arizona Community Foundation, 2201 E. Camelback Road #405B, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Please note the name of the fund on the memo line of your check. One-hundred percent of donations will serve needs in Yarnell and provide for the scholarships described above, and no fees or overhead will be deducted from the funds.

Connections of Hope



Teen Lifeline's fundraising dinner honored NFL All-Pro receiver, philanthropist and Arizona Cardinal’s All-Star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. with the Alfredo J. Molina Community Lifeline Award. The Nov. 1 evening Connections of Hope: An Evening to Celebrate Arizona’s Youth drew more than 350 to the Montelucia Resort and Spa.

The 10th annual party was a night to celebrate youth and raise funds for the connections of hope found daily by troubled teens who call Teen Lifeline’s peer-to-peer hotline. Fitzgerald has focused a great deal of his charitable work on the well-being of children and ensuring their health and success.

In 2005, the award was named in honor of the inaugural recipient, Alfredo J. Molina, for his service to Arizona youth and the community.

The annual fundraising dinner was co-chaired by Shannon Barthelemy and Amanda Eisenfeld and featured local teen sensation Dylan Gardner, who is soon to release his first album; a fall-inspired dinner menu; a live auction and opportunity to support Teen Lifeline’s mission of saving lives and ending teen suicide in Arizona. The evening netted more than $500,000.


Share Gift of Music at MIM


Due to school district budget cuts impacting music education, many Arizona students have little or no opportunity to experience music in an educational and interactive setting. To combat this issue, the Musical Instrument Museum raises funds to help bring students from Title 1 schools to the museum. With donations from individuals, foundations and businesses, MIM removes the financial roadblock, acting as a community partner to struggling schools. Many of the students who visit MIM for educational programs and events are experiencing instruments they have never seen before.

MIM’s education team is passionate about guiding children into a better understanding of the universal language of music and the impact it makes on our world. Curriculum-based, guided tours provide K-12 students an in-depth look at multiple exhibits, highlighting countries and musical cultures in all five of MIM’s major Geographic Galleries. Sharing this exciting experience with students is something donors love about being part of the giving team. 

The first opportunity for giving at MIM is the Band of Donors program. Donors contributing between $50 and $249 are providing gifts that help MIM ensure that admission remains broadly affordable, that more than 30,000 school children can visit MIM each year on educational field trips and that the MIM Music Theater brings established and emerging talents from around the world to the Valley. For example, $150 provides a school bus for 50 kids, $100 enhances the Experience Gallery and $50 funds field trips for six children. For making a contribution to the Band of Donors, givers receive a 10 percent discount at the Museum Store, recognition at MIM and a subscription to MIM’s e-newsletter and concert e-blasts.

Gifts of $250 or more are eligible for benefits through MIM’s Circle of Friends program. Circle of Friends is MIM’s premier group of individual donors who contribute annually to support the museum’s ongoing work. As a nonprofit organization, MIM relies on the generosity of the community for support, and gifts to join the Circle help MIM to sustain the institution, maintain affordability for guests and ensure that the world-class museum is operational for generations to come. Circle of Friends Donors receive benefits such as invitations to exclusive events, two unlimited museum admission passes for one year, recognition at MIM and more.



Parsons Foundation grants $100K to Joe Foss Institute

The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation has granted $100,000 to the Joe Foss Institute. The grant will help promote civics education in select urban Phoenix schools through a partnership between JFI and Elevate Phoenix. Funds will help expand the reach of the Veterans Inspiring Patriotism program to 10,000 Phoenix students, provide curriculum resources for students in the character-education program and allow the organization to purchase much-needed laptops.

Since 2001, JFI has worked to advance civics education in schools and help bridge the learning gap created by the emphasis and funding for proficiency in the hard sciences – science, technology, engineering and math. Elevate Phoenix works with students in grades 2 to 12 who struggle with gangs, drugs, dysfunction and generational poverty by providing high-quality supplementary education. The program seeks to increase the number of students graduating and entering post-secondary schools, as well as preparing them to become civic-minded and responsible adults.

“Students in the Elevate Phoenix program have a 90 percent high school graduation rate and an 85 percent postsecondary entry rate historically over 32 years with over 30,000 students nationally. Locally in just four years, we are at 98 percent graduation and 90 percent postsecondary entry rates,” reports Tim Cleary, Elevate Phoenix executive director.

“Renee and I believe every person deserves a shot at the American dream – but, to achieve the American dream you have to understand what it means to be an American,” says Bob Parsons. 

“By failing to teach the significance of our civic duties and the rights we possess as Americans, the education system is under-preparing students for their societal responsibilities. The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation is investing in the future of this community by enabling Valley schools, through the Joe Foss Institute and Elevate Phoenix, to effectively reintroduce civics education.”

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation was established in 2012 by business leader Bob Parsons and his wife, Renee. To date, the Foundation has awarded $28 million in critical funds to charitable organizations. Though best known as the founder of GoDaddy, Parsons is also the founder and CEO of more than seven Greater Phoenix Area businesses and is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, recipient of the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and Purple Heart Medal.  

Masterful McCord Hall


The storefront glass walls that curve around McCord Hall’s patio reflect the W. P. Carey School’s graduate community: students moving between classes, clustering around tables and catching a few quiet minutes on their laptops. The windows are one of the striking architectural features of this long-awaited building, but it’s the reflections themselves that reveal why McCord Hall is so significant. It is designed specifically for top-ranked graduate business education.

“The building design is memorable, unique and innovative, and at the same time it embraces our place,” Dean Amy Hillman says. “That’s a pretty good analogy for the W. P. Carey School: We are innovative and entrepreneurial in the world of business schools, yet we embrace our place within ASU and the desert Southwest, as well as our obligation to the community.”

Groundbreaking on the 129,000 square foot facility in October 2011 was made possible by $20 million in donations with a generous lead gift made by Sharon Dupont McCord and her late husband Bob McCord. W. P. Carey staff moved their offices across the 1,800 square foot patio from the existing business buildings in late June 2013 and the first classes convened in August.

McCord Hall houses W. P. Carey Graduate Programs, the undergraduate Leaders Academy, the Center for Services Leadership and the Center for Executive and Professional Development. Inside you’ll find classrooms designed for graduate teaching methods, space for student teams to work, and lounges where students from various programs can study, relax and network. The corporate recruiting area includes numerous interview rooms, and the building’s open, flexible plan enables the school to host conferences, lectures and receptions.  



Enter any of the doors on the ground floor of the South Wing and you’ll experience McCord Hall’s graduate education design. The classrooms are like suites: From the patio you step into a vestibule that leads to a tiered classroom. Desks are arranged in a horseshoe, encouraging the discussion and teamwork that is the hallmark of graduate study. The vestibule also provides access to team rooms: work spaces designed for small groups that are fitted with those ubiquitous, erasable white writing surfaces – including poster-size boards that can be carried back into the classroom for presentations.

The proximity of team rooms to classrooms allows professors to divide students into small groups that accentuate the learning process outside the larger classroom, says Stacey Whitecotton, associate dean for graduate programs. This increases interactivity, but it also enables instructors to break up long classes into a variety of activities. That’s especially important for students in programs for working professionals, where classes can run four to eight hours long. More importantly, Dean Hillman points out, the discussion and small group work enabled by the McCord Hall design prepare students to succeed not only because they’ve mastered content, but also because they’ve experienced the modern working style: collaboration, discussion and input.

When students are not in class, McCord Hall offers several study lounges and even more of those team rooms for group projects. A 24-foot long flat screen display in the Avnet Electronic Interaction Center will accommodate presentations and maybe even a Super Bowl party! And with a Freshii caféon the first floor, students can find everything they need without leaving McCord Hall.

The building also accommodates programs for executives. Amphitheater and flat-floor classrooms, team rooms, lounge and event space provide self-contained learning facilities ideal for highly engaging, discussion-based learning and networking which are characteristics of the school’s executive programs. The space provides a great atmosphere for the schools Executive MBA program. In addition, the Center for Executive and Professional Development will utilize the space for their public workshops and company-specific programs.

Although focused on graduate studies, McCord Hall also is home to the W. P. Carey Leaders Academy, a community designed for the school’s top undergraduate students.



Graduate school starts with the admissions process, and according to Ruthie Pyles, director of graduate recruitment and admissions, McCord Hall is a major asset. When prospective students learn about McCord Hall, “they get excited about the opportunity to pursue their studies in a state of the art facility.”



The two wings of McCord Hall come together on the northeast corner of the site, forming a sort of canyon, traversed by a walkway that connects the patio with the rest of the ASU campus. Overhead a bridge joins the wings, and over that, an oculus opens up a view of blue sky or stars. At night, LED lights ringing the oculus play a pattern of colors on the stainless steel surface. On the top floor, the Barbara and Ralph Rockow Terrace opens out to the north and east sides of campus.

The beauty of McCord Hall is its brilliant functionality, but it is also its artistry: shape, materials and craftsmanship. Both the building and the programs exemplify excellence.

McCord Hall was dedicated Oct. 23.



Reprinted with permission from the W. P. Carey School of Business Arizona State University magazine, Autumn 2013




The Best of Fall 2013

Bring on the leather, unexpected colors and dyed fur. The 15th annual Key to the Cure at Saks Fifth Avenue in Biltmore Fashion Park showcased Italian designers in a high-energy runway show. The Oct. 18 breakfast event was sold out, with proceeds benefiting TGen in its research to find cures for women’s cancers and other diseases.

The photos above and below are a compilation of some of the runway fashions. Descriptions read left to right.

Above: Antonio Berardi Patent White/Black Geometric Dress, Roberto Cavalli Floral Print Pant Suit, Roberto Cavalli Black/Yellow Print Jersey Dress, Versace Men’s Quilted Jack With Jean


Fendi Dyed Fox Vest with Etro Pant, Pauw Dyed Stripe Satin Jacket and Skirt, Alexander McQueen Red/Black Stained Glass Print Dress, Roberto Cavalli Chiffon Red/Black Print Top


Michael Kors Mohair Chartreuse Sweater and Skirt, Alberto Ferretti Amethyst Dyed Mink Coat, Fendi Dyed Green Mink Coat with Oscar Skirt, Roberto Cavalli Royal Blue Gown with Fur Vest


M. Missoni Purple Knit Gown, Hugo Boss Grey Suit with Plaid Shirt, Gucci Wine Coat and Leather Skirt, Brunello Cucinelli Crocheted Sweater with Satin Skirt


Veronica Beard Denim Fur Collar Jacket with Leather Short, Roberto Cavalli Men’s Feather Print Jacket with Jean, Cushnie Et Ochs Leather Top with Batik Print Skirt, Gucci Olive Mink Jacket


Fendi Black/Brown Jacket with Leather Skirt, Alexander McQueen Jersey Long Sleeved Gown, Emilio Pucci Black/Gold One Shoulder Beaded Gown, Etro Multi Paisley Inset Beaded Gown


A Rendezvous at Phoenix Zoo

Adrienne Schiffner, left, and Jennifer Sands take a ride on Isaac, the camel.


Adrienne Schiffner will go to almost any length (or height) to promote and support Phoenix Zoo. You might say it’s in her blood.

Though she grew up in Panama, before she moved to Arizona in 1972, she visited the Valley to see her grandmother. Her grandmother’s best friend, who Schiffner says was like an aunt to her, was Virginia Ullman, one of the original founders of the zoo. When Schiffner came to the Valley, Ullman would take her to the zoo for one of her famous picnic lunches. Everyone attended these lunches, says Schiffner. The mayors of all the area towns would show up to enjoy peanut butter sandwiches by the water.

“The zoo is a such joyful place. You get out of your car and see happy kids skipping along. I love that,” Schiffner says.

But the zoo is more than peanut butter sandwiches and children seeing their first giraffe or zebra. The zoo provides world-class conservation initiatives and educational programs, and educators travel the state, teaching children about animals.

And it’s not just for children. If you visit in the morning, you will find a lot of people have learned it’s a great place to walk, and push a stroller if they have a child.


This year, Schiffner has had plenty of opportunity to visit the zoo. As chair of the zoo’s fundraiser, Rendez-Zoo, An Evening of Conservation and Cuisine, she has spent time with her vice chair Jennifer Sands, committee and zoo personnel planning a fun guest experience for the Oct. 12 evening affair. Honorary chairs for the occasion are Ardie and Steve Evans.

As guests arrive, they will enjoy a steel drum band at the zoo’s new entrance. As they proceed to the plaza, the greeters will be animals (no, not the lions and tigers. . .) “We want to honor the animals and their keepers,” Schiffner says. Guests will be encouraged to ask questions about the various animals.

There will be wine sampling, music, appetizers from area restaurants and a silent auction.

Dinner, prepared by Chef Skip Hause of Fabulous Food, will be served by the lake. Raun Alosi will provide the dinner music, and as the sky darkens a preview of ZooLights will add to the ambience. And then dancing. Firepits along the lake will be a perfect place to enjoy a late-night coffee and dessert.

Money raised by the event will benefit the zoo’s conservation initiatives, education programs and mission of providing experiences that inspire people and motivate them to care for the natural world.

“I have five grandchildren,” Schiffner says. Three of the children, ranging from 6 months to 24 years, live in the Valley. “We have the opportunity to leave a legacy for all of our children and grandchildren.”

One thing the grandchildren might cherish is the photo of their grandmother riding Isaac, the camel. “When I wanted to do this, the keepers were a little nervous. But Isaac was in heaven, a natural in front of the camera.”

Schiffner looks as if she also enjoyed the ride.

Photo, above right: The oryx was almost extinct, but now thrives at Phoenix Zoo because of the zoo's conservation initiatives.



Go Daddy for ‘˜Good’


Go Daddy founder Bob Parsons thinks big, whether he's making money building and selling a business, or with his wife, Renee, giving it away through The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation.

Parsons, who grew up in Baltimore, has worked his entire life and seized opportunity where he's found it. When he was a kid, he had a paper route. He worked in a gas station and in construction. He steamed off wallpaper. "I worked at whatever I could to make a buck."

After struggling as a student in high school, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Purple Heart. His service afforded him the opportunity to attend college on the G.I. Bill, and he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Baltimore in 1975.

Then he turned his attention to business, building three industry-leading businesses from the ground up. He started Parsons Technology in the basement of his Iowa home in 1984. The company developed money management software for money management and in 1994 was bought by Intuit for $64 million. Then he was involved in a leasing business, which he started “from scratch.” When he left the company, it was an industry leader.

But his highest profile success comes from Founded in the late '90s, it is now the largest web-hosting company in the world. Part of the company’s high-recognition comes from the name, which Parsons says came about somewhat by accident. When the company was in its infancy, he had called it Jomax Technologies. The name didn’t matter, he says, because in the beginning they didn’t know quite what the company was going to be. When they decided on an Internet business, they knew selecting the right name was critical to their success. After three days of discussion, someone suggested “Fat Daddy.” Then they toyed with the idea of “Big Daddy,” and "Go Daddy" followed.

They started selling domains, and in 2005, Parsons says they had a 16 percent share of the market. They had relied on traditional media to get their message out, when the idea of debuting at the Super Bowl occurred to him. The first ad, a spoof on Janet Jackson’s now-infamous wardrobe malfunction, raised their market share 25 percent in one week. Today the company has a 60 percent market share.

Renee is an accomplished businesswoman in her own right. She began her career in hospitality sales and quickly climbed the corporate ladder, finding her success with three marquee hotels, Omni, Wyndham and Starwood. She joined Go Daddy as the corporate events planner.

Together the pair founded The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation. They focus their giving primarily in the Valley, and their strategy is to support established, well-run organizations that might need a boost to reach their goals. One of the charities they support is Mission of Mercy in downtown Phoenix, which provides medical services from a mobile unit. They also support the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, providing funds for their new building, Make-A-Wish, UMOM and more.

But not all of their generosity is focused on the Valley. They visited Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and, through Hope for Haiti, have provided significant support to schools in that ravaged country.


After their initial trip to Haiti with Hope for Haiti, the Parsons revisited the school two

years later in January 2013 to see the progress that had been made and the successful improvements their contribution

had helped make possible. 


They are also loyal to Semper Fi, a Marine Corps fund which helps bring family members to the side of a Marine with life-altering injuries, thereby helping them become functioning again more quickly.


"You’re creating a better quality of life for everyone. It comes from the heart


“I feel like we’ve been blessed with so much,” Renee says. “I felt that it’s our responsibility to give back to others less fortunate. It improves your community. You’re creating a better quality of life for everyone. It comes from the heart,” she continues, “from compassion. When you see the need, you want to give people the leg up they need.”

The blessings go both ways. “All you have to do is read some of the letters in the lobby from the little kids. What gets me going is opportunity and the ability to make a difference,” Bob says.

On Nov. 13, the couple will be honored at the 29th Annual Association of Fundraising Professional Leadership Awards Dinner at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. They are being recognized as AFP’s Outstanding Philanthropists for 2013. They were nominated by UMOM New Day Centers, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Make-A-Wish Arizona, St. Joseph’s Foundation, the Semper Fi Fund and the Arizona Humane Society. All have received generous support from the Parsons Foundation.


Go Daddy and The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation was 

the presenting sponsor of the 2013 Wish Ball for

Make-A-Wish Arizona. In addition to its sponsorship,

the foundation presented the organization

with a $1.4 million check.  

Old Bags Kickoff

The committee responsible for gathering new and gently-used-by-celebrities handbags for one of the Valley’s favorite ladies’ luncheons met Aug. 21 to prepare for the Oct. 28 occasion at the Arizona Biltmore.

This is the social event no one wants to miss. Table after table of beautiful designer bags will be available for bidding in the silent auction. Even the most ladylike of guests become territorial as they check their bids before the tables close at various times throughout the morning.

The theme of this 10th annual luncheon is “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party,” co-chaired by Jill Krigsten and Donna Johnson. An outdoor luncheon will follow the lively silent auction, and Neiman Marcus will present a runway show under the outdoor tent.

Homeward Bound offers support to families in crisis who aspire to economic independence and safety.

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