Child Crisis Arizona’s Great Outdoors Gala

Hybrid event raises nearly $2.8 million to support intervention, prevention and education programs

A cozy campfire, live music and s’mores made for an unforgettable evening for guests at Child Crisis Arizona’s Great Outdoors Gala on April 17 as the organization raised nearly $2.8 million to support its intervention, prevention and education programs. This year the event was hybrid, held outdoors on the patio at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, with very limited in-person seating, and also streamed online to a virtual audience. Despite the change, the event managed to bring in a record-breaking amount of donations for the organization.

Janis Merrill and Bob Campbell

During the evening’s program, Calum and Tricia DeSouza announced a match of up to $200,000 to help fund safe nights of sleep for children in crisis situations, parent education courses, early education, and behavioral health services for children who have experienced trauma during the evening’s paddle raise, which ultimately raised more than $500,000.

At the conclusion of the paddle raise, long-time supporter Janis Merrill announced of a $2 million commitment toward Child Crisis Arizona’s capital expansion.

“The generosity of our donors and sponsors is truly inspiring,” says Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona. “The success of this event is a testament to their belief in and importance of our mission.”

Child Crisis Arizona presented the annual Legacy of Love Award to Thunderbirds Charities, honoring their many years of support to the organization.

“We’ve really been a proud partner of Child Crisis Arizona since the inception,” says Scott Jenkins, chairman of the 2021 edition of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. “If you look at the mission statement of this organization . . . and if you can’t get behind that I don’t know what you can get behind. We are proud supporters and will continue to be proud supporters.”

The evening was made possible by more than 30 returning sponsors. Presenting sponsors, Calum and Tricia DeSouza and Willscot Mobile Mini helped create the opportunity to impact many lives through their generosity.


Louis and Tracy Basile, Torrie Taj, Janis Merrill, Calum and Tricia DeSouza, Vala Ola and David Lueth

Board Chair, Byron Sarhangian; LisaMarie Sarhangian; Torrie Taj, CEO; and Board Member, Trevor Wilde

Scott Jenkins, Tracy Basile and Board Chair Byron Sarhangian following the presentation of the 2021 Legacy of Love Award to Thunderbirds Charities

Notes from Neptune played live music for the crowd

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