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AZ Giving Spotlight: Karen Doerflein of Global Rescue Project

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Global Rescue Project is a nonprofit organization established to help end human slavery in Ghana, West Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Their mission is to bring hope to the children enslaved who are suffering daily with life-threatening duties in Ghana's fishing industry. With the mentality that believes "no need is too small and no voice too quiet to be heard," GRP devotes the time and energy to educate, advocate, and eliminate human slavery and poverty. Here, AFM takes a look at the issues and the ways GRP helps these kids, with insight from Karen Doerflein, the Director of Fundraising & Corporate Giving. 


Derrick Hall Steps Up to Bat for Phoenix Nonprofit Homeward Bound

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Derrick Hall, CE0 & President of the Arizona Diamondbacks and his wife Amy will serve as honorary chairs of the inaugural fundraiser Double Down for Homeward Bound, to be held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess on Friday, May 2 at 8 pm. 


“The Arizona Diamondbacks have been supporters of Homeward Bound for more than a decade,” said Hall. “Double Down for Homeward Bound is a great example of the community coming together to provide vital resources for this worthy organization.”


This event is sure to be a homerun with the Diamondbacks’ involvement and the generous support of major event sponsors: Avnet, Dignity Health and Total Transit.  Guests of Double Down for Homeward Bound will experience the attractions of a night out in Vegas.  The event will include a poker tournament, casino activities, gourmet eats and signatures drinks, live entertainment, a raffle, a silent auction and more. 


Homeward Bound provides over 150 families and their 300 children a safe living environment.  In addition to offering multi-family and single family transitional housing, Homeward Bound provides case management, employment services, parenting classes, budgeting workshops, life coaching, and onsite childcare. 


“We teach our clients how to live independently, and for this to happen, we offer the resources they need to face and overcome the challenges of their past and give them confidence to pursue a new life for their family,” explains Executive Director, Barbara Ralston. 


“We depend on our community at large to support our fundraising efforts, and it is with great excitement that we introduce a new fundraising concept for Homeward Bound with the help of Derrick and the Diamondbacks.”


Tickets are $250 per person and can be purchased now at www.homewardboundaz.org.  Sponsorship opportunities are also available.  For more information about Double Down for Homeward Bound and other ways you can support Homeward Bound, please contact Whitney Silence at 602-374-8721 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  

Derrick Hall, CE0 & President of the Arizona Diamondbacks and his Wife, Amy,

Step Up to Bat for Phoenix Nonprofit Homeward Bound


AZ Giving Spotlight: Laurie Cullity of Desert Stages Theater

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Desert Stages Theater has continued to produce popular plays for families since 1995. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to providing the community with a fun, safe, and magical experience that is suitable for all ages. Laurie Cullity, the wife of late Gerry Cullity, shared her passion for the theater.

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AFM: What inspired you to start Desert Stages Theatre? 

LC: Desert Stages Theatre was co-founded by myself, and my late husband Gerry Cullity along with my mother-in-law, Joan Thompson. My husband was a prolific playwright, songwriter, lyricist, actor, stage designer and director. My background is in theatre and dance. Gerry and I saw the theatre as a wonderful vehicle to educate youth, to give youngsters a creative outlet that allowed them to develop skills such as confidence and teamwork, skills they would use throughout their lives no matter their career field as an adult.

AFM: Do you offer theater classes for aspiring actors?

LC: We offer a complete schedule of classes for aspiring actors, youngsters through adults. DST Academy has a number of different annual camps such as Summer Camp and Summer Camp Jr. which are three-week sessions where children learn a variety of theatre skills, culminating in a performance for friends and family.  Similarly, we offer a Winter Camp series, Fall Break Camp and Spring Break Camp. In addition, Center Stage is an eight-week session every Wednesday, 4-6 p.m. that delivers singing and dance classes as well as other acting courses. In addition we host a number of seminars for more advanced actors such as our recent workshop led by Broadway star Ben Crawford, as well as our recent “Stage Combat” class where actors learn how to safely simulate stage fighting. The list goes on and on.  Actors can stay connected to the latest and greatest class offerings, camps and workshops by visiting www.DesertStages.org and signing up for our e-newsletter as well.

AFM: What kind of productions do you showcase?

LC: Desert Stages Theatre has a tradition of producing some of original productions by Gerry Cullity each year – especially for the youngsters.  Also, we produce several Broadway musicals in Cullity Hall, our main stage theatre-in-the-round. This season, “Bye Bye Birdie” plays April 11-May 4, followed by “Disney’s Aladdin Jr.,” May 16-June 22, and finally our season closer is “Cabaret,” July 11-August 3. We also offer a highly eclectic mix of theatre offerings in our very wonderful Actor’s Café, our jewel of a 65-seat venue delivering an intimate experience with the actors. Shows range from suspenseful mysteries to emotional dramas to witty comedies.

We actually have four theatre series, making Desert Stages Theatre perhaps the busiest community playhouse in the Southwest:

OnStage – youngsters making their first venture into the spotlights

NextStage – 12-18, obviously the next step in talent and theatrical material for this group [though first-timers participate here as well.]

MainStage – Major theatrical productions for adults – mostly musicals, and an occasional drama too

Actor’s Café – is that cool elective mix of mysteries, drama, comedy in an up-close-and-personal setting

AFM: How has Desert Stages Theatre affected the Valley?

LC: DST has impacted the lives of hundreds if not thousands of youngsters, offering them a creative environment to develop life skills of all kinds, perhaps most important in that is confidence.  It’s our welcoming atmosphere with clear guidelines that allows them to learn the creative, collaborative process all while they are simply having a good time.  Plus, as a nonprofit community theatre, DST also provides a terrifically creative outlet for ages 21 to 90 as well.  We consider DST to be a community treasure in the theatrical outlets it provides to all ages.

AFM: What are some of your plans for the future?

LC: We have two fabulous shows coming this summer, Biloxi Blues brings comedy to the Actor’s Café and Cabaret offers a tantalizing musical in Cullity Hall. Then in August we’re back at it! Our 2014-2015 season will wow guests of all ages with timeless classics and modern favorites spanning more than 80 years of theatre; it’ll have drama, comedy, musicals, mysteries, big dance shows and family shows! We kick off the season with tradition, opening the season with our On Stage children’s theatre production of “Gerry Cullity’s Alice in Wonderland” in Cullity Hall’s theatre-in-the-round. The Actor’s Café will open with the thought provoking, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.”


Arizona Gives Day Returns April 9th

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The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum are pleased to announce the return of Arizona’s statewide day of giving for a second year. Presented by FirstBank, Arizona Gives Day is scheduled for April 9, 2014. The 24-hour online giving initiative encourages Arizonans to recognize and financially support the efforts of various nonprofits from across the state. In addition to fundraising, Arizona Gives Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the state’s nonprofit sector and educate communities on the benefits of online giving.

“After seeing the success of this event last year we are excited to have this event return in Arizona, and raise more than before,” said Patrick McWhortor, president and CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits. “We hope to have as many as 10,000 Arizonans support our nonprofit community that day, raising much-needed dollars for these worthwhile organizations.”  

According to Marissa Theisen, president and CEO of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, the impact of individual donors on the state’s many nonprofit organizations will be felt for years to come. “These funds will help organizations change lives, build leaders and champion so many good causes.”

Fast Facts:

  • Arizona Gives Dayis a statewide effort to generate awareness and funding for the more than 20,000 nonprofits in the state of Arizona.
  • Individual giving is key to the success of many nonprofit organizations and financial contributions made on Arizona Gives Day will make a huge impact on the services and programs available in our state.
  • Arizona Gives Day provides the opportunity for nonprofits to engage with new donors and increase participation from existing donors.
  • Arizona Gives Day will harness the collective energy of the $20 billion nonprofit community in Arizona.

How to Give:

Beginning at midnight on April 9 and continuing until 11:59 p.m., Arizonans can go online at www.azgives.org and pledge their financial support to the nonprofit of their choice.  Donors will select the recipient of their online donation – there will be an estimated 800 or more to choose from – and the donation will go directly to their chosen organization.

Or, if you wish to give right now, simply visit azgives.org and click “schedule my donation,” where you will be able to choose which organization you wish to support right now.

No matter why or when you give on April 9 – just give! 


Every single penny raised on Arizona Gives Day will impact us all.



AZ Giving Spotlight: Ib Andersen of Ballet Arizona

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Ballet Arizona is a dance company that prides themselves on innovative and professional ballet while serving the community through educational outreach programs. Ib Andersen, the Artistic Director and former dancer for the New York City Ballet talks more about Ballet Arizona’s impact on the Valley.


AFM: What are some of the Educational and Community Outreach Programs that Ballet Arizona does?

IA: Free and open to the public, “Ballet Under the Stars” allows Arizona communities to enjoy dance in a unique outdoor setting complete with a stage, lighting, costumes and beautiful Arizona weather. As arts education can play a critical role in a child’s academic and social development, we also offer student matineeswhich expose approximately 7,000 students annually.  In addition, Angel Tickets are made available free of charge to clients from service organizations and children and families from community centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

AFM: What are Community Angel Nights?

IA: “Community Angel Night” is often thought of as one show of Nutcracker – traditionally the evening before the opening night of Nutcracker is filled with underprivileged families whose attendance was made possible by donations from supporters of the ballet.  But what many people do not know is that the ballet makes available a minimum of 4,000 tickets free of charge every season to families in need every year.  There are over 150 agencies that we work with to provide these live art opportunities.        

AFM: How has Ballet Arizona affected the Valley?

IA: Ballet Arizona believes that a performance can change lives. We offer our audiences and participants the opportunity to expand their imagination on a unique journey to a place where it has never been, experiencing art in a way that surpasses words. We are also dedicated to serving the people of central Arizona through our Education and Community Outreach programs, which touch the lives of more than 35,000 children and more than 20,000 adults each year.

AFM: For children and adults interested in a ballet career, what does Ballet Arizona have to offer them?

IA: The tradition of ballet comes alive at the School of Ballet Arizona, the official dance academy associated with the professional Company. The School of Ballet Arizona offers instruction on the highest level – where internationally recognized artists serve as instructors. From children to adults, profession or pleasure, we offer world class instruction and performance opportunities. Instruction includes classes throughout the school year for ages 4 and up, as well as open classes for adults and teens.

AFM: What are some of Ballet Arizona’s goals for the future?

IA: Ballet Arizona is thrilled to be in its new home, the Ballet Arizona Center for Dance, made possible by generous, forward-thinking donors and the City of Phoenix.  With this wonderful new facility, Ballet Arizona hopes to be a gateway for the community to experience the beauty, athleticism and artistry of dance. Here the community has the opportunity to engage with Ballet Arizona in entirely new ways – observing professional rehearsals, gaining insight into the creative process, and encountering dance more personally than ever before. The general public is welcomed for free performances and underserved communities will be invited to what might be their first-ever ballet experience.



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