The Scottsdale 20-30 Foundation is a nonprofit organization determined to raise money for activities, medical, emotional support and more for underprivileged Arizona youth. Here, AFM interviews the Club's president, Ben Hawkins.
AFM: Tell us more about the Scottsdale 20-30 Club.
BH: The Scottsdale 20-30 Club provides young adults with an opportunity to grow both as a person and as a professional with leadership skills, all while helping children all around the Valley. The 20-30 Club inspires people to work together for a common cause- and I have made so many long-standing friendships out of it. Our dedication to helping children in Arizona is what motivates us to work hard; our motto, "One never stands so tall as when kneeling to help a child," emphasizes the time and energy we spend to help fundraise local children's charities.
AFM: What are some fundraising events the 20-30 Club offers?
BH: We just completed our annual Brokers for Kids event. It's a contest that involves Valley commercial real estate teams in a fundraising drive, to which the top fundraising team is awarded the coveted Broker's Cup. We make it a fun, competitive event with our Olympiad Championship, where teams battle it out in challenges involving the quarterback challenge, volleyball, basketball, bocce, and more. All of the money raised goes to Boys Hope Girls Hope, a charity that helps academically and motivated children succeed by providing better opportunities and education. These changes help the rate of these kids to want, and to work hard for, a college degree after high school.
AFM: What other events are you looking forward to this year?
BH: Our NiteFlite event is pretty spectacular. As our largest event of the year, we hold a golf tournament and a gala at the stylish Talking Stick Resort. After a day of golf, guests can dress to impress at the NiteFlite Red Carpet Gala, which will feature live fire performances, Cirque performers, live bands and DJ's, food from Scottsdale's hottest restaurants, special wines, and more. The entire special event will benefit The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, whose programs help promote healthy lifestyles, character, and academic success for underprivileged youth.
Learn more by visiting www.scottsdale2030.org.
Phoenix attorney Andrea Marconi and executive Katherine Kemmeries Cecala have enjoyed their fair share of black-tie events over the years. The high fashion, four-star meals and cherished memories are staples that make for a unique, treasured experience each and every time.
But only one event has brought the pair new, loving family members.
Two years ago, Marconi attended the Arizona Humane Society’s annual Compassion with Fashion fundraiser, and wound up going home with a newly adopted Boxer, Maggie May. Last year, Marconi returned to Compassion with Fashion, and this time, Madison, a Golden Retriever, joined Marconi’s family. Meanwhile, Cecala couldn’t resist adopting Bianca, a Standard Poodle at the event.
It’s fitting that Marconi, a member of the Arizona Humane Society Board of Directors, and Cecala, a longtime AHS supporter and the Chief Operating Officer for Valley of the Sun United Way, are now teaming up to help the thousands of pets whose lives AHS saves each year by co-chairing this year’s 16th annual Compassion with Fashion: Pets Make Life Sweet luncheon and fashion show.
“You have over 1,000 of the most compassionate pet lovers in the Valley coming together to support animals who can’t speak for themselves and who need our help,” Marconi said of Compassion with Fashion, which was voted Best Annual Charity Event by the readers of Arizona Foothills Magazine in 2011 and 2012. “What makes this event so fun and different from most black-tie affairs, is that this is an event you can bring your family to, meet animals and bring those animals home.”
Compassion with Fashion: Pets Make Life Sweet will take place March 29th at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. The sweet-themed event will include a delectable seated luncheon, a candy-coated silent auction and a sugar-rush of a fashion show featuring adorable AHS dogs and cats who will all be available for adoption at the event.
Individual tickets can be purchased for $165, or you can bring your pet-loving pals for tables of 10, which start at $1,650. Proceeds from the event will help support AHS’ lifesaving programs and services, including its Emergency Animal Medical Technician™ ambulance unit, Second Chance Animal Hospital™ trauma center, spay/neuter initiatives, low-cost veterinary and wellness services and humane education programs.
“Animals are so important in our lives. They’re so vulnerable and they rely on us to take care of them,” Cecala said. “I love what the Arizona Humane Society is doing. They’re finding forever homes for animals, and their spay/neuter programs are so important with the pet overpopulation crisis here in the Valley.”
“I’ve always been a supporter of all animal rescue organizations, but I have a special affinity for the Arizona Humane Society because of its open-intake nature,” Marconi said of AHS, which takes in all pets regardless of breed, age or medical condition. “This is an organization that helps hurt and injured animals with nowhere else to go. And without AHS, I fear what would happen to these animals, and I fear it wouldn’t be good. I have two animals that came through AHS’ Second Chance Animal Hospital, and I know without AHS, I wouldn’t have these two amazing members of my family.”
Join the Arizona Humane Society for an event that’s sure to take the cake. Help make life sweet for a pet in need! To purchase tickets or for more information, visit azhumane.org/cwf.
The National Kidney Foundation of Arizona is committed to prevention of kidney disease through awareness, education, research, and to also improve the quality of life for Arizonans with kidney disease. AFM interviews CEO Jeffrey Neff to learn more about the National Kidney Foundation's goal of providing care, education, and hope.
AFM: Tell us a little more about the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona.
JN: For the past 51 years, we have been improving the quality of life for Arizona residents with kidney disease. We work with everything from transplants and organ donations, to taking patients to their dialysis appointments. We help people coping with this disease in any way that we can, including such things like paying the rent or mortgage for someone suffering from this disease because they are unable to work. Our goals as an organization are to provide care for these people, educate others to raise awareness of this silent disease, and encourage a whole-body healthy lifestyle.
AFM: What is a special project the Foundation is working on in 2014?
JN: We have been newly refreshing our Erma Bombeck Project. This project aims to narrow the gap between those who are in necessity of a kidney transplant, and the amount of kidneys available. This project is also dedicated to providing facts and knowledgeable sources to help save someone's life- from registering to be an organ donor, to considering gifting someone with a kidney donation. Ninety percent of people with kidney disease will not know they have it, and an average of 600,000 Arizonans suffer from it whether knowingly or not. However, optimism was what inspired Erma, a newspaper columnist, to fight through her battle, and we are eternally grateful for the friends and family of Erma because it is their gifts to the Erma Bombeck Memorial Fund that have kept this important project funded. The gift of life is something that she truly believed in.
AFM: What are some upcoming events for the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona?
JN: March is known as "World Kidney Month," which is very important to us. We visit companies all around Arizona and speak about kidney disease and how healthy living can prevent it. We educate people to learn more about their kidneys because kidney disease has no symptoms until it has greatly progressed. We will offer free screenings to anyone at most risk for kidney disease, like those who have diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney failure. We will also host a Live Twitter Chat with Dr. Joseph Vassolotti, our Chief Medical Officer, regarding kidney Q&A on World Kidney Day, March 14. Use the #WorldKidneyDayNKF to ask your questions. We will also have a Dietician available to answer questions on what to eat to keep your kidneys healthy. And, as always, we are excited about our annual walk on April 6 at Chase Field!
To learn more, please visit the following websites:
With their 12th annual “Teaming Up for Girls” Luncheon—featuring keynote speaker and kidnapped survivor Elizabeth Smart—coming up in March,Florence Crittenton continues its mission of inspiring and supporting young girls to become more than a statistic and accomplish their dreams. CEO Dr. Kellie Warren has dedicated herself to fulfilling Crittenton’s goals and shared with us more about the upcoming luncheon, Crittenton’s history, and how they have made an impact in their community.
AFM: What is Florence Crittenton’s role in the Valley?
KW: Florence Crittenton is a place where every girl matters – from the girl who has suffered unimaginable pain and abuse, to the girl who has no one else, to the girl who wants an education that will lead her on to higher learning and a successful career.
As one of the Valley’s oldest social service agencies, Florence Crittenton began in 1896, in Central Phoenix serving unwed mothers. Today, the agency serves approximately 1,200 girls and young women annually, by offering them a safe place where they can discover the support of a caring community. We provide a wide array of services such as counseling, independent living skills, education, and medical care for girls and young women to become empowered to reach their full potential. Many of the girls we serve are overcoming obstacles resulting from abuse, neglect, homelessness, teen pregnancy, and mental/behavioral health problems. Our role and mission is to provide safety, hope, and opportunity to every girl whose life we touch.
AFM: Are the programs you have just for young girls or can women of any age participate?
KW: Our Therapeutic Group Home, which is our primary program and the only group home in Maricopa County that specializes in delivering comprehensive social services to girls in crisis, serves girls ages 10 to 18. However, at 18-years-old, foster care youth reached the end of the road in terms of receiving services and are at risk for homelessness. We have programs that specialize in this transitional period that offer safe and stable housing for young women, ages 18 to 21 (many of whom are pregnant or already parenting) while teaching them the necessary skills to become fully self-sufficient. These young women are empowered to take ownership of their lives and transition successfully into independent adults.
AFM: What does your job entail?
KW: As CEO, I hold overall strategic and operational responsibility for the execution of our mission. I strongly believe in our mission and believe that in the right environment our girls can achieve anything. I imagine that any one of these girls could be my own daughter and I ensure that they receive the proper level of care so they will succeed. I work closely with our Board of Directors, program team and others in the community to see how we can expand our services and increase our impact in the Valley. Florence Crittenton has a 118-year history in our state and I want to make sure we are around for 118 more years and then some!
AFM: Can you tell us more about the Teaming up For Girls Luncheon?
KW: Now in its 12th year, the Teaming Up For Girls Luncheon will be held March 4th at the Arizona Biltmore. This event is our signature fundraiser, and the proceeds support Florence Crittenton’s life-changing programs. The luncheon is intended to inspire and emotionally move everyone in attendance. We are so excited to have kidnapping survivor, Elizabeth Smart, as our keynote speaker. Her life is a demonstration that it is possible to overcome extreme adversity, by not allowing your past to dictate your life's future. Her message really speaks to our mission. We will present our HOPE Award to Derek Clark, an ambassador to foster care youth. He spent his youth in the foster care system and lives by the maxim of making no excuses. Both of their presentations are sure to inspire. In addition to an inspirational program, we will also feature a silent auction filled with so many amazing items such as spa treatments, sporting events, unique experiences, and fabulous getaways. I truly believe this year’s luncheon will be one of our best yet! Tickets are on sale and can be purchased via www.flocrit.org or by calling 602.288.4555.
AFM: What is the Girl’s Leadership Academy?
KW: Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona (GLAAZ) is the state’s first and only single gender public high school. Research has shown that there are many benefits to single gender education, including high academic achievement, improved self-confidence, and increased college enrollment. The agency had a vision in line with our mission of providing opportunity to offer single gender high school education to young women in our community. We worked closely with the state legislature to have the state law changed to allow for a single gender, public school. The law is actually named the Crittenton Bill. Out of 120 students currently enrolled, 45 students are pursuing college credits concurrently. We are thrilled to share that several of our students will be 1st generation college students in their families. Last year, GLAAZ had their first graduating class, a pioneer group of seven students and all of them are enrolled in college. We could not be more proud of the achievements of GLAAZ!