Chrisie Funari is the President and Founder of the Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children, a local nonprofit whose mission is to provide social, emotional and financial support to families who are managing the health and well-being of a loved one with pediatric cancer. An Arizona State University graduate with a degree in Marketing, Funari always knew she wanted to have her own business, but it wasn’t until she lost her daughter Ava to cancer that she found herself with the passion to start a nonprofit.
In 2014, Funari’s personal experience inspired her to launch Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children which offers everything from navigating hospitals, providing financial assistance and other support needed by families. Funari enjoys spending time with her family, reading and traveling when she is not working on growing her organization and helping others. www.azcancerfoundation.org, @azcancerfoundation
What does it mean to be an innovator to you?
Being an innovator in the nonprofit sector can be challenging. As a nonprofit you are constantly trying to do more with less. I have always believed that children with cancer deserve more attention and compassion. I work every day to raise the bar for children with cancer and the support they receive. By specifically focusing on the cancer warrior, the siblings and the parents/caregivers, we provide individualized support tailored to each person. Ava’s Tree House, our new facility, is innovating great change for kids with cancer. Ava’s Tree House claims a courageous and bold vision to radically transform the way children with cancer and their families are supported. The first facility of its kind in the U.S., Ava’s Tree House will offer children the gift of childhood in a safe, clean environment—a combination of peace of mind and marvel under one roof. Families as a whole will feel part of a community with ongoing financial, social and emotional support, allowing them to leave their troubles behind, if only for a short-time.
Ryan House embraces all children and their families as they navigate life-limiting or end-of-life journeys. The only facility of its kind in the state, Ryan House offers palliative and respite care that addresses the emotional, spiritual and social needs of the family. www.ryanhouse.org
Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS)
Founded over 35 years ago, CASS is the largest and longest serving homeless emergency shelter provider in Arizona. Both the adult and family shelters operate at full capacity 24/7, 365 days of the year. “I want to give a voice to those who have been marginalized,” says CASS Executive Vice President Alisa Chatinsky, who also runs NPO Success, LLC that is focused on assisting social benefit organizations. “Everyone deserves dignity and respect.” www.cassaz.org, www.nposuccess.org
Founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports, The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 280 “life” members who have helped the Phoenix Open, one of the oldest and most popular golf events on the PGA TOUR, eclipse a total of $165 million in charitable giving. Next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open taking place at TPC Scottsdale on February 6–12, 2023 will mark the tournament’s 88th anniversary and the 14th year that Waste Management is the title sponsor. www.wmphoenixopen.com
Executive Council Charities
Executive Council Charities is dedicated to providing grants to programs and nonprofit organizations focused on helping Arizona youth overcome adversity and reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. Executive Council Charities has supported more than 125 charities during the past year, distributing more than $2.2 million. www.ec70phx.com
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC)
The SRPMIC is a sovereign tribe located in the metropolitan Phoenix area. Established by Executive Order on June 14, 1879, the Community encompasses 52,600 acres and operates as a full-service government, overseeing departments, programs, projects and facilities. www.srpmic-nsn.gov