For many Phoenicians, giving back is always in season. Here, we shine a spotlight on top visionaries in our community, plus celebrate fetes, fundraising and fashion.
Ball of the Season: Have a Heart
Since 1959, the Phoenix Heart Ball and its superlatively generous supporters have raised $30 million for the fight against heart disease. This year’s ball, chaired by Susan Doria, takes place Nov. 23 with a cocktail reception and dinner at The Phoenician. Honorees will include Bruce and Diane Halle (Philanthropist of the Year Award), and Dr. Edward B. Diethrich (Lifetime Achievement Award in Cardiovascular Science & Medicine). And just in case that’s not enough to get your blood pumping, honorary chairman Sam Fox, CEO of Fox Restaurant Concepts, partnered with Phoenix Heart Ball for 2013 to feature heart-healthy menu items at Fox restaurants, with a portion of proceeds from each meal to be donated to the American Heart Association (we can’t wait to find out the grand total later this month!). Now isn’t that heartwarming?
Stepping Out: Look Good, Do Good
If you’re going to part with significant cash to support a worthy cause, you want to at least look good doing it, right? Here’s an unscientific breakdown of what it takes to put your best foot forward—sartorially speaking, anyway. Fashion for him: Armani Collezioni Giorgio trim fit peak lapel tuxedo, $1,995, at Nordstrom. Fashion for her: Miss Wu Radiant Faille feather dress, $995, at Nordstrom. >>> Grooming for him: Men’s haircut with a creative master stylist and included hot towel treatment, $68, at Rolfs Salon. Grooming for her: Haircut and style with a creative master stylist, $86, and customized makeup application, $90, at Rolfs Salon. >>> Grand total: $3,234
Global Institute of Sustainability
Julie Wrigley considers the $25 million in total funds she’s provided to build and operate Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability to be investments, not donations. This is almost certainly because Wrigley, president and CEO of both Wrigley Investments and the Julie Ann Wrigley Foundation, was raised in a family that emphasized the long-term benefits to the community when its members help one another. “It’s about learning to give,” Wrigley explains. “You don’t need to have a foundation to do this.”
A champion of many causes, each one centered on making the world a better place, Wrigley has been a supporter of organizations such as the Barrow Neurological Institute, the Peregrine Fund, the Nature Conservancy Board of Governors and, of course, the Global Institute of Sustainability, created in 2004. “The multiplication of what can be done through a university to make an impact is huge,” Wrigley says of her decision to work with the latter.
An impact so huge, in fact, it can be felt in communities at every level, as the institute regularly has a hand in local, regional and even international endeavors dedicated to addressing the challenges of incorporating sustainability into our lives. In February 2014, the institute, along with two other likeminded organizations, will bring the sixth annual GreenBiz Forum to ASU. To be held in Phoenix for the first time, it’s just one example of forward strides that would not have been possible without Wrigley’s support and keen eye toward the future. If she’s trying to pass along that family lesson about helping others, then we say: Message received.
Celeb Cause: Rock On
Rocker Alice Cooper and his wife of more than 30 years, Sheryl Goddard, are hitting high notes with their nonprofit, the Solid Rock Foundation. Founded in 1995, it helps youth build self-confidence through creative forms of self-expression. Last year the couple realized a longtime dream with the opening of The Rock Teen Center, where adolescents can socialize and learn about music. Goddard teaches dance, and in 2014 Cooper will lead a lyric writing class. But the pair’s efforts have already extended far beyond Phoenix. American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and Destinee Quinn, an alum of both American Idol and The Voice, are two local ladies who got their start with SRF. Taking all of this progress in stride is Cooper, who seems as humble as they come. “Philanthropy, to me, is just a big word that I’d love to play in a game of Scrabble. I don’t look at what I do as philanthropy, I just throw my hand in whenever I can.” What’s next on his charitable set list? Alice Cooper’s 13th Christmas Pudding, which gets rocking Dec. 7 at Comerica Theatre. Held annually to raise funds for SRF, the event always recruits a few special guests—although we’re not sure how Cooper’s going to top last year’s surprise guitar solo by actor Johnny Depp.
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When Jonathan and Holly Cottor couldn’t find palliative care for their infant, Ryan—diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy and not expected to live past 2—they created the Ryan House. The Cottors reside in Scottsdale; Ryan is now 12. ryanhouse.org
For decades, Virginia Galvin Piper quietly worked to strengthen Phoenix-area nonprofits. To date, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has invested more than $312 million in worthy causes. pipertrust.org
In the 1960s, Lura Ann Turner transformed a Phoenix house into a home for adults with disabilities. Although she has passed, the mission of Lura Turner Homes lives on. luraturnerhomes.org
After Phoenix resident Roger Magowitz’s mother, Seena, passed away from pancreatic cancer, he founded the Seena Magowitz Foundation to help fund research for a cure. seenamagowitzfoundation.org
Number Crunch: $5.7 Million
The total funds raised at black-tie favorite The Phoenician in the 10 times the resort has hosted the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Beach Ball. The luxury resort will open its doors to the event again on March 1, 2014, when the ball’s Malibu theme is certain to get the good times, shall we say, rolling.
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Honor Ball, to benefit Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation. Jan. 25, 2014, The Phoenician, give.shc.org/honorball
Promise Ball, to benefit the JDRF. Feb. 8, 2014, JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, onenightphoenix.org
Fresh Start Fashion Gala, to benefit the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. Feb. 22, 2014, Arizona Biltmore,
Gold Ball, to benefit community programs of the John C. Lincoln Health Network. March 22, 2014, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, jcl.com
Silver & Turquoise Ball, to benefit Phoenix Indian Center. April 5, 2014, Talking Stick Resort, phxindcenter.com
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has granted a staggering $30 million to charitable causes, both in Phoenix and abroad. “It’s tough to see all the issues in our community and not help out when we have the resources,” says Bob Parsons, who started the foundation in 2012 with his wife, Renee. “[The foundation] is the most important of our businesses.”
Those “businesses” include Harley Davidson of Scottsdale, Go AZ Motorcycles, the newly formed Martz Parsons Agency and, of course, Go Daddy, the web hosting company Bob founded in 1997 and for which he still serves as executive chairman. But it’s the foundation’s work that is dearest to the Parsons’ hearts. “Bob has always been philanthropic and I’ve always been philanthropic-minded,” says Renee, who also serves on Make-A-Wish Arizona’s board and previously helmed the corporate philanthropy program Go Daddy Cares.
With the motto “we deal in hope,” the Parsons’ foundation assists causes related to education, hunger, medical care, youth and veterans (Bob is a former U.S. Marine). In October, the foundation contributed $1 million to Semper Fi Fund’s program America’s Fund, which provides financial assistance to injured and ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Another recent triumph for the community involves a $5 million charitable investment the foundation made in 2012 to create The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, a 50,000-square-foot facility in downtown Phoenix managed by the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS and opening Nov. 1. Bob explains the foundation seeks charities that are making a difference, but having a hard time raising funds. “We like causes that aren’t glamorous,” he says. “If society would rather pretend the problem didn’t exist, you’re right in our wheelhouse.”
Brad Vynalek credits his upbringing in Tucson with shaping his passion for helping children. “My family was pretty broke,” he explains. “But I was always surrounded by mentors. I look back and think that was the thing that made the difference in my life.”
Today, Vynalek is an attorney with national law firm Quarles & Brady, and a partner in the firm’s Phoenix office. As a result of his past, however, he’s held fast to his belief in hands-on involvement for the benefit of his community. It’s an ideal that no doubt played a role in Vynalek’s recent appointment as chairman of Make-A-Wish Arizona’s board of directors.
Last year Make-A-Wish Arizona’s marquee fundraiser, the Wish Ball, raised an unbelievable $2.4 million to be put toward future wishes, and Vynalek will be working with the rest of Make-A-Wish Arizona’s team and supporters to raise the bar.
In addition to his work with the national nonprofit, Vynalek is involved in his firm’s employee volunteer initiative, called Quarles Cares. Through it, he and his colleagues collaborate with teachers of underprivileged third-graders at Capitol Elementary School to produce several student events per year. The goal of these events is to reward hard-working students, who are permitted to attend if they achieve certain benchmarks.
A positive side effect of his interactions with the students, Vynalek explains, is the opportunity to expand the children’s ideas of their own future career opportunities. “I get more out of it than they do,” he says. “I’ve been blessed with a unique opportunity to help kids who are in situations similar to what I was in. I firmly believe you can help kids not fall behind by reaching them early.”
New In Phoenix: Great Eights
Named after the Phoenix Suns Charities’ inaugural year in 1988, the newly formed entity Suns Charities 88 raised $125,00 for local nonprofits in its own first year. A leadership program for Valley business professionals interested in networking and giving back to the community, the group is led by three main principles: professional development, collaborative partnerships and philanthropy. Supported by Phoenix Suns Charities in partnership with Wells Fargo, the members raise funds for local causes focused on helping Arizona children and their families. The Suns Charities 88’s mega-fundraiser, an October street party called Slam Dunk, included a cocktail reception inside the US Airways Center and dinner right on Central Avenue, with Suns players Channing Frye and Ish Smith serving as honorary co-chairs. Proceeds from the evening directly benefited the Phoenix Suns Charities. “Suns Charities 88 is made up of like-minded professionals who are engaged in the community,” says Director of Phoenix Suns Charities Sarah Krahenbuhl. “There’s already a waiting list for next year.”
Charitable Giving: Legacy in the Making
According to BMO Private Bank, 53 percent of high net worth Arizonans identified local programs as top causes in 2013. No doubt that trend is top of mind for Jason Miller, director of financial planning – Arizona & Utah with BMO Private Bank. From his Phoenix office, Miller regularly advises clients on “legacy-making,” which includes long-term involvement in giving, not just check-writing. “Few people get that right,” he says. The financial expert adds that having a knowledgeable professional team in place is essential, as changes in tax laws and market conditions can impact charitable vehicles, including those that generate revenue. Professionals can also help to vet beneficiaries and research donor-directed funds, which make it possible for families and individuals to make a big difference while avoiding the day-to-day administration involved in running a foundation. But legacy-making is ultimately personal, Miller says. And the benefits for benefactors who instill stewardship and purpose in relatives by involving them in the giving are numerous. “That’s the way they may feel they can best preserve the family name,” Miller explains. “It’s to know that future generations will have their values and continue to make a difference.”