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Desert Schools - community service and leadership award

YWCA Hosts 2013 Tribute To Leadership Gala

YWCA Maricopa County will Host its 20th annual Tribute To Leadership Gala on February 23, 2013, at the Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix at 6:00pm. Guests will be provided an elegant setting to dine and dance to the wonderful Upper East Side Big Band.

Tribute To Leadership, our largest event of the year, will honor those who have made substantial contributions to eliminating discrimination, empowering women, and serving as champions to our community. The gala provides funding to support YWCA programs throughout the year; including financial education, advocacy and awareness programs, and essential services for seniors. Please join us on February 23rd to celebrate these amazing honorees. For more information, visit www.ywcaaz.org or call 602-258-0990.

2013 Tribute to Leadership Honorees:

Jaye Perricone, PetSmart, Advocacy Leader

Pamela Overton Risoleo, Greenberg Traurig, Community Service Corporate Leader

Andy Kramer, Banner Health Foundation, Community Service Nonprofit Leader

Michael Barnard, Phoenix Theatre, Creative Arts Leader

Paul Luna, Helios Education Foundation, Education Leader

Dean Victor Coonrod, MD-MPH, Maricopa Medical Center, Health & Science Leader

Patricia Little-Upah, retired, US Army Reserve, Military or Armed Service Leader

Angela Hughey, ONE Community Media, Public Service Leader

Karen Churchard, Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation, Centennial Leader

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury, Sports Leader

Julie Sullivan, International Foundation for Education & Self-Help, Racial Justice Leader

Stars of the Season advisory council

Stars Of The Season: Elite Fund-Raising Event For CCMC

It’s time to pack your bags, and take the trip of a lifetime to the third annual Stars of the Season event benefiting the Cardon Children’s Medical Center (CCMC), Banner Health and the Banner Health Foundation.

On Oct. 27, Scottsdale’s Montelucia Resort & Spa will host an unforgettable evening of cocktails, dinner and entertainment, including a silent auction, which will auction off tickets to NYC Fashion Week. Guests can also expect a performance from Chester Bennington of the band Linkin Park, which donated $25,000 to sponsor a table.

This year’s theme, 1001 Nights, will take attendees on a unique, Lebanese journey through music, entertainment and authentic food. The theme promises to invoke childhood memories with a strong cultural perspective.

All proceeds from the event will help support Cardon Children’s Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program, which provides care for children born with congenital heart defects or who develop heart conditions early on in life.

But what makes this event even more unique is its dedicated group of volunteers and the teamwork and preparation by Micheline Etkin and Dr. Sophia Yang — two close friends with close ties to Brazil who are this year’s event co-chairs. A diverse advisory council of more than 30 people also assists the ladies in the planning process.

Etkin, a professional model, has always been passionate about children and became involved with the event through one of her old girlfriends, Tina Curran, the chair of the advisory council.

“We can all come together and make an incredible impact,” Etkin says. “It’s so nice to be a part of something so open-minded.” Etkin adds that she has great faith in the program and thinks it’s amazing that children can now get care in their own backyard.

Yang, a mother of triplets, also enjoys helping children and co-chairing the event with her close friend.

The event is already at capacity with an estimated 600 attendees, with tickets sold out by the end of June — before invitations were even mailed out. Luckily, those who are unable to attend the event can still support the cause by donating, sponsoring a table or even purchasing raffle tickets in hopes of being able to attend.

Etkin says she’s proud of both her and Yang’s ability to put on such a popular, extravagant party and tie it to their Brazilian roots.

“We come from the national party capital in the world,” Etkin says. “This is how we are.”

Co-chairing a large event such as this one, regardless of heritage, is not easy. The planning began more than 10 months ago, shortly after last year’s Brazilian-themed Stars of the Season took place.

“It’s like a full-time job, I don’t think I could do this three years in a row,” says Etkin, who would often wake up in the middle of the night to jot down new ideas.

Despite the long hours and stressful planning, Etkin and Yang enjoying putting on something that is both fun and for a good cause. They hope this event will be an inspiration to others, and they enjoy bringing smiles to the faces of the many children they are helping.

For more information about Stars of the Season and how to get involved, visit starsoftheseason.org.

Elizabeth Reich - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Elizabeth Reich, Make-A-Wish Foundation Of Arizona

Elizabeth Reich, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona, discusses how Make-A-Wish was founded, its challenges, how they make wishes happen and more.

Elizabeth Reich

Title: President and CEO
Company: Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona


What is something people don’t know about Make-A-Wish?

Most people don’t know that it was founded here in Arizona in 1980 after some DPS officers and a customs agent learned of a boy with leukemia whose one wish was to become a police officer. They decided to help make his dream happen. He got a uniform, was checked out on mini-motorcycle, and the experience was very meaningful to him. When he died, he was buried in the uniform and he was issued. After the officers saw the impact the wish had on the boy and his family, they said , ‘We should do this again,’ and it grew into what it is today. We have 62 chapters in the U.S. and we are in 35 countries worldwide. Make-A-Wish is Arizona’s gift to the world.

Video by Cory Bergquist

What has been your biggest challenge in this struggling economy?

We are 100 percent dependent on dollars from people and corporations to make our wishes come true and those dollars are fewer and farther between. People know that Make-A-Wish does great things, but sometimes they don’t see them as necessary things.

How do you show them that they are a necessity?

Fortunately, a 2010 study of more than 2,000 Make-A-Wish families and volunteers shows the impact of a wish beyond that moment — the impact on the family, the impact on the volunteers and the impact on that child through the rest of his or her life. Many of our Make-A-Wish children live to be adults. That wish experience has impact on their ability to recover from their illness. So as a result of the wish impact study, we can now say our wishes are not a ‘nice to have,’ they are a ‘need to have.’

What is your most rewarding moment at CEO of Make-A-Wish?

It’s always the most recent moment. There was a young lady who graduated early from high school and was No. 3 in her class. Originally, her wish was to go to Italy. But her wish changed. She said, ‘I want to focus on school. I want to focus on becoming a doctor.’ So her wish was for a laptop computer. Not only was her wish for a laptop granted, but she got an iPad, an iPod, and a desk to put the laptop on. She was so gracious and so thankful. It’s something that is going to enrich her life for years to come and it was her one true wish.

Are there common threads in the wishes?

Our wishes fall into four categories: I wish to be, I wish to go, I wish to have, or I wish to meet. But more and more, kids today are adding a fifth category: I wish to give. They use their wishes to give back. We are working with one girl whose wish is to have a national forum where she can talk about the importance of being a bone marrow donor. We are working with morning shows right now to arrange a platform for her so she can get her message out.

How do you make the wishes happen?

We have wonderful staff members called wish managers. They have to be part travel agent, part logistician, be multi-skilled, and have to work in concert with our volunteers. When you’re granting 251 wishes, like we did last year, you’re dealing with a lot of logistics and a lot of juggling. I like to say that we cry here every day. We cry for good things and we cry for bad things. But we know what we’re doing makes a difference for that child and for that family and that feels so good.

Vital Stats: Elizabeth Reich

    • Joined Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona in 2010
    • Graduated from Whittier College with a degree in political science
    • Previous jobs include vice president of advancement at Childhelp; CEO at VisionQuest 20/20; and vice president of development at Banner Health Foundation
    • From 1998-2003, was executive director of what is now called The Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families, consisting of the Governors’ Divisions for Women, Children, Prevention of Family Violence, Drug Policy, Volunteerism, Community Outreach and Character Education
    • Raised money to support Banner Desert Medical Center and Banner Children’s Hospital in Mesa. Led the first stages of a capital campaign, successfully obtaining several seven-figure gifts

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012