Tag Archives: phoenix suns charities

Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker

Players rally for Phoenix Suns Charities’ Jump Ball

Phoenix Suns Charities’ annual gala, THE JUMP BALL, will be headlined by a show-stopping tribute to Michael Jackson, featuring Damian Brantley, on Saturday, March 1 at Talking Stick Resort. Guests will also enjoy appearances by the entire Suns team and coaching staff, entertainment by DJ Roonie G., dinner, a silent auction and much more. The gala will begin at 6 p.m.

The Michael Jackson tribute band is part of the award-winning “Legends in Concert” live tribute show in Las Vegas. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the show highlights world-renowned musicians from the past and present. The band, featuring Damian Brantley, regularly performs at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino, capturing Jackson’s legendary music and choreography through captivating theatrical sets and costumes.

Performing as Michael Jackson is Milwaukee native Damian Brantley. Brantley grew up around music, having been taught to play the piano at age 8 by his father, Junior Brantley, who toured with B.B. King. Before becoming a Michael Jackson tribute performer, Brantley trained for two years to perfect being the King of Pop. View a recent performance by Brantley as Michael Jackson: “Legends in Concert” Michael Jackson tribute

Following the tribute to Michael Jackson, two-time Club World Award winner DJ Roonie G will entertain guests with his own creative blend of audio and visual content.

Table sponsorship options are now available, as are limited individual tickets. More information can be found at sunscharities.org, or by calling 602-379-7767. All proceeds from the event benefit Phoenix Suns Charities, which works to improve the lives of Arizona youth and families.

Dennis - Suns Check

Fulton Homes, Suns Reunite for 3-Point Program

This season, the only thing standing between the Phoenix Suns and a patriotic gesture is a white line 23 feet nine inches away from the basket.

For the second year in a row Tempe-based Fulton Homes is uniting with the Phoenix Suns for the Fulton Homes “Proud to own the Three-Point Zone” program. This season when a Phoenix Suns player drains a three-pointer, Fulton Homes will write a $100 check to the U.S. Navy League. This year’s sponsorship includes both home and away games broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona, a minimum of 75 games.

Founded in 1902, The Navy League of the United States is an organization that serves, supports all the sea services – U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine. The Navy League is comprised of 46,000 civilians in more than 250 councils around the world working to support sea service members and their families. For more, visit: http://navyleague.org.

Last year alone, through the Three-Point Zone program, Fulton Homes donated $46,000 between the Youth Assistance Foundation and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Mountain Rescue. In previous seasons, Fulton Homes has donated more than $206,000 over to local charities through Phoenix Suns Charities.

“Fulton Homes is really excited to partner again with the Phoenix Suns to benefit the U.S. Navy League,” Doug Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes, said. “As the Suns keep improving their three-point game, we will be able to support the U.S. Navy League and the good work they do for military families and youth through programs such as the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Junior ROTC and Young Marines.”

Robin Milne

Robin Milne – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Robin Milne – Executive director, Phoenix Suns Charities

Milne said her job is “a dream” because she can combine her passion for sports and philanthropy. Milne works with the organization’s board of directors to raise and grant more than $1 million annually to programs in the areas of education, health, human services, the arts, rehabilitation, sports and recreation.

Surprising fact: “In college, I was a ‘lock’ on the scrum of a women’s rugby club. We were the Phoenix ‘Squash Blossoms‘ — our name said it all.”

Biggest challenge: “The organization took on a first-time initiative to ‘adopt’ Central High, in an effort to significantly increase graduation rates. We brought in ASU Teacher’s College’s iTeach AZ graduating teachers to mentor Central High teachers and its students to deliver that individual attention needed.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>

Dennis - Suns Check

Fulton Homes’ 3-Point Zone helps nonprofits

While Monday night was fan appreciation night for the Phoenix Suns, thanks to Fulton Homes the Youth Assistance Foundation and the Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association (CAMRA) will now divide up $46,000.

It’s all part of the Fulton Homes “Proud to Own the Three-Point Zone” program, a partnership between the Tempe-based homebuilder and the Phoenix Suns.  With each three-point basket made during the season, the Youth Assistance Foundation and CAMRA shared in the $100.  The program began in late October with the opening game tip-off and concluded with a victory Monday night at home against Houston. Fulton Homes Vice President Dennis Webb presented the check to Phoenix Suns officials during the game.

The Youth Assistance Foundation helps to prevent youth violence and promotes positive interactions with law enforcement. CAMRA, along with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Mountain Rescue (MCSO-MR) team, is an all-volunteer and expertly trained technical rescue team dedicated to saving lives through search and rescue operations, wilderness emergency medical services and outdoor safety programs.

“Partnering up with the Phoenix Suns for this program will aid both of the organizations,” Doug Fulton, Fulton Homes CEO, said. “The Youth Assistance Foundation promotes youth health and wellness programs, while CAMRA aids those who find themselves in life and death situations. Fulton Homes is proud to give back to a community where we live and work.”

Fulton Homes reunited this season with the Phoenix Suns to revive the Fulton Homes “Proud to Own the Three-Point Zone” program. In previous seasons, Fulton Homes has donated more than $206,000 over five years to local charities through Phoenix Suns Charities. This year’s partnership included all 80 home and away regular season games broadcast on Fox Sports Net.

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Valley Leadership announces Man & Woman of the Year

Valley Leadership announces Tom Ambrose and Ambassador Barbara Barrett as the organization’s 2012 Man & Woman of the Year. The pair will be honored for their distinguished service to the community at an awards luncheon in March.

Ambrose is well known in the greater Phoenix Metropolitan area as a community leader for nearly four decades. He joined the management team at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSAZ) as Executive Director in June, 2010.  Prior to that, Ambrose spent 37 years with the Phoenix Suns working in public relations, marketing, advertising and foundation management roles. For 17 years, he was the executive director of Phoenix Suns Charities.
Under his leadership, the Phoenix Suns Charities grew from a good idea in 1988, to a high impact community grant-maker by raising and distributing over nine millions dollars in grants and scholarships over the years

“Tom’s commitment to our community has impacted dozens of organizations across the Valley,” said Jerry Lewkowitz, co-chair of this year’s Selection Committee.  “The nonprofit landscape is filled with landmarks to his efforts.”

Barbara Barrett is President and CEO of Triple Creek Guest Ranch, perennially ranked among the top hotels in the world.  Until November 2012, she was also Interim President of Thunderbird School of Global Management, the world’s #1 school for international management.  Previously, she was Ambassador to Finland, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, CEO of the American Management Association, a Fellow teaching Leadership at Harvard and Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.

“Starting with her participation in Valley Leadership Class I, Barbara has proven her commitment to our community over many years of leadership,” Sue Glawe, Selection Committee co-chair, said.   “Her list of accomplishments is a shining example for our community.”

Ambrose and Barrett join a prestigious list of past Man and Woman of the Year award recipients spanning 63 years.  U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater was honored as the inaugural Man of the Year and most recently Sue Glawe and Jerry Lewkowitz were recognized as the 2012 recipients.

The newest inductees will be formally recognized at a luncheon on March 21, 2013, at the Arizona Biltmore. For more information or to purchase seats or sponsorships, call the Valley Leadership office at (602) 952-6760.

Phoenix Suns Charities - Spirit of Cotton Award

Phoenix Suns Charities Honor Spirit Of Cotton Winner

The winner of the 7th annual Spirit of Cotton Award is Raul Mendoza, coach of the Holbrook High School boys basketball team, in Holbrook, Arizona. Phoenix Suns Charities will honor Coach Mendoza when he and a group of well-wishers attend the Suns-Spurs game on Wednesday, April 25 at US Airways Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Over the past 33 years, Mendoza has coached high school boys basketball in the state of Arizona. He has recorded more than 600 wins in his career and has led his programs to numerous winning seasons, including a state championship in 2011.  Mendoza is a six-time Conference Coach of the Year, two-time Arizona Coaches Association Coach of the Year and was named the 2011 Arizona Republic Small School Coach of the Year. In addition to his accomplishments on the court, Mendoza is regarded by his peers as one of the most respectable coaches in the game. He has established himself as a leader in the Holbrook community through his work and mentorship of the City’s youth, both on and off the court.

“I feel very fortunate to receive this prestigious award when there are so many equally deserving candidates,” said a humbled Mendoza.  “This award was created in remembrance of a great man and to be associated with him tops almost everything I have accomplished in my career.”

The Spirit of Cotton Award, named in memory of former Suns Head Coach, Cotton Fitzsimmons, who passed away in July 2004, honors a high school coach in Arizona who consistently demonstrates the best qualities of a coach, educator, mentor and community leader.

“Coach Mendoza clearly is a successful coach, but he is so much more than that,” said JoAnn Fitzsimmons, wife of the late Cotton Fitzsimmons.  “He has impacted the lives of his players and his entire community.  He leads by example and that example truly reflects the Spirit of Cotton.”

As part of the award, Coach Mendoza will receive a commemorative plaque and custom ring designed by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers. In addition, Phoenix Suns Charities will make a grant of $10,000 to Holbrook High School’s athletic department.

Fitzsimmons had been an integral part of the Suns since 1970, when he began his first of three stints as the team’s head coach. Over a 20-year NBA coaching career, Fitzsimmons won 832 games with four different franchises. He was twice honored as NBA Coach of the Year (1979 with Kansas City and 1989 with the Suns).

For more information on Phoenix Suns Charities visit their website at nba.com/suns/charities.html.

Junior Achievement JA You’re Hired! Challenge 2011

Junior Achievement JA You’re Hired! Challenge Teaches Students Workforce Skills

Hundreds of Valley high school students learn workforce skills, compete for internships at the Junior Achievement of Arizona (JAAZ) JA You’re Hired! Challenge at the Tempe Center for the Arts


According to a 21st Century Skills study, 42 percent of employers rate the overall preparation of high school graduates for entry-level jobs as deficient. On March 29, more than 350 Valley high school students will defy this statistic at the Junior Achievement of Arizona (JAAZ) JA You’re Hired! Challenge at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

The JA You’re Hired! Challenge is a part of a three component, award-winning program created by JAAZ in partnership with the University of Phoenix to develop high school students’ work-readiness skills, many of which are not addressed in a normal high school curriculum.

“We realize that even some of the best schools lack the ‘real world’ lessons that are needed to transition from student to employee,” says Joyce Richards, president of JAAZ. “JA You’re Hired! teaches students those skills and does so in a realistic, competitive environment to help them make smart academic and economic choices.”

The first component is a rigorous curriculum led in class by Junior Achievement volunteers to prepare them for the JA You’re Hired! Challenge. Over the course of a few weeks, students learn proper interview techniques; work to improve their writing, language, math and critical thinking skills; and how to apply what they learn in the classroom to real life situations.

These skills are then put to the test by nearly 50 Phoenix area hiring managers who will be on-site the day of the JA You’re Hired! Challenge. They will be testing the students on their abilities through mock interviews, marketing pitches and public speaking exercises.

Some of the hiring managers will be offering summer internships. Students selected will continue to the third component of the program, which is comprised of successfully completing a paid internship with regular correspondence between the employer and Junior Achievement advisors.

“What is truly unique about this program is that it goes beyond lessons and workshops,” Richards says. “Students actually go through the hiring process and apply everything this program has taught them. And like the real world, not everyone gets the job, but at least now they are prepared for whatever challenges they may face in the job market.”

This year’s JA You’re Hired! Challenge program is made possible thanks to the generous support of University of Phoenix and community partners, such as Phoenix Suns Charities, Triton Technologies, Crexando, FedEx, Allstate, bluemedia, Charles Schwab, Manpower, SHRM and others.

For more information on Junior Achievement or ways to get involved, please call 480-377-8500 or visit jaaz.org.

About Junior Achievement of Arizona
Junior Achievement is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which believes that every child deserves an education in economics and finances in order to inspire and prepare them for success in a global economy. Serving Arizona’s youth since 1957, JA prepares young people for the real world by showing them how to become self-sufficient, how to create jobs which make their communities robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Junior Achievement of Arizona reached nearly 83,000 students during the 2010-2011 school year.
Corporate Giving - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Corporate Giving More Discriminating, But Still Charitable

Like the economy, a dip in corporate giving appears to have bottomed out, but that charitable landscape has changed both for givers and receivers.

Corporations are re-evaluating which not-for-profit organizations they support, and in some cases businesses are providing more volunteers and less cash. At the same time, fund-raising efforts are changing. Some elaborate parties designed to attract big donors are a little less gala. Instead of the usual full-blown dinner, some groups are opting for less expensive cocktail parties.

Nationally, corporate giving rose 10.6 percent (8.8 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2010, according to the Giving USA Foundation. In Arizona, Laine Seaton of the Greater Arizona Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals says corporate giving is improving, with some caveats.

“It’s starting to get a little better – slowly,” she says. “Two years ago was definitely worse than it is now. I’m seeing that more companies are looking at alternate ways to support nonprofits. Definitely, volunteerism is up. Corporations and nonprofits have to be more flexible. Those chicken dinners are hard to fill.”

At the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, demand for food has nearly doubled in the past three years to a record 74 million pounds, which equates to 285,000 meals a day going to 700 agency-partners in 10 Arizona counties. St. Mary’s depends on a three-pronged operation to serve the increased number of needy and unemployed: financial donations, volunteers to help run the massive distribution center at 31st Avenue and Thomas Road, and food donations.

Terry Shannon, president and CEO of the food bank, says everyone is tightening their belt during these tough economic times. “But, fortunately, the economy has caused many corporations to refocus some of their support,” he says. “Maybe the total they can give is down, potentially donating to fewer nonprofits and focusing on basic needs. Obviously, we supply a very basic need. Our corporate financial support is strong.”

Volunteering is strong as well, saving the food bank $5 million a year in labor costs. “Corporations in Arizona are encouraging employees to volunteer more and more,” Shannon says. “At our main distribution center, we can handle 150 to 200 volunteers at a time. We get many corporate groups from companies like American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Target. It keeps their employees together – sorting, bagging and boxing food for distribution – and it almost functions as a team-building effort, rather than everyone doing their own thing.”

Food donations from manufacturers and retailers represent the third leg of the food bank’s operations. Some 55 trucks are dispatched to 280 grocery stores daily to pick up what Shannon calls “non-salable but edible” food items, such as a dented can of soup or a package of buns with one that is crushed.

“We’re a food distribution business,” Shannon says, “but we do it with donated and rescued food. Imagine what would happen if we had the food, but no money to put fuel in those 55 trucks (we use to distribute) or if we didn’t have the volunteers.”

In addition to having its employees volunteer at St. Mary’s Food Bank, Wells Fargo announced it is contributing $38,000 to 20 non-profits in recognition of volunteer efforts throughout the community. Twenty Wells Fargo Arizona team members were named Volunteer Service Award winners. Two will have $10,000 given to the charity of their choice and 18 will have $1,000 given to their selected charities.

In 2010, Wells Fargo team members reported nearly 80,000 volunteer hours in Arizona. They served as mentors, board members, project leaders, fund raisers, educators and more. Wells Fargo also donated $5 million in 2010 to nonprofits and schools in Arizona.
Despite the struggles of some corporations and non-profits, Phoenix Suns Charities is cashing in on its community-based reputation. In the past year, the organization distributed a record $1.36 million to 178 charitable organizations. That tops last year’s record of more $1.2 million awarded to 156 recipients, and marks the two best years since Phoenix Suns Charities was formed 23 years ago.

Kathryn Pidgeon, executive director of the NBA team’s charitable arm, has an explanation for the impressive results. “We are connected at the hip to a stellar organization – the Phoenix Suns,” she says. “The community loves the Suns. There is a strong history of giving to the community. Our donors really believe in us, trust us. They know the money is going for the kids.”

The $11.6 million in donations the Phoenix Suns Charities has distributed since 1988 is separate from the free tickets, signed memorabilia and personal appearances by team members, dancers and the mascot, the Gorilla. “My number is all cash,” Pidgeon says.
Grants from Suns Charities start at $1,000. The largest donation of $100,000 went to Improving Chandler Area Neighborhoods to build a basketball court in its new facility in downtown Chandler.

Phoenix Sun Charities is one that still relies on a gala to raise money. “We’ve given people a fabulous party,” Pidgeon says. “It’s wildly successful with great entertainment. All the players are there and they’re accessible.”

Pidgeon says the gala, which is partly underwritten by corporate sponsors, netted $1.1 million last March.

There are numerous other ways Phoenix Suns Charities generates money for its donations. The newest venture is an official state of Arizona Phoenix Suns license plate that produced $39,000 the first year and $51,000 the second year.

A new development in fundraising, says Seaton of the Fundraising Professionals group, is the target audience. The most giving demographic has been women in the 55 to 65 age group. “Nonprofits these days are also looking at twenty-somethings,” she says. “They didn’t have money to give. That’s not the case anymore. Young people want to make a difference. They have energy and new ideas. Social media is part of that effort.”

Arizona Corporate Angels

National Kidney Foundation of Arizona

 National Kidney Foundation, Corporate Giving
4203 E. Indian School Rd., Suite 140
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 840-1644
azkidney.org

Arizona’s Children Association

Arizona Children's Association, Corporate Giving
2833 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ 85004 | (602) 234-3733 | arizonaschildren.org
2700 S. 8th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85713 | (800) 944-7611 | hope3ways.org

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona, Corporate Giving
1802 W. Parkside Ln.
Phoenix, AZ 85027
(602) 943-5472
ucpofcentralaz.org

Arizona School of Choice Trust

Arizona School of Trust, Corporate Giving
P.O. Box 1616
Glendale, AZ 85311
(623) 414-3429
asct.org

Phoenix Rescue Mission

 Phoenix Rescue Mission, Corporate Giving
1801 S. 35th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85009
(602) 233-3000
phoenixrescuemission.org

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For more information about these Arizona Corporate Angels and their respective corporate giving, view the AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2011 digital issue.

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Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011