O’Connor House is now the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute. O’Connor House, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to solving complex issues through civil discourse and collaborative action. In recognition of the need to continue to expand and enhance its endeavors, the Board of Directors voted to change the name of the organization from O’Connor House to the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute.
Sarah Suggs, President and CEO said, “The O’Connor Institute is a significant step forward and exciting chapter in our organization’s life. We continue Sandra Day O’Connor’s important work to advance society, inspired by her leadership, intellect and vision.”
The mission of the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute is to:
- Continue Sandra Day O’Connor’s lifetime work of solving important social, economic and political problems through civil dialogue and civic action.
- Create an environment where important policy decisions are made through a process of civil discussion, critical analysis of facts and informed participation of all citizens.
- Build consensus and collaborate on state and national levels to help solve complex issues.
“Given the polarized, highly politicized approach to current issues, the non-partisan O’Connor Institute offers civil discourse and collaborative problem solving to constructively address the complex challenges that face our state and nation,” stated Peter M. Hayes, Chairman of the Board.
The Sandra Day O’Connor Institute current programmatic areas include Social Justice, Public Policy and Civics Education. In addition, the history of Sandra Day O’Connor’s extraordinary life is being documented and preserved. Plans also call for a future location of the O’Connor Institute to include a civic center, auditorium, educational classrooms, internships, collaborative workspace, public forums and debates, library, tours, a permanent exhibit honoring the lifetime work of Sandra Day O’Connor and administrative offices.
The historic O’Connor House itself will remain an asset of the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute. The adobe home was relocated to the campus of the Arizona Historical Society and became a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization in 2009.
The work begun by O’Connor House which will be continued by the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute includes:
- Public Policy: Providing a greater understanding of critical issues through thoughtful discussion, critical analysis of facts and informed participation of all citizens.
- SAFE Action Project: Delivering hospitality industry training developed by O’Connor House to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children (child sex trafficking).
- Social Justice: Creating solutions and collaborative partnerships to reduce domestic violence against women and children.
- Civics Education: promoting civics education, particularly in middle schools, including the use of iCivics.org, an online education portal founded by Sandra Day O’Connor as a free civics resource for teachers and students.
- Distinguished Speakers Series: Presenting national and international leaders and luminaries who foster the ideals of statesmanship
Sandra Day O’Connor made history in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan nominated her as an associate justice and first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, where she served 25 years until her retirement in 2006. Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor had previously worked in the Arizona Attorney General’s office, in the Arizona State Senate as Majority Leader, later as a judge in the Maricopa County Superior Court and the Arizona Court of Appeals before her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Peter M. Hayes is Chairman of the Board and Sarah E. Suggs serves as President and CEO.
Board Members include Joseph P. Anderson, Tracy Bame, Deborah Bateman, Rich Boals, Nikal Conti, Harold Dorenbecher, Shelley Duane, John Evancevich, Leonard Gaby, Dr. Rufus Glasper, Lucia Howard, Hon. Douglas Hunt, Rick Jones, Francis Najafi, Michael Rooney, James Rose, Stephen M. Savage, Richard H. Silverman, Kim Sterling-Heflin, Gay Firestone Wray, Kari Yatkowski and Kathleen Zeider. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) and Ambassador Barbara Barrett serve as Advisors.