Tag Archives: valley of the sun united way

foodbank

BCBSAZ donates 6,250 meals to the hungry

Arizonans across the state struggle with hunger. According to the Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB), almost one in five adults, and one in four children, struggle with hunger and poverty in rural and metro communities alike.

Because food insecurity rates in Arizona are higher than the national average, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) selected three organizations to receive support as part of its 75th anniversary, “Arizonans First.  Always” campaign.

“Hunger is a disheartening and undeniable issue in Arizona,” said Rich Boals, president and CEO of BCBSAZ. “We will do what we can to help fight hunger with the hope our contributions encourage others to do the same.”

The three programs supported include:

1.     The Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB) through a donation of 7,500 lbs. of canned food. The 7,500 lbs. is equivalent to 6,250 meals.“Items like canned chicken and similar canned foods are greatly needed,” said Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the AAFB. “They are healthy and full of protein, which is always in short supply and necessary for a balanced diet. The Association of Arizona Food Banks could not accomplish our goals without these kinds of generous donations.”

2.     The Valley of the Sun United Way’s World Record to End Hunger project was supported by BCBSAZ volunteers lending time to assembling food bags for those in need. As it turned out, the volunteers broke the Guinness World Record by assembling more than 2,000 food bags in just three minutes.

3.     A contribution was also made to the Yavapai Food Council (YFC) which administers the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project and the National School Lunch Program countywide. The food that is collected through the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project will be donated to community food banks, pantries, and child-hunger programs. The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced meals to students at rural and charter schools, comprised of more than 60 percent low-income families based on the U.S. Governments poverty guidelines.  A study conducted by YFC shows that one out of four adults and one out of three children in Yavapai County face food insecurity. Program funding is critical in helping these children grow up healthy and strong.

The “Arizonans First. Always.” campaign has already visited Pima, Maricopa, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Greenlee, Graham, Apache, Navajo, Mohave and La Paz counties. Following the World Record to End Hunger project, BCBSAZ will visit Coconino County. To learn more about BCBSAZ and its 75 years in Arizona, visit azblue.com/birthday.

diversity

United Way Announces New Board Members

Valley of the Sun United Way welcomes six new Board Members: Ruben Alvarez, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Molera Alvarez, LLC; Bridget Olesiewicz, Principal, The Vanguard Group; Steve Purves, President and CEO, Maricopa Integrated Health System; Todd Sanders, President and CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; Rob Schaffer, Vice President and General Manager, USAA; and Farzana Scofield, Social Media Specialist for Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix.

As new Board Members, each will provide dynamic leadership to achieve United Way’s three Community Objectives: 1) Ensure Children and Youth Succeed; 2) End Hunger and Homelessness; and, 3) Increase Financial Stability of Families and Individuals.

“The depth and breadth of experience of our 2015 Board Members represent the diverse voices in our community, will facilitate even greater change in the Valley and broaden our impact,” said Merl Waschler, Valley of the Sun United Way President and CEO. “Each has significant influence personally and professionally and will advance long-term community solutions as we transform individual lives.”

The new members will work with the existing Board and United Way executives to engage a broader base of community members to inspire them to give, advocate and volunteer with United Way. With a keen focus on creating new connections with businesses, seasoned professionals, young leaders and Millennials, United Way will build a stronger community.

“We appreciate our Board Members’ willingness to serve and look forward to working together to ensure each member of our community has the ability to achieve the aspirations we all share: a good education for our kids, food on the table, a roof over our heads and the security of financial self-sufficiency,” Waschler added.

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FEI, Az Business present CFO of the Year awards

Financial Executives International (FEI) Arizona Chapter and Az Business magazine presented the 7th Annual CFO of the Year Awards at the Arizona Biltmore. The awards recognize professionals for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards.

Read all about the finalists below, then check out photos of the event.

Finalists were Bradley C. Anderson, executive vice president of finance and CFO, Amtech Systems, Inc.; Dan Behrendt, CFO, TASER International; Jerome Bruggeman, CFO, RMJ Electrical Contractors, Inc.; Christina Cancino, senior vice president and CFO, Arizona’s Children Association; Sandy Catour, CFO, Sitewire; Ed Czemerych, CFO, Liberty Iron and Metal Holdings, LLC; Ward Huseth, CFO, Great Hearts Academies; Joseph Ivenz, CFO, Marcolin USA; Renee Krug, executive vice president and CFO, Clear Channel Outdoor; Thomas C. Lavoy, CFO, Veolia Transportation on Demand;  Shaun McMeans, vice president of administration and CFO, HTG Molecular Diagnostics; David Miller, CFO, Jokake Construction Services, Inc.; Doug Noblitt, executive vice president, finance and accounting, Tallwave; Chris Power, CFO, LifeLock, Inc.; Carlos L. Rojas, CFO, Heard Museum; Ashley Sanders, vice president of finance, Angel MedFlight; Richard Skufza, executive vice president and CFO, LaneTerralever; Debra Thompson, vice chancellor for business services, Maricopa Community Colleges; Christopher L. Turner, director of finance, GlobalMed; Dennis M. Via, CFO, NFP Property & Casualty Services, Inc.; and Shane Wells, Arizona-Nevada market CFO, IASIS Healthcare.

The four winners honored were:

CFO of the Year, Private Company

Thomas B. Fischer, CFO and vice president of finance, OnTrac

Since taking the role in 2000, Fischer has navigated business reorganizations, led the implementation of optimized business practices and collaborated toward the successful launches in five new states, helping to diversify the company’s services and increase customer value. His responsibilities include daily operations of financial and fiscal management.

Impact on OnTrac: In 2013, Fischer coordinated $40 million in new borrowings, which facilitated the buyback of employee stock option plans and the implementation of material handling, as well as allowing for the working capital for increase of business.  More than $20 million has been invested into equipment that will help OnTrac increase its package delivery from 50,000 packages a day to more than 300,000 packages a day. This type of automation significantly reduces the cost of delivery to the company.

CFO of the Year, Private Company

Tom Harris, executive vice president and CFO, Arizona Diamondbacks

Harris oversees all financial operations, risk management, administration, stadium operations and ownership relations. His tenure in this organization and in the industry make him an integral officer in assisting the president and CEO and other executives in guiding the organization to success. His knowledge of the inner workings of local government is essential in the day-to-day affairs of stadium related matters.

Impact on Diamondbacks: Harris spearheaded a 2011 debt refinancing, bond tender offer and line of credit with JP Morgan that reduced long-term debt by $1 million and provides for reduced interest expense and improved cash flow going forward. In 2011, he also spearheaded a modification of the team’s concessions agreement that has significantly improved its concessions revenue share.

CFO of the Year, Public Company

Amin Maredia, CFO, Sprouts Farmers Market

In less than two years, Maredia has established a public company finance function while completing a major strategic acquisition, more than $700 million debt refinancing, and leading Sprouts’ initial public offering efforts. In addition, he designed Sprouts’ finance infrastructure, including implementation of analytical tools, which provide the ability to monitor current and accurately forecast future performance. Maredia has also used his vast retail experience to help Sprouts execute its new store selection process and strengthen its position in the market.

Impact on Sprouts: Maredia has been instrumental in establishing the company’s internal control systems. He is a tireless advocate for transparency in not only financial reporting, but all areas of the operations. He has taken a lead role in developing a delegation of authority policy and code of conduct applicable to all company team members.

CFO of the Year, Nonprofit

Tanya Muñiz, CFO, Valley of the Sun United Way

Muñiz administers all financial operations and analysis. Under her leadership, the annual budget has grown from $50 million to $114 million in five years. United Way has very complex financials and undergoes six audits annually, with consistently excellent results and zero findings. Muñiz oversees a department of 20 employees who have flourished under her leadership. She led the development of organizational scorecards for measuring and managing performance. Customer satisfaction with accounting has increased by 25 percent since she became CFO.

Impact on United Way: Muñiz built a 10-year economic model that enables the organization to better plan its work and serves as a foundation for its strategic plans. The model enables Valley of the Sun United Way to see the effects of multi-year grants and major gifts, as well as recognizing that many expenses are long-term investments requiring up-front financing.

Lori Higuera

Higuera elected to Women’s Leadership Council

Lori A. Higuera, a partner at Fennemore Craig and co-chair of the firm’s Employment and Labor Relations practice, has been appointed to the Steering Committee of the Women’s Leadership Council for the Valley of the Sun United Way.

Higuera’s practice focuses on training managers, human resource professionals, and employees in all areas of employment law, including harassment prevention, lawful and effective investigations, effective hiring, performance management, the ADA and FMLA. She frequently conducts workplace investigations and advises clients on the implementation and maintenance of proactive employment practices. She is an employment law expert for CareerBuilder’s popular “Ask the Expert” column and often speaks on a variety of work-related topics before a wide range of professional organizations.

The Women’s Leadership Council’s mission is to build a powerful network of women who support the work of the Valley of the Sun United Way by giving, advocating, volunteering, and inspiring others to join and creating lasting change in the community.

Lori Higuera

Higuera elected to Women's Leadership Council

Lori A. Higuera, a partner at Fennemore Craig and co-chair of the firm’s Employment and Labor Relations practice, has been appointed to the Steering Committee of the Women’s Leadership Council for the Valley of the Sun United Way.

Higuera’s practice focuses on training managers, human resource professionals, and employees in all areas of employment law, including harassment prevention, lawful and effective investigations, effective hiring, performance management, the ADA and FMLA. She frequently conducts workplace investigations and advises clients on the implementation and maintenance of proactive employment practices. She is an employment law expert for CareerBuilder’s popular “Ask the Expert” column and often speaks on a variety of work-related topics before a wide range of professional organizations.

The Women’s Leadership Council’s mission is to build a powerful network of women who support the work of the Valley of the Sun United Way by giving, advocating, volunteering, and inspiring others to join and creating lasting change in the community.

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ACAA honors Hildebrand, Schmaltz, Grijalva, Torres

Ginny Hildebrand, who is retiring this year as President and CEO of the Arizona Association of Food Banks, and Tim Schmaltz, Executive Director of the Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition, have been named the 2013 Margie Frost Champions Against Poverty by the Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA).

This is the first time that two recipients will share the award named for Margie Frost, the longtime community activist and creator and former director of the East Valley Men’s Center, a facility for homeless men re-entering society.  Frost, the 1990 Mesa Woman of the Year and recipient of the 1995 Alma Blew Award for Most Outstanding Service to Humanity, died in 2006.

Hildebrand and Schmaltz, consistent and powerful advocates in the effort to reduce or eliminate poverty in Arizona, will receive their awards at the ACAA Statewide Conference (Strengthening Communities through Innovation, Investment, Inclusion) on Friday, May 10 at 11:15 a.m. at the Carefree Resort and Conference Center, 37220 Mule Train Road in Carefree.

The ACAA Leadership Award selection committee also will recognize:

• U.S. Representative Raul M. Grijalva with the 2013 Legislative Leadership Award for “his representation of the people of Arizona in helping to make a difference in the lives of those impacted by poverty,” according to ACAA Executive Director Cynthia Zwick.

• Pastor John Torres (JT) with the 2013 Beating the Odds Award for his “personal accomplishments and in beating the odds to overcome many challenges and obstacles to improve his life and give back to the community,” Zwick said.  Pastor JT overcame drugs, alcohol, gangs and prison to serve local social service and faith-based organizations in the West Valley.

Heart in Hand Awards, annual recognition of the contributions of individuals across the state in the battle to end poverty, will be presented to:

• Jack Davis, by the City of Phoenix Human Services Department

• Alice Tipton, by the Community Action Human Resources Agency (CAHRA), Pinal County

• Amy Schwabenlender, Valley of the Sun United Way, by Maricopa County Human Services Department

• Ana Robles, City of Somerton, Desert Valley Senior Center, by Western Arizona Council of Governments

• Reverend Rula Colvin, by Gila County Community Action Program

• Scott Coverdale, Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona, by Pima County Community Action Agency

• Harvey Grady, by Northern Arizona Council of Governments

• Elizabeth Archuleta, Chair, Coconino County Board of Supervisors, by Coconino County Community Services.

The two-day ACAA Statewide Conference features keynote addresses by Elizabeth Archuleta, Chair, Coconino County Board of Supervisors; Jennifer Brooks, State & Local Policy Director, Corporation for Enterprise Development; and Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona.

Break-out sessions include key principles of Motivational Interviewing (Denise Beagley, Magellan Health Services of Arizona), Asset Building Strategy (Luis and Francisco Cervera, eMoneyPool), Moving Toward Evidence-Based Practice and Intro to the ROMA Next Generation Center of Excellence (Kelly McGowan, ACAA, and Sandra Mendez, National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), Building Healthy Client/Customer Relationships (Moe Gallegos, City of Phoenix Human Services Department), Mental Health 101 for Caseworkers (Denise Beagley), Create a Social Media Plan You Can Manager (Elise Peterson, Meridian Designs & Creations), Creating Hunger Free Communities (Amy Schwabenlender, Vice President Community Impact, Valley of the Sun United Way), Building an Effective Issue Campaign (Serena Unrein, Arizona PIRG), A Place at the Table Screening and Discussion (Ellen Teller, Food Research & Action Center); Becoming an Excelling Community Action Agency (Russ Spain, Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, Idaho Falls, ID); Viewing of “The Line” and Discussion (Laura Penny, Director, Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona); Affordable Care Act (Matt Jewitt, Children’s Action Alliance); and Save Our Home Arizona (Mickey Breen, Arizona Department of Housing, Save our Home Arizona).

For information or to register, visit www.azcaa.org or call (602) 604-0640.

Local Initiatives Check Pres 2-11-13_sml

Wells Fargo grants $1 million to six area nonprofits

Wells Fargo & Company, one of America’s leading community banks and the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, announced the company will make donations totaling $1 million shared across six Arizona nonprofits to help further strengthen and stabilize Arizona communities.

The local grant recipients were identified in close collaboration with the City of Phoenix and Mayor Greg Stanton.  Grants are targeted to support five key areas:  Support services for the homeless, neighborhood beautification and improvement, education and workforce programs, small business and economic development, and the environment.

Wells Fargo is making $1 million in grants to the following Phoenix nonprofits:
· Arizona Citizens for the Arts — $50,000 to support the organization’s efforts in neighborhood beautification efforts and the arts.
· Keep Phoenix Beautiful — $100,000 in support of Phoenix neighborhood beautification efforts and the environment.
· Arizona Women’s Education and Employment, Inc. (AWEE) — $150,000 in support of education and workforce programs, homelessness, and economic development.
· Maricopa County Community College (MCCC)/Arizona Small Business Development Center — $200,000 to support small business programs and economic development.
· Teach for America – Phoenix — $200,000 to support the organization’s education programs.
· Valley of the Sun United Way — $300,000 to support the homelessness community, education, employment, and economic development.

The grants are funded through the Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFTSM  program that was launched early last year.  The program is an innovative effort created to help stabilize neighborhoods and help people buy homes by making properties more affordable with down payment assistance available for eligible prospective buyers.

“Wells Fargo is the leading mortgage lender in Arizona and we are proud to support our communities to help ensure a thriving and healthy community base,” said Pam Conboy, Wells Fargo Arizona Lead Regional President.  “These nonprofits are actively leading efforts to help stabilize neighborhoods and promote jobs and education programs, and we are excited to help support their tremendous efforts with the NeighborhoodLIFTSM program local initiatives funds.”

“City government is a key player in moving our economy forward, ending homelessness and advocating for quality education for our kids, but we cannot do it alone,” said Mayor Stanton.  “Our partners in the nonprofit and faith communities are indispensable to ending homelessness and ensuring a stronger economic future in Phoenix and the region.  Thanks to Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFT program and their continued efforts in our communities and for being a conduit for boosting programs that build our city up to a more promising future.”

In addition to the local grants, the NeighborhoodLIFTSM program is helping further the nation’s housing recovery by providing down payment assistance to help more local families achieve successful, sustainable homeownership. In Phoenix, more than $2 million is still available for down payment assistance grants of $15,000 for local eligible hombuyers as part of the $8 million commitment to provide down payment assistance grants, homebuyer support programs and local initiatives to help consumers achieve successful, sustainable home ownership.  Wells Fargo collaborates with the City of Phoenix and the non-profit organization NeighborWorks America and its local affiliate, Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix, to implement the program.

Down payment assistance of $15,000 is available to those who qualify, buy and reside in a home in the city of Phoenix.  To qualify for down payment assistance that may be applied to mortgage purchase loans with any lender, applicants must meet certain criteria including annual income not exceeding 120 percent of the median income for the area. Income maximums vary based on family size.  An event was held in Phoenix last March to kick-off the program and nearly 1,000 prospective homebuyers attended. Wells Fargo committed $8 million in the city of Phoenix to fund the NeighborhoodLIFTSM program designed to stabilize neighborhoods and help residents become homeowners.

rsz_clear_title_staff_stuffing_backpacks_with_food_for_united_way_kids

Clear Title Celebrates 5 Years in Arizona by Giving Back to the Community

 

Clear Title Agency of Arizona celebrated its 5-year anniversary recently by gathering members of its team and assembling backpacks and food to donate to the Valley of the Sun United Way’s WeekEND Hunger Backpack Program.

The program provides backpacks stuffed with enough food to sustain underserved local kids through the weekend. After each weekend, the kids bring their backpacks back to have them stuffed again for the next week. This way, they don’t come to school hungry on Monday mornings.

The Valley of the Sun United Way, the largest nonprofit funder of health and human services in Maricopa County, was also presented with a $5,000 check. Clear Title’s founders, Bart Patterson, Jim Clifford and Nick Velimirovich donated $1,000 for each year the company had been in business.

Clear Title Agency of Arizona had to overcome adversity as a business that was totally reliant on Phoenix-area real estate transactions when it was founded in 2007. The Great Recession hit, shortly after that.

Through strategic thinking and a firm grasp of the economic reality, Clear Title changed its initial course and found creative ways to generate revenues via bank-owned real estate transactions and foreclosures (the REO market) by handling title and escrow duties for banks during the downturn. In the process, the company experienced 200% compounded annual growth, opened six offices and hired 50 people, becoming the fastest growing title company in Arizona.

“The secret to our success has been hiring the best and brightest escrow agents in town and turning lemons into lemonade during the recession,” said Patterson, founder and CEO of Clear Title. “Our people built a great name and reputation for themselves during that time which continues to serve us well as the Arizona real estate market comes back.”

“I have worked with almost all local title companies in my 20-year history in the mortgage business,” said Eric Herschede, senior loan officer, Nova Home Loans. “It is quite refreshing to find one that actually does what they say they will do, and they do it well! My preference is always to work with Clear Title for my clients.”

As the REO market began to decline in 2011, Patterson partnered with long-time Phoenix title industry executives Jim Clifford, president and COO; and Nick Velimirovich, CFO, to continue Clear Title’s rapid growth. Patterson, Clifford and Velimirovich are all partners in the firm and Arizona natives.

“The people at Clear Title are an exceptional group who not only survived the recession but prospered, due to their professionalism, standards of quality, business acumen and positive attitude,” Clifford said.

“It is through their efforts and successes, that we are where we are today,” Velimirovich added.

Clear Title services include:

>> Residential and Commercial Title and Escrow Services

>> Real Estate Owned (REO) Services

>> Trustee Sale Guarantees (TSG)

>> Default Services

>> Short Sale Escrow Services

 

boomer

Experience Matters’ Inaugural Encore Fellowship Class Graduates

Experience Matters, an organization that connects baby boomers with nonprofit and social service organizations to improve the quality of life in Maricopa County, announces the graduation of the inaugural encore fellowship class.  The first class of encore fellows has completed their yearlong fellowship with their host nonprofit organizations. Encore fellowships represent a new life-stage in which experienced boomers find meaningful ways to engage in the community and bring skilled and professional resources to these organizations that are often under-resourced.  Nationwide, 31 million boomers indicate an interest in encore opportunities.  In Maricopa County there is significant demand on behalf of both boomers and nonprofit organizations for fellowship and hosting opportunities, respectively.

“My work this past year as an Experience Matters’ encore fellow hosted by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits could not have been more rewarding.  I learned more about the needs of nonprofit organizations and how they operate than I thought possible in just one year. It was quite rewarding to see how my 25 years of experience in the corporate world added value to a nonprofit organization.  I have a new-found respect for the Arizona nonprofit community and am committed to staying involved as I graduate from the Encore Fellowship Program,” stated Warren Mills, former valley technology executive.

“It is with great pride that we celebrate the graduation of our inaugural encore fellowship class at Experience Matters.  These fellows and organizations proved the value of matching boomers with nonprofit organizations.  What we have learned from the inaugural class indicates we can significantly increase the number of boomers engaged in paid and unpaid social service opportunities to support our nonprofit community as they work so hard to improve the quality of life in Maricopa County.  The demand is strong to connect the talent with the community, ” stated Nora Hannah, CEO of Experience Matters.

The inaugural class included the following fellows and their host organizations:

Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, Encore Fellow Mr. Warren Mills
Altered Tails, Encore Fellow Mr. Gregg Cebulski
Arizona Foundation for Women, Encore Fellow Ms. Debbie Hall
Arizona Science Center, Encore Fellow Mr. Kris Guffey
Balsz Elementary School District, Encore Fellow Ms. Anne White
Halle Family Foundation, Encore Fellow Ms. Denise Schubert
HALO, Encore Fellow Mr. Bill Thomson
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, Encore Fellow Ms. Isabel LeRoy
Mission of Mercy, Encore Fellow Ms. Dianne Aguilar
PetSmart Charities, Encore Fellow Ms. Linda Hannen
St. Mary’s Food Bank, Encore Fellow Ms. Christine McRight
Tempe Community Action, Encore Fellow Mr. Jeff Abraham
Valley of the Sun United Way, Encore Fellow Mr. Bob Ryan

Evening on the Diamond Presented by University of Phoenix

Call him Dr. Derrick Hall

Arizona Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall has been awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from University of Phoenix. Hall was presented the doctorate on Saturday, November 10 during the graduation ceremony at University of Phoenix in which Hall was the commencement speaker. A photo of the ceremony is attached with Hall alongside University of Phoenix President Dr. Bill Pepicello and Phoenix Campus Vice President David Fitzgerald.

“University of Phoenix is a great partner of the D-backs and a leader in the Arizona community,” said Hall. “I am honored to receive this degree of high distinction. I’m so proud of the collaborative efforts to make a strong impact in the community with our joint initiatives.”

The doctorate is in recognition of Hall’s leadership role in the community. The honor came one day after Hall was presented with the first-ever Goldwater Community Service Award for his philanthropic efforts in the Arizona community. He currently serves on 27 boards, including Chairman of the Board for Valley of the Sun United Way leading the Hunger-Free Communities Plan Steering Committee, and is an active member of the Thunderbirds and Young President’s Organization.

The D-backs and University of Phoenix worked together to create the $100,000 School Challenge last February that received more than 700 applicants. The success of the first round of the program led to the $150,000 Back-To-School Challenge launched in September in which 31 schools received $5,000 each to improve their school in one of four categories: educational programs, innovation and technology, nutrition and fitness and school/campus improvements. In addition, the D-backs and University of Phoenix team up each year to provide more than 500 children with a fun holiday experience, including interacting with D-backs players and coaches, an arts and crafts station, T-ball game, and a gift bag with new shoes at the annual Winter Classic Holiday Party held at Chase Field in December.

Evening on the Diamond Presented by University of Phoenix

D-Backs CEO earns Goldwater award

Arizona Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall has been named the 2012 recipient of the Goldwater Community Service Award and will be honored at the 29th Noche de Gourmet Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, at the Wrigley Mansion. The Goldwater Community Service Awards, presented by the Active 20-30 Club of Phoenix, honors a community leader with a strong record of philanthropic involvement, professional success in their field of work, and a desire to give back to the Phoenix area through serving on charitable and corporate boards and through public service.

“I am honored to be the first recipient of this prestigious award in a category where every nominee is truly deserving,” said Hall. “The Active 20-30 Club is a distinguished philanthropic club that works hard to improve the lives of children across the Valley, and I am proud to represent and be recognized by such an illustrious group of individuals.”

Hall was chosen among five nominees, including Arizona Treasurer and former Founder & CEO of Cold Stone Doug Ducey, Phoenix City Councilmember and Attorney for PING William Gates, Founder of Beyond the Flames Jason Schechterle and Executive Director of The First Tee of Phoenix Hugh Smith, Jr. The annual award is given to an individual who shows high moral and ethical character and will set the standard for the men of the Active 20-30 Club of Phoenix to achieve as they continue to grow and develop in their profession and in their community.

A proven leader in the Arizona community, Hall currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Valley of the Sun United Way and leads the Hunger-Free Communities Plan Steering Committee, and is an active member of the Thunderbirds and Young President’s Organization. He serves on 27 boards, including the Arizona Mexico Commission, Great Hearts Academies, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Advisory Council for Pancreatic Cancer, US Airways Education Foundation, St. Vincent de Paul and Florence Crittendon. He has also raised money by serving as an event chairman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) and the Foundation for Blind Children.

Merl Waschler

Merl Waschler’s First Job

Merle Waschler
President and CEO, Valley of the Sun United Way

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned from it.
As a young adult in high school and my early college years, I worked at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in my hometown state of New Jersey. I consider my time at Greystone to be one of those pivotal life-shaping experiences. As an orderly and camp counselor, I worked serving the needs of mentally ill adults and children from all walks of life. Here I learned the power of empathy, patience and the true meaning of human potential. These virtues continue to shape my life and career daily.

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned from it?
Upon graduating from Penn State University, I began my finance and accounting career at Arthur Andersen. Throughout my tenure at the firm, I sharpened my skills in business management and developed a business approach to accounting. I continue to utilize the financial management, operations and strong business ethics I learned early in my career at Arthur Andersen. I am genuinely grateful that my first industry job led me to a strong relationship with United Way. During my career at the firm, I served as a United Way loaned executive. As such, I worked alongside United Way staff helping to increase the understanding human service needs, and encouraged donations to the annual fundraising campaign. This journey has come full circle for me, as loaned executives are tremendous support to Valley of the Sun United Way.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
I made minimum wage at Greystone Park (around $3.25 an hour) and earned about $10,300 a year at Arthur Andersen.

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did they play?
My career and professional mentorship hit its pinnacle as Valley of the Sun United Way’s president. I am fortunate to have the counsel of leaders that span diverse industries, leadership levels and areas of expertise. As a leadership group, I look to corporate CEOs, nonprofit leaders, community philanthropists and many others for advice on pressing issues in the areas of education, income and health to guide Valley of the Sun United Way’s work. Equally important is the community’s voice to ensure pressing human care needs continue to be met. This wide-range community perspective is powerful and reflects a desire from all to create opportunities for a better tomorrow.

I continue to be inspired by my professional and community mentors and will work vigorously to improve the quality of life in our community for individuals, families and children.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
The nonprofit sector continues to innovate and transform to meet community needs. I would encourage individuals entering the field to consider that changing community conditions takes time, tenacity, innovation and a degree of risk. I’ve seen an increasing number of nonprofits moving toward the integration of business models and social change theories. All of this represents a great opportunity for individuals, organizations and the communities served by nonprofits.

With this in mind, find an organization that fits your passion and has bold community goals. Surround yourself with innovative thinkers and agents of change. Reach for the opportunity that maximizes results for you and the organization. Remember that long-term change will not be achieved overnight — look for an opportunity with longevity.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I can honestly say that I cannot imagine doing something else. We often seek to find that job we can be so passionate about that it does not seem like “work” or a “job.” I am very lucky to be living that today. It’s so rewarding to work with business, nonprofit, faith-based, government, academia and so many other sectors to strengthen the quality of life in our community each and every day. I’ve met so many inspiring individuals whose lives have been touched by Valley of the Sun United Way and our many partners. I am humbled to be serving our community and will continue to do so proudly.