Each year, Az Business Angels casts a spotlight on the nonprofits, business leaders, and organizations that are making the biggest impact on our communities.
“We want to engage the nonprofit leaders of Arizona in order to learn more about their missions, the causes they support and the people who work tirelessly to serve them,” says AZ Big Media Editor in Chief Michael Gossie. “Equally important, we want to pay tribute to the for-profit businesses and business leaders who sit on boards, donate time, support community initiatives and give back through various means to the nonprofit community.”
Here are the organizations and leaders who are the Az Business Angels of 2022.
Social service nonprofits of the year
AREA AGENCY ON AGING
Since 1974, the Area Agency on Aging serves more than 103,000 people annually, focusing on adults ages 60 years and older, family caregivers of older adults, adults ages 18-59 with disabilities and long-term care needs and persons 18 and older who have a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS. Services and programs include a 24-Hour Senior HELP Line, family caregiver support and more.
With roots in the Valley since 1985, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has been responsible for building more than 1,170 homes; administering more than 2,500 repairs and improving a place called home for upwards of 3,800 Arizona families. Habitat’s core values center on belief, unity, integrity, love and dedication — fueled by the vision of establishing “A world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
In the summer of 2022, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona was recognized for its innovation in successfully completing its first 3D-printed home in partnership with Strata International Group. The home, constructed for a Tempe family, was built primarily using foam and concrete. And, the idea for a 3D-printed home — from ASU graduates in sustainability — may help Habitat erect more sustainable, energy-efficient homes in the future and provide a solution for more affordable housing.
Earning a four-star rating from Charity Navigator (their highest rating), PetSmart Charities remains in the top 1% of all charities ranked. Since 1994, the organization has granted more than $500 million to change-making organizations that help transform the lives of pets and those who love them.
PHOENIX RESCUE MISSION
Established in 1952, Phoenix Rescue Mission’s residential recovery program for men, women and children has remained a Valley staple, helping countless individuals in a variety of ways. In the last decade, the organization acquired the Hope For Hunger Food Bank in Glendale, added upwards of 100 employees and broke ground on its Life Recovery Building Transformations Recovery Program for men.
During its close to century-old operation in Arizona, Valley of the Sun United Way has helped fund upwards of 150 nonprofit programs; broke the Guinness World Record for “most food bags stuffed in three minutes” (1,993 packed bags in 2014), and in 2020, with its Board of Directors and staff, developed its own Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEAI) Vision to guide the organization and the work of MC2026 on behalf of the community.
Healthcare nonprofits of the year
AVA’S TREE HOUSE
Families affected by pediatric cancer can find solace and support at Ava’s Tree House. Its convenient outpatient Scottsdale location provides a stress-reducing sanctuary where families can partake in art classes, book readings, counseling, canine visits and free tutoring — and there’s even an onsite toy store.
Providing a host of services in hospital, residential, community and school-based settings, Devereux Arizona helps upwards of 4,000 individuals with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences each year. Programs include comprehensive assessments, evidenced-based treatment, family education and professional training and more.
Hospice of the Valley (HOV) Dementia Care and Education Campus provides comprehensive care for all types and stages of dementia and serves as a support hub for patients’ families and the local community. The new care campus offers education and resources covering Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for patients, families, medical providers and first responders in the local community.
In addition to its 10-bed dementia Hospice Inpatient Home and 12-bed Assisted Living Home for people with mild and moderate dementia, the campus is home to an Adult Day Club and works with an adjacent Child Center operated by Prince of Peace Preschool for two to five-year-olds.
“Studies show intergenerational connection creates joyful benefits for both the young and the elderly,” says Lin Sue Flood, director of community engagement for Hospice of the Valley.
“Our support groups are uniquely designed to accommodate both the caregiver and the person living with dementia,” Flood adds.
SUN HEALTH FOUNDATION
Instrumental in supporting healthy living, research and superior healthcare in Arizona, Sun Health Foundation and its philanthropic partners have provided essential services and programs to local communities for more than 50 years. This includes the foundation’s annual 5K Walk/Run for Women’s Health, which raised upwards of $50,000 this year to benefit women’s healthcare programs and services at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City West.
The legacy of Michelle Singleton, a brave single mother who lost her life to cancer in 2005, The Singletons provides support for single-parent families affected by cancer. As part of its offerings to community families, The Singletons are working on the H.U.B. (Help Us Build) — an onsite community space where families can take advantage of daily activities and programs.
Children-focused nonprofits of the year
CATHOLIC EDUCATION ARIZONA
Since 1998, Catholic Education Arizona has awarded more tuition scholarships than any other school tuition organization in the state. The organization has granted upwards of 148,000 scholarships totaling more than $313 million dollars to students in need of tuition assistance to attend one of 38 schools in the Diocese of Phoenix.
FREE ARTS FOR ABUSED CHILDREN OF ARIZONA
Serving close to 7,000 children every year, Free Arts calls upon the arts to provide safe, positive opportunities for children who have experienced trauma associated with abuse, neglect and homelessness (as examples). The organization’s resilience-building arts programs, conducted by trained, trauma-informed volunteer mentors, is fortified by the principles of resilience, bravery, connection, creativity, strength and innovation.
Free Arts also holds a summer camp program, hosting more than 70 children each week, all from foster care group homes, foster families or shelter programs to explore art. “Along the way, these children form strong bonds with one another that many often describe as being ‘like a family,’” says Jessica Flowers, program director at Free Arts.
GIRL SCOUTS–ARIZONA CACTUS-PINE (GSACPC)
In partnership with 6,500 adult volunteers, GSACPC serves over 11,000 girls in grades K-12 in more than 90 communities across central and Northern Arizona. Since 1936, GSACPC has helped girls develop leadership skills and tools for success in a rapidly changing environment. This includes the 2016 launch of the Digital Cookie platform, enabling girls to build a custom website to invite friends and family to purchase cookies.
At-risk and disadvantaged 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade boys who reside in Maricopa County can obtain life skills and support through the MVP Foundation. Provided they abide by the MVP Code of Conduct — which prioritizes courtesy, respect and abstaining from drugs and alcohol among other directives — young men may attend the annual MVP Leadership Academy at no cost.
In 2022, the MVP Foundation was awarded a $25,000 grant from Fiesta Bowl Charities to help fund its annual Leadership Academy. The funds, according to Ronda Parker, executive director of MVP Foundation, “will cover expenses for 65 of the boys that the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization plans to send to the 2023 MVP Leadership Academy planned for March 24-26 .”
SOUTHWEST HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
As Arizona’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to early childhood development, Southwest Human Development’s 900 staff members provide 40 programs and services to 140,000 children, families and professionals each year. These include child development and mental health; Easterseals’ disabilities services; early literacy; Head Start and Early Head Start; family support and child welfare; and professional development and training.
Nonprofit leaders of the year
DR. AARON BLOCHER-RUBIN, founder, AZA United
Working in the field of autism treatment for more than 25 years, Blocher-Rubin is a prominent leader and trusted servant in his field. Not only has he provided training and one-to-one care with hundreds of children with autism, families and therapists — he led the growth of Arizona Autism United from startup to its current position.
FRAN MALLACE, president and CEO, Make-A-Wish Arizona
Before becoming president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Arizona in 2021, Mallace served on the board of directors for the organization since 2016, as a representative of Cox Media. Now, she continues to cultivate new relationships with donors and fundraising opportunities. A recent example is the 2022 Make-A-Wish Arizona Wish Ball, presented by Phusion Projects, which raised a record-breaking $3.8 million in a single night.
“The most rewarding thing about working with Make-A-Wish Arizona has been leading and getting to know our team, our wish kids and their families,” Mallace says. “To see the work we do in action, to see a wish kid’s face when they see their wish for the first time, like with a playhouse or playset, is incredible.”
Mallace goes on to explain that everything Make-A-Wish does, “ties back to the mission to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. To see it in person really drives home exactly what it means when a wish is life-changing.”
MYRIAH MHOON, CEO, New Life Center
Mhoon leads Arizona’s largest domestic violence shelter, New Life Center. For the past 12 years, she has dedicated her professional life to working with the most vulnerable populations. During her career, Mhoon has been a direct service provider as a social worker and became a statewide leader working at the Arizona governor’s office.
MARY MITCHELL AND CHRISTINA SPICER, co-CEOs, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council
“Mary and Christina are proven leaders who embody the tenets of our culture and mission, with rich track records of successful community-minded leadership,” says GSACPC Board Chair Lupe Camargo. “These are the right two people to deliver creativity and innovation, while preserving and enhancing the council’s culture. Mary and Christina’s strengths as leaders complement each other and work well together.”
Az Business Angels of the Year
Adopt Technologies partnered with Phoenix Rescue Mission to feed as many families and individuals as possible through the food bank and the meals they serve to the community. Adopt Technologies raised $26,000, the largest single fundraising initiative the company has accomplished.
Arizona Bank & Trust
Arizona Bank & Trust donated $20,000 to Academy of Math and Science – Camelback on World Teachers’ Day. The funds are intended for the school to purchase much-needed tools and materials, so they can successfully and safely continue to operate.
Thanks to a generous donation from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona was able to invest nearly $300,000 into the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System, an innovative technology that helps children with disabilities learn to walk.
In July, Avnet, launched its new community grant program. The program, alongside their employee volunteer program Avnet Cares, is part of a larger commitment Avnet has made to help meet the needs of local communities and build a culture of hands-on volunteering.
Bankers Trust team members volunteer more than 15,000 hours annually. They also serve on 180 nonprofit boards and committees. What’s more, they give more than $1 million to charitable organizations each year.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is committed to making Arizona’s communities healthier. In 2022, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Foundation for Community & Health Advancement launched and since, has invested in the health of Arizona by tackling mental health, substance use disorder, chronic health conditions, and health equity. The Foundation works to amplify its impact through cross-sector partnerships with trusted local organizations.
Burch & Cracchiolo
Each month, a Valley teacher is chosen to receive Burch & Cracchiolo’s “B&C Star Teacher Award.” Each teacher who wins the award receives a check for $500 for classroom supplies and the school receives an additional check for $250.
Delta Dental of Arizona
In October, Delta Dental of Arizona President and CEO Michael Jones presented a $5,000 contribution to support A New Leaf’s Healthy Smiles for Life program, which provides dental hygiene education and supplies for children from low-income and underinsured households.
Desert Financial Credit Union
In 2021, Desert Financial Credit Union gave $3.8 million to community organizations while the credit union’s team members volunteered a record-breaking 12,141 hours. The credit union expanded that support in the past five years, nearly doubling its annual community giving since 2017.
FirstBank, with a focus on “banking for good,” successfully planted 50,000 native trees for the second consecutive year with the global reforestation organization One Tree Planted. Since the partnership’s inception, 100,000 trees have been planted by FirstBank across three states.
To provide support to the one in four kids in Arizona who face hunger every day, Grimaldi’s has partnered with Dine, Shop and Share for No Kid Hungry to raise funds, awareness and to fight to end childhood hunger in America.
In partnership with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the MJ Foundation raised more than $55,500. A portion of these funds were used to host Phoenix Children’s patients and their families for a day of fun at Chase Field.
Named for the company’s values of Integrity, Mentorship, Passion, Accountability, Courage and Teamwork, IMPACT Day brings together employees to support the communities where they live and work. In 2022, Prologis teamed up with Habitat for Humanity and sponsored 18 projects.
Raytheon partners with Girls Who Code for a summer program that provides hands-on computer science education for girls in 10th through 12th grade, all while giving them a firsthand look at technology jobs as well as guidance from Raytheon Technologies mentors.
The Sundt Foundation awards quarterly grants to Valley charities that support disadvantaged children, individuals and families. Nonprofits are selected through an application process and reviewed by a committee of local Sundt employee-owners.
Each fall, Troon-managed facilities in Arizona host “Troon’s Drive for Phoenix Children’s Hospital” program, which has raised more than $280,000 for the hospital since 2011. All the proceeds from the program are donated to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
TruWest Credit Union
Since its opening, TruWest has shown a commitment to supporting the communities in which it operates. The member-owned organization has championed several charitable causes and organizations including The American Lung Association, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Dell Children’s Medical Center and Mesa Community College’s First-Year Experience Program.
Valley Hyundai dealers
Hyundai Motor America and 10 Metro Phoenix Valley Hyundai dealers donated a total of $120,000 to raise much needed funds for the Phoenix Children’s Hope Fund, which funds essential equipment, operations, charitable care, Child Life resources, virtual care and research.
Wilde Wealth Management
From sponsoring local sports teams to organizing fundraising events for nonprofits in need to simply donating to causes, Wilde Wealth Management is making a difference in the lives of people across Arizona in every way it can through Wilde for Arizona, its community relations arm.
For the entire month of October, Z’Tejas Southwest Grill sold pink awareness ribbons — for $10 guests receive a complimentary watermelon strawberry margarita or a strawberry lemonade. A portion of the proceeds were donated to The Singletons, a nonprofit dedicated to helping single-parent families battling cancer.