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 leaders of Arizona’s for-profit community who sit on boards, donate time, support company community initiatives and give back through various means to the nonprofit community.”

READ ALSO: How nonprofits are capitalizing on the growth of cryptocurrency

From hundreds of nominations, the judging committee for the Az Business Angels narrowed the very competitive field of nominees down to five winners in 10 categories. Here are the organizations and leaders who are winners of the Az Business Angels Awards for 2021.

Angel of the Year (individual)

Deborah Bateman, executive vice president, National Bank of Arizona

An active member of the community, Bateman has served on more than 30 nonprofit boards. She currently serves on the boards for the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute and GPD American Heart Association, among others.

Juliet S. Burgess, founding attorney, The Burgess Law Group

Burgess’ fundraising efforts with Friends of the Phoenix Public Library have directly supported “Kindergarten Boot Camp,” where more than 633 5-year-olds have benefited; and ”College Depot,” where an estimated 12,000 adults each year continue their education.

Howard Epstein, senior vice president, Bank of America

In 2019, Epstein established the Arizona Housing Fund, a voluntary private philanthropic effort to raise funds to provide equity grants to the nonprofit agencies that build and operate permanent supportive, low-income and working poor housing.

Leonardo Loo, Phoenix office managing partner, Quarles & Brady

Loo, who represents various organizations transforming the local landscape, serves as a board member for Chicanos Por La Causa, a board member with the Arizona Community Foundation and a board member and general counsel for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Telle VanTrojen, partner and COO, Geneva Financial

VanTrojen has spearheaded multiple charitable offerings, with the latest one being Geneva’s connection with Cloud Covered Streets. VanTrojen pledged to donate $10 from every single loan closed in the month of July to Cloud Covered Streets.

Angel of the Year (business)

Angry Crab Shack

Over the past four years, Angry Crab Shack has donated nearly $400,000 to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and been involved with countless special events benefiting the HOPE fund to support Phoenix Children’s mission to provide hope, healing and world-class care.

Axon Enterprise

Through its philanthropic arm, Axon Aid, the company supports first responders and communities. With emergency response drone teams, mental health resources and volunteer deployment, Axon uses its resources, people and technology to help the communities it serves.

Desert Financial Credit Union

Desert Financial is known for its Random Acts of Kindness program. The organization has performed more than 2,700 acts of kindness in 2021, including planting trees in Prescott for Arbor Day and donating duffel bags filled with clothing to children in foster care.

Ryan Companies US, Inc.

Not only is Ryan a worldwide leader in construction projects, but Ryan selects a nonprofit project of note every few years and credits back all project fees, which has reduced the project cost of Arizona Humane Society’s new campus by more than $1 million.


In 2017, Waymo, along with three Phoenix-based nonprofits, including Foundation for Senior Living, launched the world’s first public education campaign about autonomous driving technology, which has now reached 30,000 followers and boasts a website that gets more than 100,000 visitors every month.

Pam Kehaly, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

Outstanding Community Impact

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is providing scholarships for 40 individuals in Arizona communities and organizations to complete the Arizona Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Consortium’s five-week training program to become certified ACEs trainers.


IMPACT, LAVIDGE’s employee volunteer program, stayed strong throughout the pandemic as LAVIDGE gave back to the communities it serves professionally, while creating meaningful opportunities for employees to actively help those in need. Volunteers in 2020 gave about $20,000 in cash and performed 250 hours of service.

National Bank of Arizona

Since NBAZ started in 1984, its mission has been to build relationships within its communities and deliver exceptional customer service because bank leaders believe being a member of a community comes with a responsibility to do their part and make that community a better place.

Valley of the Sun United Way

Valley of the Sun United Way envisions a community where every child, family and individual is healthy, has a safe place to live and has every opportunity to succeed in school, in life and in work.

WaFd Bank Arizona

During the pandemic, WaFd Bank Arizona donated $20,000 to Extended Hands Food Bank through its WaFd Foundation granting arm. The WaFd Foundation‘s purpose is to facilitate direct giving to community-based nonprofits serving low- and moderate-income individuals’ needs.

Nonprofit Executives of the Year

Jason Barlow, president and CEO, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

Barlow has helped Habitat grow, evolve and remain relevant. One long-time supporter said, “This isn’t your mom’s Habitat anymore.” He values innovation and looks for other partners in the community to collaborate with to find and scale new solutions.

Kate Fassett, vice president of development, Valleywise Health Foundation

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fassett led her team to its most impactful fundraising year. While many nonprofits paused and postponed, Fassett stepped up with one of the first virtual fundraising events
of 2020.

Jeff Grobe, executive director, Coyote TaskForce Corporation (Our Place Clubhouse & Cafe 54)

Grobe was hit with the difficult task of guiding members and staff through the pandemic. He adapted the program so that members were able to get tested, sign
up for vaccines and continue searching for meaningful employment.

Kimber Lanning, CEO, Local First Arizona Foundation

Lanning has long believed in the power of local business to fuel Arizona’s economic engine. This drive led her to establish what’s become one of the state’s most respected business-focused nonprofits and the largest local business coalition in the nation.

Raquel McNabb, founder, Caris Sports Foundation

McNabb is a busy mother of four, basketball coach, philanthropist, wife to NFL legend Donovan McNabb and founder of The Caris Sports Foundation, which creates opportunities for all youth to play organized sports no matter their families’ financial situation.

David E. Sellers, president and CEO of LGE Design Build.

Outstanding Corporate Responsibility

Axon Enterprise

The Axon Aid team responded in June 2021 to the devastating wildfires in Arizona, sending employees to serve food to those impacted and work in shelters around the clock. Simultaneously, Axon sent volunteers to downtown Phoenix to prepare kits for the homeless as record heat came.

Delta Dental of Arizona

Delta Dental was instrumental in ensuring access to federal funding for dentists as they navigated office closure mandates resulting from the pandemic. To date, Delta Dental’s COVID-19 relief efforts are approaching $10 million in Arizona alone.

Farmers Insurance Group (Arizona)

In 2020, Farmers donated nearly $38,000 to support Phoenix-area Lakeview Elementary’s Blessings in a Backpack program, helping provide the highest need students with healthy food to take home for the weekend. Last year, Farmers awarded a $25,000 grant to the Greater Phoenix Urban League.

Intel Corporation

Arizona’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce welcomed Intel into the AZ 2021 Million Dollar Circle of Excellence for inclusivity and diversity in procurement spending. Intel is among 18 companies that have spent more than $1 million dollars in one year with diverse-owned Arizona businesses.

LGE Design Build

The David R. Sellers Foundation was founded in 2014 to create an avenue for LGE Design Build to give back to the community. It has an interest in local nonprofits that focus on the betterment of the under-privileged and cancer-stricken children.

Nonprofit Organization of the Year (healthcare)

Arizona Women’s Recovery Center

Arizona Women’s Recovery Center is dedicated to providing substance abuse treatment to women through a variety of programs to address individual needs. All of AWRC’s programs focus on providing the tools and resources to assist women in living financially independent, drug- and alcohol-free lives.

Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation

Over the past two years, the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation donated nearly $1.6 million in grants to statewide agencies working to help improve oral health, and more than 30,000 toothbrushes to homeless shelters in response to increased hygiene needs amid COVID-19.

Jewish Family and Children’s Service

For Valley residents who are members of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, JFCS’ integrated healthcare centers mean these individuals have the same access to quality care as individuals on more comprehensive healthcare plans.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation

The Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation is dedicated to providing the philanthropic funding for vital, life-saving care to kids in Arizona. In 2021, Phoenix Children’s was named one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals for the 11th consecutive year.

Valleywise Health Foundation

Valleywise Health’s “Care Reimagined” plan to rebuild and reinvent the safety net system of care continued throughout the pandemic, with the opening of two new Valleywise Community Health Centers in South Phoenix/Laveen and North Phoenix and the Valleywise Comprehensive Health Center in Peoria.

Arizona Humane Society.

Nonprofit Organizations of the Year (social services)

Arizona Humane Society

AHS’s dedication to saving more than 15,000 of the Valley’s sick, injured and abused pets each year while also providing lifesaving resources to the community has transformed Maricopa County from one of the worst places to be a homeless pet to one of the best.

Better Piggies Rescue

Better Piggies Rescue is a safe haven for pigs in Arizona. The organization rescues 200 pigs per year (pot belly and farm hogs) and works with the community on education to ensure more pigs aren’t purchased based on the “micro mini” lie.

Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has built more than 1,170 homes, affected more than 2,500 repairs and improved a place called home for more than 3,800 Arizona families. Habitat is also building its first 3D printed home in the country.

Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County

For nearly 40 years, the literacy organization has been helping students earn their high school equivalency en-route to a GED and further educational opportunities — and substantial life improvement. They do this for any student, refugee or ESL learner free of cost.

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul is dedicated to feeding, clothing, housing and healing individuals and families in the community who have nowhere else to turn for help. Equally important, it provides meaningful opportunities for volunteers
to serve their neighbors in need with love and compassion.

Nonprofit Organization of the Year (youth and sports)

Arizona Science Center

The trials of this past year exemplified the critical importance and value of scientific discoveries and science education, making Arizona Science Center’s mission to inspire, educate and engage curious minds through science more critical than ever.

Arizona Sports Foundation (Fiesta Bowl)

The Fiesta Bowl Organization continued to give back to the community in 2020-21, donating $5.5 million in charitable giving during a COVID-impacted 2020-21 season, including a $2 million donation to reinvent Hance Park in Downtown Phoenix.

Donovan McNabb Foundation

The McNabb Foundation has raised millions for various organizations over the years and continues to make an impact on the community. The McNabb Foundation has pledged support to raise awareness of diabetes and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the American Diabetes Association.

Helios Education Foundation

Through its Arizona Latino Student Success Initiative, Helios Education Foundation is committed to improving quality, access and achievement across the P-20 education continuum, ultimately leading to more Latino students completing a post-secondary degree.

ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth

Throughout a year of so much uncertainty, ICAN was able to not only persevere but also to grow and excel. ICAN adapted to meet the needs of the community, including offering full-day programming each time the schools went to virtual learning.

Marjorie Bessel, MD, chief clinical officer, Banner Health.

Healthcare Executive of the Year

Dr. David Berg, president and co-founder, Redirect Health

Dr. Berg co-founded Redirect, which works with companies and individuals across the nation to offer substantial savings on healthcare expenses with affordable premiums, no copays on routine care, low out-of-pocket costs and low deductibles for hospitalizations.

Marjorie Bessel, MD, chief clinical officer, Banner Health

Dr. Bessel was named one of the nation’s 2021 Top 25 Women Leaders by Modern Healthcare. The women named to this list are developing policy, leading change and guiding healthcare delivery improvement across the country.

Spencer Hutchins, CEO, Concert Health

Hutchins is driven by a belief that everyone deserves access to behavioral health support. He is working to re-architect the healthcare system to include behavioral health as a routine part of care by making it possible to care for patients’ whole health through primary care.

Josh Komenda, president and CEO, Veyo

Each year, 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical care due to transportation issues. Komenda built Veyo to bridge this gap and serve as a reliable transportation service for Medicare and Medicaid patients, as well as vulnerable, underserved communities that lack reliable transportation options.

Dr. Holly Williamson, clinical director, Arizona Women’s Recovery Center

Dr. Williamson helps women who have addiction and mental health issues. She stays late to help others and even drives to pick up women in need. She has a reputation for going over and beyond to make sure women in need are safe and have hope.

Collaboration of the Year

Children’s Cancer Network and Voya Investment Management

Since 2019, Voya’s Scottsdale and Chandler employees have contributed nearly 1,000 volunteer hours assembling admission bags for newly diagnosed patients, hand-crafting scrapbooks for hospitalized children, volunteering at CCN’s events and numerous other services.

North & Co. and the Arizona Housing Fund

Currently, North & Co. contributes $25 to the Arizona Housing Fund every time an agent makes a donation. Each month, the company and its agents collectively contribute between $4,000 and $6,000 to the Arizona Housing Fund.

Pioneer Title Agency and the Arizona Community Foundation

Family-owned and -operated Pioneer Title Agency partnered with the Arizona Community Foundation on Commitment 2 Community (C2C) as a way to allow employees to connect to
their communities and give back despite the pandemic.

Rack Law Group and ACCEL

Rack Law Group made a commitment to contribute $30,000 to help renovate the ACCEL campus’s onsite therapy pool and purchase new equipment for its life skills programs that support individuals with cognitive disabilities and behavioral disorders.

Sonora Quest Laboratories and SARSEF

Sonora Quest Laboratories and SARSEF form an integrative partnership driven by a shared interest in filling gaps in Arizona’s scientific workforce by creating opportunity and resources for students historically excluded from scientific fields.