Az Business Angels magazine has cast a spotlight on the nonprofits, individuals, business leaders, and organizations that are making the biggest impact on our communities with its second annual Az Business Angels Awards.
“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.”
The Az Business Angels Awards are sponsored by WaFd Bank Arizona, itself one of the most philanthropic and compassionate companies in the state.
“When the first issue of Az Business Angels was launched in 2017, its mission was to challenge business leaders and companies to match their skill sets and desire to give back to the community by working with nonprofits that desperately need the help,” Gossie says. “The magazine was created to give new hope to nonprofits and inspire businesses and business leaders to make a difference and to make it their unconditional mission to connect, volunteer and give back to the communities they serve. Now, we get to honor those organizations and individuals at the Az Business Angels Awards.”
From hundreds of nominations, the judging committee for the Az Business Angels Awards narrowed the very competitive field of nominees down to finalists in 11 categories and selected for the 2020 Az Business Angels Awards. Here are the finalists and winners.
Az Business Angel of the Year — individual
Andy Abraham, Burch & Cracchiolo
Andy Abraham is a leader at Burch & Cracchiolo, and is a dedicated community advocate and volunteer. He has led and continued his firm’s spirit of community volunteerism and support through the B&C Star Teacher Program which awards a teacher with $500 every month to spend on anything they need. He has also had his firm support numerous nonprofit organizations, donate office furniture, and spends many hours volunteering with student lawyers every month.
Scott Jenkins, Quarles & Brady
Scott Jenkins serves on a number of committees at Quarles & Brady, but is also involved with the Volunteer Lawyers Program of Maricopa County and was voted as one of the top 50 Pro Bono Attorneys by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education. He is a member of the Arizona Thunderbirds, and serves on the board for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Fiesta Bowl Committee, the board of Junior Achievement and the board of Cactus-Horizon Little League, where he coaches one of the teams.
Chris Maderazzo, Canyon State Electric
Chris Maderazzo is co-CEO and CBDO (Chief Business Development Officer) of Canyon State Electric, and a leader in the Scottsdale 20/30 Club. He has coached and inspired others to raise philanthropic funds and has personally been responsible for raising over $400,000 since he got involved, which has gone to supporting local children’s charities. He also leads CSE’s philanthropic committee which supports local organizations in the Valley and volunteers for many of these charities.
Trevor Wilde, Wilde Wealth Management
Trevor Wilde is the co-founder and manager of Wilde Wealth Management and serves on the board of Child Crisis Arizona and Junior Achievement. He has frequently volunteered and raised over $150,000 for Child Crisis. He also founded Wilde Wealth Management’s “Wilde for Arizona Community Outreach Program,” which raises resources and funds for various children’s charities in Arizona. Since its creation a few years ago, it’s raised over $250,000.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Nonprofit Executive of the Year
Stephen Attwood, president, Society of St. Vincent de Paul
For the last six years, Steve Attwood has served as the president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Attwood is an extremely thoughtful leader who has gone above and beyond during this season to make sure he is leading his organization well and making the best choices possible. He leads with a kind and thoughtful spirit, and has been able to and will continue to make a lasting impact on St. Vincent de Paul’s community.
Nancy Padberg, president and CEO, Catholic Education Arizona
Nancy Padberg is a servant leader of Catholic Education Arizona, the No. 1 School Tuition Organization in Arizona and the 32 schools they represent. She has done an incredible job leading the way in raising funds for a tax credit that provides scholarships for low-income students. Her organization has provided over $269 million to over 100,000 students so they can attend Arizona Catholic High Schools, which have a 99 percent graduation rate.
Jeri Royce, president and CEO, Esperança
Jeri Royce has led and inspired Esperança for the last three years and notably through the COVID-19 pandemic. Royce has been able to inspire confidence in her teams through her collaborative, positive and decisive leadership, which has also led to Esperança creating innovative and sustainable new programs. Royce has overseen the distribution of food and supplies to hundreds of low-income Latino families and the creation of educational videos in Spanish.
Veronica Shorr, regional director, Arizona Community Foundation – Yuma
Veronica Shorr was able to help start a movement and unite their community in Yuma through her involvement with #YumaStrong sign project. She donated her own time and resources and was able to help create community unity, raise funds for the Arizona Community Foundation, and help a local business in one fell swoop at the start of the pandemic.
Cassandra Switalski, executive director, Miracle League of Arizona
Cassandra Switalski has managed to minimize the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Miracle League of Arizona that would have otherwise caused it serious harm. Switalski has remained committed and positive, and currently she is leading the organization in finding support and fundraising to make their programs safe to start back up, which is especially important since individuals in the community they serve are often immuno-compromised.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Az Business Angel of the Year — Business
Cannon & Wendt Electric
Each year Cannon and Wendt Electric hosts a community-wide fundraising event known as Supporting Our Heroes in collaboration with the 100 Club of Arizona. The event raises money for families of first responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. Several law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and other health and safety organizations attend to educate the attendees on health and safety procedures and a silent auction is held. In 2020 over $40,000 was raised to provide wash-down kits for firefighters in Northern Arizona facing wildfires.
Casino Del Sol
Casino Del Sol is incredibly active within their community of Southern Arizona. They host an annual charity golf tournament that, over the last five years, has raised over $220,000 for a number of nonprofit organizations. The casino hosts an annual diaper drive to support tribal communities and each year their head chef prepares a holiday meal for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Tucson. Casino Del Sol employees often participate in charity walks and many have served on nonprofit boards and committees.
Desert Financial Credit Union
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Desert Financial Credit Union has invested nearly $700,000 to various COVID relief programs including four food banks, Valley of the Sun United Way, the family hardship fund at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Flagstaff Medical Center. They partnered with the Arizona Cardinals to donate laptops to a Title 1 school, gifted $10,000 worth of gift cards to families transitioning to homeschooling through their Random Acts of Kindness program, provided box lunches to grocery workers and raised a total of $160,000 for their “Taking Care of Our Own” fund.
GoDaddy’s signature program Empower focuses on equipping entrepreneurs in underserved communities with the training, tools and resources that they need to be successful. Their charitable giving program has funded STEM teacher education programs in Arizona and is partnered with both Teach for America and the Arizona Science Center to recruit new teachers to the state and provide them with computer science education. So far in 2020, they’ve been able to fund the training of 40 teachers who work in underserved communities.
UnitedHealthcare and its parent company UnitedHealth Group have committed $80 million to COVID relief efforts to date. They donated $500,000 alone to the Arizona Food Bank Network, a private, nonprofit organization that serves all 15 counties in the state via a network of nearly 1,000 food pantries and organizations that address food insecurity. UnitedHealthcare awarded over $100,000 in Empowering Health grants to three community-based organizations to support COVID relief and was nominated by global nonprofit Points of Light as a Civic 50 honoree.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Social Services Nonprofit of the Year
ACCEL is a nonprofit organization that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, cognitive disabilities and behavioral disorders. ACCEL serves 500 individuals with school campuses in Phoenix and Tempe and satellite campuses in Buckeye and Tonopah. With virtual learning taking over this school year, students with developmental disabilities tend to struggle. The teachers at ACCEL are doing an incredible job of making sure their students continue to receive high quality special education despite the challenges of online learning.
Family Promise Greater Phoenix
The first nonprofit of its kind in Arizona, Family Promise Greater Phoenix is an organization that rescues primarily first-time homeless families and their pets. Amid increased demand for their services this year due to the pandemic, the organization reworked their day centers to be shelters for up to 12 families at once. They received donations from community members and other organizations and were able to continue graduating families from the Family Promise Program consistently since the beginning of this year.
Mission2Alpha is a volunteer-based organization that is committed to community service, service to the military and service to first responders. Through a variety of fundraising endurance events, such as their annual 400-mile bike ride from Scottsdale to San Diego, the organization raises awareness and much needed financial support for local military, veteran and first-responders in need. Working together with other charities, Mission2Alpha has raised over $1 million and prides itself on deploying resources swiftly and efficiently.
Payson Senior Center
The Payson Senior Center is a community-based organization whose goal is to assist local senior citizens in achieving and maintaining self-sufficiency with dignity. They provide a wide range of community and home based services in order to best serve their seniors. Since the beginning of the pandemic they’ve expanded their meal program to serve over 900 meals a week, provided essential toiletries, gifted goody bags and made frequent happy check phone calls to their seniors who were homebound.
St. Joseph the Worker
St. Joseph the Worker is a Phoenix-based nonprofit employment agency that provides access to computers, phones, a printer, resume assistance, strategies to explain gaps in employment, interview coaching, professional clothing, hygiene supplies and bus passes for reliable transportation to and from interviews for more than 5,000 homeless people across the Valley. They’ve successfully launched the state’s first ever mobile employment support as a way to help better serve the community amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Healthcare-focused Nonprofit of the Year
American Heart Association
The American Heart Association has been pushing for innovation and progress in the field of heart-related illnesses for almost 100 years. They fund research that grows medical professionals’ understanding of heart problems and determines ways to treat them. They also advocate and educate for healthy living and CPR to help extend and save lives.
Don’t Be a Chump! Check for a Lump!
In 2009, Holly Rose performed a self-examination and found a lump which turned out to be breast cancer. Through the months battling the cancer, Rose received many acts of kindness, and she wanted to give back to her community, so she co-founded Don’t Be a Chump! Check for a Lump! The organization advocates and encourages women to perform self-examinations so cancer can be found early, and they also have a program that provides wigs to women going through chemotherapy.
Home Assist Health
Home Assist Health is an organization that cares and provides for those suffering from the hardships of aging, recovering and disabilities in our community. They provide services that help people with long-term care and help around the house or running errands, simple housekeeping, as well as people to help with more personal assistance such as bathing, transportation and other needs. They also have habilitation services to help people grow in socialization or motor skills.
The Singletons is an Arizona based nonprofit organization that focuses on helping single parent families with a member who has been diagnosed with cancer. Their programs offer a wide range of services that can help with simple necessities, such as supplying detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, to helping with specific bills, to providing food for families that don’t have time to cook, and even hosting support groups for people in these devastating situations. Their kitchen is able to provide thousands of meals a year and have already served more than 1,500 this year alone.
Valleywise Health Foundation
Valleywise Health Foundation is the nonprofit partner of Valleywise Health and lately focuses on raising funds for a few of its key programs, such as a burn survivor’s program, community programs and education for health professionals. In the last year, they’ve exceeded their goals at their fundraising events, benefiting the Arizona Burn Center and COVID-19 relief at Valleywise locations. They also led a campaign which resulted in many meals, masks, face shields and other medical supplies being donated to Valleywise.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Youth-focused Nonprofit of the Year
Arizona’s Children Association
Arizona’s Children Association has been serving Arizona and its children for more than 100 years. Their goal is to make every home with a child as suitable, safe, loving, and equipped as possible, especially through difficult times. With services available in every county in the state, they help over 40,000 children every year through their large array of services and programs, including foster care, trauma support, family preservation, parenting and family education and youth mentorships.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley
The Boys & Girls Club is an organization that focuses on providing after-school and summer programs for children that include programs fostered toward arts, sports/fitness, becoming a leader, and character building. They also are able to help the kids grow academically, personally, and health-wise with these programs. They help kids foster better work ethics and prepare them for college, engage in their community and build up their character, encourage them to eat healthy, and prepare for real life after they finish their education.
Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona
Free Arts has focused on helping children who have experienced trauma, neglect or homelessness for the last 24 years. Thousands of children experience these types of problems every year and aren’t equipped to healthily engage or express them. Free Arts equips kids to overcome and cope with their past experiences in a safe environment through their mentorship program, professional artists class series, collaborative art days and summer camps.
Make-A-Wish America seeks to grant the “life-changing” wishes of critically-ill children. When a child is diagnosed with a critical illness, they can be referred to the foundation which will do what they can to bring that dream to life. They believe that the joy and hope these wishes bring can cause strength, hope, and transformation in the children as well as their family and community. Even in the time of the coronavirus, they are working hard to make around ten wishes come true everyday.
Room For Joy
Room For Joy tries to strengthen the healing of children diagnosed with critical illnesses by renovating their bedrooms into a fun and exciting new place. Room for Joy has completed over 50 bedrooms since it was founded in 2005. They are recommended children from local hospitals, and when they take on the project, the family has a “staycation” while volunteers from Room for Joy renovate the bedroom over the weekend.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Animal-focused Nonprofit of the Year
Arizona Humane Society
Arizona Humane Society has been serving the Valley and its pets for almost 60 years. They offer medical and behavioral programs and other initiatives that save thousands of pet lives a year, and their animal hospital and other medical programs help save the lives of even more animals. They also offer resources for pet owners so that they can take the best care of their pets and make the best decision in any other situations that might arise.
Arizona Animal Welfare League
Arizona Animal Welfare League is one of the largest and oldest shelters in the Valley that is able to help over 4,000 animals a year with their services. AAWL visits other shelters that might euthanize their animals and bring them to their own facilities and connect with people and have them adopt the pets so they can have a home. They also have a network of “foster parents” for animals who are too young or recovering to be adopted.
Lost Our Home Pet Rescue
Lost Our Home Pet Rescue has been helping the lost and vulnerable animals in the Valley since 2008. Aside from having a rescue program for abandoned or surrendered pets, they have a temporary care program, pet food bank, low-income boarding for pets, and a partnership with the Sojourner Center. When COVID hit this year, they quickly made procedures to continue operations and had a record month in April with 105 adoptions.
Phoenix Herpetological Society Sanctuary
The Phoenix Herpetological Society Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that takes in native and non-native animals for rehabilitation and conservation education. They take in reptiles, most of which are pet-trade animals that have been confiscated from or abandoned by their owners. They also educate people and children on the environment and how to take care of it in its already endangered state.
Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center
Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center focuses on helping wild animals that have been abandoned or hurt by taking care of them and rehabilitating them to resume life back in the wild. They receive and treat animals that have been injured and take care of orphaned baby animals that need constant care. They take the time to make sure baby and adult animals are healthy and equipped to take on life by themselves before releasing them.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Volunteer of the Year
Freddie Dobbins, Jr., SRP
Freddie Dobbins, Jr., has volunteered at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley for thirty years, also volunteering at Gregory’s Fresh Market and the African American Cultural Committee. At the Boys and Girls Clubs, he has served on numerous committees and has consistently procured thousands of dollars a year in support for the clubs. Dobbins believes in kids and their potential and has been an indispensable leader to them and to the community and received the RP Karl F. Abel Volunteer Recognition Award in 2019.
Virginia Fargo, Stearns Lending
Recipient of the MLK 2020 Living the Dream Award from the City of Phoenix, Virginia Fargo has spent a lot of time volunteering and serving her community. For over a decade she has been involved with the Black Board of Directors project and is a member of the Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce. She volunteers and fundraises for these organizations and others in her community, as well as supporting other causes and working full time in her community.
Shari Mollencopf, Friends of Pima Animal Care
Shari Mollencopf is one of the most dedicated volunteers Pima Animal Care has ever seen. She volunteers at their facility 40 hours a week, leading a team of volunteers that distributes animal food to the community. She inspires the people around her to become better employees and volunteers and is always trying to make Pima Animal Care the best organization it can be. She pushes for donations and fundraising when it’s needed and was one of the first volunteers to return when PAC allowed volunteers back after the pandemic.
Amy Obney, Helping Hands of Yuma
In October 2018, the board of Helping Hands of Yuma decided to close the organization for financial reasons. That was when Amy Obney stepped up and asked the board if she could try to raise the money. They agreed and she was able to quickly raise all of the funds necessary and put together a new board for the organization and has since become the executive director. In the coronavirus pandemic, she has sought and found ways to safely serve their community. No matter the circumstances, Obney has been dedicated to Helping Hands and to Yuma.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Collaboration of the Year
Arizona Community Foundation and Print Zoom
The Arizona Community Foundation in Yuma teamed up with Print Zoom, a local commercial printer, to create and distribute #YumaStrong yard signs as a way for community members to come together during the coronavirus pandemic. The foundation also started a COVID relief fund to support local nonprofits so they can continue their work amidst the pandemic. The publicity from the collaborative yard signs brought some much needed business to Print Zoom, as well as additional donations to the relief fund.
BestCompaniesAZ and Career Connectors
BestCompaniesAZ and Career Connectors have been working together for more than a decade to connect jobseekers with quality hiring companies and job resources. Together they’ve served over 42,000 people and have been featured at The White House by the Department of Labor as a “model to follow” job program. Since March 2020 they’ve added a section to their website that serves as a portal to all hiring companies in Arizona at no cost to the user and host weekly virtual events for job seekers in order to offset the negative impact coronavirus has had on the job market.
CHASSE Building Team and Heidi’s Village
Last year CHASSE Building Team collaborated with the Virginia B. Jontes Foundation to break ground on Heidi’s Village, a $20 million specialty animal shelter. Comprised of nine buildings including play yards, walking paths, a grooming facility and full medical suites to provide on-site veterinary care, Heidi’s Village is built to foster a community where animals are treated with respect, dignity and compassion. The shelter has room for up to 250 dogs and 200 cats and works in conjunction with other animal rescue organizations throughout Maricopa County.
FirstBank and Arizona Gives Day
FirstBank has been the presenting sponsor of the annual Arizona Gives Day fundraiser for eight years. Arizona Gives Day is a 24-hour online giving campaign whose funds go towards supporting a variety of local nonprofit organizations. In order to raise awareness for the campaign each year, FirstBank employees will pose as essential workers and “give it forward,” asking those they help to consider doing the same on Arizona Gives Day. FirstBank has also partnered with the Phoenix Suns to further promote the fundraiser and, to date, they’ve raised over $23 million.
Vitanya Brain Performance Centers and Heal the Hero Foundation
Vitanya Brain Performance Centers and Heal the Hero Foundation have developed a national initiative called The Phoenix Operation which works to reduce mental health crises amongst veterans and other vulnerable groups. Vitanya’s programs have been proven to reduce suicidality, depression, anxiety and stress in its clients, as well as improve their resiliency and sleep quality. Heal the Hero has begun owning and operating Vitanya franchises in order to provide more grants and scholarships and to generate profits that can be further reinvested into the community and into the Phoenix Operation.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Outstanding Corporate Responsibility
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
BCBSAZ’s public health movement Mobilize AZ focuses their volunteer efforts on projects related to substance use disorder, mental health conditions, diabetes and social determinants of health. Employees are encouraged to volunteer by being compensated for up to eight hours of community service that may be performed during regular work hours. In light of the pandemic, BCBSAZ volunteers shifted their focus to providing resources for food banks and tribal communities. They increased financial support for antibody testing among first responders and more drive-thru testing centers. Employee volunteers donated blood and participated in virtual training sessions related to the original goals of Mobilize AZ.
For over two years, Isagenix has been giving back to the community via the ISA Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on healthy nutrition and support for underserved children. Their biggest volunteer event is the annual Global Give Back Day, though this year the company’s largest philanthropic effort was focused on COVID relief. So far they’ve donated over $2.8 million worth of products worldwide. Isagenix is also working on becoming a more sustainable company overall, with recent efforts including using more clean energy to power their headquarters, reducing their cardboard usage and changing their packaging to be more Earth-friendly.
Jennings, Strouss & Salmon
Jennings, Strouss and Salmon formed the Jennings Strouss Foundation in 2008 to highlight issues, maximize efforts, solve problems and make a significant impact in underserved communities. For more than five years the Foundation has been the presenting sponsor of Girls on the Run 5k events throughout the Valley and they host multiple fundraisers annually to support Gateway Elementary School, a K-8 school in Phoenix. During the holiday season, Jennings, Strouss and Salmon employees come together to financially support colleagues in crisis as “Holiday Helpers.”
Kitchell prides itself on being a company that supports the communities that support them. The company provides time off and financial support for employees who wish to volunteer with nonprofit organizations, which supports greater retention and promotes pride in the workplace. Each year they host a Founder’s Day fundraiser that coincides with both the anniversary of their founder’s passing and National Day of Service and Remembrance where $25 per employee per hour is donated to various nonprofits.
Sonora Quest Laboratories
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Sonora Quest Laboratories has performed as much as 70 percent of the state’s testing, up to 8,000 orders daily. They have since launched Operation Catapult, a collaboration with Sonora Quest, Gov. Doug Ducey, the Arizona Department of Health Services and PerkinElmer Inc. that is working to increase testing in Arizona tenfold. Dr. Brian Koeneman, the lab’s Scientific Director of Molecular Diagnostics, created a task force that is focused on delivering accurate diagnostic insights to help fight COVID-19.
Meet the WINNER HERE.
Fundraising Event of the Year
Brokers For Kids
Brokers For Kids is an event put on by Scottsdale 20/30 where Valley commercial real estate teams compete in the Brokers for Kids annual Olympiad, a day where the teams compete in a number of different activities such as basketball, baggo and bocce ball. The event raised a record $700,000 for children’s charities in 2019 including Boys Hope, Girls Hope, an organization that helps academically capable children succeed by providing places to stay, opportunities and education.
M3F Fest is a nonprofit music festival held every year that aims to bring the community together through fun music, the arts and food. M3F Fest’s goal is to facilitate the growth of the arts to be enjoyed in the future. They donate all of their proceeds to charity, and recently have been supporting the Music Therapy Program at Phoenix Children’s hospital, which can help children in a variety of impactful ways.
Phoenix Heart Ball
The American Heart Association (AHA) has put on the Phoenix Heart Ball annually since 1959 to raise funds for cardiovascular research, community programs, advocacy efforts and CPR education. This year, the collective Heart Balls across the country were able to raise $85 million for the AHA. The AHA Arizona has donated over $3 million to more than a dozen researchers and professors in hospitals and universities across the state.
Rock the Cause for Kids
Rock the Cause for Kids is an annual event hosted by the nonprofit organization The Chandler Compadres. The event hosts a litany of fun activities such as food, auctions, raffles, and live entertainment, which this year was provided by RUN DMC’s DJ Ruckus. The Chandler Compadres have been able to donate over $10 million to youth charities in the East Valley, including AzCend, Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley and others.
The Arizona Wish Ball is held annually by the Make-A-Wish Foundation Arizona and all of the funds go to the foundation’s mission of fulfilling the wishes of children with critical illnesses to give them and their community hope and strength. The sold-out 2019 Arizona Wish Ball raised more than $3 million in a single night with more than 1,000 guests in attendance. Make-A-Wish will resume hosting the Wish Ball in March 2021.
Meet the WINNER HERE.