Busy “Angel,” Stephen Schwanz, Finds Time to Impact Scottsdale Youth

It’s a little-known fact, but in 1995, Scottsdale got itself an angel.

Stephen SchwanzIt was that year that DC Ranch’s own Stephen Y. Schwanz finished his term as president of the Executive Council for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, which is now EC70, and turned his sights to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

Eager to impact the more than 16,000 children serviced by the organization, he jumped in with an immediate hole-in-one for the Clubs – literally – developing a celebrity fundraising golf tournament that is today known as the Mark Grace Celebrity Golf Invitational. Over the years, the event has helped to raise more than a million dollars for the Boys & Girls Clubs while exposing the organization’s programs to sports stars from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, San Francisco Giants and many more.

But Schwanz was just getting started.

His next order of business – Vine & Dine, a fundraiser held each year at the Scottsdale Galleria with food and wine samplings. Within a few months, Schwanz re-imagined the event into what is now Uncorked & Unplugged, one of the premiere taste events in the state, offering guests a variety of gourmet foods, three stages of live entertainment, and the opportunity to sample premium wines and spirits as well as domestic and imported beers.

And Schwanz is not done yet.

Today, Schwanz has taken a leadership role as chairman of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s annual giving campaign, “Angels for Kids, Mentors for Life.”

“This campaign provides necessary resources for unique learning experiences while instilling a sense of belonging and impact,” said Schwanz. “The campaign’s theme reflects the strong and valuable mentoring that members receive from our trained staff and dedicated volunteers.”

Due to the generosity of key donors helping to cover the costs of this campaign 100 percent of any donor’s investment in Angels goes directly to the more than 100 Club programs.

Just some of the key programs include:

  • Healthy Habits, which empowers youth to eat right covers the power of choice, calories, vitamins and minerals, the food pyramid and appropriate portion size.
  • MethSMART, which is aimed at the prevention of methamphetamine abuse.
  • Passport to Manhood, which teaches responsibility while reinforcing positive behavior in male Club members ages 11 to 14.
  • SMART Girls, which is a small-group health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program designed to meet the developmental needs of girls ages 8-12 and 13-17.
  • Money Matters, which teaches financial responsibility and independence among middle and high school Club members by building their basic money management skills.
  • Movie Making, which teaches the movie making production process from screen writing, story board creation, set and costume design to the actual acting, directing, filming, and then editing of the productions.
  • NetSmartz, which is an internet safety program conducted for new members before they use the computers in our technology centers.
  • Torch and Keystone Clubs, which are small group leadership and service clubs for youth ages 11-13 and 14-18, respectively.
  • Leaders In Training, which allows members ages 11-15 to volunteer and learn basic job responsibilities and work habits during our summer months as unpaid staff assistant.
  • Be Great Graduate, which is focused on academic success, on-time grade progression and ultimately high school graduation.

The focus of each program, all made possible with the help of Schwanz and Angels for Kids, is to help kids in Greater Scottsdale develop:

  • Positive self-identities
  • Scholastic, career, social, emotional and cultural competencies
  • Desire to remain involved in their community
  • Health and well-being
  • Moral compass

For more information about how to become a Scottsdale Angel like Schwanz, please visit bgcs.org/get-involved/angels-for-kids.