Frontdoors Magazine January 2020 Issue

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A PATH TO RESOURCEFULLNESS FUELED BY THE EIDE BAILLY RESOURCEFULLNESS AWARD Join us for our interactive panel on a Path to Resourcefullness. Learn more about how our 2019 winners took their ideas on a path to success. January 16, 2020 Phoenix County Club Registration/Breakfast: 7:30a.m. - 8a.m. Event: 8 - 10 a.m. This event is free to the nonprofit community.



Congratulations to Our Arizona Recipients: Grand Prize: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Runner Up: Phoenix Rescue Mission Runner Up: Desert Botanical Garden



Karen Werner

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On the Cover Colleen Drury’s daughters, clockwise from top left: Danielle Kamm, Michelle Batschelet, Billie Drury and Nicole Cundiff.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS {january 2020, volume 18, issue 1}


EDITOR’S NOTE...............................07 More and Less 10 QUESTIONS WITH...............08 Steve Seleznow, president and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation BOOKMARKED.................................13 Healthy Picks for Kids OFFICE DOORS...............................14 Juli and Gregory Bryan, owners of Cafe Cultivate at Ability360


CAREY’S CORNER.......................18 I Have a Voice COVER STORY.................................22 A Mother’s Dream NEXT DOORS......................................29 Starving for Answers STYLE UNLOCKED......................32 Missi Harrington’s Fashion Wonderland A 2ND ACT.................................................37 How Tiny Became Mighty Big CHARITY SPOTLIGHT............40 Teen Lifeline KITCHEN DOORS..........................44 Food for Thought CHEERS TO THE CHAIRS....46 Heidi Surovetz and Kimberly Guimarin OPEN DOORS.....................................49 Easing into a New Decade


++ GiGi’s

++ Café

Community Foundation Cultivate at Ability360 ++ Colleen’s Dream ++ Common Sense Media ++ Feeding Matters

++ Junior

Playhouse League of Phoenix Foundation ++ March of Dimes ++ Teen Lifeline


EDITOR’S NOTE {on the job}

HAPPY JANUARY! To me, a new year is a time to take stock and hit the reset button when required. Because it’s a time for reflection, I had hoped to get something big and meaningful done in the week before New Year’s Day.

we want more of on one side and what we want less of on the other. It isn’t a list of huge promises but small desires.


Alas, no revelations were forthcoming. I spent the last week at home with my family, editing this magazine, and doing chores like laundry and cleaning the pantry. It wasn’t dramatic or remarkable. But, it turns out, the messages I got from this magazine were just what I needed to hear. I met four sisters who fought through the devastation of losing their mother to create a foundation dedicated to saving the lives of moms, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and girlfriends everywhere. I read about two parents who brought their son’s dream to fruition by providing healthy food to the community and jobs to people with disabilities. I learned about a couple giving back to the organization that helped their premie not only live but blossom day by day. And I discovered another mom speaking up for children with Down syndrome. A healthy new year, it seems to me, means taking steps to discern what’s important and advocating for those we care about, including ourselves. It’s not about being perfect, but always trying to do — and be — just a little bit better. Somewhere on the Internet, I saw a post about a “More and Less” list. Not some grand resolution, but two columns that outline what

“Attitude is everything, so pick a good one,” Colleen Drury, the namesake of Colleen’s Dream, told her daughters, who I was fortunate to write about this month. I’ll carry Colleen’s words with me as I start the new year, trying to pick the right attitude and be just a little bit better. May 2020 bring more of what you want and less of what you don’t, and may you carry these small happinesses into the world.

Karen Werner EDITOR


10 QUESTIONS {fascinating people}

STEVE SELEZNOW President and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation 1. You’re known as a visionary. What do you see ahead for our state? Arizona has many assets that make it a remarkable state. Our future will depend on how well we leverage our assets to improve the quality of life for everyone. With changing demographics, a broader and more innovative technology-oriented economic base, continuous and rapid population growth, and demands for a highly educated workforce, we have amazing opportunities ahead. However, those opportunities will fade quickly if we don’t make the right investments now in education, science and innovation, equity and sustainability. We are a state not bound by legacy, but one driven by new ideas and bold plans. That enterprising and welcoming spirit is what got us here. That spirit will take us to an exciting future. 8 FRONTDOORS MEDIA | JANUARY 2020

2. You earned a master’s and a doctorate from Harvard and spent the first 28 years of your career in public education. What would you like people to know about the state of education and what it can do for Arizona? Our future as a community is dependent on a highly trained and educated populace. Every child living in Arizona, irrespective of race, ethnicity, country of origin or gender, needs to graduate high school ready for post-secondary certification or a college degree. Nothing short of that is acceptable. Our economic prosperity depends on it. Education in Arizona has been shot full of holes with silver bullets — many good ideas but few that have been scaled and made sustainable. We haven’t made early learning to college completion our highest

priority. That means our values, aspirations and expectations are not set high enough, and we have not been courageous in demanding more for our children at all levels of the education system. If we articulate the critical value of an education; if we aspire for all of our schools to be great; if we set the highest possible expectations for all of our students; and if we dare to demand greater investment for highquality schools for all children, we will have an education system we can be proud of. We have proof points all over our state of what works. We now need to achieve this systemically.

3. What would Frontdoors readers be surprised to learn about you? During my college years and early in my teaching career, I worked during my summers as a semitruck driver for a national moving company. You learn great insights about people when you move their personal belongings. While a different experience, I learned similar lessons about people by teaching their children. Now, I find the same to be true managing the charitable assets of many people. Across these diverse experiences, I found one thing to be true: To work well with people, you must listen intently and strive to determine what is most important to them — be it their children, their things or the philanthropic capital. When you do that, and you make it your highest priority in a relationship, great things happen.

4. Congratulations on celebrating the 40th year of the Arizona Community Foundation. What is your biggest goal as you look forward to the next 10 years? Our foundation has been fortunate to have Bert Getz, our founder, still engaged with us today. Forty years ago, Bert had the insight to create a mechanism to enable the community to invest in itself — the community foundation model. Bert, along with a group of prominent business leaders and banks, saw the importance of establishing a community foundation for Arizonans that would operate in perpetuity to serve the interests of communities across our state. Today, the Arizona Community Foundation, thanks to those

Steve Seleznow with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego at the Phoenix Public Library Foundation’s Dinner in the Stacks. Seleznow was recognized as their 2019 honoree for his work in education.

visionaries and our donors, is one of the 25 largest community foundations in the country, with more than $1 billion in charitable assets and granting about $800 million across Arizona and around the globe. I expect the foundation to double in size and impact over the next five to 10 years, thanks to the next generation of donors now setting their charitable goals and aspirations. I see ACF continuing to develop innovative charitable programs, products and services to serve future generations of Arizonans determined to make their communities better. We are now implementing new technology and artificial intelligence systems to make charitable giving easier, more efficient, more customized for the donor, and more impactful. We are a proxy for the robustness of charitable giving in Arizona — and we see that uniquely Arizona spirit of giving shining bright for generations to come.

5. ACF passed the billion-dollar mark in assets at the end of November. What does that mean to the organization? It’s important because it reflects that a culture of philanthropy is alive and well across the state. It also drives the scale of funds we can invest back into the community. We are the community’s foundation — and at our best, we are a direct reflection of the inherent charitable nature of Arizonans. They care about their communities, JANUARY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA 9

and they care deeply about those who struggle. They use us to help manage their giving and achieve their philanthropic objectives most effectively. We are humbled every day by donors who commit such significant amounts of their wealth to improve conditions for others.

6. To what do you attribute the incredible 10-year growth of ACF’s funds, from $450 million to $1 billion? Our growth has been the direct result of a very talented staff focused on serving our donors and engaging with community partners through a “serve and amaze” philosophy. ACF’s board has provided clear leadership on what differentiates ACF from for-profit commercial enterprises that offer charitable funds. Our knowledge and expertise in the community in combination with the ability to serve nonprofit organizations, corporations and supporting organizations have been other essential elements of our success. But most importantly, we stick to our core values: exceptional service, stewardship, integrity, innovation, nimbleness, inclusion and collaboration.

7. What trends in philanthropic giving do you see as we enter a new decade? Philanthropy has received national attention and criticism in recent months, particularly around the mega- or ultra-wealthy donor. This has not been the case in Arizona. I fear this criticism might lead to restrictive regulations that would curtail giving in the future. We are also learning from the next generation of philanthropists of their strong desire for deeper connections to the causes they support. Moreover, they are seeking creative models of social finance they can use to further their charitable goals. That’s why we created the New Arizona Innovation Prize, the Affordable Housing Pre-Development Loan Fund, the Community Impact Loan Fund and Philanthropy for All Giving Circles.

8. Is there a stat about giving in Arizona that would surprise our readers? ACF has received the highest, 4-star rating for nine consecutive years from Charity Navigator, 10 FRONTDOORS MEDIA | JANUARY 2020

the preeminent rating agency for the charitable sector, placing us in the top 3 percent of all philanthropic organizations nationally for our financial efficiency and effectiveness. Annually our donors throughout the state gift between $75 million and $135 million to the wide variety of charitable funds they’ve set up at ACF. As a result, ACF is in the Philanthropy 400, the charitable sector’s version of the Fortune 500. Lastly, ACF is the largest, independent provider of scholarships in Arizona.

9. How would you rate the “health” of our community? As prosperous as we are as a state, there continue to be growing needs in the areas covered by our philanthropic agenda: health innovations, quality education, community improvement and development, environment and sustainability, and arts and culture. We are most healthy in our ability to collaborate to solve big problems. Arizona, like nowhere else, knows how to work together within and across sectors, and you see more philanthropic/private/corporate/government partnerships here than elsewhere. That’s what you need to solve big problems and achieve greatness. Moreover, business, community and government leaders are incredibly accessible, making collaboration so much more effective.

10. What do you see as the single most significant opportunity for philanthropic growth in the coming year? Our biggest opportunity is the nonprofit sector. NPOs are the fifth-largest driver of economic development in our state. These vital organizations address the most difficult and complex community challenges we face, and they work with amazing intensity to assist the most fragile populations in our communities. They work where others do not. And they are among the leanest, most agile and innovative organizations anywhere. We need to get behind all of our nonprofit leaders and support their organizations with both time and resources. The impactful work and dedication of the nonprofit sector contribute to making Arizona a great place to live. To learn more, go to

A new era in health care education rises in Phoenix. Through the newly formed Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, Creighton is helping to elevate the state’s health system by educating physicians, nurses and other skilled and passionate professionals to serve all populations, including those in our most underserved communities. With Jesuit, Catholic values, Creighton University is reaching new heights in care.

The Creighton Alliance is in partnership with:












BOOKMARKED {healthy picks for kids}

Ilana Lowery, Arizona director of Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media expanded into Arizona in 2018, naming Ilana Lowery the state’s regional director. The nonprofit’s mission is to help families take charge of their digital media choices, and that’s no small feat today! Its website offers independent, age-based ratings and reviews, along with parenting advice to support families as they navigate the challenges and possibilities of raising kids in the digital age. Ratings include movies, apps, TV shows and books so parents can feel good about the entertainment choices they make for their kids. We asked Lowery for Common Sense’s top-rated books for 2020.

F O R T H E YO U N G E R S E T “Good Night, Little Blue Truck” by Alice Schertle (ages 4+) Teaches empathy and shows friends helping friends get through a scary, stormy night safely together. A great, fun read-aloud.

FOR TWEENS “Ali Cross” by James Patterson (ages 10+) Detective’s middle-schooler son sets out to solve his own first case, matching wits with online gamers and real-life criminals to find and save his missing friend.

FOR TEENS “Call Down the Hawk: The Dreamer Trilogy, Book 1” by Maggie Stiefvater (ages 14+) Thrilling start to this spin-off of the fantasy author’s Raven Cycle series. Strong messages about the importance of unconditional bonds of family and friendship and the power of dreamers.

To see more reviews, go to JANUARY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA 13

OFFICE DOORS {valley changemakers}


Owners and managing partners of Café Cultivate at Ability360 As told to | Julie Coleman

2018 >> THE MAKING OF A REMARKABLE VILLAGE Juli: Our son, Oliver, sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in 2012 from a motorcycle accident. He had opened a coffee shop with a man who was in rehab with him and we helped them in this endeavor. It ended up disbanding and, in the interim, I was teaching nutrition classes at Ability360 through the Brain Injury Alliance. A gentleman who is a stroke survivor and in the class was trying to convert an existing large room into a coffee shop and asked if we would help. Because it was hard on him and stressful, he asked us to take over. So that’s what we did with the intent to hire people with disabilities. Six of our seven employees have a disability, ranging from autism and brain injury to deafness. It’s tough for people with disabilities to find a job because


people don’t understand brain injury, whereas we do. People with disabilities appreciate the job, are always here, always early, and willing to stay late. We have amazing employees who are grateful, work their hearts out and then go home exhausted.

5:30 a.m. >> TWO EARLY BIRDS Gregory: Juli wakes up at 3:40 a.m. every day, and my alarm goes off at 4:05 a.m. and again at 4:20 a.m. I am one of those double-alarm guys! When we arrive at the café, we sit in our car and say our prayers. We pray over the café, our four sons, their wives and our grandson. I drop off stuff we have in the car, like produce, and start sorting the coffees and Juli starts prepping for the day.

Photos by Jillian Rivera Photography

Juli and Gregory Bryan believe that every person deserves purpose, interaction and good nutrition, so they cultivate those things at Café Cultivate.

6 a.m. >> PREPARATION IS KEY Juli: I make a list on the whiteboard of what everybody will do when they arrive. Because our café opens at 8 a.m., we have to be ready for the first order to hit. This includes cutting all the fruit, baking the croissants, and putting the homemade refried beans on.

6:30 a.m. >> TOASTING WITH A TINY CUP Juli: The two of us do a shot of espresso and toast for the day. We ask what we want out of today, we wish that things go smoothly for people with different disabilities, and we hope that my food is enjoyable for everyone. Our mission statement is what we live and toast to every day. Once the staff starts to arrive, I won’t see Gregory again until I come out of the kitchen.

7 a.m. >> THE BEAT OF HARD WORK Juli: When our first employee arrives, he comes in and starts prepping eggs. He beats all the eggs and gets them prepped in portions so that when we get orders, everything’s already portioned out. Because our employees have so many disabilities, everything is portioned and easy to grab, which helps everybody.

11 a.m. >> ALL IN THE FAMILY Juli: Our next employee, who is deaf, arrives.

I learned sign language years ago because my career was going to be in elementary education for the hearing impaired. And then I stopped and had a family. We signed with our boys growing up, and now I have an employee who I can communicate with, which is very convenient. Gregory: It is consistently busy during this time. Right now, I run the front of the house, interfacing with customers placing their orders of coffee and food. Oliver is in grad school now and is there studying a lot so if it gets too crazy, I’ll ask him to help.


Gregory: Juli is very passionate about food, so everything is made fresh every single day. Presentation and freshness are a huge deal as we’re not just throwing food on a plate. Because we make everything as it’s ordered, it takes longer than what people are used to at a typical place. But as people have learned this, they become patient. My nickname is Duck because I don’t get stressed over things and don’t get uptight. When people come in, I try to be calm and upbeat. When I have a long line, I just chat with people as I’m making coffees and try to keep them from worrying about rushing back to the desk. CONTINUED... JANUARY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA 15

It’s Tax Credit Time!

Use this special issue to consider the qualified organizations and schools that have partnered with Frontdoors Media for the 2019-2020 tax season. See tax credit giving opportunities across the categories we have highlighted this year ... it’s a win-win for everyone!

your key to the community FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ADVERTISING AND PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS, CONTACT: Andrea Tyler Evans, Publisher | 3104 E. Camelback Road #967 | Phoenix, AZ 85016 480-622-4522 |


2 p.m. >> A BRIEF EXHALE Juli: The kitchen closes and then the café closes at 4 p.m. I’ll usually bring food over and sit down as this is the first and only time we eat all day. By 2 p.m., we take a deep breath since we’ve been going a thousand miles an hour. Once a week, I drive to Mesa to go to the market and get all the produce.


Juli: When we go home, we feed and play with our kitties. We fall into bed and I set my alarm for every hour and a half so I can wake up to do a load of laundry, including aprons, towels and rags so that I can bring it back in the morning. We had no idea the community that would form around the café. It has become the focal point and a hub of positive energy that brings people together. To learn more, go to


The Mortgage



THIS MONTH’S TIP /// Most of us have the goal of paying off our homes as soon as possible. The first thought is refinancing into a lower term. Not so fast! Did you know you could pay off your home more quickly just by paying more a month? Everything over your initial payment goes straight to principle. Example: Loan amount $260K, 30-year term, 4 percent rate. P&I payment would be $1,317 a month, paying $214,257 in interest over the life of the loan. If you paid an extra $500 a month, you would pay that loan off in 18.4 years and save almost $90K in interest. That gives you flexibility when needed, all while still paying your home off early. Now that’s a good mortgage.


After continuously searching for ways to find balance in my life, I realized that things didn’t have to be as complicated as I was making them. I started paying more attention to the connection between my mind, body and soul, and I discovered what an influential role these elements play in our overall well-being. My family, my career and my community. Once I identified what matters most, it was easy to find a balance between the three. Instead of feeling I had to choose between them, I began attending hands-on community activities with my daughter, and that has been so fulfilling for us to share. Geneva Financial launched “Geneva Gives,” which is a great way to integrate my career with what I love most.

The Bryans created Café Cultivate after their son Oliver (far left) sustained a head injury. They are shown here with their other sons Dain, Alec and Dustin.

Kiesha McFadden, Senior Loan Officer 480.252.9365 | NMLS #198458


Branch Address: 7272 E. Indian School Road, Suite 540 Scottsdale AZ 85251

Corp Address: 3155 S. Price Road, Suite 105 Chandler, AZ 85248

AZ BK #0910215 • NMLS #42056 ©2020 Geneva Financial, LLC.

CAREY’S CORNER {carey peña reports}

I HAVE A VOICE Speaking up for the Down Syndrome community

Carey Peña | Contributing Writer

“It was kind of sad. Nobody celebrated her birth. For me, as a first-time mom, it was hard. I felt very isolated.” When Jennifer Gage gave birth to her first child, Kaitlyn, it wasn’t a “typical” new-mom experience. Kaitlyn was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and at the time, 23 years ago, there was far less knowledge, acceptance and awareness. For Jennifer Gage, the world was spinning. That is until she found her voice. “I wanted to give Kaitlyn a typical experience,” Gage told me. So she set off as a determined young mother to do just that. Gage would soon find out about a national organization called GiGi’s Playhouse. The founder, Chicago resident Nancy Gianni, calls herself 18 FRONTDOORS MEDIA | JANUARY 2020

the “Chief Belief Officer.” She’s been named a CNN Hero and has been featured on national television, including “The Today Show.” On the GiGi’s Playhouse website, Gianni wrote: “When my daughter GiGi was born, I thought my family’s life would change forever. About an hour after she was born, the doctors suspected she had Down syndrome. Panic was welling up inside me, but I was afraid for anyone to see it. As soon as my husband and I made eye contact, I said, ‘If anyone can handle this, we can.’” Both Gianni and Gage talk about the pain they felt when people came to visit after their babies were born. “There were hugs of sympathy, not congratulations,” Gianni said. “They would tiptoe toward the bassinet and seem afraid to look inside to see what she would look like.”

Jennifer Gage (second from left) says GiGi’s Playhouse has given her family a platform to make the world a better place for her daughter Kaitlyn, who has Down syndrome. GiGi’s offers a holistic approach, not just helping the person with Down syndrome, but their parents, siblings and extended family.

The positive environment at GiGi’s Phoenix empowers those with Down syndrome to reach their highest potential.



Since the birth of Gianni’s daughter, and the founding of GiGi’s Playhouse, the nonprofit organization has expanded to 46 cities with the primary mission to “change the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all.” Phoenix mom Jennifer Gage no longer felt alone. As her voice grew more commanding, she began to advocate not only for her daughter but for the thousands of children with Down syndrome in the Phoenix area. “They really can’t speak for themselves, so we have to be their advocates,” Gage told me when we sat down for an on-camera interview. “I think in today’s environment, we have to take care of one another, and especially if you have diminished capacity, you are at increased risk. We need to step up and take care of these young kids and adults and become their voice.”

We all have it in us to find our voice. I’ve seen it happen in the most remarkable ways over the years as I’ve covered tragedy and triumph as a news reporter and anchor. Our voices are our strength and our power. We can do great things with them. We can inspire change, speak the truth and question wrongdoing. We can lift others up if we choose. But how we use our voice is, ultimately, a choice for all of us. Gage found herself on a mission to use her voice powerfully, growing GiGi’s platform in Phoenix and providing help — and, perhaps most importantly, hope. “They want, and they hope for and dream about, the same things that we do,” Gage said. “A lot of people with Down syndrome recognize that they are different. We are busy trying to get them ready for the world.”

WHEN YOU GIVE UP TO $800 TO DUET, YOU GET BACK UP TO $800 ON YOUR TAXES. Your donation to Duet delivers compassion, dignity, and hope right here in our community to homebound adults, family caregivers, faith communities, and grandfamilies. Duet is a Qualifying Arizona Charitable Tax Credit Organization. •

Donate to Duet and keep your donation receipt

File AZ Form 321 with your tax return

Receive a dollar-for-dollar Arizona tax credit; individuals can receive up to $400 and couples filing jointly up to $800

You do not have to itemize

This tax credit may be claimed in addition to school and foster care tax credits

You have until April 15 to take advantage of the AZ Charitable Tax Credit for the 2019 tax year. | (602) 274-5022 20 FRONTDOORS MEDIA | JANUARY 2020

“We brought our grandchildren into our home so they could be safe and healthy. We try to provide as many activities and as normal as a life as possible, and Duet gives us the tools and support to do that. — Stanley, a grandparent raising three grandchildren

On February 14, 2015, GiGi’s Phoenix opened its doors, becoming the 21st playhouse nationwide. It provides free educational and therapeutic programs to individuals with Down syndrome from birth through adulthood, as well as to their families and community of supporters. Gage has seen a spike in support. “Every year, we grow so much,” she said. “The first year at the gala we had 100 attendees and raised a little over $35,000, and last year we had about 500 attendees and raised about half a million dollars.” It’s one thing to realize you have a voice; it’s another to decide how and why you are going to use it. To learn more, go to



Photography for Life 602.677.3985 |

COVER STORY {by karen werner}



Honoring the life of Colleen Drury (above), Colleen’s Dream was founded in 2012 by Nicole Cundiff and her husband, Billy, a 12-year veteran kicker in the NFL.

FOUR SISTERS UNITE TO FIGHT OVARIAN CANCER Colleen Drury loved to read, exercise, travel, cook and spend time with family and friends. The mother of four daughters — Nicole Cundiff, Danielle Kamm, Michelle Batschelet and Billie Drury — she and her husband raised their family in the Arcadia neighborhood and were active in the community and their girls’ lives. When their oldest, Nicole, was young, Colleen went back to Arizona State University to get a nursing degree.

Together, in celebration of their mom, Colleen (middle), Michelle Batschelet, Nicole Cundiff, Billie Drury and Danielle Kamm support Arizona’s leading ovarian cancer nonprofit.

“It was cool to see her make sacrifices to not only care for us very well but to achieve her own dreams,” Nicole said. Colleen’s was a blessed life, spent tending to her close-knit family, enjoying her many friends and working with causes she cared about, like Easter Seals of Arizona and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “Colleen was special,” said Nicole’s husband, Billy Cundiff. “She was truly the life of the party in a very positive way.” So when Colleen started experiencing physical discomfort in 2007, no one imagined it was anything dire. She chalked the symptoms up to hitting her 50s and scheduled checkups with several doctors. But the symptoms started to mount. “I remember when I moved home from Texas, we had to stop almost every hour for her to go to the bathroom,” Nicole said. Colleen went from doctor to doctor, looking for a reason for her afflictions, but they couldn’t find one. “She told them what she was experiencing and how uncomfortable she was. Her gastroenterologist scheduled a colonoscopy, but they couldn’t perform the test because there was an obstruction. And then her gynecologist tried to

perform an internal exam and she jumped off the table. But that didn’t trigger anything for them,” Nicole said. “They sent her home and said, ‘We’ll try again in a few months.’” Meanwhile, Colleen became bloated. “She looked five months pregnant and could hardly walk,” Michelle said. Things came to a head during a rafting trip down to the Grand Canyon. “She had a distended belly and couldn’t eat,” Billie said. Finally, a family friend recognized that this was a problem beyond menopause and said, “We need to check you out. Please meet me at the hospital.” They ran a gamut of tests — a CA-125 blood test, an MRI, a CAT scan — and they had their diagnosis. It was ovarian cancer, the leading cause of gynecologic cancer deaths among women in the United States. At the time of Colleen’s diagnosis, the family didn’t know about ovarian cancer, even though Colleen was a nurse and had worked on what is now the oncology floor at St. Joseph’s Hospital. JANUARY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA 23

Because it’s considered a rare disease — only 25,000 women a year are diagnosed in the U.S. — ovarian cancer is not at the forefront of doctors’ minds. Sadly, because of its vague symptoms, women and their physicians often attribute the signs to other causes, which extends the time to diagnosis and increases the odds of metastasis. Indeed, Colleen’s cancer had progressed to stage 3C. By the time she was diagnosed, she was looking at a likely death sentence. What got the family through the initial shock was Colleen’s attitude. She knew there was a small percentage of women who beat the disease and fully intended to be one of them. “And we believed her,” Nicole said.

Around the same time, the girls started a blog to keep friends apprised of Colleen’s situation. It received thousands of hits, as people near and far kept tabs on Colleen’s cancer journey. “It was incredible to see how the community was invested,” Nicole said. Some of the posts were raw and personal and, because of that, people felt close to the family’s experience. “It was very therapeutic,” Danielle said. As the family processed their feelings, their attitude shifted from feeling sorry for themselves to being angry at the medical system to focusing on the future that they had. “Colleen made all of them shift their focus. I think that was valuable,” Billy said. “Instead of focusing on her being sick, they

of focusing on her being sick, “Insteadthey focused on how can we get our mom better?” Thrust into a frightful world of surgeries, chemotherapy and uncertainty, the family rallied. Nicole, Danielle and Michelle took Colleen for treatments at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and Billie, then a college student in Iowa, flew in whenever she could. “It was hard to be away and be so young when she was diagnosed. I was 19, and I don’t think I had a clear understanding of what we were facing and how brutal it really was,” she said. The family dealt with the tough treatments and dim prognosis in the best way they could — by taking action. Dismayed that so many doctors could miss the diagnosis, they wanted to understand why. The answer was simple: There is no early-detection screening tool. So they took it upon themselves to raise money to give to the University of Arizona because they were thankful for the hope they had been given by getting Colleen the proper treatment there. The family held a backyard party for some 300 people and raised thousands of dollars. 24 FRONTDOORS MEDIA | JANUARY 2020

focused on how can we get our mom better? How can we get ready for the next trip? How can we look forward to life events? It was a good place to put their emotions, to focus on all of the things their mom wanted to do.” A National Football League placekicker at the time, Billy frequently moved around the country as he got signed by various teams. But he was out of football from 2007 to 2009, the hardest period of Colleen’s treatment. Happily, her health tracked his NFL career, and Colleen was in good shape when he returned to the game. She was able to travel to Baltimore to help the growing family when Billy played for the Ravens. “It was a lot of fun to ride that wave of positivity,” Billy said.

Because it’s considered a rare disease — only 25,000 women a year are diagnosed in the U.S. — ovarian cancer is not at the forefront of doctors’ minds.


Unfortunately, the wave broke in 2012. Colleen no longer responded to treatment, the cancer had metastasized to her lungs, and the sisters knew their mother’s time was short. Again, the family used the experience to create something positive. Nicole and Billy decided to use his NFL platform to jumpstart their fundraising efforts and make a real impact on women’s lives. They started the nonprofit Colleen’s Dream, with Nicole as CEO and Colleen serving on the board, to raise money for early detection research for ovarian cancer. Colleen died on Feb. 23, 2013. But again, the family took the painful experience and pivoted to create something hopeful. Inspired by the fun backyard events they had held to raise funds for research, the sisters decided to hold a full-blown gala at Arizona Country Club on the first anniversary of their mother’s passing. “I was excited about the idea of putting our energy into another event. We knew that our family and friends would appreciate it,” Michelle said. The sisters hoped 75 people would attend and that they would raise $5,000 — but they took in more than $100,000 that night. And there was a buzz around the event because it attracted a different, younger demographic and had a laid-back, festive feel, like a large wedding. Billy’s NFL connections didn’t hurt. “We had some pretty stringent criteria in the sense that we wanted people that would come and interact with guests,” Billy said. “Yes, they were in the NFL, but they stayed and drank and danced, so it was fun to have a group of athletes. And almost every single one would ask, ‘When’s the date next year?’ So it started to catch on.” The sisters threw themselves into the planning and looked forward to the event year after year. “It was

“I’m like a rooster in a henhouse,” said Billy Cundiff, co-founder of Colleen’s Dream. “But getting men to listen is important, because not everybody has a wife or girlfriend or sister. But everybody has a mom.”

trial by fire, but we put the work in,” Danielle said. “We learned from the mistakes the first year and we improved upon it the following year and then the following year. And it just continued to get bigger.” In the process, they’ve formed a real community through Colleen’s Dream. Recently, Patrick Scales, a long snapper for the Chicago Bears, donated his game-day paycheck for the cause. And Lorenzo Alexander, a Buffalo Bills linebacker, has dedicated his last season to raising awareness about ovarian cancer and Colleen’s Dream. “He and I have been talking about the different proposals that we received from the research institution close to where he lives and where we’re going to put that money,” Nicole said. On the flip side, though the year has been good monetarily for Colleen’s Dream, the fundraising is partially due to the fact that ovarian cancer took the lives of three women close to the organization. “Colleen’s Dream meant so much to them that they


:: F AMILY HISTORY — women with a family history of ovarian, breast, uterus, colon or rectal cancer are at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer.

:: A GE — 90 percent of cases develop in women over 40 and the majority of cases are diagnosed in women over 60.

Did you know ?

1 IN 78 WOMEN will develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime.

94 PERCENT of women

diagnosed in early stages survive five years. About 20 percent of cases are diagnosed early. Research shows that women with ovarian cancer experience symptoms. However, without increased education, many women and their doctors ignore or misinterpret symptoms.

put their memorial gifts to us,” Nicole said. “That’s bittersweet. There is no greater honor than a family calling you and saying, ‘My wife loved you all so much she wants to help continue with your mission.’ On the one hand, you want to be thankful, and on the other hand, you apologize because you couldn’t do enough for them.” That’s why Colleen’s Dream will continue its work. To date, the foundation has given out $1.7 million for research on the cutting-edge of modern science. The hope is to find a screening tool — be it a urine test, blood test or something else — that is scalable, affordable and that women can access easily. Though the journey has been difficult, the sisters agree that having a way to make sense of losing their mom has been a gift. “Colleen’s Dream has been an incredible place to do active grieving and put our time and energy and be able to be together and have that shared experience. And to watch people rally around us has been extremely humbling,” Michelle said. Though Colleen has been gone for close to seven years, the family says they still feel her presence. When things are hard, and the sisters start to consider putting their time and energy into other

things, a door will open. “I can’t help but think that it’s her opening that door,” Nicole said. “The coolest things happen, and it reminds me how important this work is and the promises that we made her.” The whole family agrees that Colleen was the star of the family. “People gravitated towards her,” Billy said. “She was magnetic.” Colleen used to call the girls her “penguins” because they would follow her around. “We just loved being with her, which is part of why we are the way that we are together,” Michelle said. “We could have just crawled up in a ball and been done with it. But to take the experience and do something with it keeps us close. It turned something that is awful into something amazing.” And so the sisters remain close and enjoy the constant laughter and easy rapport they’ve had since they were young girls. Their mom used to tell them, “Attitude is everything, so pick a good one,” and they’ve done just that. “Putting positivity out in the world, especially when you’re sad, helps shift your perspective off the negative things that are happening in your life,” Billie said. “Philanthropy was very important to her, and she dedicated a lot of her life to it. So I think watching her daughters live on that legacy is something that makes her very proud.” To learn more, go to JANUARY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA 27

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NEXT DOORS {ahead of the curve}


Feeding Matters breaks new ground in pediatric feeding disorders Tom Evans | Contributing Editor

We all love to eat, right? It’s one of the simplest and most basic things we do as human beings. When we’re hungry, we find food. Sometimes we find too much food. We enjoy going to restaurants, or cooking at home, or pigging out on junk food. Some kids are picky eaters — my son was infuriatingly fussy about food when he was a baby. But he eventually ate, and when most people hear about picky eating, they fall into old parenting sayings. “They’ll eat when they’re hungry,” or “When I was a kid we ate whatever we had and didn’t complain.” But for some children, it’s not that simple. Especially ones that are born premature or face health challenges early on. Those challenges can manifest themselves in very serious problems when it comes to nutrition.

Imagine if — for physical or psychological reasons — it caused discomfort to consume food. Maybe your stomach couldn’t process it, or your senses had a powerfully adverse reaction to putting food in your mouth. Imagine what a challenge that would be. And imagine how that could affect the growth of a young child. There’s a name for this condition now, thanks to a Valley-based nonprofit that has broken new ground in the medical field and gotten severe feeding issues on the radar. It’s pediatric feeding disorder, and it’s becoming a treatable diagnosis due to the hard work of Feeding Matters. Feeding Matters started in 2006, after Shannon and Bob Goldwater had triplets that were born 14 weeks premature. Even after being released from the hospital, each child would eventually require JANUARY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA 29

a feeding tube to eat. The Goldwaters soon found that there was a shortage of quality information on how to deal with childhood feeding. So after their experience, they founded what was then called the Parent Organized Partnerships Supporting Infants and Children Learning to Eat (P.O.P.S.I.C.L.E.) Center, and was (wisely) rebranded to become Feeding Matters in 2013. Chris Linn, Feeding Matters’ president and chief executive officer, went through a similar experience with her daughter. “You get faced with, ‘They’ll eat when they’re hungry,’ and you end up so stressed out that it affects your child,” Linn said. “When we started to go through this, the problems for kids were not identified at the onset, and it wasn’t until we were desperate — I went to the emergency room and said I wasn’t leaving until someone helped me — that we were able to get a feeding tube inserted. It’s a fragmented system of care, and no one was looking at her holistically.”

Feeding Matters supports families going through feeding difficulties, which is an essential part of its work. But the organization has also embraced a critical advocacy role, because there was no diagnosis for these problems in the past.

So, Feeding Matters worked to educate the medical community and establish an umbrella under which kids can be treated by creating an actual medical diagnosis that allows doctors to develop a treatment plan. Pediatric feeding disorder was officially recognized recently in a peer-reviewed paper funded by the organization and published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, a key milestone in public education efforts. Now, the focus is turning to the medical system itself, and making sure, for example, that insurance carriers recognize pediatric feeding disorder and fully cover any corrective steps that are necessary. “It’s like where autism was 40 or 50 years ago,” Linn said. “The parents were blamed. They were called refrigerator moms because they were supposedly so cold to kids that they could not function socially. In today’s world, so often people say you need to be more strict with your kids. This disease used to be called failure to thrive, reflux, you name it. Now we have a standalone diagnosis.” But it’s the work in supporting families that has a day-to-day impact. Brandon Benzing and his wife Paula’s daughter Penny was born 12 weeks premature. They had previously had a son who was delivered prematurely as well and thought they knew what to expect until food started becoming a serious problem. “Everything followed the same path except feeding,” Brandon said. “It never quite worked out.

Born 12 weeks premature, Penny Benzing has always struggled with pediatric feeding disorder.

Pediatric feeding disorder can be a silent and isolating issue for families. Luckily, Feeding Matters offered the Benzing family support.

She never picked up on eating from a bottle, never would take a pacifier, and when we did get her to drink from a bottle, she became heavily aspirated. Our son is now 10, and he eventually was fine, and we expected similar results with her, but it never materialized. We always had issues.” Confused and frustrated, Paula Benzing finally found Feeding Matters online and reached out. “We got a call the next day from another mom with a very similar situation,” Brandon said. “She let Paula talk for a good hour and a half. It was very therapeutic for her to have someone listen who understood. “We felt like we were flying blind. We had lots of family and lots of relatives who gave excellent emotional support, but there was a lot of ‘You can just not feed her and she’ll be hungry and she’ll eat, so she’ll eventually figure it out.’ It wasn’t until we reached out to Feeding Matters that we had help from people with similar experiences.” Penny is now 3, and she’s making steady progress, which the Benzings say is due in no small part to the support they have received.

“The biggest thing that happened is that she’ll now ask for something to eat, ask for a snack, which she never asked before,” Brandon said. “She’s frequently asking for snacks or water. You give her something to taste, she’ll ask for more.” Feeding Matters is one of just a handful of organizations nationwide addressing pediatric feeding, and Linn said that they will continue to support as many families as possible and expand public awareness so that something most people think is simple can be fully appreciated. “For all of us, there’s so much celebration around food and the bonding and joy that comes from it — but for some families, gathering around food is not joyful,” she said. “It’s painful and stressful. And I think all of us should remember and not take it for granted.” To learn more, go to



STYLE UNLOCKED {living fashionably}

MISSI HARRINGTON’S FASHION WONDERLAND Step inside the philanthropist’s wardrobe McKenna Wesley | Contributing Writer

I was thrilled when Missi Harrington invited me to experience the full wonder of her closet. As she opened her front door, I was greeted by her radiant smile. “Hello Bubbly, please come with me,” she said. Entering Missi’s closet, my eyes flew to her fantastic shoe collection and landed on a dazzling pair of Swarovski crystal Gucci heels, of which only 50 were made. This was only the beginning. Gazing around, I recognized that Missi’s style is ladylike, classic and elegantly fashion-forward. Chanel, Gucci, Oscar de la Renta and more swirled around me. Welcome to the fashion wonderland of Missi Harrington. Photos by Jillian Rivera Photography


When did you become interested in fashion? As a young girl, my best and fondest memories were going to my grandmother’s house in Beverly Hills. I would lie in the guest room, where I often stayed, designed entirely in Ralph Lauren, reading countless Vogue magazines. She had a subscription to Vogue — all years, never threw them out. I would immerse myself in them. Study them. I couldn’t get enough.


What is your “go-to” outfit? My go-to outfit is simple. A good watch. Layered perfume — Chanel Coromandel and Tom Ford Soleil Blanc shimmering body spray. And some version of black and white with matching bag and shoes. I put thought into every outfit — you never know who you’ll run into! I think a girl of fashion always has good shoes and bags and lots of cute dresses. You can never go wrong with designer bags and shoes because the dress isn’t as important as long as the shoes and bag are the main focus. The accessories are what ties it all together. Good earrings, necklaces, bracelets and cuffs. You’re very involved in philanthropy, and some charity events are black tie. Is there a particular gown you remember wearing to one of them? I honestly don’t have a favorite because I specifically pick each gown for each event, so naturally I love them all! I usually wear Oscar de la Renta gowns. If I did have to choose, it would be the Alex Perry gown I got on Farfetch for Carolyn Jackson’s year of the Heart Ball. It was fantastic! Fit me perfectly and looked flawless, like a leather gown. I enjoyed that gown because it was Cinderella meets couture. 34 FRONTDOORS MEDIA | JANUARY 2020

In your opinion, which celebrities have the best style? The celebrities that have the most similar style to me would probably be Gigi and Bella Hadid, Jennifer Lopez and I suppose a Kardashian. I emulate celebrities that can put themselves together and wear it well. Is there anything you would like readers to know? I’m all about dressing to make myself happy. I’m not out to impress or win anyone over with my fashion choices. Dressing well makes me feel confident, and like I can accomplish anything! What are your fashion plans for the New Year? My fashion plans for 2020 would be to keep incorporating what I already own into what I purchase in the future. Not be too trendy, staying classic and adding to my already amazing wardrobe. I always do tweaks here and there. As styles change, so do I. Any fashion advice to live by? One of my favorite quotes is from Coco Chanel: “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”




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A 2ND ACT {helping is healing}

Mitzie and Jeremy Warner’s son Dylan persevered through painful procedures, infections, blood draws and even heart surgery.

HOW TINY BECAME MIGHTY BIG The March of Dimes helped a small baby help others Judy Pearson | Contributing Writer

Mitzie and Jeremy Warner had gone through four failed in-vitro fertilizations. Then it happened: The fifth time was a charm. Parenthood would be theirs some time around the baby’s July 22, 2016, due date. But in mid-April, Mitzie began experiencing what was ultimately diagnosed as preterm labor. She was admitted to the hospital and given magnesium to slow down her contractions, along with steroids to hasten the development of her baby’s tiny lungs. The waiting began. Long hours dragged into days, with hopes of delaying the baby’s birth for as long as possible. Realizing their baby was most likely going to be premature, Mitzie and Jeremy Googled “premies.” While the long list of possible complications was terrifying, it appeared that

many were treated as the result of the work done by a single organization: the March of Dimes. Initially founded in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (as it was originally called) was created to combat polio. Once that disease was conquered, the organization changed its name and expanded its mission to include research funding for congenital disabilities, infant mortality, and maternal and neonatal care. “We looked at each other and pledged that, no matter how our story ended, we were going to make the March of Dimes a part of our lives,” Mitzie said. “It was because of their research that doctors learned the value of the magnesium and JANUARY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA 37

Thanks to March of Dimes research and the NICU team at Honor Health Scottsdale Shea, Dylan is healthy today. That is why his family formed Team Tiny Tot.

steroids I got. We’d never heard of them, but they were saving our baby.” On April 16, Dillon Warner was born, weighing in at one pound, eight ounces. He was 15 weeks premature and about to begin a 127-day stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A roller coaster of emotions awaited the Warners. Dillon battled infections and endured heart surgery when he weighed just two pounds. And the stress didn’t lessen when they finally went home. “We couldn’t leave the house as a family for a year,” Mitzie said. “Visitors could only come if they were certain they weren’t sick. The nursery looked more like a hospital room. Still, we kept going back to the March of Dimes website to read stories of hope. And we prayed that ours would ultimately be one of them.” It was. By Christmas of 2016, tiny Dillon was stronger and healthier. Breathing a little easier, the Warners put the promise they made in the hospital into action. Mitzie created a small team to walk in the 2017 Phoenix March of Dimes fundraiser. Called Team Tiny Tot, she set a goal of raising $1,000. She overachieved and raised $1,400. The bar was established and had to be higher in 2018. She didn’t want to keep going back to her friends


and family, realizing she needed to pull in more of the community. Her marketing background sparked an idea. In the NICU, Dillon had been given caffeine, a frequent practice to treat or prevent respiratory and lung problems in premature babies (another March of Dimes research discovery). “Coffee shops are so popular, it was clear they had to be part of the equation,” Mitzie said. “Partnering with a nearby Gilbert shop called Sweetz and a local mini horse farm, we held Sweetz, Sips and Mini Pony Pics, and we raised more than $3,000!” In the 2019 walk, Team Tiny Tot raised nearly $5,000. And just as thrilling, the Warners became one of the organization’s Ambassador Families, with the opportunity to share their story with donors. Mitzie also accepted the co-chair position for the 2020 Phoenix March for Babies, sharing duties with

“ We kept going back to the March of Dimes website to read stories of hope. And we prayed that ours would ultimately be one of them.”

Your conscious life



480 • 840 • 1589


her good friend, “Good Morning Arizona” anchor Olivia Fierro. Held in downtown Phoenix in April, it is the organization’s largest local fundraiser. Not all second acts are created from the ground up. Sometimes, a life’s mission grows as a branch of an already established second act. But the goal is the same: finding the treasure in life’s wreckage. It is one of the best ways to heal from challenges. For the Warners, not only is their March of Dimes work their treasure; there is one more. Jeremy is a pharmacist. The third night Mitzie was in the hospital before Dillon was born, Jeremy was with her, rather than at work. His pharmacy was robbed at gunpoint. It is frightening to think what might have happened had he been there. Suffice it to say that at less than two pounds, tiny Dillon might have saved his father’s life. To learn more, visit and


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OFFERING A LIFELINE A connection of hope for Arizona teens is one call away Catie Richman | Contributing Writer

THE STORY Teen Lifeline started in 1986 after a TV movie called “Surviving” aired. The prime-time special starring Molly Ringwald was controversial because it was the first time teen suicide was portrayed in such a public way. The movie sparked headlines and was a catalyst for mental health organizations to look into teen suicide. At the time, the teen suicide rate in Arizona was more than double the national average. “Since day one, our mission has been to prevent teen suicide in Arizona,” said Michelle Moorhead, the organization’s executive director. “We’re doing that through fostering a sense of connection and hope for the future for kids.” 40 FRONTDOORS MEDIA | JANUARY 2020

Teen Lifeline’s peer-to-peer hotline provides lifesaving resources for teens so they can easily reach out to talk to someone who knows what they are going through — other teens. “When you think about it, no matter what age you are, when you have a problem or when you’re struggling with something, you want to talk to somebody who you think will understand,” Moorhead said. “Using peers becomes an ingenious tactic for making sure that teens will reach out because they’re more willing to talk to a friend about a problem they’re having before they go to an adult.”

In 2003, Teen Lifeline became the first peer counseling hotline in the nation to receive accreditation through the American Association of Suicidology. The confidential hotline started as one central location, but now there are two numbers: one for Maricopa County and an 800 number to serve teens statewide. Both are staffed by trained teen volunteers from 3 to 9 p.m. daily. Calls received at other times are answered by an adult crisis counselor at the Crisis Response Network. In 2016, Teen Lifeline also launched hotline texting to offer another channel for teens to reach out. About three years ago, the Arizona school ID initiative began, which places Teen Lifeline contact information on the back of student ID cards. “We’re now in over 200 schools across the state with a message of help and hope to kids. If they are having a hard time, they can flip over their school ID and it will have a message from Teen Lifeline, basically saying, ‘You are not alone,’” Moorhead said. “It’s another way to connect to teens who need support.”

Using peers becomes an ingenious tactic for making sure that teens will reach out because they’re more willing to talk to a friend about a problem they’re having before they go to an adult.

“For the teen volunteers, a part of the training is not just about helping the other teens who call the hotline. A lot of it is about helping them grow and be the best person they can be,” Moorhead said. While the organization asks for a minimum fourmonth commitment from the volunteers, the average stay is three years. “The teenagers who are volunteering their time make a difference, but they are getting something out of it, which is why they stay,” Moorhead said. As of 2017, high schoolers throughout Arizona have donated more than 19,000 hours working the hotline.

THE CAUSE Since 1986, Teen Lifeline volunteers have helped more than 253,000 teen callers in Arizona. Volunteers ages 15 to 19 receive a minimum of 72 hours of intensive training over six weeks to learn not just about suicide and suicide prevention but problem-solving skills, how to be good listeners and ways to provide support as they learn about self-esteem and decision-making.

“The hotline is key to everything we do, but we are doing so much more than that,” Moorhead said. “We are actively out there in the community trying to train people how to recognize and respond to kids who might be at risk for a lot of things, and how to find the help and support that they need.” Since 2018, Teen Lifeline reports the organization has reached more than 334,000 teens, parents and educators in Arizona. The program strives to provide awareness, education and prevention within the community. The presentations help not JANUARY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA 41

only spread awareness of the hotline but address topics such as bullying, stress, grief, coping and suicide prevention. “What we’re doing in schools, classrooms and the community at large, and also what we’re doing on the hotline, is all about trying to connect with kids, help them feel hopeful and providing the support they need so that they can live great lives,” Moorhead said.

THE FUTURE In September 2019, the Mitch Warnock Act was signed, which requires all school personnel in Arizona grades six through 12 to get training in suicide prevention, identification and referrals for students on their campus. Moorhead explained that partnering with the schools to train the personnel and students will be a significant focus for Teen Lifeline moving forward. “We know that with suicide prevention, if we can reach kids before suicide becomes a problem, and if we can help them have better coping skills and more positive adults they can reach out to for support, that we will have a better chance of preventing suicide from becoming an issue — that whole idea of connection,” Moorhead said. “We’re going to be focusing on that for the next few years in terms of how we are training more people at schools, how we’re training more teens to know that there is help and how to access that help when they need it.” Another area of focus for the organization is working on determining a way to measure outcomes. “One of the things we’re looking at is how we measure a sense of connection and hopefulness for the future. And how do we measure those things with what we’re doing on the hotline?” Moorhead said. “We know what we’re doing is saving lives. I have seen it on the hotline. I’ve seen it in the community. I’ve seen it firsthand. But how do I prove that to everybody else? That’s a big push for us, looking at data and looking at how we can collect and analyze data to be able not only to tell the story of a person, but to say, this is what our metrics are telling us.” 42 FRONTDOORS MEDIA | JANUARY 2020


In Maricopa County:

602.248.8336 (TEEN) Statewide in Arizona:

800.248.8336 (TEEN)

The metrics will help the nonprofit further develop their programs and hopefully shed light on how to better reach more teens across the state. But for teens who need support, each phone call or text message or conversation or connection is a chance for healing and hope for the future. For more information, visit



THE PAW REPORT {PetSmart Charities}


EVERY DONATION HELPS In 2018 PetSmart Charities granted over $42.8 million dollars to improve access to veterinary care, to positively impact communities, to connect people and pets and to help keep people and pets together.


Throughout the year, there are various ways you can help pets in the Valley and in communities across North America. When you donate, more than 90 cents of every dollar go directly to help pets in need. Learn more about ways to give at:

As we kick off 2020 many of us will also be kicking off our New Year’s resolutions, and some of these may involve our pets. While resolutions like working to eat healthier foods and to get more exercise can benefit both you and your pet, pet parents often overlook the need to schedule regular wellness care for their pets. Basic veterinary care like spaying/neutering, vaccinations and dental check-ups can help avoid serious, and often costly, medical issues. While this just may be a matter of finding time during busy schedules for some, for others who are experiencing life challenges such as homelessness, illness and domestic violence, the obstacles are greater. Thanks to people like you who are passionate about pets, PetSmart Charities provides funding to communities across North America that helps pet parents in these and other situations stay with their pets by providing resources and the necessary care that pets need to remain healthy.

KITCHEN DOORS {food for thought}



PROUD MEMBER OF: Photo by Grace Stufkosky


MERKIN VINEYARDS OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE From grapes grown in Willcox and the Verde Valley to fresh ingredients in its restaurants, Merkin Vineyards is committed to local flavors and suppliers. “As a local producer ourselves, we give the support to others that we would like to receive,” said Jim Cunningham, general manager of Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale, which opened last March. “Knowing the farmers, producers and where the ingredients come from gives us peace of mind as far as the quality of what we’re purchasing and serving. All of this adds up to a tastier bite, which is the end goal.” Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars are owned by Maynard James Keenan, the Grammy-winning vocalist of the metal band Tool, and his wife. Caduceus has a tasting room in Jerome, and Merkin has a tasting room and restaurant in Cottonwood.

Chef Charleen Badman of FnB restaurant in Scottsdale is passionate about sharing her love of Arizona ingredients. For a decade, she has been volunteering at Echo Canyon School in Scottsdale. “I want to help educate students on the value of our state and the Arizona products I use in my restaurant,” she said. In 2017, Badman helped found the Blue Watermelon Project, an initiative of Slow Food Phoenix. Farmers, chefs and the community work together to advocate for nutritious food in schools and educate students about healthy eating. “I enjoy teaching students to appreciate what we have here in Arizona, what we can grow and how it gets to our plates,” Badman said. Badman and other local chefs work with schools across the Valley to provide lessons that include hands-on experiences like planting gardens and preparing and tasting what they have grown, including tepary beans, Swiss chard and cauliflower. “The lessons are endless,” said Badman, who won the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2019. “We talk about plants, Arizona history, sustainability and climate. It’s great to see the students in the garden, helping to prepare the foods we have grown and enjoying a meal we’ve created together.” Visit to learn more.

Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale’s menu includes cheese and charcuterie plates, house-made gelato and sorbetto, and several vegetable dishes featuring fresh produce from Arizona farmers as well as the vineyard’s garden and orchard. “Our mushroom dish features Sun Valley Harvest mushrooms from Glendale. They are carefully roasted with minimal prep to allow the rich, earthy and umami flavors to shine,” Cunningham said. “Our beet and goat cheese dish showcases a chutney of locally grown beets, some of which we produce ourselves, and creamy Crow’s Dairy goat cheese that has been torched and bruleed to perfection.” Merkin has received rave reviews for its fresh menu offerings. “Healthy eating is becoming the norm,” said Cunningham. “When you present healthy items in an easy and delicious format, your customers are going to take notice.” To learn more, go to Photo by Blue Watermelon Project


Photo by Claudia Johnstone


Photo by OEB

NEW IN TOWN: OEB BREAKFAST CO. In November, OEB Breakfast Co., which has several locations in Canada, opened its first U.S. location in North Scottsdale. “After visiting Scottsdale, I fell in love with the city. It’s a booming and vibrant place with a great culinary scene, which made it the perfect location in the U.S. to open our first OEB,” said Mauro Martina, OEB’s owner and founder. The restaurant is bright, quirky and colorful with a fun selection of cocktails and a wide range of breakfast and brunch options, from the traditional to the unexpected. Diners can enjoy lighter items like chia seed pudding and avocado toast, as well as fluffy crepes, traditional and unique Benedicts, sandwiches and sweet dishes like banana cream pie French toast and Belgian waffles. As a nod to its Canadian roots, OEB offers a variety of breakfast poutines including Soul in a Bowl “WE CARE with poached eggs, duck fat fried potatoes, cheese curds and ABOUT WHERE brown butter hollandaise, and the THE FOOD Hog and Scallops bowl. “We care about where the food comes from and what happens to it before it hits the table,” Martina said. “OEB is all about elevating the breakfast experience.” For more information, visit


Meal delivery services make it easier to live a healthy lifestyle. “Like a lot of things we can do for ourselves, it is hard to find the time and be organized,” said Andrea Kretzmann who opened Zola Market in November 2019. “Meal delivery services take the work out of healthy eating.” Zola Market provides ready-to-eat salads in reusable mason jars which can be tailored to each customer’s needs and preferences. Zola Market’s mason jar meals can be ordered online and picked up at a few locations around the Valley. Delivery is also available. “I’ve put a lot of thought into the selection of ingredients,” said Kretzmann. “They are mostly organic, gluten-free, nut-free, nonGMO and free from added sugar and preservatives.” Kretzmann also wants to reduce environmental impact. “I want to ensure that Zola Market offerings are provided in the most sustainable packaging possible,” she said. “I am truly delighted every time we get jars back that we can reuse. We offer a refund to encourage people to return them.” Another locally based healthy meal delivery option is the Vegan Taste, started by Chef Jason Wyrick of Casa Terra, a vegan fine dining restaurant in Glendale. “Some people think vegan meals lack flavor and don’t provide enough protein. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “Flavor comes from the preparation, from the spices and sauces. We make flavorful meals like tacos carnitas, Thai red curry and chili. We use plant sources for protein.” Wyrick has personally experienced the benefits of eating healthier. “I used to be overweight and diabetic until I switched to a plant-based diet,” he said. “I regained my health over just a few months. I’ve seen this time and again with people who change their eating habits for the better.” For more info, go to and



Society of Chairs }

Why do you support the Junior League of Phoenix? KIMBERLY: The Junior League of Phoenix is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. We both like working with like-minded women who want to be involved in community programs.

Describe this year’s event. HEIDI: Our event Buon Natale, a night in Italy, kicked off the holiday season with captivating entertainment. The entertainment showstoppers were a Frank Sinatra impersonator and an Italian street performer.

Heidi Surovetz and Kimberly Guimarin Co-chairs of Buon Natale benefiting the Junior League of Phoenix Foundation

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Why do you feel so strongly impacted by this organization? HEIDI: We have been introduced to many Valley nonprofits as well as the League’s own community impact programs. ROCKETS — Raising Our Children’s Knowledge by Educating Through Science is a theme-based program that promotes early childhood development of science skills. Each year there is a Teacher’s Launch at the Arizona Science Center that’s funded by the Junior League of Phoenix Foundation. KIMBERLY: The Arizona Science Center, formerly the Arizona Museum of Science & Technology, was conceived in 1980 as a pilot science center by the Junior League of Phoenix. We see our donors’ money put to work and we can proudly see that we are making a difference.

Favorite place to travel: HEIDI: My parents are from Germany and I lived there for work. I discovered that there is always a castle to explore, followed by a trip to a local bakery. KIMBERLY: Italy will forever have my heart. Not only does my family come from Italy, but I was also married in Tuscany.

Frontdoors is proud to recognize those who volunteer their time, treasure and talents to support local organizations in a leadership role. To Nominate Your Event Chair, Co-Chairs, Honorary Chair or Board Chair, Contact


Save the Date Society of Chairs 2020 The Celebration of Philanthropy in Our Community

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 | 6:00 pm Scottsdale Center for the Arts Honoring

Billie Jo Herberger

Awards Sponsorships Now Available Please contact Andrea Evans at for details.

Benefiting The Sauce Foundation The charitable arm of Frontdoors Media, dedicated to fighting pancreatic cancer and creating the storytellers of tomorrow.

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The Valley’s Highest Quality, Most Reliable, Best Equipped Audio/ Visual Company is also the Best Value in Town Find out what dozens of the Valley’s top events and nonprofits already know — Latest Craze Production goes above and beyond to create an extraordinary AV experience for any occassion. And be sure to ask us about our incredible new LED walls that will make your visuals stand out like never before. | 480.626.5231

OPEN DOORS {publisher’s page} Andrea Evans | Publisher


Several Valley resorts have undergone significant renovations over the past few years. And, of course, this included their luxurious spa offerings. The Alvadora Spa at the Royal Palms Resort ( has even added an in-house herbalist, Rachel Sloat. When Rachel invited me in to experience one of her new signature treatments, I scooted myself down Camelback to the always quaint and lush property as quickly as possible. 49 FRONTDOORS MEDIA | JANUARY 2020

On My Wish List The Phoenician Resort and the Andaz Scottsdale Resort have refreshed their spa offerings. Here are two treatments I’m looking forward to.

The Alvadora Spa unveiled an interior design refresh in late September. The Mediterraneaninspired retreat at the northeastern corner of the Royal Palms grounds is a series of casitas and courtyard patios with cozy fireplaces that I enjoyed wandering during my visit. I was surprised to learn that 75 percent of their business is local, so it was feedback from the community that drove the redesign. And the signature scent that greets you? It’s neroli — the essential oil distilled from orange tree blossom, something all Phoenicians know well. Rachel introduced two new signature treatments for the spa this season: a Coconut Milk & Honey Wrap and a Spanish Sage & Olive Oil Stone Scrub and Wrap. My dry winter skin was so thankful to be treated to the latter. This 80 minutes of pure bliss started with a warm olive oil stone scrub followed by the application of French green clay and a lovely foot massage while I was wrapped like a spa burrito to let the clay marinate. After a warm rinse off, I couldn’t help but doze off as she finished with a massage of the custom infused herbal oil. If you need a reboot, plans for a mom’s day off or to treat someone special in your life, this is the way to go. Thank you, Rachel. This mom was so thankful for the New Year’s treat. Here’s to taking a little more time to take care of ourselves in 2020!

Andrea Andrea Tyler Evans PUBLISHER


THE PHOENICIAN SPA In need of a luxe facial treatment? The new Gem Stone Healing facial is a unique offering. The 80-minute treatment includes a gem polish exfoliation, an enzyme peel, a rose quartz gem clay application, an orange blossom oxygen infusion and finishes with golden ice globes over a collagen mask. You are encouraged to arrive early to the spa to partake in a 30-minute spa ritual of hot-and-cold hydrotherapy to improve the benefits of your treatment. To learn more, go to

THE PALO VERDE SPA & APOTHECARY AT ANDAZ SCOTTSDALE Did the holidays leave you in need of a massage? The Palo Verde Spa is now offering the option to enhance your treatment with CBD oil for ailments such as pain relief, eczema and inflammation. The Juniper Cleanse Massage is my pick from the menu. The detoxifying treatment combines juniper and grapefruit to stimulate lymphatic drainage and condition your skin. 60- and 90-minute options are available. For info, go to



From our family to yours, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your real estate journey in 2019. We look forward to serving you for many years to come.


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