Frontdoors Magazine May 2020 Issue

Page 1


Let’s Go Save Some Lives COMMUNITY PIVOTS TO FIGHT COVID-19 In Partnership with Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust




Karen Werner

Andrea Tyler Evans



Neill Fox

Jillian Rivera



Tom Evans

The Sparkle Bar



Lesley Kitts

Saks Fifth Avenue Phoenix



Julie Coleman Shoshana Leon Judy Pearson Carey Peña Catie Richman McKenna Wesley

Marion Rhoades Photography

On the Cover Dr. Joshua LaBaer, executive director of ASU’s Biodesign Institute

Photo: Courtesy of ASU


Our mission is clear – empowering young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible members of the community. During this crisis, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley responded by consolidating our operations to serve those families and students working in essential services. When we get through this crisis, we will be here to serve our more than 16,000 members in 27 Clubhouses around the Valley. Thanks to our member families and donors,

your key to the community


GENERAL INFORMATION & PRESS RELEASES 3104 E. Camelback Road, #967, Phoenix, AZ 85016 480-622-4522 |

Frontdoors Magazine is dedicated to the memory of Mike Saucier.






:: FORBEARANCE DEFINED: Forbearance is an assistance

:: UNDERWRITING: Underwriting will have its challenges,

your mortgage payment, ask your lender/servicer if you are eligible for forbearance, which would pause your mortgage payment without damaging your credit. This program can vary from lender to lender, so it’s essential that you get all the details and understand what you’re entering into. Some lenders will add the payments you miss to the end of the mortgage term; most are due at the end of the forbearance period, which means you would pay the missed payments in one lump sum. This seems problematic to me. After all, if a consumer can’t afford one payment, what makes you think they would be able to make four all at once? So if you’re able to make those payments, please do if you’re financially able.

program for homeowners that pauses your mortgage payment. When you are at the end of your forbearance plan, you’ll need to pay the past-due amount, apply for other programs your lender may offer, or see if you can extend the forbearance period. (TIP: Most lenders will not refinance you for 12 months after a forbearance.)

:: MORTGAGE REFINANCING: This is a great option to

consider. With historically low-interest rates, it’s a great time to obtain a lower mortgage rate or shorten your mortgage term (or both). Some may see this as a perfect time to get some cash from your home’s equity to consolidate debt or to build a cash cushion during these uncertain times. In some cases, it may take some extra time to process your refinance application. And the underwriting process and guidelines will be different now due to job verification, appraisals and signings. Regardless of what’s going on, you can benefit from these times … possibly like never before.

rate is important and will help give you the peace of mind that your mortgage payment will be what you are budgeting for. This is very important when selecting a lender, so you fully understand your options and what their policies are. The good news is that most brokers can lock your loan as soon as you’re ready to move forward. Most banks will not lock until an appraisal is in. Lock periods can be anywhere from 15 days to 9 months (long-term locks are usually for new construction). They do not come cheap. The length you need for a lock will impact the costs related to that specific lock period. Most mortgage rate quotes assume a 30- to 45-day lock period.

like just about everything else these days. Verification of employment (VOE) is more challenging, with so many companies having limited staff. Underwriters need to verify if the applicant is employed or laid off. Lenders are developing new ways to satisfy this requirement.


being affected by COVID-19 and impacting home buyers and home sellers who are considering a new move. And homeowners are not sure how the value of their home is being adjusted. Spring is typically a popular time to buy or sell a home, but many people are hesitant to move forward until they know more about where the coronavirus is heading. Of course, this is impacting the housing market. Many agencies are working on ways to help the housing industry via stimulus package(s) and finding ways to save jobs. Federal and local governments are also working together during these new times.

KIESHA MCFADDEN 480.252.9365 16930 E. Palisades Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 NMLS #1467650 NMLS #198458

TABLE OF CONTENTS {may 2020, volume 18, issue 5} EDITOR’S NOTE...............................05 Stories of Hope 10 QUESTIONS WITH...............08 Shannon Clancy, Associate executive director of St. Vincent de Paul BOOKMARKED.................................12 Trustees of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Share their Favorite Books


OFFICE DOORS...............................16 Amy Schwabenlender, Executive director of Human Services Campus


CAREY’S CORNER.......................20 Stepping Up for Older Adults COVER STORY.................................24 Let’s Go Save Some Lives NEXT DOORS......................................31 The Tip of the Spear KITCHEN DOORS..........................34 Neighbors Helping Neighbors STYLE UNLOCKED......................36 Stages of Dress A 2ND ACT.................................................39 Together We Can Make Something CHEERS TO THE CHAIR.........42 A Tribute to Robert S. Tancer CHARITY SPOTLIGHT............44 Wesley Community & Health Centers OPEN DOORS.....................................48 Let’s Plan With Hope in Our Hearts


+ Foundation

+ Arizona

House Opera + ASU Biodesign Institute + ASU Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation + Childsplay + Desert Botanical Garden

+ Human

for Senior Living Services Campus + Phoenix Center for the Arts + St. Vincent de Paul + TGen + Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust + Wesley Community & Health Centers

EDITOR’S NOTE {on the job}

STORIES OF HOPE The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the nonprofit sector. We’re seeing shortterm effects now — lost revenue from canceled events, entry fees and performances, diminished donations as well as reduced staff and volunteer availability. The lack of cash flow makes it hard for nonprofits to keep going, and in many cases it’s made worse by higher expenses and more demand for services. We’ve never lived through a time like this before. But amid the challenges, there are stories of hope and incredible examples of nonprofits making a tangible difference. That’s why Frontdoors has partnered with Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust on this special issue to highlight our community coming together and the importance of that. Piper Trust was founded by Virginia Galvin Piper, a humble woman who grew up in the Midwest, with strong Midwestern values. In this trying time, Virginia can be a source of inspiration. She survived a pandemic, worked hard through the Great Depression and knew what it meant to take care of her neighbors. In 1945, Virginia married Paul Galvin, the founder of Motorola. While he was a successful business leader, he was also a generous philanthropist and he shared those values with Virginia — values that became part of her mission. As she graciously said, “We all have an opportunity to do ‘good things’ on a daily basis for others and to do them in an unselfish manner; to provide our world and its people, through giving, an improved beautiful culture and places to live, work and grow healthy families.” Today, more than 20 years after Virginia’s death, Piper Trust continues her legacy to enhance health, wellbeing, and opportunity in Maricopa County. And in this moment, the Trust has worked in coordination with philanthropic partners and state leaders to restore balance and ease anxiety caused by COVID-19. “My colleagues and partners in Arizona philanthropy and I believe it’s best to try to find our way through this together rather than go it alone,” said Mary Jane Rynd, president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “Now is the time for those who can — individuals and public and private sector organizations — to step in quickly and support our nonprofits.” The Trustees of Piper Trust (who you’ll meet in these pages) did just that, swiftly turning the Trust’s attention

to the crisis. They had five virtual board meetings within a month and, to date, have awarded more than $9 million in emergency grants to nonprofits that are so vitally important to our state’s health and economic vitality. ASU’s Biodesign Institute received a $2 million grant from the Trust for innovative work to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Dr. Joshua LaBaer, director of the Institute, is the first Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine at ASU. The Trust knows him well and has great confidence in him. In rapid speed, LaBaer and his team took lab space and equipment they already had and converted it to do COVID-19 testing and, with the purchase of a few additional pieces of equipment, have already manufactured thousands of test kits — including those hard-to-get swabs — and are on track to deliver thousands more. But that’s just one story of innovation and resilience. This issue of Frontdoors highlights several organizations Piper Trust is supporting at this difficult time. In them, we think you’ll see a spirit of resourcefulness, creativity and drive — nonprofits figuring out new and more efficient forms of service delivery. This pandemic has brought harsh realities and is testing us all. But we are optimistic that the crisis will strengthen our community in unimagined ways, deepen our resilience, and open our eyes and hearts to the well-being of others. And while we all wait to get there, we offer this issue as a way to share hope at a time when we really need it.

Read the story of Virginia’s life and legacy, “Devotedly, Virginia” at

Karen Werner EDITOR

@kwerner409 MAY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  5

Portraiture - Events - Commercial Photography 602.677.3985

2020-2021 602.253.8188

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10 QUESTIONS {fascinating people}

SHANNON CLANCY Associate executive director of St. Vincent de Paul

1. St. Vincent de Paul provides comprehensive services. Can you describe its operations around the Valley?

To accomplish all of this, we work with thousands of volunteers each year, who we connect with service opportunities that bring joy and purpose while uplifting the community.

St. Vincent de Paul works to feed, clothe, house and heal people in need across the Valley while providing community members the opportunity to serve. We offer direct support services to homeless and low-income individuals and families through personal, meaningful interactions that recognize the dignity and value of each person.

2. How many people do you serve in a typical day, and how has that number changed since the COVID-19 crisis hit?

Our service programs include five charity dining rooms; a neighborhood network of more than 80 food pantries; a resource center for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness that includes rent and utility assistance; transitional housing for veterans and older adults; medical and dental care for uninsured patients; three urban farms that grow fresh produce as a sustainable food source for our dining rooms; and community thrift stores. 8  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | MAY 2020

We serve thousands of people every day across our programs, particularly through the meals we serve in our charity dining rooms and the home visits and food box deliveries that our volunteers make in neighborhoods across central and northern Arizona. We are definitely seeing increased need since the crisis began. Our community food pantries are receiving more requests for food support, and we’ve started to send extra food allotments in advance of their regular supply. One month’s worth of food has nearly doubled to keep up with the increased demand.

We are also seeing increased requests for rent and utility assistance as families struggle to pay bills after losing their jobs or facing decreased work hours. While our state’s eviction moratorium is important, as it keeps people in their homes during this health crisis, they still owe those payments and will need additional support over the summer months to prevent homelessness in the near future.

3. What additional services are you managing these days? We provide critical support and services to those in our community who have nowhere else to turn for help. So it isn’t that the COVID-19 outbreak has called for us to add services as much as it has called on us to continue the work we do in the face of all of the challenges this pandemic has presented. This unprecedented emergency requires a significant shift in our service model from “social embracing” through face-toface assistance to “social distancing,” where we continue to meet basic needs while also protecting the health of our guests, volunteers, staff and the collective community. We are highly aware that we must work hard to protect those experiencing homelessness from the spread of the coronavirus, as they are vulnerable in their inability to isolate without a home. Currently, we are offering to-go, pre-packaged meals at our dining rooms; take-home activity kits for children through our educational program for at-risk youth; fresh produce from our farms to supplement takehome meals; telemedicine out of our medical clinic; utility and rent assistance to prevent homelessness; hygiene items/food/counseling for those experiencing homelessness; and transitional shelter for veterans, disabled and/or older adults.

4. How many volunteers and providers does it take to cook all of the meals, and how does it go out? Typically thousands of volunteers would help us in our kitchen each year, but we have asked them to remain home for their health and safety and the health and safety of the community. Currently, front-line staff and redeployed staff rotate through shifts to prepare the thousands of “to-go” meals we serve out of our dining rooms each day. We’re grateful to our local restaurant partners, from whom we purchase thousands of pre-packaged meals each week to feed our food-insecure guests. These partnerships have been a win-win. They help keep St. Vincent de Paul’s to-go meal model viable so we can continue providing meals to people who need them while also supporting local businesses and their employees during a difficult time.

5. St. Vincent de Paul has an army of devoted volunteers. How has your volunteer pool been affected? Because of social distancing, stay-at-home policies and our need to keep our volunteers, staff and guests safe, we have asked all of our volunteers to stay home for now. This has been very difficult for all of us, as our typical model seeks to embrace and involve people at scale. Yet, we have been so grateful for the response from our community to help through their financial and inkind donations, their purchase of much-needed items off of our Amazon Wishlist and their participation in the “Helping from Home” volunteer activities, such as making cloth face masks for our staff, shelter residents and guests experiencing homelessness or creating “blessing cards” to place into the sack lunches that we distribute to our dining rooms.

Many St. Vincent de Paul staff members are braving the COVID-19 pandemic to come into work to provide in-person service to people in need. MAY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  9

video check-ins and phone calls to ensure that patients continue to have access to medical care, prescription refills, doctor expertise, nutrition advice and overall wellness guidance. This fulfills an additional goal of decreasing emergency department usage and avoiding the emergency response system while these patients are in our care. Our dental clinic is available for emergency patients on an as-needed basis. When there isn’t a dental emergency, you can find the majority of our dental staff redeployed to other programs that allow us to continue to serve.

6. Can you talk about the changes you’ve incorporated to keep families fed? St. Vincent de Paul normally invites all of our guests into our dining rooms to eat together as members of our extended family. During this crisis, we have pivoted our model to provide pre-packaged, to-go meals for our guests that are picked up outside of our dining rooms. For dining rooms that primarily serve individuals, they receive a restaurant entrée and a sack lunch with a sandwich, snacks, water and a blessing card from our “Helping from Home” volunteers. In our family dining room, families come to our “drive-thru window” and receive dinner entrées for their family, a bag of healthy produce harvested from our urban farms for meals at home, and activity kits for their children from our Dream Center educational program. On Easter, they even received Easter baskets and a drivethru visit with the Easter Bunny!

7. When people think about services at St. Vincent de Paul, many don’t think about medical and dental. How have they been affected? Like most non-emergency healthcare providers, our Virginia G. Piper Medical & Dental Clinic has seen a complete shift in how they are able to care for patients during this time. Our medical clinic and family wellness diabetes prevention program continue to provide services through telehealth visits and classes to support patients’ needs and help them to stay as healthy as possible during this crisis. They can use 10  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | MAY 2020

8. St. Vincent de Paul provides hope and connection, not only for the people it serves but for the people who work and volunteer there. How are you all staying connected these days? There’s no need for social distancing to put a kink in community connection and hope. That’s why we are inviting the St. Vincent de Paul family and the larger community to go ALL IN with us on spreading kindness and generosity to others, especially during this time. So whether that’s joining our “Helping from Home” efforts to stay connected through volunteerism or practicing a bit of community kindness and then sharing what you did on social media using the #AllinThisTogether and #MakeKindnessViral hashtags, we’re making sure that the St. Vincent de Paul culture of care and compassion continues to connect and inspire us, now more than ever.

9. What’s the biggest lesson this crisis has taught you? I continue to be inspired by the resiliency of the human spirit and the depth of compassion, care and generosity that our community shares. We are at our very best when we choose kindness and love over fear and embrace generosity over scarcity. During this crisis, we are inspired and strengthened by a generous, loving community at its very best when caring for one another. On that note, one additional thought lingers in my mind. The coming summer months will prove even more difficult for the vulnerable people we

serve. The coronavirus will provide the “perfect storm” to our annual emergency summer relief efforts, when our food pantry stores are low, the heat is high, and so many people in our community continue to struggle. As things go back to the new normal, whatever that will look like, please keep them in mind and in your heart. Start a food drive in your neighborhood. Organize a water drive at your workplace. As always, St. Vincent de Paul will be there to support them, and with your continued help, we will all get through this difficult time together.

10. What are you personally doing to get through these days? It’s a gift to serve alongside a truly dedicated staff and community. Our employees’ commitment to their work, putting their own health at risk in service to others, continues to inspire me daily. Equally inspiring is the tremendous generosity of our community that reaches down deep to care for others even in these uncertain times. I remind myself to focus on the concrete things that can be done — supporting our front-line staff, continuing to feed families, offering a bit of relief and hope to those who need it. I am filled with gratitude at the opportunity to be part of this special St. Vincent de Paul extended family of people who care. To help these efforts, I encourage everyone to be ALL IN to spread kindness across our community, whether that’s a small act of generosity toward a neighbor in need or offering your dollars to help St. Vincent de Paul continue providing critical services to the most vulnerable in our community. Imagine a community empowered by kindness — one where we call an elderly neighbor, leave a carton of eggs for the next shopper, share a smile as we pass each other at a distance, or offer a bit of our surplus to someone living with less. Now, more than ever, let’s be ALL IN on kindness and ALL IN to support each other.

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BOOKMARKED {what are you reading?} Trustees of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust share their favorite books.

Seated: Laura Grafman and Paul Critchfield; from left: Judy Jolley Mohraz, Jim Bruner, Steve Zabilski, José Cárdenas and Sharon Harper.

JIM BRUNER R E C O M M E N D S : “Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West — One Meal at a Time” by Stephen Fried

H I S TA K E “Harvey, born in England, came to America as a teenager, settling in lower Manhattan and working as a dishwasher. His story begins there, but his creativity and hard work led him to working with railroads and opening up the West with his Harvey Girls and passion for good food and service. All this led to stops in Arizona, ending at the Grand Canyon. If you admire the ingenuity of an individual and love the Southwest, you will not be disappointed.”


JOSÉ CÁRDENAS R E C O M M E N D S : “Loud and Clear” and “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir of a Woman’s Life” by Anna Quindlen

H I S TA K E “Two of my favorite books are Anna Quindlen’s collection of columns, ‘Loud and Clear,’ and short essays, ‘Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake.’ Using what one reviewer called ‘her twinkling aphorisms, her gentle homespun humor,’ she writes beautifully and powerfully about events big and small, about mortality, children, friendships, intimate relationships, in short, living.”

PAUL CRITCHFIELD R E C O M M E N D S : “No Excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline” by Brian Tracy H I S TA K E “How many of us utilize our own self-discipline in all phases of our life? For example, choosing the right career and/or choosing to leave that career for a better chance to improve your leadership skills. Selfdiscipline is a skill you can use every day in a myriad of enhancing life opportunities. Do it today!”

LAURA GRAFMAN R E C O M M E N D S : “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens H E R TA K E “This exceptionally poignant coming-of-age story focuses on a young woman, Kya, who lives and grows up, alone, in a broken-down shack in the Swamplands of the North Carolina Coast. The time period is the 1950s and 1960s. There are no locks on her doors and no windows, stove or real refrigerator. Everything she needs to do to make a life for herself leads quickly to the fact that she needs to learn to read. And, she doesn’t intend to go to school again! There is so much to her story, including romance, mystery and murder. This beautifully written book encourages readers to be strong and courageous, that they can put up with just about anything life throws at them.”



SHARON HARPER R E C O M M E N D S : “Character Is Destiny” by John McCain and Mark Salter H E R TA K E “It is truly character that defines everything about a person. This is a book of heroism and about many leaders through the course of history who believed their values were the power that directed their lives. These are stories of celebrated historical figures and lesser-known heroes whose values exemplify the best of the human spirit. Triumph against the odds, righteousness in the face of iniquity, hope in adversity — a book of inspiration and guidance every day.”

JUDY JOLLEY MOHRAZ R E C O M M E N D S : “Devotions” by Mary Oliver H E R TA K E “If you are looking for beauty and hope in the world around us, Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘Devotions’ is my choice. This compilation of Oliver’s poems reminds us that if we open our eyes and our hearts we will find joy as well as loss in the natural world. (And for dog lovers, the poems about her beloved dogs will be special treasures.)”

STEVE ZABILSKI R E C O M M E N D S : “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles H I S TA K E “It is the story of a Russian aristocrat in the early 1920s who is arrested and confined to a hotel attic for 30 years. Full of beauty, wisdom and insight, it contains a passage that is among my favorites: ‘To sleep until noon and have someone bring you your breakfast on a tray. To cancel an appointment at the very last minute. To keep a carriage waiting at the door of one party, so that at a moment’s notice it can whisk you away to another. To sidestep marriage in your youth and put off having children altogether. These are the greatest conveniences — and at one time, I had them all. But in the end, it has been the inconveniences that have mattered to me most.’”


From our North Central family to yours, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your real estate journey. Here For You Then

Est. 1983

Here For You Now


Here For You ALWAYS

The Future


OFFICE DOORS {valley changemakers}

A DAY WITH AMY SCHWABENLENDER Executive director of Human Services Campus As told to | Julie Coleman




There is a standing 30-minute conference call seven days a week at 8:30 a.m. between the Human Services Campus; our healthcare partner, Circle the City; our shelter partner, Central Arizona Shelter Services; and Community Bridges. These are the four most active partners on the campus right now and we are working together to coordinate services for all of our clients. I also share a recap of the call with Maricopa County because the Human Services Department and Public Health have been right alongside us the whole way, and it’s a way for me to communicate to them where we’re at.

As soon as I wake up, I check my phone to see what’s happened because things are changing so fast. Fortunately, a lot of people reach out, wanting to know how they can help, whether that’s the city, county, state, foundations or philanthropy. I told myself that in order to survive coronavirus personally and lead professionally, I needed to make sure that I was staying as healthy as possible. That means getting at least seven hours of sleep at night and starting my morning off with coffee, meditation and yoga. Sometimes these are short meditation and yoga sessions, but I find if I skip any one of these things, then I’m a little off-kilter for the day. I’ve become much more disciplined about my morning routine because I don’t want to let anyone down. I want to make sure that my employees and our partners are doing the best we can to serve everybody while employees stay healthy and safe.


Our Human Services Campus staff operates a welcome center and greeter station, which is a single point of entry to the campus. My team sees everyone initially, whether they’re returning or new clients. With Circle the City’s healthcare experience, we quickly implemented a COVID-19 health assessment at the entry point that includes questions about COVID-19 and taking everyone’s

temperature. If a client answers “yes” or has a temperature over 100.4, they are directed to Circle the City for further healthcare assessment. When our calls began, none of this was in place and we spent time discussing how we were going to do this. Often, a group will work offline to come up with a workflow and then we review it and answer questions during the next morning’s call. We’ve been iterative, flexible, adaptable. For example, we created more distance between shelter beds. We now also triage to identify high-, medium- and low-risk people so we can save the most lives.


Our Lodestar Day Resource Center Dayroom typically connects clients to information and provides bottled water, phone chargers, ankle bracelets, chargers for electric scooters, and bathrooms, along with other programs. It was transitioned to shelter 47 of the most vulnerable people. During our morning call, we looked at how many total staff we have, what are the new jobs that need to be done, and how we schedule staff to rotate through positions they weren’t hired to do. We also talked about how we convince 47 people to move from one place to another. There is a lot of anxiety about what’s going on as our clients have varying access to information and news, and some didn’t know there was a coronavirus.

1 p.m. >> BUSINESS … AS USUAL There are a lot fewer meetings right now. I know in the future I’ll think back and wonder what I was doing with my time and whether all these meetings are needed. Some of our standing meetings still happen virtually or via phone, whether it’s weekly check-ins with my direct reports, working with my board president to prepare for upcoming board and finance meetings, or meetings focused on the continuum of care for the homeless. I continue to reply to philanthropy requests, complete regular grant reporting and apply for new grants. Currently, everything is virtual, which is

Above: The first Awareness Walk to End Homelessness last year was a success. This year’s had to become a virtual walk. Right: On the street outside the Human Services Campus.

great. However, it’s a bit isolating from our normal way of operating because we’re very much about collaboration, brainstorming and drawing on walls to figure out bigger systems change. Right now, it’s all quick decisions, sharing information, asking someone for something, or updating them so they will continue to support us. I have decision-making fatigue because everything is dynamic, quick and unplanned.

3 p.m. >> QUESTIONS THAT GUIDE PREPARATION As a person who likes to plan and have deadlines, the most anxiety-producing thing is not knowing when. When is this over? What does “over” mean? There’s a lot of conversation anticipating what happens, assuming clients will test positive for coronavirus. What happens then? Do we know?


Above left: Volunteers participate in a twice-weekly street cleanup. Above right: The exterior of Central Arizona Shelter Services.

What do we need to do differently when that happens? As of now, we don’t have any clients or employees who have tested positive. But we’re building intervention strategies to be ready because I think it would be surprising to everyone if we got through this with no one testing positive. If coronavirus gets through the housed population, is there a lagging wave in the unhoused population? Will it be a situation where the community is back to work, and the rest of the world decides this is over, but we’re still dealing with it in a pandemic way? I don’t think we’ll be lucky enough to escape it.


When I leave the office, I walk through where we’re sheltering people to make sure that everything’s going as smoothly as possible. Chatting with clients keeps me grounded and in the perspective of what they are going through. My walk at the end of the day can take half an hour, but I enjoy it and feel like I’m more informed about what’s happening.


“As of now, we don’t have any clients or employees who have tested positive. But we’re building intervention strategies to be ready.”

then unwind by reading something that is not work-related and scrolling through Facebook. I think there will be systems change that is more client-centered that comes from this crisis. One of my priorities is to have a system and services that meet people where they’re at. There’s less mission creep and more sharing as we talk about our clients in a very intentional way. So, I do believe some of that change will carry over afterward, which will make the original purpose and mission of the campus truer. Because out of crisis, we’re forced to work differently. To learn more, go to


When I go home, I check my step count and walk if needed to get my steps in for the day. After dinner, I look at emails and work on preparing for the next day, including sending the agenda for the 8:30 phone call the following morning. I



CONNECTING WOMEN WHERE THEY WORK, LIVE OR PLAY Join us where you live, work or play to connect with like-minded women to share information, ideas, contacts and opportunities. Learn more at: | |

CAREY’S CORNER {carey peña reports}

STEPPING UP FOR OLDER ADULTS FSL is committed to helping seniors Carey Peña | Contributing Writer

“My mother called me up and said they wouldn’t let me in to see Gammie. Can you do something about it?” Gov. Doug Ducey shared this story with me during the statewide Town Hall I co-moderated a few weeks ago. I asked the governor about how this pandemic is personally affecting him and his family. He shared the hardship of not being able to visit his grandmother, who he calls “Gammie.” While Ducey may be in charge of operations in the state, he is also a husband, father and son who shares the same concerns as many of us about our senior population. Social isolation and loneliness among older adults were serious concerns before the coronavirus. Now, the health risks of loneliness from being sheltered in place have created an even greater public health crisis. “Seniors are afraid. They are isolated to begin with, and now they are more isolated. We see more and more of that,” said Tom Egan, the CEO of the Foundation for Senior Living, or FSL.


Social isolation and loneliness among older adults were serious concerns before the coronavirus. Now, the health risks of loneliness from being sheltered in place have created an even greater public health crisis.

When the pandemic first hit, I opened our Inspired Media 360 production studios to conduct some exclusive interviews — sitting six feet apart with only one crew member in the studio — with nonprofit leaders. They needed emergency help reaching out to the public, and I wanted to do something. Egan was one of our first interviews. “Demand is going up, and funding is going down,” he said. “Imagine being a senior, and you have no transportation, or limited transportation, you’re being told to distance yourself from other people. You have limited options and live on a fixed income.”

The Care by Design team makes weekly calls to homebound seniors. These calls provide a friendly voice to help combat loneliness but also to ask probing questions to ensure these seniors have what they need during this time.


FSL staff is shopping to keep pantries stocked to ensure that older adults don’t have to fight crowds in local stores for essentials.

Egan and his team at FSL had to jump into action. On an average day, FSL serves more than 1,400 meals. They had to switch those meals to be homedelivered quickly. “That meal they get from us sometimes is the only hot meal of the day,” Egan said. In response to an overwhelming number of requests from homebound seniors for groceries and household items such as toilet paper, FSL’s “Care by Design” program implemented a Grocery Bag Delivery Program in March. Social workers are the points of contact for the program, which delivers food and paper products to doorsteps. The Care by Design team has also been checking in with more than 250 homebound seniors each week. Comfort Callers bring emotional support, and through questions and conversation, determine seniors’ immediate needs. For example, they connect seniors who seem to be emotionally declining with a licensed counselor via telemedicine. During an average year, FSL serves more than 30,000 people. This year, the numbers will skyrocket. At the same time, FSL, like many nonprofits, is dealing with decreased funding.




Their annual event, which was supposed to take place in May, raised over $250,000 last year. They had to cancel this year’s fundraiser because of COVID-19, and the organization has to figure out how to raise that money — plus more. Egan told me that canceling the event was a tough decision, and he lost several days of sleep having to make the final call. Fortunately, a few corporate donors stepped up to help. WAMO made a generous donation to FSL, and others continue to express interest in helping seniors through this crisis. FSL has seen the community come together, including Brophy students who are writing inspirational notes for the home delivery bags. The day I interviewed Egan, he left the studio worried about how they were going to meet the need. Since then, they’ve been working all hours to make sure seniors in the Valley are taken care of with food, necessities and emotional support. We all need human connection: a phone call, a note from a student, or a quick socially distanced visit from someone who cares. Whether it is your Gammie, or someone else’s, we have to make sure older adults are not alone in this fight. We owe it to them. To learn more about the Foundation for Senior Living, go to To see more of Carey’s reporting, visit

COVER STORY {by karen werner}

Let’s Go Save Some Lives ASU PIVOTS TO FIGHT COVID-19 Photos courtesy of Arizona State University.


In late January, when an Arizona State University student was diagnosed with Arizona’s first case of the novel coronavirus, our state woke up to the realities of COVID-19. Arizona was not well prepared to deal with the threat. Testing nationwide was limited, plagued by shortages of testing kits and reagents. ASU President Michael Crow was faced with having 90,000 students and no medical school. How could he make sure students could get testing if they needed it? Dr. Joshua LaBaer had an idea. LaBaer is one of the country’s premier investigators in the field of personalized diagnostics. Formerly the founder and director of the Harvard Institute of Proteomics, he was recruited to ASU’s Biodesign Institute as the first Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine in 2009 and is the executive director of the Biodesign Institute today. LaBaer realized he had a secret weapon at his disposal: his lab’s previous contract with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA. As part of that $39 million project, LaBaer’s team had developed a diagnostic assay for assessing exposure to radiation. “Imagine if a nuclear bomb went off in a major American city and civilians were exposed to gamma radiation. There would not be an easy way to determine who had been exposed and how much radiation they had been exposed to,” LaBaer said. “We developed an assay to assess gene expression in the white blood cells in a manner that would predict radiation dose.”

Dr. Joshua LaBaer and ASU’s Biodesign Institute are playing an important role in the state’s testing capabilities for COVID-19.

Part of that multi-year project required LaBaer’s lab to automate their method and demonstrate that they could do 2,400 assays in a 24-hour window. As a result, they had the robots and other automation in place. Now, if they just swapped the genes related to radiation for coronavirus ones, they would be ready to do viral testing. After LaBaer’s realization in mid-March, he convened a team of six for daily phone calls to get testing off the ground. It has since snowballed so that those calls now include more than 50 people. “Back then, it was just, could we do the test? Then I realized, well, if we’re going to do the test, we’re going to have to have sample collection,” LaBaer said. After talking to several Arizona hospitals, LaBaer learned that supply chain shortages meant there were just a couple thousand kits in the entire state. “Some hospitals were saying they had 200 kits total,” LaBaer said. “So I said, ‘You know what, we’re a university. We know how to make this stuff.’” Staff and students sprang into action and have assembled more than 50,000 testing kits to date. With kits in place, ASU stepped up to collect specimens. Katherine Kenny, the associate dean of academic affairs at ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, met with LaBaer’s team on March 29 to come up with logistics and procedures. They opened up drive-thru testing three days later. “In normal times, if somebody wanted to set up a health screening of any type, it would take meetings and committees and legal approval that could take months. Here, there was a level of respect, understanding and dedication that was just magnificent,” Kenny said. Many of Edson College’s faculty are registered nurses, and they were thrilled to have a chance to serve. In fact, as the chief nurse of this operation, Kenny realized it would be a valuable opportunity for students, too. So she got permission from the provost and President Crow that for this one effort, they could include doctoral students preparing to be nurse practitioners as well as undergraduate nursing students in their last semester before graduation. Kenny sees it as a once-in-a-lifetime event. “The students participating see their faculty in action with 26  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | MAY 2020

Our focus right now is about getting the state back to normalcy. How do we get people back to work in a way that doesn’t let this whole thing get out again?

them,” she said. “It is an experience that I hope they never have to see again in their career — I mean, the last pandemic was 1918. But it’s an amazing public health event to serve the community.” Edson College faculty and students have become incredibly efficient at the procedure. “We can collect a specimen — including drive-up and driveaway — in less than two and a half minutes,” Kenny said. “It’s thanks to the spirit of continuous quality improvement. We review every day, put it in writing, and the next day we make the change.” This can-do attitude also allowed LaBaer and the Biodesign Institute to retool their lab rapidly. “As a clinician and a doctor, and also one who does diagnostics, I realized I was going to need CLIA certification for this,” LaBaer said. The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) govern lab testing and require clinical laboratories to be certificated by their state as well as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services before they can accept human samples for diagnostic testing. LaBaer not only navigated complex federal regulations to gain CLIA certification, but he also got the lab cleared by the FDA and got emergencyuse authorization. “We got fully certified to do everything,” he said.

Next came tweaking their molecular-biology protocols. “We had to get all of our equipment into a single room under a separate lock and key because we’re dealing with clinical samples that, in theory, could carry live virus,” LaBaer said. Only certain people are allowed in and out of that room so that it’s safer for the university and everybody in it. They also had to develop automation, train personnel, work out how to transfer samples from collection kits to the tubes used to run assays, and how to check bar codes to ensure two forms of identification at every step. Biodesign Institute scientists got this all set up in four weeks. The Biodesign Institute’s high-throughput platform uses specialized robots to process samples, allowing it to get results faster than state and hospital labs, where tests are usually processed by hand. Plus, robots can read results for multiple samples at the same time, allowing ASU to complete hundreds of tests a day. (The lab promises results in 48 hours, but so far, from the moment they get the sample to the moment they deliver the answer, they are averaging under 24 hours.) LaBaer said they are currently analyzing about 400 samples a day, gathered from people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms who have been seen at various healthcare facilities or their drive-thru sites. “The entire process, start to finish, is done by robots, which means that without even taking a deep breath, we can do 400 samples a day. It would not take much to expand that to round-the-clock testing to analyze well over 1,000 samples a day if needed,” LaBaer said. Even with the headstart the BARDA project allowed, gearing up for high-speed coronavirus testing has not been easy or inexpensive. The supplies, implementation and staffing are costly. Plus, LaBaer and his team realized that if demand for testing were to increase dramatically, they would be dead in the water if one of their instruments went down.

Students from ASU Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation have stepped up to the front lines to combat COVID-19, all while balancing their studies.

Fortunately, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust made a $2 million emergency grant to boost ASU’s COVID-19 preparedness in several areas: testing healthcare workers, first responders and other people with essential jobs; assembling nose and throat swab test kits for healthcare providers; and manufacturing personal protective equipment such as face shields through 3D printing. MAY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  27

“Frankly, we had no idea where we were going to get support,” LaBaer said. “So, they stepped up in a huge way.” Piper Trust’s funding helped to cover the cost of equipment, supplies and personnel time. It also helped to purchase a second robot to prepare solutions and process and test samples. “Everything we have now is duplicated, so if any one thing went down, sure, it would slow us down, but it would not stop us,” LaBaer said. It takes a group of three individuals to run the lab each day, but the Biodesign Institute is onboarding more teams in case the demand for testing increases. “The idea is to have several such teams that never see each other in person so that no team can infect the other teams if they were to get infected,” LaBaer said. The goal is to use testing to keep doctors, nurses and other first

responders free of disease so they can continue to care for others safely. If the lab had to go to a 24-hour operation, with multiple teams, it could probably do north of 2,000 assays a day. “With the automation, it’s very scalable,” LaBaer said. Also scalable is ASU’s university-wide response to the coronavirus crisis. More than 100 labs across the university are involved as well as engineers who have ramped up a massive initiative to design, produce and distribute personal protective equipment and other medical supplies such as swabs and face shields that are already being used by ASU Health Services and medical facilities around the Valley. The level of volunteerism has been impressive as well. A few weeks back, people on LaBaer’s morning call said they needed help. So they sent out an email to the Biodesign Institute and within five hours had more than 200 volunteers. A few days later, after folks shared the message, they had more than 600. “We’re getting overwhelming response,” LaBaer said. “It’s very, very cool how many people want to help out.”

We want to help, if we can.

Sen. Martha McSally came to ASU to pick up the first batch of personal protective equipment and help deliver it to Flagstaff.

For now, LaBaer sees testing as the most critical thing that can be done to save lives in our community. It’s how you “see” the scale of the current pandemic, and right now, we’re largely blind. “One challenge with this particular virus is that there is mounting evidence that people are infectious before they get symptoms. That’s why we have to do what’s called contact tracing,” LaBaer said. If we are aggressive about testing people who are symptomatic and then if we’re also aggressive about testing all of the people that they’ve been in contact with, we can start to get a handle on the disease. “Our focus right now is about getting the state back to normalcy. How do we get people back to work in a way that doesn’t let this whole thing get out again? I think the key is testing,” LaBaer said. In addition to coronavirus testing, LaBaer’s Biodesign Institute team is also in the early stages of developing a blood test for all seven strains of coronavirus. “We might as well test all of them, because it may turn out that people who’ve had a coronavirus cold before have a little bit better outcome than people who’ve never had it at all,” he said.

ASU launched a PPE response network to connect organizations to produce and distribute medical supplies.

This will aid vaccine development efforts, help detect asymptomatic carriers and help understand why some people get very sick while others have no symptoms from a COVID-19 infection.

I’m hoping that for every nurse, student and graduate we’re touching, there will be 10,000 people impacted by that through their career, and that they will understand what it means to serve.

Meanwhile, ASU professor Brenda Hogue, who is an expert on coronaviruses; molecular biologist Qiang “Shawn” Chen; and virologist Bert Jacobs are working on developing their own coronavirus vaccines using different techniques. “We want to help, if we can,” LaBaer said. As the first month of drive-thru COVID-19 testing is complete, Kathy Kenny is journaling about the experience for the college history book. “We have had some faculty there every single day. The pride of being a registered nurse and seeing the serviceoriented faculty has been really meaningful to us,” she said. “I’m hoping that for every nurse, student and graduate we’re touching, there will be 10,000 people impacted by that through their career, and that they will understand what it means to serve.” That culture of service reverberates throughout the ASU community as faculty, staff and students come together for a common purpose. One of the most poignant comments came from a security officer who helped with the coronavirus drive-thru testing lines. As Kenny explained, “He said, ‘You guys are nurses, and you impact people’s health. But never in my life did I think I would have the privilege of helping employees of my company stay healthy.’” ASU has been ranked the most innovative school in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report for five

years running, and the university’s response to coronavirus shows why. In a matter of weeks, the school shifted its research capabilities to have a CLIAcertified clinical test with a database and collections facilities. It’s working on getting contact tracing up and running as well as a vaccine to prevent COVID-19. “The Biodesign Institute was set up to be a transdisciplinary institute that engaged people from many different disciplines to solve realworld problems. And that’s exactly what we’ve done here,” LaBaer said. “We’re pulling together molecular biologists, automation specialists, database specialists, operations team specialists and others into one group to say, ‘How do we make this happen?’ And we did it in four weeks.” In many ways, almost all of LaBaer’s training has led to this moment. He is a physician who has done a lot of research on infectious disease. Much of his history has been in diagnostics, but he also knows automation and databases. “A lot of what I do has built the skills I need to help out here,” he said. A few weeks ago, when LaBaer began having daily phone calls with colleagues to address how ASU could pivot their work to fight COVID-19, he ended the call by saying, “Let’s go save some lives.” Then he stopped saying it a couple of times. “People said, ‘You’ve got to say that every time!’ So we say that at the end of every call,” he said. And then they go out and do just that. To learn more, go to MAY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  29

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 | 6:00 pm Scottsdale Center for the Performing 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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NEXT DOORS {ahead of the curve}

THE TIP OF THE SPEAR TGen has strong capacity to conduct COVID-19 testing, according to Dr. Jeffrey Trent (above).

TGen leads Arizona’s fight against COVID-19 on several fronts Tom Evans | Contributing Editor

So I have to admit, I was anxious to get this interview done. After all, most people don’t have the chance right now to pick the brain of someone like Dr. Jeffrey Trent, president and research director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) — insight that I am now able to share with you. I mean, hey, I’m just like everyone else. Give me something to make me feel better about the COVID-19 crisis. Anything. At all. Is there any reason for optimism? “Yeah, absolutely. I think at least we know the enemy, and we are learning more about it every day,” he said. “There’s no question that in the history of humankind, there will have never been the kind of monumental worldwide response to something. Is it happening fast enough?

Absolutely not, but the remarkable focus we have on this virus is going to make a difference today and will make an even bigger difference tomorrow. I don’t underestimate the horror or tragedy of this, but am I optimistic? The answer is absolutely.”

“ The remarkable focus we have on this virus is going to make a difference today and will make an even bigger difference tomorrow.”” MAY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  31

Caption goes here

TGen researchers like David Engelthaler (above) are working side-by-side with federal, state and local agencies to combat COVID-19.

Good to hear. I can breathe now. TGen is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle here in the Valley, both in the community and in the research lab. So we have that going for us, and it’s significant.

But even more than that, Trent said that TGen is working “like the of the virus” to determine its origins, how it is mutating and to map it so that treatment plans can be created.

Trent gave an overview of the three main focuses of the fight against the virus, and how TGen is working on each — testing, tracking and treatment.

TGen formed a partnership in early April to work with the Pathogen & Microbiome Institute at Northern Arizona University and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona to expand tracking efforts.

TGen was among the first organizations in the country to receive Food and Drug Administration approval on its testing program, and its focus has been specific to individuals who are underserved or underinsured. Those include places like jails and prisons, homeless shelters — and critically, Indian reservations, which have been hard hit by the virus. “We’re working with shelters and a lot of other places, and a lot of what we are doing is ensuring that we fill any gaps that we can,” Trent said. “We are trying to fill a niche that helps our communities more broadly.” The step next is tracking — a critical component to being able to open Arizona back up for business.


“We can do geotracking from where the virus originated, and that’s a really important part of what we do,” he said. “When the state lab gets a positive case, they give it to us and we sequence the whole virus. The tests they do provide a really ‘skinny’ version, which is good enough to diagnose, but we read the whole ‘War and Peace’ version, and that’s important for this kind of tracking for public health.” And on the treatment front, TGen is working with HonorHealth on one of the first clinical trials to take place in the country on a particular combination of drugs that shows promise in battling the virus. Like

some more controversial drugs, the primary drug being tested is an anti-malaria drug, but one with less significant side effects. “This clinical trial will be the first patient that goes on this combination, and we’ll know soon how the patient will recover,” he said. Trent said the measures Arizona has taken have worked to slow the spread of the virus — with the notable exception of the Navajo Nation, which unfortunately has become a hot spot. The Valley, however, has likely benefitted from warm weather and wide-open spaces, along with the adherence by its residents of social-distancing guidelines.

get a vaccine in place will continue and testing will be in much better shape. Overall, while he recognized and does not downplay the horrors that have taken place due to the virus, Trent sees a light at the end of the tunnel. “This too will pass, and we’ll have an effective vaccine, probably in a year from now — that’s what I anticipate,” he said. “I refuse to believe that there will be a dark future. Did we change after 9/11? You bet. Was it for the better? In some regards, yes, in some no. But we’ll get past this.” To learn more, go to

And while he doesn’t have a crystal ball, Trent said he is hopeful that summer will bring us a respite of sorts — and more time to plan. “We are going to see if this responds the way the other coronaviruses have, that at the onset of summer we should see this dissipate,” he said. “There is likely to be a resurgence in the fall and winter, just like the flu. But the efforts to

An Arizona-based, nonprofit medical research institute, TGen is dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results.



KITCHEN DOORS {feeding the need}

NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS Andre House partners with local restaurants to serve guests Shoshana Leon | Contributing Writer From small businesses to healthcare workers to families, the coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted all of our lives. One of the most affected groups is nonprofits, especially those that provide meals and services to people in need and rely heavily on donations and volunteers. Since 1984, Andre House has been serving people in need in Phoenix, who are referred to as guests. The organization has thousands of volunteers that support its services, including preparing and serving hundreds of meals six evenings a week. When the pandemic struck, Andre House had to suspend its volunteer program for health and safety reasons but is more dedicated than ever to serving guests. “As part of our mission, Andre House is committed to feeding, clothing and comforting the most vulnerable among us,” said Elizabeth Wunsch, director of volunteer services and communications at Andre House. “Those who are experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable to serious health complications. It is important during this time to ensure those in need have nutrition and services to help them.”



Photos courtesy of Andre House

With the severe economic impact of the pandemic, Andre House was faced with more people in need of services without critical volunteer support. Andre House went from relying on 30 volunteers to prepare and serve 450 to 550 meals per day to having 8 to 10 staff members preparing and serving 650 to 800 meals a day in the safest manner possible. Andre House had to adapt to the circumstances and change how it serves guests, shifting from dining room service to serving takeout meals from the loading dock at its downtown Phoenix location. Without volunteers to prepare and serve meals, Andre House also had to change what it serves. The organization turned to local restaurants, providing the opportunity to support businesses that have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

“We could not sustain our meal service over a long period of time and still provide other services for our guests without volunteer support,” said Wunsch. “The local restaurants needed business, and this was a perfect opportunity to engage and support them. We frequent these restaurants. They are our friends. And now we are working together to nourish those in our community who need help.” To meet the need, Andre House has been purchasing meals from neighborhood restaurants a few times a week, including Original Hamburger Works, Cibo, Mi Salsa, and Pita Jungle. The restaurants are grateful for the partnership. “COVID-19 swept through our economy like a tidal wave,” said Bassel Osmani, cofounder of Pita Jungle, which operates more than 20 restaurants in Arizona. “Opening restaurants solely for to-go and delivery is a lifeline our community extended to us that is extremely appreciated and won’t be forgotten. Andre House has always been a bright shining star that never falls short on helping our fellow neighbors. We are grateful and privileged to be able to provide them with healthful and wholesome meals.” In addition to serving meals, Andre House provides many other services, including handwashing stations, showers, clothing, hygiene kits and more. Andre House has strong relationships with other nonprofit organizations, including St. Mary’s Food Bank and St. Vincent de Paul, and is working closely with them to meet the increased need. “When pandemic concerns arose, all the organizations in this area met to figure out the best way to keep everyone safe. It takes a committed village to provide for the needs of so many,” Wunsch said. Even with the challenges and uncertainties, Wunsch is focused on the positive. “We are again reminded of our common shared humanity. We are responsible for each other and, when put to the test, we find the best ways to live up to our responsibilities. Anything is possible if we become love in action,” she said. To learn more about Andre House and donate to help fund meals and other services, visit


Since the coronavirus struck, Andre House staff members have prepped meals themselves or served take-out food from local restaurants in to-go containers.



STYLE UNLOCKED {living fashionably}

STAGES OF DRESS Clothes help tell the story at Childsplay


By Catie Richman | Contributing Writer

or more than four decades, Childsplay has invited young audiences throughout Arizona to experience high-quality, professional theater. Touring shows at schools, in-house performances at the Herberger Theater, drama academy classes and educational outreach all engage children and families in the magic of theater. But at the height of the 2020 spring season, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing Childsplay to seek new ways to keep that magic alive. “The business of live theatre is all about bringing people together with live actors to share an experience,” said Dwayne Hartford, Childsplay’s artistic director. “For us, the vast majority of our audience are students who either come to one of our productions on a school field trip or experience Childsplay in their school.” With school closures and government restrictions on public gatherings to fight the spread of COVID-19, Childsplay canceled their spring show as well as their in-school residency work and academy classes and pivoted to providing digital content. The result is the Online Drama Academy taught by professional theater artists. Workshops offers online


drama instruction from one-on-one coaching to virtual group classes like “Improvirtual” and “Onward to Adventure,” which culminate in a Zoom showcase that family and friends can “attend.” Childsplay also rolled out “Imagine Together Online,” a series of family activities, creative projects and learning opportunities. The roster includes family social challenges, online streaming of full performances from the archives, and the “Explore-aStory” series that features Childsplay associate artists who invite viewers to join them for a drama-infused story reading. They also recently debuted “Mira y Crea” (Look and Create), which offers some of the content in Spanish to make it more accessible. “Looking forward, we face the uncertainty of when schools will be ready to come back to the theater or welcome us back into the schools themselves. We are looking at ways that we can be as flexible as possible, being as ready as we can be for the near- and midterm so that we will be here long-term,” Hartford said. Until the time comes when they can resume live theater, members of Childsplay look back on some of their most cherished characters and costumes.

Photos courtesy of Childsplay Theatre & Tim Trumble Photography

Katie McFadzen (right) made a rockin’ Mad Hatter in “Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure.”

JON GENTRY Childsplay associate artist With more than 30 years of experience at Childsplay, it’s no wonder Jon Gentry had a hard time narrowing down his top picks. “Costumes … oh my! So many, so amazing, too many favorites. The costumes for ‘A Year With Frog and Toad’ were amazingly detailed, beautiful, with lots of layers, and took a long time to put on because there were about 10 to 12 pieces to ONE costume,” he said. “But they help you create what you’re doing as well. Once I saw a rendering of a costume I’d be wearing, it completely told me how I was going to play the character, before we even started rehearsal.” These days, Gentry is adapting his educational background to fit with the current times. “At this moment, I’m performing the role of teacher — online teacher at that. While my degree actually is in education, this is my first online experience of having class, and with the technology, often the students are teaching me,” he said.

KATIE McFADZEN Childsplay associate artist Katie McFadzen first joined Childsplay in 1993. “I love my job performing for young audiences and families and am grateful I’ve been able to do it for the past 27 years,” she said. Favorite costumes in that time? “The Mad Hatter rock-star look in ‘Wonderland’ and the fabulous lady-pirate look of Mary Reid in ‘Pete, or The Return of Peter Pan,’” she said. McFadzen also enjoys donning the many wigs she’s been called to wear — sometimes because she plays more than one character in a show and other times because her natural hair doesn’t fit the character she’s playing. As a Childsplay actor and teaching artist, McFadzen has been working to develop online content to fill the needs of teachers, audiences and the community. “Not knowing when we’ll be able to share live stories with our audiences again hurts my heart,” she said. “But I’m hopeful that we will hear the joyful noise of 300-plus laughing kiddos in our audience again soon.”

Jon Gentry (second from left) in the 2015 production of “A Year With Frog and Toad.”




DEBRA K. STEVENS Childsplay associate artist Debra K. Stevens is spending much of her time on Zoom these days, focused on teaching classes through the Online Academy. “I am teaching a class based on ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry. The students are deconstructing the story and creating new works of art based on the events of the book,” she said. Next up will be this same class, but focusing on “Charlotte’s Web,” a story Stevens knows a few things about. “‘Charlotte’s Web’ remains one of the most beautiful stories in juvenile literature,” she said. “I have had the opportunity to play Charlotte five times now for Childsplay. I fall more in love with her each time.” One of the elements Stevens loves about Charlotte’s costume is the corset. “I always love wearing a corset on stage, and I love the color palette of this costume. The wig is particularly fabulous,” she said.

Ricky Araiza (third from left) portrayed Novio Boy in the 2019 production of “Chato’s Kitchen.”

RICKY ARAIZA Childsplay office manager and artistic director for Teatro Bravo ASU alum Ricky Araiza started his professional career as an ensemble member of Childsplay in 2004. He has gone on to work with the company for more than a dozen years as an actor and teaching artist and has since received his master’s in Theatre for Youth and Communities. Today, he is “acting” in a different role, serving as Childsplay’s office manager and gala assistant. “This gives me a unique opportunity to work in theater from a different perspective. Having my own theater company, Teatro Bravo, I have the wonderful opportunity to learn from one of the leading theater companies in the Valley and collaborate with my ensemble in a different way,” he said.

Her costume in “Charlotte’s Web” helped Debra K. Stevens weave a web of delight.

To learn more, go to For information about the Online Drama Academy, visit For online activities and performances for families and educators, go to


Some of his favorite costumes were from the play “Chato’s Kitchen,” where comfort was key. “The show required physical comedy and quick changes, which can be tricky, but to be able to do it in such comfortable clothing that reflected, authentically, members of my community was a treat. Plus, I looked suave,” he said.


A 2ND ACT {helping is healing}

TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE SOMETHING Thoughtful, committed citizens changing the world Judy Pearson | Contributing Writer

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” When she said them decades ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead could never have guessed how many applications those simple words would go on to have. And they fit perfectly into the history of the Phoenix Center for the Arts. Established in 1975, the Center is housed in the former First Southern Baptist Church on 3rd and Moreland Streets in downtown Phoenix. The 90-year-old building is a grand one in the Classical Revival style, complete with Greek columns and round arches. But what goes on inside is truly monumental. MAY 2020 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  39

Phoenix Center for the Arts classes are taught by award-winning professionals in a friendly community that is a home-away-from-home for many students. While the Center is temporarily closed, it has turned to providing art education in a digital format.

“Our most often-repeated phrase — ‘together we can make something’ — is inherent in everything we do, whether it’s making art or making friends.”

The Center had been operated by the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department until things went south in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Due to budget cuts, the city began trimming programs, and in 2011 it was the Center’s turn. An announcement was released, reporting its pending closure, but the community spoke out. As the Center’s website explains, “Committees were formed, citizens organized, and the operation was turned over to the existing nonprofit, the Phoenix Center Arts Association, now known as Phoenix Center for the Arts, Inc.” And in this second act, magic happened. Since it became a nonprofit, it has become a dynamic 40  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | MAY 2020

community center. Music, dance, performing arts and visual arts fill it. Thrown into the mix, classes buzz with excited electricity. Lauren Henschen, the third employee hired after the Center’s rescue, became the CEO in July 2019. “Our most often-repeated phrase — ‘together we can make something’ — is inherent in everything we do, whether it’s making art or making friends.” — is inherent to everything we do, whether it’s making art or making friends. We’ve had groups who met in one class and then continue together in other classes. One group even went on meeting in its entirety despite one member being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.” In 2011, the Center offered 100 classes. Now, the calendar has over 700, for both adults and children, filling the needs of citizens, schools and artists alike. Attendees belong to all ages and stages of artistic development, from the beginner to those who are part of the “maker movement,” individuals who use open studio time for ceramics, photo developing, glass making and more, creating art to sell. Many of the Center’s attendees live downtown, but being a Phoenix resident is

not a requirement to use the facilities. In fact, because of the winter visitor population, they have tracked people from more than 500 different ZIP codes.

in Mind” is a joint effort with Banner Hospital’s memory program, designed for both patients and caregivers. And they’re developing more classes in Spanish.

Tuition for classes and open studio time helps cover operating costs. That’s something unique for a nonprofit. However, the Center also offers financial aid to those who want to participate but can’t afford it. In addition, groups the Center calls “full-time residents” also offset costs.

At a time like this one, Henschen said, it’s a question of learning how to think creatively. “In looking for new ways to reach audiences, online classes have been so successful that they will probably remain a part of our curriculum. It allows us to reach less-mobile members, and even deployed military personnel. We’ve already had some who took creative-writing classes while living on the other side of the world.

“Our residents have been such an asset,” Henschen said. “When the Center faced shutdown, the Phoenix Children’s Chorus went to City Hall to sing in an effort to keep us open.” There are 13 different resident groups, ranging from the Phoenix Children’s Chorus to Radio Phoenix to Voices of the Desert, all using space on the campus. Henschen continued, “Having a building full of resident organizations with different missions produces amazing things when they collaborate. One year, Phoenix Children’s Chorus sang choral music, to which breakdancers from Cyphers performed. It was amazing to see each artform enhance the other.”

“And now, we’re providing online mask-making classes. Our participants create protective masks and then donate them to hospitals,” she said. Phoenix Center for the Arts is the beautiful result of the kind of thoughtful, committed citizens Margaret Mead spoke about. It’s the second act of a community treasure, growing in the heart of the city. To learn more, go to

At Phoenix Center for the Arts, the possibilities are endless. There are summer campers — 500 of them — ranging in age from 5 to 12. “With Art

With a long list of art, dance and other classes for adults and youth, Phoenix Center for the Arts is a valuable resource to have available to the downtown community.



Society of Chairs } This month, we are honoring the beloved former board chair of Arizona Opera, Robert S. Tancer, who passed away on March 17, 2020. We hope you will enjoy these tributes in his honor from three of his friends in the arts community. From Joseph Specter, president & general director of Arizona Opera:

Robert Tancer with his wife, Shoshana

Robert S. Tancer

Bob was one of the most remarkably kind people, and his smile instantly put you at ease in any circumstance. Whether it was speaking at a board meeting, an event or at a lunch with friends to talk about support for Arizona Opera, it was Bob’s smile that communicated his gratitude and kindness so immediately and so clearly, and made any conversation enjoyable … even when the topic was fundraising. I remember Bob’s answer to the question, “What is your favorite opera?”… to which Bob always answered something along the lines of “The one I’m listening to right now.” He had a unique ability to be grateful and appreciate life just as it was, at that very moment. Bob’s memory to anyone who knew him is a gift of presence and living fully in the moment.

From Shelley Cohn, fellow Desert Botanical Garden board member: In memory of Robert Tancer’s remarkable contributions to Arizona Opera with his wife Shoshana, the company announced in April 2020 that the courtyard of the Arizona Opera Center in downtown Phoenix will henceforth be known as the Shoshana B. and Robert S. Tancer Plaza.

Bob and I shared a love for truly getting our hands dirty at the Garden. We both started our engagement at the Garden as horticulture aides and helping the staff take care of the plants. In addition to his hands-on work, Bob served on every committee and in every leadership position. In his understated and quiet way, Bob was able to introduce important ideas to the organizations he served; whether it was diversity, new programming or ways to support the financial health of the organization. He was the first former trustee who had not been president of the Garden to be given emeritus status. That status was recognition of his quiet passion and determination to contribute to the health of the arts/culture ecology of the community.

From Adrienne Schiffner, longtime friend of Shoshana and Robert: Bob was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word — always warm, gracious and wonderfully cultured. He knew so much about music and opera and was highly respected and esteemed in the opera world throughout the United States. There are not many like him and his passing is felt by everyone who loves the arts in this community and around the globe.

Frontdoors is proud to recognize those who volunteer their time, treasure and talents to support local organizations in a leadership role. 42  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | MAY 2020

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ONE ORGANIZATION, MANY SERVICES Wesley Community & Health Centers serves the whole health of its community By Karen Werner

THE STORY For 70 years, Wesley Community & Health Centers has provided community programs, services, classes and activities for families living in south-central Phoenix. For most of that time, its primary activities included adult English and citizenship activities such as amnesty programs because the community is primarily Hispanic. But after they added a gym in the 70’s, more programs became focused on children.


Healthcare became a bigger priority after 2002, when Centro de Salud health center began with volunteer physicians, primarily from Banner Good Samaritan Hospital. These services and clinics began by serving “uninsured only.” All patients paid $20 per visit, but that increased to $40 after the first year, because patients said the health center should “charge more” for its excellent services. With an unexpected Federal stimulus grant in 2009, this healthcare for “uninsured only”

became a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) providing healthcare to underserved populations, regardless of their ability to pay. Today, Wesley Health Center continues its primary FQHC healthcare services at its original site, at 1300 S. 10th St. as well as its newly expanded second healthcare site at the Golden Gate Community Center at 1625 N. 39th Ave.

THE CAUSE Wesley Community & Health Centers isn’t just two community health clinics providing high-quality, affordable care to those who are primarily low-income and uninsured or underinsured; it is two community centers as well. “Wesley is the only FQHC with a community center in the state of Arizona. Wesley’s combination of primary healthcare services with community center programs and activities is a forward-thinking, innovative hybrid model to address the whole health of an individual, families and the community,” said Blaine Bandi, the CEO of Wesley Community & Health Centers. “There is no other nonprofit in Arizona that combines healthcare services with community programs and activities designed to improve community wellness.”

“ There is no other nonprofit in Arizona that combines healthcare services with community programs and activities designed to improve community wellness.”

From after-school youth programs to classes in nutrition, financial literacy and adult education, Wesley works to provide opportunities for personal and social growth. “What makes Wesley’s after-school and summer programming unique is that it is extremely low-cost and highquality,” Bandi said. During the school year, the rate is $10 per child per week. In the summer, it goes to $35 per child per week for structured programming such as STEM activities, one-onone homework tutoring, nutrition education, community gardening, arts and crafts, daily physical activity and computer education.

Whether it’s through STEM classes or ESL and citizenship programs, Wesley’s unique model serves the well-being of its community.


Meanwhile, Wesley Health Centers offer an array of primary care services tailored to the needs of the community. “In our case, it’s a population that is primarily low-income, uninsured and Hispanic,” Bandi said. Seventy percent of Wesley’s patients are uninsured, compared to other area FQHCs that average only a 20 percent uninsured rate. As such, Wesley is a valuable safety-net healthcare provider that serves more than 7,000 patients a year between its two locations. Wesley offers pregnancy, family planning and mental health services as well as health education and nutrition counseling. Licensed professionals do acute and chronic disease management, cancer screening, lab tests, vaccines — all in English and Spanish.

UFC flyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo visited Wesley Community Center to thank the organization for helping him become the man he is today.

THE FUTURE The community Wesley serves faces myriad social issues that affect their health. These include food insecurity, inadequate access to healthy and nutritious food, substandard housing and employment opportunities, underresourced schools and the prevalence of crime and drugs, to name a few. What’s more, many families seek medical care only when they absolutely need it and often delay or forego care, which often leads to more invasive and costly treatments with poorer outcomes.

Fortunately, through its integrated approach, Wesley regularly sees the impact both its health center and community centers have on the community. Children from the after-school program return as adults to talk about how important it was to them and their growth and development. One such person was Henry Cejudo, who attended the after-school and summer programs when he was a child. “He credits it to keeping him off the streets, away from gangs and drugs and involved in school,” Bandi said.

At Wesley, community members can choose from an array of programs, including free daily Zumba, arts and crafts, chess, coding and computer classes, guitar lessons, community gardening and neighborhood volunteer projects.


Cejudo went on to become the youngest Olympic gold medalist for Greco-Roman Wrestling and then entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship and became champion. Last year, he returned to Wesley’s Golden Gate site to share his story and donate $5,000 to the afterschool program. But he is not alone. “People in the community will regularly stop staff and share memories of the programs and services and the impact they have had on their life,” Bandi said.

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As Arizona battles the coronavirus crisis, Wesley has shifted services to be there for the community. Prior to COVID-19, Wesley only had a small number of telehealth visits. Today, nearly 84 percent of health center visits are through telehealth. And though community center programming has been canceled, Wesley has transitioned to provide daycare for children of first responders and a food pick-up program for families struggling to afford food. Food and nutrition are huge components of Wesley’s plans for the future. Because healthy foods are critical to reducing childhood obesity and diabetes, and because nutritious foods also help kids perform their best in school, Wesley has wanted to renovate the community kitchen at its Golden Gate site for years. A major grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust made that dream a reality, and Wesley is currently finishing construction of a commercially licenced kitchen that will allow them to prepare free nutritious meals and snacks in-house for kids attending after-school and summer programs. “With the completion of the kitchen, Wesley will be able to take fresh vegetables grown right in our own community garden and prepare, cook and serve those vegetables to the children in the after-school and summer program. Children who plant seeds in the garden and watch them grow will be able to see how those vegetables are cooked and what they taste like,” Bandi said. The completion of the community kitchen will take Wesley programs and services to the next level.”

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LET’S PLAN WITH HOPE IN OUR HEARTS Andrea Tyler Evans | Publisher

The end of May is our time to evaluate things here at Frontdoors, followed by time I take each June to set goals for my personal life. This year, I find myself with more lead time to prepare for this annual exercise but, wow, there are so many questions swirling as I create the long list of items I want to review that it’s nearly impossible to plan anything. So, I am letting hope in.

A friend described her process to me: KEEP, LOSE, ADD. It’s a simpler version of my usual analytical tools and I like it. Whether it’s your business, your job or your personal goals, I believe exchanging time that would have been spent doing things that have been “canceled” for a strategic clean-up session will fill you with hope too. I’ll describe how I am using this tool for business evaluation, but applying this exercise to personal goals is an easy switch.


KEEP the things that work, that your brand is known for, that your customers and clients count on, the core of your mission. This list reflects why you do what you do and the things that drive the success of your business or organization.


LOSE the things that pull you away from that core, the idea you gave a try but never took hold, the things that have become distractions or don’t add to the bottom line in any way.


ADD is the space where you can brainstorm … the place for ideas you haven’t had time to execute, systems you need to implement, the place for long-lead goals for the coming months and year.


Handling the “what ifs” of the coming days, weeks, months and year is mentally exhausting. It always is, and even more so after eight weeks of social distancing. Posting your final KEEP and ADD lists to look at as you juggle reality will lighten the load, I promise. We can only handle so much. For me, writing these things down and allowing myself to be hopeful for the future is an annual prescription I count on this time of year … now more than ever! I also want to take a moment to express my deepest thanks to the board and staff of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. I am forever grateful for their trust and willingness to partner with the Frontdoors team during this unique moment in history. Hang in there and stay healthy,

Andrea Andrea Tyler Evans PUBLISHER




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