Frontdoors Magazine January 2021 Issue

Page 1


A Heartfelt MISSION

Jennifer Moser and the Mastro family join forces to help the American Heart Association



The Work Continues... Theatre

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Karen Werner

Andrea Tyler Evans



Neill Fox

Carey Peña


Tom Evans


Jillian Rivera



Julie Coleman Shoshana Leon Judy Pearson Catie Richman McKenna Wesley



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On the Cover Jeff Mastro and Jennifer Moser on location at Steak 44. Photo: Marion Rhoades Photography Styling: Angela Zdrale Make-up: Eli Medina / The Sparkle Bar


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TABLE OF CONTENTS WHAT YOU’RE SAYING....... 06 Reader feedback

{jan 2021, volume 19, issue 1}

EDITOR’S NOTE...................... 07 Raise a Glass to 2021 10 QUESTIONS WITH.......... 08 Aaron Rippenkroeger, executive director of the IRC in Phoenix BOOKMARKED....................... 11 Naomi Berry, licensed professional counselor


OFFICE DOORS...................... 12 Suzanne Pfister, president and CEO of Vitalyst Health Foundation KEY TO THE GOOD LIFE.... 16 Sideways in Sonoita A 2ND ACT.................................. 21 Control Alt Delete resets the lives of domestic violence survivors COVER STORY....................... 24 Jennifer Moser and the Mastro family join forces to help the American Heart Association



NEXT DOORS.......................... 31 Copa Health rises to the needs of individuals with disabilities during the pandemic STYLE UNLOCKED............... 34 Workout Wear Walks the Wild Side CHARITY SPOTLIGHT........ 38 Therapeutic Harp Foundation KITCHEN DOORS.................. 40 Let’s Eat! OPEN DOORS......................... 48 Come On! CHEERS TO THE CHAIRS... 49 Nikki Shaffer and Lindy Smith


+ Copa

+ Arizona

Heart Association Burn Foundation + Blue Watermelon Project + Control Alt Delete

+ International


Rescue Committee Harp Foundation + Vitalyst Health Foundation + Therapeutic

WHAT YOU’RE SAYING {reader feedback}


“ Thank you for showcasing MASK in Frontdoors. It is an honor to be featured in your prestigious and respected publication.” — KIMBERLY CABRAL

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Enriching health, well-being, and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County.

“I wanted to reach out and tell you how much we love the tax credit guide as part of the Nov./Dec. issue. The magazine and the guide are beautifully done.” — AUDRA HOLT

“ Thank you Frontdoors Media for your stories and the impact you have on spreading positivity and goodness!” — TORRIE TAJ

Send Your Comments To:

© 2021 Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

EDITOR’S NOTE {on the job}



It’s the day after Christmas as I write this, and this is the first time I’ve opened my laptop in nearly two days. Aside from a couple of peeks at Facebook on my phone, I have let the world turn around me. It’s been as restful as a vacation. I’m one of the lucky ones this year, with a roof over my head, good food on the table, my family safe. I miss the rhythms of my ordinary life — the meetings, events, outings and otherwise — but am aware that I am blessed. As we start a New Year, looking hopefully to the future, Frontdoors is honored to highlight organizations and people in our community that have stepped into new rhythms with purpose and grace. The CEOs of Vitalyst Health Foundation (page 12) and Copa Health (page 31) explain how their organizations have doubled down to protect our citizens’ health in these challenging days. The executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix talks about labor and sex trafficking and how the IRC provides comprehensive and coordinated assistance to victims (page 8). We highlight a couple of organizations you may not be aware of: Control Alt Delete, which helps people affected by domestic violence (page 21), and Therapeutic Harp Foundation, which brings live harp music to healthcare settings, providing comfort and peace (page 38).

Get the idea? Despite the difficulties presented by a pandemic, these organizations go on, enriching lives and offering help. Such is the case with the Phoenix Heart Ball, a Valley institution that may have been postponed last year but continued to raise funds for and awareness about heart disease. Our cover story explores why it’s a personal mission for Jennifer Moser, the chairman, and Jeff Mastro, one of the honorary chairs, and how they are looking forward to finally celebrating the Heart Ball this year (page 24). Speaking of finally celebrating, Frontdoors publisher Andrea Evans and I have long talked about slipping away for a road trip. In lieu of an editorial meeting, we’d get out of Dodge, make plans for the magazine and enjoy each other’s company. We recently did that, heading to Sonoita for a wine-tasting getaway. You can read about our adventure in our new travel column, which will periodically highlight driveable experiences (page 16). And with that, I raise a glass to the New Year in the hope that we can all stay nimble, making whatever changes are required of us to stay safe, help others, and find the fun however it comes. Cheers to 2021. Karen Werner | EDITOR

Recently, Frontdoors publisher Andrea Evans and I managed a COVID-safe jaunt to Arizona’s wine country. Here, I’m charting the road to Rune.



JAN 2021

10 QUESTIONS {fascinating people}

AARON RIPPENKROEGER Executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix


January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Can you explain what human trafficking is?

Human trafficking occurs when someone engages in commercial sex or labor due to force, fraud or coercion. Having at least one of those three elements is essential for it to be considered trafficking. Most people tend to think of sex trafficking when we talk about human trafficking, so it’s important to highlight that labor trafficking is also a major issue. Both types of trafficking are crimes under state and federal law and traffickers can be prosecuted for different types of involvement in the crime.


How widespread a problem is it?

Human trafficking is widely underreported in the U.S. and across the world. We do know that trafficking takes place virtually everywhere. It happens here in Arizona, across the country and abroad too.


Who are the most frequent victims of trafficking?

People of all ages, all races, and from different types of backgrounds experience trafficking. Some risk factors, though, are having experienced abuse in the past, low self-esteem, poverty and substance abuse. Statistics indicate that victims generally know

JAN 2021



their trafficker or have had some type of contact or communication with them previously. A trafficker will usually identify and exploit a vulnerability, like lack of emotional support or financial resources.


Aside from prostitution, what types of human trafficking can be found in the United States?

Human trafficking is much broader than just sex trafficking and occurs in a wide array of industries across the U.S. Some common ones are agricultural work, restaurants, massage parlors, construction work and cleaning services. It’s also important to note that not all prostitution is related to trafficking.


Does physical violence have to be involved in human trafficking cases?

Not necessarily. Although physical violence can be an aspect of trafficking, traffickers might use any number of control tactics. In some cases, physical violence is not involved at all. Lies, threats, or emotional or psychological abuse are other examples.

Photos by Colette Roark, Make Your Memory Photography


Is Arizona a hot spot for trafficking?

Both labor and sex trafficking occur in Arizona at significant rates, with many crimes going underreported. This indicates there is much work to be done in providing services to victims, in increased investigation and prosecution, as well as policy changes.


Tell us about the IRC’s efforts to address trafficking locally, nationally and internationally.

The IRC Phoenix office provides services for foreignborn survivors through case management, legal support and counseling. We also coordinate a task force of service providers and law enforcement partners across the state. Nationally, 11 IRC offices across the U.S. have anti-trafficking programming and provide similar services to those we provide here in Phoenix. Internationally, we have a capacity-building project in Serbia and a project focused on child trafficking launching in Sicily, Italy, in Jan. 2021.


What are some “red flags” that signify the possibility of human trafficking?

This is challenging because signs of trafficking vary by industry, but some of the situations we can watch for are: a person that feels they cannot leave a work situation; a person who cannot contact friends and family; a person who is working to pay off a debt and the employer is the debt holder; a person accompanied by another person who seems to be controlling the situation. For the clients we serve at the IRC, a sign we may look out for is if the The IRC’s Phoenix office has one of the longest-running antitrafficking programs in the network, working with international victims of labor and sex trafficking right here in Arizona.

The IRC’s goal is to help survivors build lives for themselves that are free from abuse and exploitation. Here, IRC staff demonstrates a wellness activity.

person is in possession of their travel documents or if they have been threatened with deportation. These signs could be something else too, so it’s best to learn more about trafficking in the industries with which you work or are most familiar.


In what ways can service providers and community members assist with a human trafficking case?

Our biggest ask of the community is to be informed, for service providers to get training, and discuss trafficking with family and friends. Look for accurate information and remember to think critically about sensationalized stories in the news and on social media. If you want to get involved, find out what organizations are providing services and donate or offer to volunteer. Our Facebook page, IRC ALERT Arizona League to End Regional Trafficking, is a good place to find information about trafficking as well as donation and volunteer opportunities.


What can readers do to prevent human trafficking?

Become aware and educated. It’s all about learning. Remember that trafficking does occur in your community and across a variety of industries. Keep the red flags in mind and if you see something that you think might be trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: (888) 373-7888. To learn more, visit



JAN 2021

BOOKMARKED {what are you reading?}

NAOMI BERRY Licensed professional counselor The theme of this month’s issue is “Healthy Living,” and with that in mind Frontdoors asked a prominent local counselor for an inspiring read to start the year.


“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl

H E R TA K E “In the words of author Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, ‘When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.’ The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken many of us to our core, both professionally and personally. Our sense of control has been shattered. But, if we are willing, it allows us to construct a new sense of purpose and meaning. Be willing: Focus your mind and watch what you manifest flourish. “Change is not always easy, but it can be liberating. Again, Frankl is poignantly relevant: ‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’ “Choose wisely.”


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JAN 2021

OFFICE DOORS {valley changemakers}

A DAY WITH SUZANNE PFISTER President + CEO of Vitalyst Health Foundation

As told to | Julie Coleman

5:45 a.m. >> THE COMMUNITY SERVICE GENE I get up in the morning and get going. I check emails and hit the ground running. I’m always listening to KJZZ to get the latest news and, in a COVID world, I’ve been working out of my home three to four days a week and in the office a couple of days. In my family, we joke that there is a genetic defect toward community service, including elected office, that goes back generations. I have that genetic defect and serve on a lot of boards. Many of these boards and commissions meet early in the morning, including my service as chair of the Maasai Environmental Research and Conservation Institute in Kenya.

9 a.m.


Much of my day is spent either in team meetings with my 12-person staff or working with my 20-member board. It’s been vital during COVID to have many one-on-ones with my team because I believe you

JAN 2021

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cannot communicate enough. Not so much for the information that’s exchanged, but for the camaraderie it builds. We have worked hard as a team to fine-tune how we work as efficiently as possible, how we keep collaborating because that’s one of the things we’re good at, and how we keep up morale. We’ve been inordinately flexible and very intentional in making sure there’s fun and whimsy. At any given time, I am working to prepare for board and various committee meetings we have throughout the year. There are many moving parts, and I have a very good board that is great at asking how do we do more, how do we think about what we’re doing, and how do we increase focus? We have an operating budget of $5 million and this year, for the second time in the foundation’s 25-year history, the board dipped into the endowment and allocated an additional $1 million for COVID-related relief to community partners around the state.


Pre-COVID, I would lunch with partners, friends or colleagues. Now, I walk our 2-year-old rescue dog, Coco. We flew her here from Puerto Rico with a rescue group that assisted during the hurricane. Coco is black and white, and we think she is a mix of border collie and spaniel. The person who fostered her until she was 9 months old named her Coco Chanel, and we now call her Coco.

1 p.m. >> CONNECTING IS SECOND NATURE I’ve been jokingly referred to as a pollinator because I am someone with many networks from previous jobs and I usually connect people or help people find information. Vitalyst Health Foundation is an organization known for being a catalyst for community health and seen as a convener. We’re smaller than other foundations, but what we do a little bit differently is programmatic work where we coach, serve on committees, provide our own technical expertise, as well as give money. In some cases, technical assistance is more valuable to the nonprofits than money because having those connections, leverage and influence can be very beneficial.

We give very few grants to individual organizations. The foundation has really moved upstream and is now looking at what we call the social determinants of health: how housing is health, how access to healthy foods has health components, and how they intersect with each other. The foundation’s directors and I often give presentations talking about these intersections and helping people understand. We look at those upstream issues that are harder to change but that can really impact a person’s life expectancy and longevity.

Photo courtesy of Community: University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and Tucson’s Flowers and Bullets Collective

Photo courtesy of White Mountain Apache Tribe

Above: Vitalyst Health Foundation believes that community building must be community-driven. Left: Ndeé Bikíyaa, the People’s Farm, is focused on producing healthy indigenous foods and growing food sovereignty.


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JAN 2021

Photo courtesy of Street Mural: Living Streets Alliance

Tucson’s Living Streets Alliance is building community through connectivity.

3:30 p.m. >> A FOUNDATION BASED ON TRUST Before the pandemic, the foundation was moving down a continuum called trust-based philanthropy. This says I trust you know what you’re doing and will monitor things to ensure we are working together and there’s accountability. It speaks to letting nonprofits use their lived experience and knowledge to be more effective at getting things done. It’s fewer requirements, less reporting and fewer guardrails. Many nonprofits are still reeling from what’s gone on and the foundation is trying to help them go at

“ I’ve been jokingly referred to as a pollinator because I am someone with many networks from previous jobs and I usually connect people or help people find information."

With Park Rx, physicians write prescriptions for physical exercise and social time in and with nature. Park Rx is also focused on making parks more welcoming with trees and shade. Photo courtesy of Park Rx

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Photo courtesy of one•n•ten

the pace they can. We’ve done a lot of listening and co-created grant applications that have been taken to the board. We do a lot of health policy and coalition work. If you want real systems change, you can’t go at it alone, so we’ve come up with technical assistance for keeping a coalition healthy and thriving. This is a different skill set than providing technical assistance, such as board development or fundraising for an individual nonprofit.

5 p.m. >> AN EYE FOR WORK/LIFE BALANCE In the evening, I am usually with family and friends. I have an active social life and a very good network of colleagues I consider friends, both in the nonprofit and funder communities. For months, my partner and I Zoomed weekly with a group of friends, and now we can see our friends outdoors as well. I am a landscape photographer by avocation. This began about 16 years ago when I went on my first safari to Kenya. I fell in love with travel and have been all over the world since. I also took photography workshops through Arizona Highways and would now call myself

one-n-ten recognizes today’s LGBTQ youth are crucial to tomorrow’s future.

an intermediate photographer. Even though we’ve traveled a lot less this year, my best trip is always the next trip I have planned! To learn more, go to Julie Coleman | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Cover Arizona Coalition’s more than 600 organizations statewide are helping all Arizonans gain access to healthcare and health insurance.

Photo courtesy of Cover Arizona: The Cover Arizona Coalition


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JAN 2021

KEY TO THE GOOD LIFE {what’s trending}

SIDEWAYS IN SONOITA Frontdoors publisher and editor tap Arizona wine country, glass by glass


hile we love to travel, 2020 didn’t offer many chances to get away. So after downing some delicious bottles during lockdown without a sommelier or bartender to guide us, we decided to hit the road for an overnight jaunt to Arizona’s own wine country, Sonoita. While the I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson is pretty mundane, once we turned off the highway to head to Sonoita, the two-and-a-half hour drive made for an easy wine-tasting adventure.

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Sonoita is located in the high desert grasslands of southeastern Arizona. Its higher elevations mean cooler temperatures, perfect for growing grapes. Sonoita became Arizona’s first AVA, or American Viticultural Area, in 1984, which means the U.S. Government recognized it as a distinctive grape-growing region, similar to an appellation of origin in other countries. With a dozen tasting rooms throughout the region, Sonoita’s vineyards and wineries offer a perfect way to take a sip of the state. Here’s what was on our itinerary.

With a dozen tasting rooms throughout the region, Sonoita’s vineyards and wineries offer a perfect way to take a sip of the state.

Named after characters in the pre-Latin alphabet, Rune tells a story of time and place in every bottle.

ANDREA: The tasting included six wines in all and a

lovely progression from white to rosé to red with tasting notes from the staff while we sat out in the sun. My favorites from the tasting — and what I brought home — included the 2019 Rosé (Willcox) and the 2018 Grenache (Willcox).

KAREN: These wines were unique, and I loved the

RUNE WINES Our first stop was Rune Wines, an off-grid winery owned by Scottsdale native James Callahan. We settled into the outdoor tasting room — really, low-slung chairs set up for a socially distanced view of endless foothills in the distance — and let the world fall away as we enjoyed some delicious wines.

spirit of the place. The labels are drawn to look like woodcuts, and each one tells a portion of a story. “It’s like a very expensive comic book,” the tasting-room attendant told us. It’s clear that James Callahan is writing some enticing stories with his wines, and I’m looking forward to what comes next.


2018 Grenache (Willcox); $32 bottle //


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JAN 2021

CALLAGHAN VINEYARDS Next, we visited Kent Callaghan, who planted a vineyard in Elgin, Arizona, with his parents in 1990. A pioneering sort, he’s all about experimentation. Over the years, he’s planted what he thought would do best at his vineyard, but if it doesn’t work, out it goes. With the region’s extreme weather, making a consistent style can be difficult. Spring frost, monsoon rains (or lack thereof) can make wine making a hit-ormiss experience. In fact, hail storms this summer wiped out about 70 percent of his crops. Still, Callaghan Vineyards wines have racked up awards over the years and been served at the White House. Tasting under the large shade structure overlooking the dried vineyards at Callaghan felt utterly normal and pre-COVID. You could tell the spaced-out tables were filled with regulars and newcomers like us enjoying the sunny day.

ANDREA: This tasting was unlike any I’ve

experienced before. We each picked four wines from a list of 17 that ran the gamut from sparkling to port. Each taste was labeled, numbered and poured in tiny plastic cups served on sturdy paper plates so we could manage the process on our own with a copy of the tasting notes from the winery.

KAREN: There’s nothing pretentious about the tasting experience at Callaghan Vineyards; we sat under a pergola and slurped up some wildly adventurous wines. “We try to make wines that aren’t cookiecutter,” Callaghan told us, and he’s succeeding in that.


2019 Love Muffin Red; $28 bottle //

From its first vintage in 1991, Callaghan Vineyards’ wines have received accolades from respected wine publications.

JAN 2021

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Started by Arizona wine pioneer Al Buhl, Dos Cabezas WineWorks has been making wines in southern Arizona for more than two decades. It is now owned and operated by Todd and Kelly Bostock, who The San Francisco Chronicle named among "10 Winemakers to Watch."

DOS CABEZAS WINEWORKS Our last stop was Dos Cabezas WineWorks, conveniently located at the intersection of Highways 82 and 83. Dos Cabezas has been making wine in Arizona since 1995, but its current owner and winemaker, Todd Bostock, bought the winery in 2006 and moved it from Willcox to Sonoita. “It’s like ‘Northern Exposure,’” Bostock said of the eclectic people that call Sonoita home. His tasting room has become a mecca and grown increasingly popular since he and his wife, Kelly, made COVIDinspired pivots such as expanding the patio behind the property and adding something new: a pizza truck. “Business has been up,” Kelly said. “Folks are coming because of the food and now they’re buying glasses and bottles.” Another attraction at Dos Cabezas is their lodging. The Bostocks bought the property next door to their tasting room to provide on-site accommodations for guests. There are two options: the Casa, which sleeps six, and the smaller Casita.

ANDREA: We tasted the full menu and agreed that this

was the perfect way to end the day. The progression from a white blend to deep and rich red blends was delightful and perfectly paired with the pizza. My favorites included the 2019 Meskeoli white blend (the story behind the name is fun to ask about when you go), the 2019 Pink wine (which can be enjoyed anytime at Pizzeria Bianco) and the 2016 Toscano, a beautiful 44% Cabernet Franc and 36% Sangiovese red blend.

KAREN: What a find! Not only did we chill on the patio

with some delectable wines, but we also enjoyed one of the tastiest pizzas I’ve ever had — slathered with pepperoni, salsa macha and honey. Then we holed up for the night in the adjacent two-bedroom Casa, replete with a Wolf range, pool table and turntable. It was the ideal end to our excursion, and I’ll definitely be back!


2016 Toscano; $30 bottle // Andrea Tyler Evans | PUBLISHER + Karen Werner | EDITOR


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JAN 2021

A 2ND ACT {helping is healing}


Control Alt Delete resets the lives of domestic violence survivors Judy Pearson | Contributing Writer


aura Pahules was frustrated. She had been working on the elements to launch her nonprofit but was struggling with a name. And then it happened: Her laptop froze. Praying that her work in progress hadn’t been lost, she reset it, pressing the control, alt and delete keys simultaneously. “That’s when it hit me,” Pahules said. “The perfect name for my organization was Control Alt Delete, because sometimes you have to reset your life.” Resetting lives is an understatement when it comes to the work Control Alt Delete does. Pahules’s days are filled with helping domestic violence survivors escape their situation. While there are many fine organizations that shelter abuse survivors and their children, the survivors need to get away from their abusers in the first place.

According to statistics, 99 percent of all domestic violence victims are also financially abused.


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JAN 2021

“We help them get to the shelters, or elsewhere,” Pahules said. “Many survivors have resources, family or friends they could call on. They just need help getting to them. And by helping them, we’re reducing the burden on shelters as well.” Pahules knows what she’s talking about. She grew up in an abusive home. And because she didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like, she married an abuser. Once divorced, she spent years by herself until she met her wonderful husband, Peter. Making a difference in lives was burned deep into her soul, and Peter encouraged her to follow that calling. She began working in the nonprofit industry and thrived in agencies that gave her free rein. Launching her own nonprofit would allow just that, and her personal experience with domestic violence led her to create this desperately needed service. According to statistics, 99 percent of all domestic violence victims are also financially abused. This fact dramatically hinders their ability to escape their abuser. They may have a car but no money to fill the gas tank. Removing that barrier changes an escape outcome from death to life. In addition, the organization provides escapees BIN (Basic Immediate Needs) bins. These include necessities and nonperishable snack items like granola and fruit bars. Some abuse survivors are escaping to a nearby location, while others are embarking on an interstate bus trip. Most are starting over with nothing more than what’s on their back. The BIN bins preserve survivors’ dignity, giving them what they need to take that first step. A grassroots organization, Control Alt Delete’s BIN bins help people escaping domestic abuse with basic immediate needs.

JAN 2021

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There is a common link between domestic violence and child abuse. Among victims of child abuse, 40 percent report domestic violence in the home.

In the time since Control Alt Delete was founded, they have facilitated 1,532 escapes. “We tend to think of domestic abuse survivors as young women,” Pahules said. “They’re not. Within those escapes were 3,102 children. Sixteen of our escapees have been men. Recently, a 77-year-old woman was beaten up by her ‘friend,’ who also stole her money. We don’t give money, but when she left the hospital, we gave her a supermarket gift card so she could purchase pain medication.” While gas gift cards are always the greatest need (to date, they’ve given 761), the organization also helps make homes safer. That’s where Peter comes in, changing locks, installing cameras, making sure the abuse survivors have security within their homes. Because of COVID, abusers who are arrested don’t spend much time in prison. Pahules said, “Last Thanksgiving, we installed a two-camera security system. The woman’s abuser had just been released from jail, and she was terrified. When we finished, she told us that would be the first night she would be able to sleep.”



IS NOW A GOOD TIME TO INVEST IN REAL ESTATE? A changed lock can provide safety and security for someone escaping an abuser.

Pahules has lots of goals for Control Alt Delete, which is 100-percent volunteer-operated and has no overhead. She initially thought their work would be just in Maricopa County, but she now realizes the need is nationwide as they’ve helped people from 15 states and Canada. With more volunteers to help with lock changes and website maintenance, Pahules would be freed for more escapes (during which she always shares her personal story). In addition, she’d love to have community members serve as mentors to guide survivors through balancing a checkbook, writing a résumé, and other life skills. “I recently learned that if a survivor has a police record, many agencies can’t help them,” Pahules said. “We never ask a survivor’s race, religion or background. We help everyone.” Consequently, there’s always a need for more money. An average escape runs $12.28 per person. But Pahules and her board of directors are up to the challenge, with creative fundraisers popping up on the website nearly every month. Control Alt Delete’s work is certainly worthy, considering the exponential growth of life reboots that Pahules’s own reboot continues to create. To learn more, go to


COVID-19 has had an unprecedented and far-reaching effect on the economy. With record unemployment and job uncertainty a reality for many, it can be tough to find the silver lining. However, it’s important to remember that there is also opportunity in times of fear and uncertainty. I’ve always said that when times are good, you make money on equity, and when times are bad, you make money on financing. At this moment, several months into the pandemic, there is a possibility for both. House prices are holding steady and financing costs are low, which is an almost unheard-of situation. The way I see it, this is a gift from the real estate gods. City or suburbs? Rural, suburban and vacation areas are where we are seeing the highest activity now. We are starting to see slight reductions in the condo market, where people are required to live in tight common areas and get into elevators regularly. Some of those short-term executive rentals that made up a substantial part of the market are now sitting vacant, so we’re seeing a little more inventory in the urban areas. Working remotely may be a reality for many years to come, and proximity to downtown areas is no longer a priority. We know travel restrictions might be a reality for some time, so people are taking the money they may have used for exotic vacations and investing it in vacation properties closer to home. If you’ve been on the fence about investing in a vacation home, now may be the time to snap one up. As long as many others have the same idea, those prices will go up, so if you’re going to make a move, don’t wait.


Did you know you can give a donation to your local charity and receive a tax credit back from the state of Arizona? Many people will be taking advantage of the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit as a nonrefundable income tax credit for their 2020 taxes. This tax credit is a two-fold deal with credits available for both Qualifying Charitable Organizations (QCOs) and Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations (QFCOs). The maximum allowable limit for the dollar-for-dollar tax credit match for a QCO is $400 for an individual and $800 for married filing jointly. Married filing separately and heads of household filers also have $400 limits each.

16930 E. Palisades Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 NMLS #1467650

KIESHA MCFADDEN | 480.252.9365 NMLS #198458

COVER STORY {by karen werner}

JAN 2021

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A Heartfelt MISSION Jennifer Moser and the Mastro family join forces to help the American Heart Association


ennifer Moser is a woman on a mission. Or set of them. To raise funds for an important cause. To support her clients. To homeschool her children during the pandemic. To chair perhaps the Valley’s highest-profile social event of the year. Any of these missions — much less all of them — is challenging in any year. But in 2020, Moser, a wellknown PR executive, set out to chair the 61st Annual Phoenix Heart Ball in tribute to her father, whom she lost to heart disease when she was 27. Talking about the loss still brings her to tears. “It was sudden,” she said. “He didn’t know.” Moser’s dad never got to meet her husband or see the birth of his grandkids, who are now 7 and 8. So Moser was excited to chair the Heart Ball in his memory, knowing full well what an undertaking it would be. Though there are Heart Balls in other states, Phoenix’s is the only one run entirely by volunteers. But having served on the committee for a decade, she knew what was involved, and felt ready for the job. “When I was asked, I was honored and decided to take it on. It’s a very important cause to me,” she said.

Did you know 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. Heart disease is the number-one killer in women. Heart disease causes one in three women’s deaths each year, one every minute.


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JAN 2021

“ When COVID first hit, we looked at it as a little blip. We wanted to keep the traditions, because tradition is important to Heart Ball, so we went ahead and pushed it back an entire year.”

For Dennis Mastro, Jennifer Moser, Jeff Mastro and Mike Mastro, raising funds for the American Heart Association is a mission that is close to their, well, hearts.

To serve as honorary chairs, she tapped her clients and friends, Jeff, Dennis and Mike Mastro. As a partner of Rose + Moser + Allyn public relations, Moser has represented the Mastro family’s restaurants for years. She and Jeff, the CEO of Prime Steak Concepts and co-founder of Steak 48, Steak 44, Ocean 44 and Dominick’s Steakhouse, share an easy rapport and lob jokes back and forth like siblings. So all of the pieces were in place for the 61st Annual Phoenix Heart Ball to be one for the ages. And then COVID came. “When COVID first hit, we looked at it as a little blip,” Moser said. But as the weight of the pandemic became clear, Heart Ball became one of the first events to reschedule. “We wanted to keep the traditions, because tradition is important to Heart Ball, so we went ahead and pushed it back an entire year,” she said. And so, what was supposed to be a one-year commitment stretched to two, complete with a whole lot of pivoting. The Heart Ball committees started to do more COVID-related messaging, spreading awareness that heart disease remains the number-one killer in the United States. Also pivoting were the Mastros. Though they have enjoyed phenomenal success for years — having built the Mastro’s Steakhouse brand up to include seven restaurants, selling it in 2007, and going on to create seven more white-hot dining destinations across the

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U.S. — last year served up challenges unlike any before. “It’s been a hell of a year,” said Jeff, who serves as CEO of the company while his brother Mike is president of development. “Some of our stores in Chicago stayed closed for almost four months. Then we opened our Philly store on Sept. 8, after a huge delay, and they closed us down a couple of months later. But we’ll get through it. I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Despite the tough times, the Mastros’ commitment to the Heart Ball never wavered. Like Moser, they feel a close connection to the cause. Dennis Mastro, the family patriarch, had a quadruple bypass years ago. “He was hiking a mountain and felt something,” said his son Jeff. “He never had a heart attack, but he went to his doctor. Two days later, they had him in for surgery.” Jeff calls the surgery “the greatest thing that ever happened” because it spared Dennis the fate his father suffered at the same age. “My father’s father had a massive heart attack at 57. I was like, 12 or 13. It was very traumatic.” Because of that bypass surgery, Dennis has gone on to enjoy his life and his family. “My dad is the greatest dad that you can have,” Jeff said. “I’ve learned so much from him.” Not only do Jeff and Mike have heart disease on the paternal side of their family, but it runs on the maternal side as well. Their mother’s father died of a massive

Leather cape by LiaMo

Despite all of her accomplishments today, Jennifer Moser still feels the sting of her father’s premature death from heart disease. She is shown here with her dad, Carl Stringfellow, in Dec. 2001, less than a year before he died.


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“ The evening is a celebration of everyone’s hard work and thanking everyone for donating throughout the year. It’s a dinner with dancing and visiting — I think everybody misses that right now.”

Jennifer Moser and Jeff Mastro (top) have remained nimble throughout the many changes of the Phoenix Heart Ball, as have the Heart Ball’s executive team (above): vice-chairs Maja Langbein and Suzanne Hilton; chairman Jennifer Moser; sweetheart Char Hubble; and chair-elect Amanda Garmany.

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heart attack in his mid-50s. “So me and my brother have that going for us,” Jeff said sardonically. Kidding aside, Jeff knew his family history put him at risk and underwent a health transformation when he was 38. He can recall the catalyst clearly. “My wife and I were out watching our buddy do an Ironman,” he said. “We’re eating our Egg McMuffin and hash browns while he was on his bike doing a loop. Then on the second loop, we were eating a slice of pizza. It hit me. I said, ‘This is ridiculous. This guy just swam two miles. He’s on, like, a 100-mile bike ride and then he’s gonna run. What am I doing?’” The next day, Jeff went for a jog and he hasn’t stopped since. He’d done more than 30 marathons and taken off 100 pounds. “I started running, and thank God I did. That’s the only way I’ve been able to keep all the weight off, because running is a hobby now,” he said. His three sons inspire him to keep his running laces tied. “I have three boys. I’m trying to stay alive for them and trying to educate them on doing the right stuff,” he said. Family has been the secret ingredient to the Mastros’ success since Dennis moved his brood from Las Vegas to family-friendly Phoenix in the late 70s and purchased a tennis club. There, he converted a clubhouse to the legendary beef-by-the-pound restaurant, What’s Your Beef, where diners could walk up to a window and have a steak cut to order in front of their eyes. Jeff and Mike grew up in the business, working as dishwashers, bussers and cooks. Jeff went on to earn his law degree before partnering with his brother and dad on Mastro’s steakhouses. However, in the new

venture, it’s just Jeff and Mike, each serving roles that play to their strengths. Jeff, who practiced as an attorney for a few years, is analytic, while Mike is more creative. “We’re different, which is good. It’s a family business and my brother and I have had, like, one argument in almost 30 years. We understand how the other person works,” Jeff said. Over the years, the entrepreneurial brothers have tweaked their restaurant concepts to coincide with the times. Increasingly, that means offering diners more options that align with heart health. “We have that great American steakhouse menu, but we also have seafood and salmon, Chilean sea bass. We have all sorts of vegetables, crab and shrimp cocktail,” Jeff said. “When people come in, they have options. If they’re on a diet, trying not to eat carbs, or just want to eat fewer calories, it’s very easy to do.” Lifestyle shifts like these can add up to significant health improvements — a message that Moser also wants to get out. “I’ve learned so much about heart disease and health by being involved with the Heart Ball. Not just about stroke and heart attacks, but about how easy it is to adjust your own lifestyle,” Moser said. “I’ve tried to eat a little bit better than I used to and get out and walk more.” Like Jeff Mastro, she’s taking care of her health for her children while trying to educate them about taking care of themselves. “It starts with the kids. Educating kids young and teaching them this lifestyle is really going to change our future,” she said. Which is why Moser declared the theme of her Heart Ball to be Remembering Hearts: Past, Present and Future. “It’s remembering those that we’ve lost in the past, like my father. It’s taking care of ourselves in the present day and doing what we can to live longer.

And it’s teaching our loved ones and children how to take care of themselves so that they have a longer future,” she said. With this all in mind, Moser and the Mastros are looking to the new year in the hope of celebrating the Heart Ball together. “The evening is a celebration of everyone’s hard work and thanking everyone for donating throughout the year. It’s a dinner with dancing and visiting — I think everybody misses that right now. So we’re hoping to have that, though I’m sure there’s still going to be precautions in place,” Moser said. And so, Moser continues her unprecedented two-year chairmanship of the Phoenix Heart Ball, trying to fundraise in a pandemic to honor her dad, be here longer for her family, and teach her children how to live longer for their children. She wants to spread awareness that all of the funds donated to the Phoenix Heart Ball stay in Phoenix, so the American Heart Association can continue to educate, make changes and save lives. “That’s my mission,” she said.

Save the Date Remembering Hearts The 61st Annual Phoenix Heart Ball Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 Info and tickets at

“ My family is why I am doing this,” Moser said. Shown here are her husband, Brent, and their children, Madison and Mason.


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women mean business Congratulations to the Greater Phoenix Chamber’s 2020 ATHENA Award Recipients!

Private Sector Monica Garnes Division President Fry’s Food Stores

Public Sector Chevy Humphrey The Hazel A. Hare President & CEO Arizona Science Center

Young Professional Monica Trejo Arizona State Director National Domestic Workers Alliance/Care in Action

Thank you to all of the 2020 ATHENA recipients, finalists, and nominees. You are an inspiration! Learn more about the 2020 ATHENAs at!

NEXT DOORS {ahead of the curve}

STEPPING UP TO SERVE VULNERABLE CITIZENS Copa Health rises to the needs of individuals with disabilities during the pandemic Tom Evans | Contributing Editor


his whole pandemic thing has been hard on all of us. Everyone has their own version of the same burden we are all carrying. How do we care for our families? How do we have something even approaching a normal life? How do we continue to move forward as individuals when there’s seemingly so much standing in our way? Most of us are dealing with those questions right now on a “good” day. But it’s valuable to see the world through a different lens now and then. So here’s a thought exercise for you.

Take those same day-to-day challenges you’re experiencing and imagine how difficult they become if you’re an individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Or one of their caregivers and loved ones. I’ve done a fair bit of work in this space through my day job in PR and advertising, so I know there are several great organizations out there serving the developmentally disabled and their families. The best ones focus on engagement and helping individuals achieve their own path to growth and independence. These organizations help ease the challenges that


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The safety and health of everyone at Copa Health — employees and members — have been the top priorities at Copa Health. The executive leadership team meets every 24 hours to get updates and make decisions.

caregivers and families face on an everyday basis in caring for their loved ones while still working, or tending to other children, or enjoying their own lives. So what happens in the course of a pandemic, when individual engagement and services that help families suddenly become much harder to provide? Mesa-based Copa Health provides a broad spectrum of services to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families, everything from holistic healthcare to day-training programs to inhome support. The nonprofit is the only provider in the state with such a large developmental disability program that also provides mental health and clinical services. The one thing they knew when the pandemic hit was that they couldn’t just run and hide. “One of the more devastating aspects of COVID-19 is the effect it has had on not only those with developmental disabilities but their families and caregivers,” said Dr. Shar Najafi-Piper, CEO of Copa Health. “Copa Health implemented a robust set of protocols allowing us to keep our day programs and employment-related service programs open.” During normal times, Copa Health’s approach is one to admire. The organization started in 1957 when nine Mesa families couldn’t find services for their children with developmental disabilities. Their efforts resulted in the creation of Marc Community Resources, an organization that grew to serve adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and individuals with general or serious mental illness conditions. Over the past 63 years, the organization created and expanded services to include housing, day programs, in-home supports and the state’s largest

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employment-related service program. In 2009, it became one of three founders of Partners in Recovery, an organization that grew to service individuals with serious mental illness in Maricopa County. Marc Community Resources eventually took over Partners in Recovery and combined the two entities into Copa Health in 2019.

“ One of the more devastating aspects of COVID-19 is the effect it has had on not only those with developmental disabilities but their families and caregivers.”

The overall approach is to combine just about every aspect of the overall health of an individual with developmental or intellectual disabilities and find ways to maximize their quality of life. That includes integrating traditional healthcare with mental health and programs designed to help individuals grow and thrive. “At Copa Health, we consider the whole person, offering residential services, diverse employmentrelated services, in-home supports and day programs that focus on the health and wellness of our most vulnerable citizens,” Najafi-Piper said. “This creates

an uninterrupted continuum of services that address the needs of those with developmental/intellectual disabilities to those with autism to those with mental health conditions.” When the pandemic hit, Copa Health’s response was to immediately create a task force to figure out how they could continue to provide services to their clients in as safe a manner as possible — and how to help those in the community that would contract COVID-19. “Our medical and administrative teams are worldclass in that they put member and staff safety at the forefront each and every day while continuing to meet member needs,” Najafi-Piper said. “We accelerated a planned telehealth program and implemented it in less than a week. This created a platform to allow essential services to continue uninterrupted while some other organizations were forced to pause many services while they regrouped. The leaders and staff utilized existing resources to pivot in not only service delivery, but in caring for the whole person.” The organization also developed the Copa MaskMaking Heroes campaign — where employees and friends of Copa Health sewed masks when PPE was scarce — a Thanksgiving giveaway that served more than 600 members, and an increased focus on virtual programming and ensuring access to technology. “These programs, along with the implementation of a robust telehealth initiative and an eye on the mental well-being and safety of our employees, are integral in reducing the effects of this pandemic,” Najafi-Piper said. But the simplest need to be addressed is human contact.

Copa Health delivered nearly 200 food boxes to members who are at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Copa Health has gone above and beyond during the COVID crisis, providing no-cost counseling not just to members but to the general population that may be struggling emotionally.

“The thing we hear the most is that they miss their friends,” said Linda Torkelson, director of marketing and communications for Copa Health. “Those who are unable to come to our day programs due to COVID have no interaction with the friends and staff at Copa. They are lonely, isolated and depressed on top of other challenges they face.” So, Copa worked to address human contact like just about everyone else — through Zoom. They have been having Zumba, art and other classes, including cooking, so members can interact, see friends and have some stimulation. There’s a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel now that vaccines are being deployed, and there’s also been a learning curve. Torkelson said the organization will take what it has learned during the pandemic about telehealth and continue to apply it in the future. “We have found some members benefit greatly, and participate more actively, with telehealth,” she said. “They introduce their caregivers to their families and their pets and they don’t miss appointments. Going forward, we will offer that as a service choice, not a last resort.” But overall, the organization’s commitment to treating and serving the whole individual won’t be changing any time soon. To learn more, visit Tom Evans | CONTRIBUTING EDITOR


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STYLE UNLOCKED {living fashionably}


WALKS THE WILD SIDE Take the animal-print trend to the gym McKenna Wesley | Contributing Writer

This time of year, many of us are making fitness resolutions and thinking about fresh starts. With that in mind, we’ve collected athleisure pieces to help motivate you to embrace a healthier lifestyle. As much as we love classic black leggings, we recommend some more trend-focused pieces, too. Brightly colored athleisure pieces and camo and animal prints will be everywhere in 2021. So here are some of our favorite workout clothes to make you feel wildly good while you’re working out.

WEARABLE AND WORTH IT CARBON38 Puffer Jacket in Takara Shine | $298 For chilly mornings, a favorite of mine is Carbon38’s Puffer Jacket in a super-glossy fabric called Takara Shine. I adore the bright Carbon Red color and its high stand-up collar, perfect length and side pockets for essential hand-warming. However, what sets this fashion-forward jacket apart from other puffers is an important bonus feature. Should you get warm while wearing this bright beauty, it has interior straps that allow you to slide the jacket behind your shoulders. Brilliant! There’s also an interior snap pocket for holding small essentials. It’s is a great, functional piece for any wardrobe, and I highly recommend it.

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WEARABLE NOW lululemon Align Crop 23� Wild Thing Camo Deep Coal Multi Crop Pant | $88 While you may think all workout pants are the same, consider choosing a high-quality piece from the Align collection by lululemon. The buttery soft fabric used in these pants, along with a high-waisted feature, is flattering, comfortable and on-trend. Lululemon creates pieces that will last, and the price is worth the quality. Find a fantastic array of lululemon at any Village Health Clubs location in the Valley. Non-members are welcome to shop at the Village, and members receive an extra 10 percent off their purchase. Shop local is my motto!

WEAR NOW AND WOW Adidas By Stella McCartney Ultraboost X S Sneaker | $230 This fabulous sneaker from Adidas by Stella McCartney brings a new perspective on pattern and texture to running shoes. The Ultraboost X S has a distinctive pebbled sole with leopard-spotted cushioning, while the Velcro straps make them edgy and fashion-forward. They are not only great-looking but also comfortable and functional. I love them!



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2446 E CAMELBACK ROAD | 602.955.8000


HEALING HARPS Therapeutic Harp Foundation uses an ancient instrument to bring comfort and peace By Karen Werner


Therapeutic Harp Foundation


Executive director: Kim Sterling-Heflin Board chair: Rene Kyl


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Therapeutic Harp Foundation evolved from Hospice of the Valley’s Integrative Therapeutics Program and has been serving the Valley for 20 years. Delivering the power of live therapeutic harp music in healthcare settings, THF alleviates pain and anxiety and helps improve outcomes where possible. To date, THF has provided live harp music to more than 195,000 patients, caregivers and medical staff in 14 healthcare facilities throughout the Valley and has delivered 1,940 hours of live harp music.

“We are the ONLY certified live therapeutic harp music program in Arizona, and the only one in the U.S. only using harps,” said Kim Sterling-Heflin, THF’s executive director. Why only harps? “The harp is the second-oldest musical instrument in the world — the drum is the oldest — but the harp has the greatest resonance or energy of any other musical instrument,” she said. THF is currently involved with three research projects working to codify the medical effects of live therapeutic harp music.

“ We are the ONLY certified live therapeutic harp music program in Arizona, and the only one in the U.S. only using harp.”


Bringing the power of live harp music to healthcare settings to reduce pain and anxiety for patients, their families and medical staff. “We bring comfort, give hope and offer energy to the patients,” said Sterling-Heflin. “The doctors and nurses are the first to thank us and ask us to bring the harps to their patients … and them as well.”


Regional program director Jocelyn Obermeyer, a nationally certified therapeutic harp practitioner, has been bringing live therapeutic harp music to patients, families and medical staff for the past 12 years. She is a member of several prominent local and national standardization and therapeutic musicians’ boards and is a board member of the International Harp Therapy Program. Joyce Buekers (below, left) founded the Harps to Heart program at Hospice of the Valley, which has expanded throughout the state and become the Therapeutic Harp Foundation.

Top: Regional program director Jocelyn Obermeyer shares a moment of healing with a patient. Above: Harpists come together for a performance.

CHALLENGES DURING COVID-19: Not being allowed in many healthcare facilities and reduced funding from healthcare facilities due to COVID-19. THF is also receiving fewer contributions as the public grapples with the fallout from the pandemic.


Contributions to THF are welcome, as is help to expand the program to healthcare-related entities that would benefit from live therapeutic harp music such as special-needs schools, assisted-living facilities, etc. The public can also hire the organization’s harpists to play at fundraising events, parties, weddings, baptisms, end-of-life celebrations and more. Call the office to schedule a harpist. To learn more, go to


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KITCHEN DOORS {let’s eat}

Photos courtesy of Experience Nutrition





LOCAL FIRST: EXPERIENCE NUTRITION Melanie Albert was inspired by her mother to dedicate her life to healthy eating, which led to her business, Experience Nutrition, in 2010. “I first became interested in nutrition and the power of food more than 25 years ago when my mom, who is now 91, was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Albert. “This was the turning point when I decided to learn everything I could about healthy eating and good nutrition for my mom. As it turned out, it was also the turning point for my entrepreneurial business to share my passion with others.” Albert is the author of “A New View of Healthy Eating” and worked for Dr. Andrew Weil for several years. Working with professional athletes also inspired her. “Many years after my mom’s cancer diagnosis, my passion was again ignited when I learned about former NFL players’ health issues and taught many of them how to cook simple, healthy meals,” she said. “I believe that people can learn about good nutrition through hands-on experiences.”

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Like most business owners, Albert had to make some changes due to the pandemic. “Prior to COVID, nearly all of my programs were live cooking demos, events or retreats,” she said. “When all my in-person events were canceled, I started to produce cooking videos for corporate clients and our local community who were cooking more at home. Experience Nutrition continues to offer plantbased, farm-to-table cooking experiences, now with an online and virtual interactive culinary program.” Albert channeled her passion for helping the community during the pandemic. “I am very proud to have participated in the Feed Phoenix program with Local First Arizona and the City of Phoenix,” she said. “With this incredible program, chefs created meals with our local farmers’ food to serve our community. Experience Nutrition had the honor to prepare 380 healthy, delicious, plant-based, farm-to-table meals.” Albert is more passionate than ever about nutrition and working with local suppliers. “I love beautiful food and enjoy sharing how to prepare healthy, eye-catching dishes with our Arizona farmers’ produce, herbs and edible flowers.” To learn more, go to



CARING CHEF: SASHA RAJ OF 24 CARROTS Chef Sasha Raj opened 24 Carrots in Tempe in 2008. “24 Carrots started as an all-natural juice bar and grew into a full-service, plant-based eatery. We serve hearty, healthful, botanically rooted cuisine that is inspired by global flavors and local harvests, centering our menu around approachable dishes,” she said. Community support has always been important to Raj and the staff at 24 Carrots. “We volunteer time to further conversations around food security and to improve the nutritional quality of school lunches. I am so blessed to be able to serve my community in a way that I love,” said Raj, who is involved with the Blue Watermelon Project, a community program that educates local students about healthy eating. When COVID hit, 24 Carrots offered takeout and delivery, as well as family meals and holiday meals, and opened the patio for dining. “While we are not anywhere close to our pre-pandemic sales levels, it has been enough to ensure our team is kept safe and employed, and we are so grateful for that,” said Raj. Raj and her team jumped in to support the community during COVID. “A core principle of our business is to give back,” said Raj. “It’s something we have always done, either with direct service or alongside our nonprofit partners. It became so much more important when this pandemic hit. We set up a partnership with the Wish Foundation to accept monetary donations.”

Donations were used to purchase supplies to make meals for over 500 first responders across two hospitals and provide hundreds of meals for nonprofits as well as gift cards for meals for foster children. 24 Carrots utilized its closed dining room to collect supplies for the Navajo Nation, an endeavor organized by Republic Empanada, and is supporting the efforts of Mutual Aid Phoenix with collection drives and supplies. 24 Carrots’ community efforts continue, and they are accepting donations for its Carrot Cares community program through the Wish Foundation. “We are in the process of formalizing our efforts to create our own nonprofit to better serve our community now and for years to come,” said Raj. To learn more, visit

SASHA RAJ Photos courtesy of 24 Carrots


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The Adero luxury boutique resort opened in North Scottsdale in October, featuring amazing views, amenities and activities highlighting the desert terrain and a signature restaurant called Cielo, which means sky in Spanish, offering sustainable cuisine and a spacious patio. “The atmosphere is one of casual comfort, allowing guests to experience the grand views while enjoying exceptional food, wine and cocktails,” said Adero’s director of Chef & B, Bryan Dillon. Guest favorites include Kansas City steak with Southwest grilled corn and whole roasted branzino with fennel and blistered tomatoes. Popular libations on the extensive beverage menu include the scotch-based Trailblazer and the Adero Especial Margarita. Dillon and his team work closely with producers around the state and country to provide the highest quality products, including Crow’s Dairy in Buckeye,

Photos courtesy of Adero Scottsdale

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Hayden Flour Mills in Queen Creek, Noble Bread in Phoenix, Rango Honey in Tempe and Queen Creek Olive Mill. “I spend a lot of time with small producers such as Petaluma Creamery, which provides us with organic cheeses and butters,” said Dillon. “Tempesta out of Chicago provides dried and cured meats for our charcuteries. Our chickens come from the Amish country in Pennsylvania, where the Bell & Evans team has been humanely raising their poultry since 1894. Our shrimp are wild-caught Mexican whites and never farmed. We utilize Diestel Family Ranch in California for our turkey, which we roast in-house every day.” The restaurant has received good feedback from diners since it opened. “We believe that we owe it to our guests, as well as the planet, to provide the best product on earth that gives back to the community and Mother Nature,” Dillon said. To learn more, visit

BLUE WATERMELON PROJECT KEEPS STUDENTS CONNECTED TO HEALTHY EATING Chef Charleen Badman of FnB restaurant in Scottsdale is one of Arizona’s most celebrated chefs as the winner of the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2019. The award-winning chef is passionate about teaching kids about nutrition. For 11 years, she has been volunteering at Echo Canyon School in Scottsdale. In 2017, she helped found the Blue Watermelon Project, an initiative of Slow Food Phoenix, bringing farmers, chefs and the community together to advocate for nutritious food in schools and educate students about healthy eating. “My goal is to continue to grow the program and have chefs at every school in the Valley,” Badman said. Before COVID, Badman and other chefs would regularly visit local schools for hands-on lessons focused on nutrition, Arizona ingredients and more. “At first it was about getting kids to try new foods and eat better,” she said. “The program has evolved to include more lessons and interactive experiences to get students involved in preparing meals.”

Photo courtesy of Jill Richards Photography



When the pandemic forced many schools to close, the Blue Watermelon Project found a way to continue to reach students, funded by a grant from Sprouts Farmers Market. Badman and other volunteers provide kits to students and teachers containing plants and ingredients supplemented by online videos. A recent lesson focused on chickpeas. Students received a kit with supplies and seeds to plant chickpeas and create a dish. The kit was paired with video instruction on how to plant the chickpeas by master gardener Lou Rodarte. The video lesson also included Badman teaching students how to make a chickpea pancake. The Blue Watermelon Project has always been a collaborative effort and continues to be with several chefs and vendors volunteering to keep the program going, including Cotton and Copper, Gallo Blanco, Vilardi Gardens, Noble Bread, Hayden Flour Mills and Dakota Press, to name a few. “The Blue Watermelon Project is about teamwork and growing together,” said Badman. “Chefs, restaurants, suppliers and the local community have been very generous, and we will continue to educate these students about healthy eating and Arizona’s indigenous ingredients.” To learn more, visit blue-watermelon-project.


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OPEN DOORS {publisher’s page}



Andrea Tyler Evans | Publisher


his phrase is used by my new friend Phil Rosenthal, the host of the Netflix program “Somebody Feed Phil” and the creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” (He’s not really my friend, but I feel like he is after recently binging his global food series.) Phil utters the phrase “Come on!” in episode one, season one, as he visits Bangkok, Thailand, and tastes various street food throughout the city. Phil says, “Come on!” with joy every time he tastes something better than he’s had before or the best version of that food, and includes a fervent fist pump as well.

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I have decided to make this my theme as we go into 2021: Come on! As I write this, two COVID vaccines have been approved and are in the process of being delivered to frontline workers throughout Arizona. Things are happening; the devastating loss of life may finally succumb to science and technology. Several nonprofits have reached out with plans to have inperson aspects of their events (cautiously) come April. This does NOT mean virtual events are going away — and they shouldn’t! — but hybrid events with in-person and online options are coming our way. Heck, we are

I am beyond proud of our philanthropic community when I look back at 2020. ‘Pivoting’ became the part we never asked to play, but silver linings and lessons learned are everywhere.

looking at all of these options for our own signature event, Society of Chairs, and will soon announce our plans. For those of you who know me well, you know I live to be positive, hopeful and sunny to my core. The last 10 months have tested me more than you’ll ever know. But, darn it, COME ON! We can do this. Help is here. Some of us may need that last ounce of patience to get there, but we will get there and be able to help each other recover together in so many ways. I am beyond proud of our philanthropic community when I look back at 2020. “Pivoting” became the part we never asked to play, but silver linings and lessons learned are everywhere. Funders made sure that the foundation of our nonprofits stayed intact at a minimum and helped others thrive as they were identified as essential services. I am amazed and yet not surprised by these stories of perseverance. It is an honor to share the bits and pieces we are privy to every day. And to those unsung heroes who haven’t received the recognition they deserve, thank you. Thank you for doing what you do each and every day for our community. Our door is always open if you’d like to share.

CHEERS TO THE CHAIRS {Society of Chairs}

Congratulations to our December Honorees!

Nikki Shaffer and L indy S mith Co-chairs of the Festival of Trees To learn more about Shaffer and Smith and their service to the Arizona Burn Foundation, go to Frontdoors is proud to recognize those who volunteer their time, treasure and talents to support local organizations in a leadership role.

Brought to you by:

Andrea Andrea Tyler Evans | PUBLISHER

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