Frontdoors Magazine - Summer 2024

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The Power of Positivity

How Sybil Francis and Center for the Future of Arizona are bringing Arizonans together

w’ Community, Philanthropy & Lifestyle The Summer Issue 2024

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On the Cover

Sybil Francis | Chair, President & CEO of Center for the Future of Arizona

Shot on location on the Thirsty Camel balcony at The Phoenician

Ma gazi ne 3104 E. Camelback Road, #967, Phoenix, AZ 85016 480.622.4522
| Frontdoors Magazine is dedicated to the memory of Mike Saucier. Ma gazi ne EDITOR IN CHIEF Karen Werner PUBLISHER & CEO
Alison Bailin
Carey Peña
Lisa Grannis
Photo by Scott Foust
Makeup by Shelby Bowen from The Sparkle Bar
Phoenix | Nashville 800 379 5777


NurOur ses

NURSES WEEK IS MAY 6 – 12, 2024

You can help ensure our nurses have access to advanced training and educational opportunities.

Nurses are the very heart of healthcare. And every patient’s experience with HonorHealth is touched by our nurses.

The art of nursing has become incredibly complex. On any given day, they monitor patients, carry out treatment plans, administer complex medications and operate high tech medical equipment.

Yet they also provide care and comfort, spending time with each patient, so they can notice any changes. They advocate for patients and educate their family members.

The role of nurse requires a very special person. It also requires continuing training and education.

That’s why HonorHealth Foundation created the Nursing Excellence Endowment . This fund provides the resources for nurses to pursue advanced training and education.

“We are very proud of our Magnet status, signifying that HonorHealth upholds the gold standard in nursing. Professional growth for our nurses is an important part of our commitment to be the very best for our community and our patients”

YOUR GIFT TO THE NURSING EXCELLENCE ENDOWMENT allows nurses to focus on providing the highest quality patient care, leading to better outcomes.

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8125 North Hayden Road | Scottsdale, AZ 85258 | 480-587-5000 |
Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization
ORGANIZATIONS FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE + Aliento + Center for the Future of Arizona + Make-A-Wish Arizona + The Nature Conservancy + Office of American Indian Initiatives at ASU + SPOT 127 + Xico 6 EDITOR’S NOTE Here Comes the Sun 8 10 QUESTIONS Giada De Laurentiis, celebrity chef and restaurateur 13 CREATING CULTURE Drawing on Tradition 16 CHEERS TO THE CHAIRS Upcoming philanthropic events 19 STYLE UNLOCKED Summer Bliss 27 KEY TO THE GOOD LIFE Host With the Most 30 COVER STORY ‘There Is Power in Positivity’ 37 NEXT DOORS Good to the Last Drop 41 A 2ND ACT An Unfinished Journey 44 OFFICE DOORS Dan Stellar, Arizona state director of The Nature Conservancy 47 CHARITY SPOTLIGHT Spot 127 51 FROM THE ROAD New York State of Mind 57 KITCHEN DOORS Let’s Eat! 63 BOOKMARKED Jacob Moore, vice president & special advisor to the president on American Indian affairs at Arizona State University 64 LAST LOOK A Home Run for Hope THE SUMMER ISSUE 2024, VOLUME 18, ISSUE 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS 27
Quality early learning and child care are essential for stronger, healthier families and for the economic future of Arizona. Support early childhood and quality child care. Join us at First Things First is Arizona’s early childhood agency, with free programs and resources to support great childhoods.

Here Comes the SUN

I interviewed Sybil Francis, the chair, president & CEO of Center for the Future of Arizona, on one of those perfect Arizona days. Sitting on the patio at the Camelback Inn, she talked about her passions, and especially her passion for Arizona and the “power of positivity.” At the end of our talk, when my tape recorder was off, I mentioned that I, too, was raised by a European mother who grew up on the Continent amid the aftermath of WWII.

The next day, I received an email, marveling at how amazing it was to meet a kindred spirit with connections to Europe and the War, all while sitting in the beautiful Arizona setting. “A bit surreal in some ways, don’t you think?” Francis wrote.

With that note, we were connected, a deft maneuver Francis employs every day. By focusing on what we have in common, she and Center for the Future of Arizona are bringing Arizonans together to create a brighter future for us all.

Instead of focusing on differences — conservative, liberal, etc. — the nonprofit CFA celebrates how much we all share. Its approach is rooted in listening to Arizonans to learn what matters most, sharing data about how Arizona is doing, bringing critical issues to public attention, and working with communities and leaders to solve public problems.

It’s an approach not all that different from what we do at Frontdoors, where we strive to be a powerful, positive and hopeful voice in our community, and one that not only informs but inspires involvement and action.

That is why CFA partnered with Frontdoors on this special issue to underscore some of our state’s shared public values. You’ll find stories that illustrate a range of shared priorities, from education to economic opportunity, environment, civic engagement and beyond. Together, they help amplify CFA’s mission to make Arizona a better place for everyone.

“As I mentioned, I’m an optimist by nature, but that feeling has really been deepened by what I know about Arizonans, where their hearts and minds are,” Francis wrote to me in her email.

Count that as another thing we have in common. As we discovered on that sunny patio, she and I share common ground. With a penchant for the positive and an inclination for connection, we are on a mission to celebrate Arizona and foster a collective vision for a brighter tomorrow.

Cheers to the future ahead!


fuure belongs to all of us.



Center for the Future of Arizona is a nonprofit, nonpartisan “do-tank” driven by the mission of bringing Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for our state. Founded from a love for Arizona and a desire to help our state succeed, we endeavor to make our great state a place where all Arizonans, now and in the future, thrive and enjoy sustained prosperity, unmatched quality of life, and real opportunity.

Join us in building Arizona’s bright future


You recently opened Luna by Giada at the new Caesars Republic Scottsdale. Why did you decide to be part of the project?

Scottsdale is a great market. My cookbooks have always done very well there. Plus, there’s a strong economy with a great restaurant scene, so it felt like a natural fit. It was also lucky that I already have a relationship with Caesars and Caesars Republic, so again, it just made sense. Also, it can be a day trip if needed, so I feel like I can always get there quickly and for short periods of time.

How would you describe the food?

We are serving coastal Italian cuisine with California influence. While we kept some of our staples from Vegas on the menu, playing around with new dishes has been fun. We’ve put together a fantastic menu for this restaurant. I’m really excited about our new lemon pizza and the new vodka sauce we’ll be serving. We’re also doing very unique pasta shapes, like tripolini and nodi marini, to take people on a regional journey through Italy. They’re all made in-house, which sets us apart.

Are there any places you like to visit in the area — favorite restaurants, stores, hikes — or places you have on your to-visit list?

I have been trying all of the restaurants in the area. There’s SO much good food! I love to really know the surroundings of any restaurant location I open. I loved the seafood tower at Ocean 44; it was incredibly special. I loved the decor and vibe of Francine, the high ceilings and the bar area. Also, their branzino is stunning.

What is exciting to you about the food industry these days?

People in the industry are becoming really regionally focused. So many restaurants give you a real sense of what food is like in the different regions of Italy. We’ve come a long way from just spaghetti and meatballs on the menu. I think this is true for all types of foods, which is exciting.

What’s exciting you as a home cook?

Honestly, I have been loving simplicity. I’ve been traveling a lot, so I find it comforting to come home and make a really simple meal. I’ve been obsessed with a few salads that I make on repeat. For dinners, I actually use my Giadzy pasta

1 3 4 2
Celebrity chef and restaurateur DE LAURENTIIS 5 10 QUESTIONS 8 | FRONTDOORS MAGAZINE
Photo by Ray Katchatorian

several times a week — all of our fun shapes keep dinner exciting. Our pasta is made so that you can eat it plain if you want to, and it still tastes great!

Do you have any cooking aspirations?

I would love to master the perfect pizza dough that works in all types of ovens. Pizza dough can be very tricky. For example, the Vegas dough recipe doesn’t work in Scottsdale, so perfecting our Scottsdale recipe took a lot of my attention during the opening.

What about travel — and eating — plans this summer?

I have a few really fun Italy trips coming up. I’m going to Milan soon, and making trips to Torino, which is the home of the best chocolates, and Asti, the home of prosecco. Later this summer, I’m going to Sorrento and the Almafi Coast to look at the tomatoes we will be canning and using for our Giadzy sauces. It’s so fun to traverse Italy in search of the best of everything to bring back to our customers.

6 7
Courtesy of Caesars Republic Scottsdale Luna by Giada dining room The bar at Luna Giada Courtesy of Caesars Republic Scottsdale

What do you like to cook on a hot day?

I love my Sicilian pesto — a tomato-based pesto from Sicily that is different from the green-based pesto we all know from the north. We’re serving it at Luna, and I’m excited to hopefully introduce some of our customers to a new type of pesto!

You’re involved with a number of charitable causes. Are you working on any special initiatives?

I’m really proud of my work with SPY in L.A. — Safe Place for Youth. They do such amazing work supporting children experiencing homelessness, and I try to partner with them whenever I can. I’m an honoree at their gala this June, which I am really looking forward to.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m actually super shy! I love all of the craziness that comes with this job, but I love coming home and just being with my family — including my animals, of course — at the end of the day.

To learn more, visit

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don’t just dream it: do it.

At Eide Bailly, we’re a business advisory and accounting firm, helping our clients embrace opportunities and bring innovation to an evolving business landscape.

For years, we’ve worked closely with Arizona business owners and nonprofits whether they’re navigating compliance requirements, investing in technology or wondering what’s next. With specialty services like data analytics, cybersecurity, forensics, wealth planning, planned giving and more, we have the resources to help make even the biggest goals a reality.

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Celebrating excellence in Maricopa County nonprofit leaders. © 2024
Virginia G. Piper Charitable
Ken Schutz, Desert Botanical Garden 2003 Piper Fellow Jeri Royce, Advance Community 2021 Piper Fellow Jared Kittelson, Foundation for Blind Children 2022 Piper Fellow Carmen Guerrero, Cultural Coalition, Inc. 2023 Piper Fellow Pedro Cons, Adelante Healthcare 2022 Piper Fellow Mary Mitchell, Girl Scouts of Arizona Cactus-Pine Council 2017 Piper Fellow

Drawing on Tradition

Xico preserves and celebrates Latino & Indigenous creativity

Arizona is a one-of-a-kind place. It’s blessed with beautiful weather, awe-inspiring scenery and booming industries. But what makes Arizona truly special are its people and rich culture.

In the heart of downtown Phoenix lies an arts organization with a narrative uniquely its own.

Xico (pronounced “she-co”) is one of the oldest ethnic arts organizations in the United States. Started in 1975 by a group of Chicano and Indigenous artists in the East Valley, the organization’s members sought to showcase their art while keeping the tradition of printmaking alive.

Mexico was the first Latin American country to embrace printmaking, an art form dating back thousands of years. The technique involves carving an image on a piece of wood or linoleum, placing ink on the raised edges, and transferring it to fabric or paper, similar to how stamps work.

Agustín Vargas, Xico’s director of cultural services and programs

Xico offers a space for artists to develop their printmaking skills, explore new techniques and connect with other artists. Its mercado, various public exhibitions and Annual Dinner & Art Auction shine a spotlight on their art. It also collaborates with local businesses in need of artwork for promotional purposes.

“We would not exist without our community partners and our artists. Our artists are, obviously, first and foremost, the most important,” said Donna Valdés, Xico’s executive director.

Many of Xico’s printmaking classes are offered free for artists in exchange for a copy of their work. For instance, if an artist produces three prints, Xico keeps one for its collection while the artist retains ownership of the other two. It’s a win-win for both parties. Xico adds unique artwork to its collection while offering valuable exposure for participating artists by presenting their creations.

Xico is known for lithography, but its artists create works across various mediums like watercolor and acrylic. Lithography, in very simplified terms, is a printmaking technique that involves drawing on a flat piece of limestone using oil or grease paint, strategically placing chemicals where the ink should adhere, and pressing paper or fabric to the stone — making a print.

Though very old, lithography is not an especially accessible art form. At the moment, Xico is the only public studio in Arizona that has the necessary equipment to create a lithograph. Many college students lose their access to lithograph equipment after graduation. In an effort to make these techniques, and art in general, more accessible, Xico offers a multitude of classes for people of all artistic abilities.

“We offer workshops and classes about printmaking with all these different techniques,” said Agustín Vargas, Xico’s


director of cultural services and programs. “We also offer other kinds of classes about watercolor or oil, and we expand our vision for different kinds of instruction.”

What makes Xico stand out are its talented artists and dedicated supporters. It partners with organizations like the Helios Education Foundation to create rotating exhibitions throughout the Valley. These shows not only allow artists to get more eyes on their work, but they create connections and foster mentorship for young artists.

“For me, the most important thing when I organize these exhibitions is to try to give a space for all these different artists,” Vargas said. “For the artists with trajectory, they already have more exposure, but for the new generations, it’s the perfect place to display their work.”

Xico has its eyes on expanding its reach outside of the Valley. When COVID hit, Xico, like most organizations,

had to improvise, which meant online classes and social distancing-friendly outdoor exhibitions. Though not ideal, the process gave Xico a roadmap on how to reach people outside of Maricopa County.

“It wasn’t the full printmaking process, but it gave them the community to participate,” Valdéz said. “This allowed people to become engaged, not only locally and not only within the state of Arizona, but from other places as well.”

As Xico approaches its 50th anniversary in 2025, it embarks on a new chapter: to extend its influence beyond Arizona’s borders, create global connections and unite the printmaking community. As it continues to evolve and broaden its reach, Xico’s mission remains the same: to expand visibility and appreciation for Latino and Indigenous art.

To learn how to participate in Xico’s mission, purchase artwork or volunteer with the organization, visit


CHEERS to the Chairs!

A preview of the Valley’s premier philanthropic events and who’s leading these important efforts

Annual Community Breakfast

DATE: May 3, 2024

BENEFITTING: Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC)

CHAIRS: Chris & Bre Hanrahan and Caroline & Joe Conner

World of Wonder Gala

DATE: May 4, 2024


CO-CHAIRS: Bobby Barnes & Claire Natale

Visionaries of the Year

DATE: June 1, 2024

BENEFITTING: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

CHAIRS: Hank Arens, John Gray & Lisa Moore

PANDA’s 24th Annual “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show & Luncheon

DATE: May 11, 2024

BENEFITING: Steele Children’s Research Center

CHAIRS: Ashley Richardson, PANDA President Kim Willems, Molly Kaufman, Stacy Holzhauer & Emily Snell



Gateway for Cancer Research is one of the only organizations to exclusively fund Phase I and Phase II cancer clinical trials at leading research institutions around the world. These studies have altered the standard of care at some of the most trusted health care institutions and contributed to the development of new federally approved cancer treatments and therapies.




Gateway would like to thank Molly Stockley and Amy Ross for their commitment to our community. There’s nothing more powerful than like-minded, purpose-driven women coming together to achieve something great!


Summer Bliss

Around the world in style

Tagliatelle Linen Dress | $278 Reformation, Scottsdale

Going With the Flow in Greece

The Mediterranean way


VIX Paulahermanny

Long Sleeve Button Up Set | $80 Skims $158 Matching Bottoms | $96 Linen Gathered Waist Shorts | $1,295
Brunello Cucinelli

T Monogram Denim Mini Tote | $328

Tory Burch, Scottsdale

Gauze Awning Striped Scarf | $125

Vince, Scottsdale

Valimare Amelia Maxi Dress | $386

Neiman Marcus, Scottsdale


Africa Is for Adventure

Chic and comfy for safari

Porter Cabin Plus Trolley | $3,800 Gucci, Scottsdale Daphne Fedora | $375 Eric Javitz
| $160
Jumpsuit in Khaki Tan | $428
On Cloudnova Sneakers
Andi Wide-Leg Jean | $258 Rag & Bone, Scottsdale Quarter Grand Ambition Convertible Backpack | $278 Cole Haan

Be Bold in Bali

Beachy days for the soul

Carry On Light | $245 July

Toby Sandal | $228 Paige, Scottsdale Quarter Rose Des Vents Square Sunglasses | $630 Dior, Scottsdale Simone Smocked Mini Dress | $395 Ramy Brook Grigore Floral Pant | $528 Veronica Beard, Scottsdale Ulla Johnson Evelina Ruffled Swimsuit | $380 Saks Fifth Avenue, Phoenix

An employee came up with the crepe paper display that graces the entrance of urbAna’s Arcadia store. “She came up with the idea, and we ran with it,” said owner Ana Wells. “What I love is that we are now a spot that can nurture that.”

Host With the Most

urbAna elevates home entertaining

With its roots entrenched in the art of hospitality, urbAna is more than a store — it is four local destinations where entertaining meets elegance.

“Our whole idea is that we are the first place you think of if you are hosting or being hosted,” said Ana

Wells, who owns urbAna with her husband, Brian.

We chatted with this local lifestyle expert about what they’ve learned over the last 10 years of business and how we can bring those lessons into our homes.


Host or Hosted

The concept for urbAna came because Ana and Brian love to entertain and wanted to offer an elevated idea of entertaining at home. “It makes people feel special,” she said.

At urbAna, everything they do is through that lens, which allows the store to explore different directions. “It’s not just dinnerware and barware,” Ana said.

ANA SAYS: “Go grab pizza from somewhere like LGO, but put it out on a beautiful tray. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make it feel special.”

Timeless Toys

When the store next door to urbAna’s original location closed, Ana and Brian acquired it to open Arcadia Toys. Boasting a classic toy-store vibe, the shop has a curated collection of toys and art supplies that are as delightful as they are enduring.

ANA SAYS: “I’m always like, ‘Get the wood toys.’ They’re going to last a lifetime, and they make such fun designs. We have a taco kit that I think is adorable, and we have a natural healers one that comes with Epsom salt and aloe vera.”

Design Services

The extra square footage in the Arcadia store allowed urbAna to extend its design space. “It was something we really wanted to lean into,” Ana said. Farrow & Ball Paint was a huge part of their decision — urbAna is the only store in Arizona where it is sold.

ANA SAYS: “Our in-house designer offers customers a free consultation, and then they can take it from there.”

Thoughtful Registries

Ana’s brother and sister-in-law were urbAna’s first wedding registry clients. Since then, the store has added a baby registry and a kid’s birthday club. Ana particularly loves hosting couples for registry consultations, offering personalized advice to help them prioritize items for their future.

When it comes to adding a personal touch to registry gifting, Ana suggests starting with your budget, then looking for things that are meaningful to you. “Adding a personal touch can make a bigger impact. Maybe you love a cookbook or product. Make that connection when you’re writing the card, like, ‘This is from my favorite author,’” Ana said.

ANA SAYS: “Young couples might not be thinking about 20 years from now when they are hosting those Thanksgivings and Christmases. Those are things that you need! People want to buy things that will last — let them purchase those for you.”


Easy Entertaining

With summer comes the desire to entertain al fresco. So, urbAna stocks breezy items for memorable soirées. “Take advantage of when that sun does finally drop,” Ana said. She suggests casual gatherings with creative board dinners, so guests can graze while the oven stays off.

ANA SAYS: “I love all the paper products that can make an easy tablescape when you have people coming over. They make it easy and casual but it still feels elevated, which I love.”

Parties with Purpose

Behind the displays and curated collection lies a commitment to community. The store hosts private shopping events with charity components, offering a fun and exclusive experience for groups of colleagues or friends. “We’re always giving back. We are here as a fixture in this community,” Ana said.

ANA SAYS: “You can come in with a group of 10 to 20 friends for a private shopping event. We have bubbly, and it’s a good time. They’re popular, especially in the holiday season, because we’ll get everything wrapped for you and out the door.”

Community Cultivation

By fostering creativity and giving back, urbAna strives to be a hub of fun and collaboration. With locations in Arcadia, Scottsdale and Gilbert, Ana looks forward to meeting clients where they are.

ANA SAYS: “We want people to enjoy themselves and have a lovely time, and I think we can be a little bright spot in their day. It’s not about the sale. It’s about the relationship.”

To learn more, visit


‘There Is Power in Positivity’

A conversation with Sybil Francis, chair, president & CEO of Center for the Future of Arizona

There is a lot to unpack about Sybil Francis, so let’s get the parochial stuff out of the way. She grew up in a bilingual family of academics, speaking French at home and spending summers living with her grandparents outside of Paris. She is an accomplished flutist, a nuclear weapons expert and the wife of ASU president Michael Crow.

Despite her extraordinary background and résumé (more on that soon), she believes her most significant work is happening here and now.

“When I present our findings, people get so emotional. They’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you for saying that,’” she said.

Photo by Scott Foust

Francis, the chair, president and CEO of Center for the Future of Arizona, is a kind of pied piper of positivity. Buoyed by partnerships and polls, she is ready to show how data and our shared public values can lead people together to create positive change.

Francis is extremely effective when she talks about her lifetime of optimism. “There is power in positivity. I have experienced it,” she said.

In her youth, Francis harbored dreams of becoming a professional flutist, dedicating hours every day to her craft. Her talents led to some prestigious music camps, but when it was time for college, she decided to study chemistry instead. “When it came down to it, I became very passionate about doing good in the world,” she said, noting that environmental issues motivated her to study science.

After graduating from Oberlin College, Francis went to work on Capitol Hill, serving in a variety of leadership roles, including as a senior policy director for a member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she played a key role in shaping energy, environmental and national security policy.

It was a dream job, but six years in, Francis craved something else. “I thought, this is starting to feel a little repetitive. I want to go train my brain,” she said. Interested in national defense issues as well, she enrolled in the Defense and Arms Control Studies Program at MIT, then just the fifth woman in the program’s history.

“There are some quarters in which I’m known as a nuclear weapons expert, particularly the history of nuclear weapons and how our U.S. system of nuclear weapons evolved,” she said.

After earning her Ph.D., Francis put another vision into action. “I had always dreamed about going to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. There’s the Capitol, and then there’s the White House,” she said. So Francis went to work down the street from her old job as a senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

“That’s actually when I met my husband,” she said.

Surprisingly open and down to earth, Francis recounts how she met the man who would go on to be named #44 on Fortune’s 2019 list of the world’s 50 greatest leaders.

“When I had just started at OSTP, it came to my attention that there was a conference going on at Columbia University about the impact of Vannevar Bush, who was considered a godfather of science and technology policy,” Francis said. (Bush made an appearance in the movie, “Oppenheimer,” played by Matthew Modine.)

Given Francis’s interests, the conference seemed fascinating.

She drummed up the courage to ask to attend, a choice that “changed my entire life,” she said. Francis went to the conference, which Crow was leading, and heard him speak. The intellectual bond was intense. “I thought, my gosh, a kindred spirit in terms of how we think,” she said.

After she returned to D.C., Crow sent her a handwritten note and a copy of his book. She responded with a copy of her dissertation. “And thus, love was born,” she laughed.

Francis knows how unique their love story is. “We are just geeks,” she said. “With big hearts, though.”

Those hearts propelled them to marriage, a move to New York and the birth of their daughter, Alana. Then, in 2002, Crow got the transformative opportunity to come to Arizona and lead ASU as its next president.

Francis (far left) with sister Corinna-Barbara and grandmother Alice Louvet in France Francis with former boss and U.S. Rep. George E. Brown Jr. in 1986. It was a significant moment in her career to receive unexpectedly high praise from the no-nonsense representative.

A maverick optimist himself, Crow saw it as a chance to address the deficiencies he saw in higher education by designing a more egalitarian university. For her part, Francis was ready for a new view and a new challenge.

“I grew up on the East Coast, but I love the openness here. People love newcomers — they like fresh blood, new ideas,” she said.

Accordingly, when they came to Arizona, Francis was ready to dig in locally. And off the bat, she found the ideal ally in the man whose job her husband was taking over.

Lattie Coor, who was stepping aside as president of ASU, had come up with an idea for a center focused on the future of Arizona. “He had taken out the legal paperwork, and I was thrilled because it was a way for me to bring my public policy background to an entire state to think about the future of the state. It was really exciting,” Francis said.

One of their first exercises was to review 15 years of policy reports from various entities. They compiled the best thinking of Arizona leaders and boldly published it in The Arizona Republic as “A Vision for Arizona.”

“Somehow, it fell a little bit flat. It didn’t naturally lead to anything,” Francis said.

That’s when the idea of listening to Arizonans came in.

Around 2007, the folks at CFA started thinking, ‘Maybe it’s not up to us to say what’s important to Arizonans. Maybe we should ask Arizonans what is important to them.’

That shift in thinking was powerful, and prompted CFA to partner with Gallup to conduct statewide surveys to better understand Arizonans’ priorities and values. The breadth of polling was impressive — and not cheap. Many organizations are interested in particular issues; CFA was interested in the full breadth. They conducted their first survey in 2009, with no idea what they would get.

What they learned turned expectations on their head.

“It was our first big aha moment that still informs us and drives us today, which is that Arizonans agree on much more than we disagree on the important issues,” Francis said. “We found so many areas of common agreement.”

Healthy communities, rewarding jobs, high-quality education for all — these are a few of the aspirations Arizonans share for our state. Moreover, residents are committed to stewarding the state’s natural resources, and believe in equity and justice for all.

Knowing our common interests, the next step was clear to the data-driven CFA: Share trusted data showing how Arizona is doing in those priority areas. Inspired by the belief

Illustration by Terry Moody Francis’s family has embraced Arizona. She is shown here with daughter Alana at the Heard Museum (above left) and with husband Michael at Roden Crater (right).
Healthy communities, rewarding jobs, high-quality education for all — these are a few of the aspirations Arizonans share for our state.

that “what gets measured, gets done,” CFA created the Arizona Progress Meters. These web-based tools provide interactive data and downloadable charts on eight key common-interest areas — jobs, natural resources, education, infrastructure, young talent, civic participation, health & well-being, and connected communities — tracking how Arizona is doing on a state, county and local basis.

As its name suggests, CFA’s work is focused squarely on the future, here. It has gained traction by finding and focusing on overlaps where people agree, bringing critical issues to public attention, and working with communities and leaders

to solve public problems. But after a decade, Francis thought it would be wise to check back on some of the big issues to see if Arizonans’ priorities for the future had changed since the first survey was conducted in 2009.

Again, they turned to Gallup. To ensure that they accurately represent Arizona, they collected more than 3,500 responses from all over the state. “We made sure that we can speak confidently with scientific validity about people of different political persuasions, race and ethnicity, income level, education, religion, LGBTQ and more,” Francis said.

Francis with CFA’s Young Talent Advisors at the launch of the Arizona Young Talent Progress Meter in 2019.
When you put data out there, that’s what people focus on. They’re not focusing on how they might feel differently from someone.

Fielded during the late summer and early fall of 2020, amid the COVID pandemic, a heated presidential race, and unprecedented social reckonings, the new Arizona survey uncovered something incredible.

Our shared public values remained the same.

CFA defined a “public value” as an issue with at least 70 percent or more of Arizonans in agreement. “That means by definition, you have to have agreement among Republicans, Democrats and Independents, people of different races and ethnicities, income levels, education levels, etc.,” Francis said. “We sharpened our understanding of the Arizona we want by identifying those shared public values. But we also started thinking about the gaps between what Arizonans say they want and what we have.”

Now, with another election on the way, Francis sees an opportunity for CFA to serve Arizonans by using its nonpartisan voice to illuminate common issues, raise questions and point to opportunities. It has created the Arizona Voters’ Agenda to center the voices of Arizona voters. Countering the common narrative of polarization and division, it acts as a data-driven guide for common-interest

issues, informing voters, candidates and media.

Francis points out that CFA isn’t Pollyannaish. It knows that not everyone agrees on everything. But the organization focuses on what brings people together, and focuses on who we are as Arizonans.

“People almost seem suspicious, because it’s so counter to what they’re hearing. So I really see our mission and my passion as presenting this other way of seeing ourselves that is grounded in reality,” Francis said. “We really do agree on these big issues. Arizonans understand the importance of education. They believe in fairness and justice and our criminal justice system. They think our elections are fair, secure and accurate. People love Arizona’s natural beauty and they want to protect it.”

Francis has a secret weapon for getting people to hear this message: data. “It’s kind of magical, almost. When you put data out there, that’s what people focus on,” she said. “They’re not focusing on how they might feel differently from someone.”

At the heart of CFA’s mission lies a commitment to positivity and partnership. As Francis views it, changing how we see ourselves in our communities is the first step in

Illustration by Terry Moody Francis presents CFA’s survey research at programs and panels throughout the state.

coming together to create the positive change we all want.

So, CFA works all over the state, partnering with employers, businesses, schools and other nonprofit economic development groups to extend its impact. Among its top priorities — getting Arizona to focus on what’s possible.

“I actually think that changing the way people in Arizona see themselves and Arizona is the most important priority,” Francis said. “Having this data is like rocket fuel. What we share is leading people to question the negativity and see possibilities.”

Francis is excited that CFA’s messaging seems to be resonating. “I would love for this idea of ‘The Arizona We Want’ to become internalized for people, along with the positive approach and positive message,” she said. “I think

we can recognize where we have things in common that can bring us together.”

When she is not thinking big thoughts about uniting the state, Francis likes to hike with her husband. She spent summers as a child trekking the French Alps, and Crow led backpacking trips in his past. So, when they want to unwind, the pair now pinch themselves to have Arizona’s trails at their disposal.

This kind of gratitude flows naturally for Francis, who has brought her positive outlook and remarkable skill set to stump for our state. At Center for the Future of Arizona, she offers an idealism tempered by experience to make a difference in the place she’s come to love.

“I am very passionate about what I do,” she said. “I’m an optimist.”

What we share is leading people to question the negativity and see possibilities.
Under the rainbow: “My husband and I love hiking,” Francis said. “We’re big hikers.”

Ways You Can Support The Y.

At Valley of the Sun YMCA, strengthening community is our cause. Every day, we work side by side with our neighbors facing community challenges to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. We provide financial assistance to ensure that those most in need in our community have access to the Y’s programs and services. With your help, we can serve those who need us most. Scan the QR code to learn about the ways to support Valley of the Sun YMCA.

By making a cash gift by check, credit card, or setting up an automatic transferfrom your bank account, you enable the Valley of The Sun YMCA to serve those who need us most in the community.

You can name the Valley of the Sun YMCA in your estate plans and ensure the Y is availablefor future generations.

If you are 70½ years old or older, you can donate from your IRA without paying income tax. This is also called a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).

The YMCA accepts gifts of appreciated stock or mutual funds. Support YMCA programs and services for the working poor and get up to an $938 credit on your Arizona State taxes. LEAVE A LEGACY GIVE TODAY IRA CHARITABLE ROLLOVER STOCK AND MUTUAL FUNDS TAX CREDIT

Good to the Last Drop

Advanced water purification makes for great beer, and a better future

Mmmm … beer.

I don’t want to go all Homer Simpson on you, but that’s where this story starts, with beer. Specifically, beer being produced by about a dozen breweries Valleywide as part of a brewing event held by the City of Scottsdale’s water department.

The One Water Brewing Showcase has taken place (except during the pandemic) for the past five years.

The thing about the One Water Brewing Showcase is that it has an unusual variable. All the beer is made from water that has been through what’s referred to as advanced water purification. Which basically means ultra-purified wastewater. Brewing beer with wastewater? Yes. And there’s more. After all, we live in the desert, and it’s no secret that water use is an issue. So, water that has undergone advanced purification is eventually going to become an important part

Photo by John Decker The Advanced Water Treatment Facility at the Scottsdale Water Campus takes treated recycled water from the city’s conventional water reclamation plant and treats it through ozonation, membrane ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet photolysis. Scottsdale Water

of our water supply.

I won’t bore you with the science, but basically, this wastewater is treated to the point where virtually everything is removed from it, including all impurities. So, while it may sound counterintuitive, this water that once was part of the wastewater system is now more pure than just about any other water you could find.

Which makes it perfect for brewing. One of the participants has been a Gilbert brewery called Desert Monks Brewing Company, which has been in business since 2018. Desert Monks not only took part in the contest, but it also makes several beers using this purified water, which it receives from the City of Scottsdale on an ongoing basis.

“We really loved that water,” said Sommer Decker, co-owner and assisting brewer at Desert Monks Brewing Company. “It created a beautiful, soft and clean canvas for us to brew upon. We’re using it because the water is so clean and so soft, and it’s purified beyond anything that the brewery has the capacity to do within our own facilities.”

So, yes, the breweries like this reclaimed water because it’s actually cleaner than any other source of water they could find. But what does that mean for the rest of us? It turns out brewing may be the tip of the spear when it comes to implementing the use of this ultra-purified reclaimed water.

The City of Scottsdale has been at the forefront of using reclaimed water for more than 40 years, initially using less-treated water for irrigation on golf courses. Since then, the city has built out a sprawling water

campus that produces a variety of types of water, from reclaimed irrigation water to drinking water to the ultra-pure stuff. It’s part of the city’s long-term water-use strategy, with the goal being to create as many options as possible in a challenging water resources environment.

“We need to leverage all our water resources, and for us in Scottsdale, recycled water is one of those resources,” said Brian Biesemeyer, the executive director of Scottsdale Water.

Biesemeyer said that with cuts expected to Colorado River water supplies, the state of Arizona is allowing cities to explore using water that’s been through advanced water purification as one of several options to augment their water supplies moving forward. New rules are expected to be finalized for Colorado River water use in the next two to three years.

“Our intent would be, with the publication of those rules, to have some discussions with the City Council and go in and put in place this advanced purified recycled water on a system-wide basis to allow us to supplement our losses in Colorado River water,” Biesemeyer said.

The City of Tucson is looking at a similar scenario. Without a major river of its own to supply fresh water, Tucson is particularly reliant on Colorado River water. However, it has also been aggressive about using reclaimed water for irrigation and landscaping in the past.

“We see the future of advanced water purification as an extra tool, so if we’re facing water resource challenges due to changing conditions of the Colorado River, our community knows that we may have to look for additional drops of water,” said John Kmiec, the director of Tucson Water. “One

The team at Desert Monks Brewing Company says the purified wastewater saves water and tastes better. The reverse osmosis facility at Scottsdale Water Scottsdale Water

way to get additional drops of water is to do urban water recycling and advanced water purification to augment the current supplies.”

Kmiec has a phrase he likes to use when it comes to reclaiming water for repeat use.

“I like to say a water drop is a tireless worker,” he said. “If you keep it within your urban water cycle, you can use it many, many times. It’s a tireless worker for any community, so we see a diversification of our reclaimed system in the next 40 years, for sure.”

It’s just science, and it’s just common sense, at least as far as Decker from Desert Monks is concerned.

“The people who live on the Space Station are living on ultra-purified water,” she said. “Our astronauts have been using ultra-purified water because there’s not another water source. So it’s just a shortened life cycle for the water, which is great technology. We need water to live and to keep that resource readily available for all of us humans.”

As for using that technology for beer?

“If we can help someone feel more comfortable with the idea of ultra-purified water through the tasting of beer, then we’re very happy to be part of that story,” Decker said.

4001 N. 24th St. Phoenix, AZ 85016 ph: 602.957.0186 fax: 602.956.0463
Photo by John Decker

An Unfinished Journey

Reyna Montoya helps youth channel hope into action

Fifteen minutes. Not much time in the scheme of things, yet this timetable set Reyna Montoya’s life trajectory. Montoya was born in Tijuana, Mexico, a mere 15-minute walk from the United States border. Her parents were 18 years old when she was born in a private clinic, with her father saving all his money selling cassettes so she could have the best care. “I find this beautiful and inspiring,” Montoya said. “When I learned it was only 15 minutes from the U.S., I joked with my parents that my life would have been so much easier if you had me in the U.S.”

Montoya’s memories growing up in the borderlands involved an exchange that was natural, going back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. She attended private Catholic school with her parents practicing a “strict” parenting style.

“I was never allowed to go to sleepovers or play in the streets like all the other kids,” Montoya said. “I was mad at them and didn’t understand the reason why there was so much strictness, fear and caution around who I was with and what I was allowed to do.”

She didn’t learn the reasons for their strictness — sudden migration to Nogales, Mexico, when she was in the fifth grade, followed by migration to the U.S. — until she was a young adult. Her dad had been kidnapped and needed to leave as soon as possible because of death threats to him and his family.

“I didn’t know any of this as a little kid. I was mad at my parents for bringing me to a place where I felt I didn’t belong. There was nothing in life I could control,” Montoya


said. “All my anger later turned to gratitude and admiration that my dad made a risky choice. I felt I had been missing this critical piece of the puzzle all my life, and I finally found it. It’s heartbreaking to see all my dad endured to seek safety for my family.”

Montoya readily pinpoints the beginning of her adulthood as the age 17, when she saw how different the opportunities available were to her versus her peers. Despite her parents’ emphasis on the importance of education and her academic honors and public service, she questioned her ability to attend college because financial resources didn’t exist for undocumented students at the time.

Her coming of age took place during a time of dissonance in the undocumented community. “How the media or politicians were talking about my community versus what I was witnessing didn’t make sense to me,” she said. “I never planned to be an advocate, community organizer or a classroom teacher. I knew there was something inherently wrong, and I had to raise awareness. I believe in my bones that if only people knew our stories, they would change their minds.”

Something in her belly compelled Montoya to timidly raise her hand to speak from the back of the room during a Republican fundraiser a few months after SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial anti-illegal immigration law, was signed. This

moment of bringing light to a community people didn’t know led her to commit to go beyond the headlines and connect with people on a human level.

Throughout college and following graduation, she was a community organizer at the local and national levels. Her growing anger about the state of the education system’s support of all students, regardless of where they come from, was the beginning of Aliento (the Spanish word for breath).

“I started getting angry, but I didn’t want to stay angry,”

Montoya said. “I knew I had the power to do something

Aliento had the opportunity to host a phone banking session in partnership with Telemundo. They answered over 120 calls from the community regarding scholarship opportunities and navigating the college process.

different. When you give aliento to someone, you give words of encouragement. And that’s the vision.”

Tapping into her personal experience, Montoya wrote a proposal for a national fellowship detailing her idea on how art can be used as a healing vehicle for students, advocating and supporting youth on their educational journey and focusing on the agency and resilience of children and youth through a multigenerational lens.

She won the fellowship and began the initiative, which became a nonprofit in 2020. Aliento’s programs have evolved since its inception and now provide a continuum focused on three areas: Cultiva uses art as an intervention with a research-based curriculum, helping youth process their emotions and create healthy coping mechanisms; Nuture helps high school and first-generation college students build social capital and navigate the higher education system while supporting each other via a cohort model with individualized coaching, teaching them to advocate for themselves and putting their voice into practice; and Transform provides training and professional development for educators, counselors and business leaders on how to change policies and structures.

Montoya describes 2024 as “challenging” so far, given the difficult narrative about immigrants. “I’m trying to focus

on the goodness of people and remind our students that they belong,” she said. “I know from research that it only takes one adult to make a significant impact on a child’s life. We have the opportunity to build or break people. I hope this year can be a reminder that we have the power to all be together.”

As Montoya looks down the road, other states have requested Aliento’s expansion. One thing about the future is sure — her unwavering reliance and belief in hope. “You must have hope in order to act,” she said. “This world can be hard. If we don’t have hope, we can be driven by fear or anger. I want our community to be driven by hope and love.”

To learn more, visit

Montoya shares her talents and skills to help undocumented, DACA and mixed immigration status families.




I exercise almost every day. On most mornings during the week, I run four to six miles and then go to the gym. Running is a big part of my life. I’ve been a runner for 25 years, completing four marathons and 30 half marathons. After my exercise is complete, I take an initial look at emails and do family things.


The Nature Conservancy is dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. We deliberately chose this mission because “all life” includes people. We are focused on a world where nature and people can thrive together. We do this through partnerships, working to find common ground wherever we can and providing measurable, impactful conservation solutions.

Both globally and here in Arizona, we’re committed to making the greatest impact by 2030. Our science clearly shows that if we don’t act on the issues we care about right now, the chance to do so will be more difficult or could be lost for good. We see tremendous urgency to step up and think big.

10 A.M. >> STATE 48 WORK

We’ve identified four focus areas for our work in Arizona. Conserving our lands and waters includes an array of projects, such as utilizing conservation easements — a voluntary legal agreement where land stays in private ownership but is protected for conservation in perpetuity — and working with farmers along the Verde River on how technology and infrastructure can reduce water usage while improving their livelihoods.

There is urgency regarding forest restoration and the need to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires, and we have a large project near Flagstaff focused on this. Our statewide climate program is policy-oriented and also sites renewable energy infrastructure in ways that will minimize conflict with wildlife.

Less than 10 years ago, we started working with Valley communities with fewer resources on how to use nature to mitigate the impacts of extreme heat. We created this program with an eye toward resolving some of the inequities that have traditionally existed where nature-based solutions are offered.


I grew up in New England and developed a passion for nature from spending time in the mountains. But nature was something separate you did on the weekend. Formative experiences working internationally helped me understand how nature directly impacts people’s lives. Through my global work, I developed a different understanding of how nature is intertwined with all our lives, even if we don’t always see it.



I’ve lived in Arizona and worked for The Nature Conservancy for eight years and became state director three years ago. We are fortunate to have a gifted and wonderful team of 70 who work across the state from the southern border up to the northern forest. Many of the world’s leading experts in their field work for the organization. We have an internal expression: “I came for the mission, and I stayed for the people.” This is equally true with regard to our board and donors.

A big part of my job is working with donors, the board of trustees and partners. Of all the things people can do with their money, it’s incredibly humbling that they choose to donate to us. It’s inspiring and an honor to work with people who feel a lifelong connection, deep commitment and passion for the organization. My job is fast-paced, dynamic and interactive. I am always learning and growing. This is the job of a lifetime.

3:30 P.M. >> NO TWO DAYS …

Because we are a place-based and global organization, I make a big effort to travel and connect with partners, donors, volunteers, staff and other TNCs in the West. Travel comprises approximately 30 percent of my time. When I am not on the go, I have an average of six to 10 meetings a

day. As a leader, I prioritize spending time with my chapter leadership team, investing in them and ensuring the team is healthy and unified. I subscribe to the “culture eats strategy for breakfast” philosophy, so I spend time talking with people to understand their concerns and priorities.

I try every day, with mixed success, to dedicate time to reading so I’m up-to-date on what’s happening and how it impacts the issues we care about. There’s so much news about conservation and environmental issues right now. Some of which we know, but a lot of which we don’t because things are happening so fast.


There’s a big and very appropriate conversation in conservation right now about diversity and equity and what that means for a field that has not been diverse. We developed an equity architect plan for our chapter and are thinking about our work with tribal and Indigenous communities differently, because they historically have not been part of the mainline conservation movement.

These are existential challenges, and conservation will not succeed if we don’t create an inclusive space in ways we haven’t before. It’s that simple. This is not extra or something you do on the side, and we have to understand how our engagement around diversity, equity and inclusion is at our core.


Given my travel schedule, my evenings are not always reliable, but I try to get home to have dinner with my family. I then take the dog out and do a little more work. I also love to read and alternate between nonfiction and fiction books.

To learn more, go to

Photo by Bretta Nelson Dan Stellar is an active outdoorsman and marathon runner who sees parallels between his work and endurance sports. Kayaking the Verde River


One in 260 children will be diagnosed with cancer, a life-threatening disease impacting a child and family regardless of gender, age, or socioeconomic status.

Children’s Cancer Network (CCN), a 501c3 non-profit, supports children and families throughout their cancer journey with the resources and assistance needed to cope with the disease.

Join us in filling the gap where hospitals and insurance leaves off in one of the following ways:

Join the Tommy Bahama Sunset Golf Classic benefiting CCN on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2024. Learn more at

Become a Partner

Provide creative programming for childhood cancer warriors, siblings, and parents at the CCN Let’s Move Center.


Support a cancer warrior or sibling at our CCN day camps to optimize physical, emotional, and social outcomes related to the childhood cancer journey.


Make a difference to all Arizona children and families battling childhood cancer, Children’s Cancer Network is a Qualified Charitable Organization for the Arizona Tax Credit.

Giving hope to children and families battling childhood cancer.

SPOT 127 is creating a digital media revolution

Finding Their VOICE Origin

SPOT 127 is a creative hub where young people can learn about broadcasting and storytelling. It was created through a collaboration between the nonprofit Friends of Public Radio Arizona, Rio Salado College and KJZZ 91.5 FM. The Maryvale center opened in 2012, but the program’s roots go back to 2007, when KJZZ started the Teen Radio Project, which sent skilled journalists into local high schools to teach students about radio production and storytelling.

SPOT 127 is the evolution of that project. It’s a place where young people can explore the world of radio, express themselves creatively, and get instruction in digital skills vital for success in today’s economy.


LEADERSHIP Trevor Gahona Senior Instructor ORGANIZATION SPOT
127 Youth
Senior instructor Trevor Gahona speaks to students at Tempe High School.


SPOT 127 Youth Media Center provides digital media mentorship and training through in-school, afterschool and summer boot camp programs for high school students. The program offers in-school workshops at various high schools in the greater Phoenix area.

Most Surprising Thing

About the Organization

“The most surprising thing for our students is that the program is made available free of charge,” said SPOT 127 senior instructor Trevor Gahona. With cost not an issue, the award-winning program empowers a diverse range of teens to find their voice and engage with their communities through audio and video storytelling and photography. “We encourage students to explore going to college, or start an entrepreneurial path,” Gahona said.

Along the way, the students develop confidence in their digital media skills — and themselves.

“SPOT 127 really has shifted my career path in a good way; it combined my likeness for art with the skills to back it up. I’m seriously thinking about going and working in an art job now, whereas before, it felt impossible,” said Anderson, a SPOT 127 student.

Program Highlight

On top of the many regional and national awards student productions have won, SPOT 127 offers something else. It is making college a reality for local youth by offering scholarship opportunities for students in its year-round program. These awards to attend any of the Arizona universities or Maricopa Community Colleges have transformed SPOT students’ lives for years. “We have a 99 percent college rate for all students who go through our program,” Gahona said, noting that SPOT students

Hamblet Lemus — a former SPOT 127 student turned instructor — works with students in the program.

have received over $220,000 in scholarships in the past 10 years.

Recent Challenges

Technology is always changing, which makes it challenging to teach and stay current on tools and technologies. It is also difficult to have a small team that recruits, teaches after school and conducts workshops, Gahona said.


The SPOT 127 team is looking forward to its summer boot camps, which are two intensive weeks of training in digital photography, photo editing, video editing, audio editing, entrepreneurship, journalism and training in the entire Adobe Suite. These hands-on boot camps offer a deep dive into multimedia production, which can mean a couple of weeks of summer fun — or a whole lot more.

“I made friends and found something I want to do as a profession,” said Sylvia, a SPOT 127 student.

To learn more, visit

A heartfelt thank you to our exceptional sponsors for their unwavering support in making our recent gala event a monumental success. Through your immense generosity, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has exceeded our fundraising target, ensuring that we can continue to provide vital support to seniors, veterans, and families in our community who are in need of affordable housing solutions.

Your commitment to our cause is truly inspiring, and we are beyond grateful for the difference you are making in the lives of those we serve. With your continued partnership, we are able to build not just homes, but hope and brighter futures for those in need.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your compassion, dedication, and unwavering belief in our mission. Together, we are truly making a profound impact on the lives of others.

Robyn & Bob Anderson Tana Nichols & Lee Mashburn

New York State of Mind

Explore Long Island like never before

Books, film, music and TV have collectively been in a head-over-heels love affair with Long Island for more than a century. It is no wonder, given her stark beauty, sunny personality and charismatic charm during the summer months — especially along the Gold Coast and North Fork regions and on Shelter Island, away from the high-season bustle of the Hamptons. Ready to fall in love, too?

Photos courtesy Discover Long Island
Several scenes in Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” video were shot in Long Island’s gorgeous Oheka Castle (shown here).

The Gold Coast

The well-heeled, waterfront cities of East and West Egg that F. Scott Fitzgerald brought to life page by page in “The Great Gatsby” were fictional.

Or were they?

It turns out that the Gold Coast inspired Fitzgerald’s epic backdrop for much of the novel, notably the scenes at waterfront mansions and parties.

Today, the Gold Coast offers something for Hollywood and history buffs alike: several mansion and garden tours open to the public. Among them are Sands Point Preserve and its three spectacular and storied properties on the grounds in Falaise, Hempstead House and Castle Gould; Oheka Castle, which appeared in Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” music video

and “Succession”; and Old Westbury Gardens, a 200-acre manor that eagle-eyed HBO fans will recognize from “The Gilded Age” and “Sex and the City.”

As adventurous as austere, the Gold Coast is also the perfect home base for those who love water sports. Gold Coast Water Sports offers dayboat and yacht charters for hours, days or even longer, as well as packages that pair guests with captained watercraft for wake surfing, tubing, water skiing and more.

After a day exploring historic grounds or jetting along the Atlantic with friends, there is even a sneaky-fun watering hole beloved by visitors and locals alike in Six Harbors Brewing Company, a micro-brewery awash in nautical accents known for its Blueberry Wheat Ale, Doc’s Pear Cider, and Wölffer Estates Summer in the Bottle. Of course, fine dining is a specialty along the Gold Coast as well, with award-winning dining destinations, including Cipollini Trattoria and Bar, Matteo’s Ristorante, Limani, Waterzooi, and OHK Bar and Restaurant, which is inside the Oheka Castle.

The North Fork

A wine country in the heart of Long Island. Who knew?

The North Fork is home to more than 60 vineyards and wineries as well as farms and craft distilleries, many of which delight in opening their doors and entertaining

Sands Point Preserve Old Westbury Gardens

during the summer months with live music, food pairings and small-town laid-back hospitality. Jason’s Vineyard has long been heralded for its live music, taking particular pride in showcasing local talent several days a week in the summer months. Paumanok Vineyards is a must for any foodie as it offers flights, glasses and bottles paired with fully composed plates, build-your-own charcuterie boards, and several sweets. And then, Harbes Family Farm & Vineyard welcomes wine tasting while exploring its eight-acre farm with the family. Now, through Labor Day, the farm also hosts a festival that honors everything from sweet corn and peaches to sunflowers and watermelon nearly every weekend. Other musts when it comes to wine tasting include Lieb Cellars, whose wines are served across New York’s finest eateries; modern-yet-rustic Macari Wines; and chic Sparkling Pointe, which dazzles with glowing chandeliers and all things sparkling wine.

Between sips, make time to visit Lavender by the Bay while on the North Fork. This farm boasts 20 varieties of English lavender in white, pale blue, pink, purple, light purple and dark purple, all starting to bloom by mid-May. It also has fields of mesmerizing stark purple French lavender, which reach their peak in July.

Finally, whether with kids or not, the Long Island Aquarium, which resides in Riverhead (also known as the gateway to the North and South Forks), is worth the visit for the sheer volume of behind-the-scenes and interactive experiences, including a full-scale shark dive, snorkeling adventures and a host of interactive encounters with penguins, sea lions and even bugs.

Shelter Island

Nestled between the North and South Fork is this stunning 27-square-mile island, which is only accessible via the ferry or by boat. If coming from North Fork, the journey is a breeze as there is a constant ferry, but there are also transportation options from the busy South Fork, also known as the Hamptons. Ferries from both Forks accommodate walk-on travelers as well as cars.

Here, it is all about stark, natural beauty in all its splendor. Hiking and birdwatching are exceptional on the island, and the beaches offer a respite from the daily grind of the traditional day. There are four public beaches on the island from which to choose: Crescent Beach, which offers kayak and paddleboard rentals; Wades Beach, which has ample lifeguards and picnic areas; and Menhaden and Shell Beach, which are the quietest, most serene options for those looking to take a stroll, read a book or meditate in tranquility.

Shelter Island Ferry The North Fork is one of the largest and most preserved agricultural regions in New York State and home of Long Island’s award-winning wine country. Enjoy a glass at North Fork vineyards, stop and smell the flowers at blossoming arboretums, and kick back by visiting family farms.

Shelter Island is also a foodie area on the rise thanks to the likes of Pridwin Bar & Restaurant, Sunset Beach Restaurant and Bar, 18 Bay, SALT Waterfront Bar & Grill, and Vine Street Cafe.

Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa

Choosing a comfortable home base with ample amenities is key when planning a trip to explore the diverse regions of Long Island. Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa — the sister resort to Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, to give an idea of what to expect — is a perfect option.

The sprawling resort boasts seaside rooms, suites, cottages, full-scale residences and a private club along 2,000 feet of private beach. During the summer months, bikes are available for complimentary guest use, and the outdoor firepits come alive at night with an al fresco dining option for the ages. Gurney’s Montauk is also home to North America’s only true thalassotherapy spa, using properties from the sea — minerals, seaweed, algae and mud — for all major therapies, and it boasts casual, fine dining and private culinary options focused on showcasing the locality and seasonality of the summer’s bounty.

For more information, visit

Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa Pridwin Bar & Restaurant
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A Unique ‘Persepshen’ of Real Food

CHEFS Jason and Katherine Dwight started Persepshen (pronounced “perception”) at a Phoenix farmers market.

The couple sold sandwiches, pastries and sausages out of an old military trailer with a wood-fired oven on the back that now sits on the restaurant’s patio. The brick-and-mortar location opened in 2019 in central Phoenix.

Katherine and Jason met while they were students in the Scottsdale Community College culinary arts program. They

shared a strong passion for local produce and proteins, and what they call “real food.”

The restaurant’s name is inspired by the owners’ passion for sustainability. “We wanted to help change people’s perception of how to eat sustainably and organically utilizing local ingredients and making everything from scratch,” said Katherine, who is Persepshen’s executive pastry chef. “If we don’t make it with local organic ingredients, then we don’t

Photos courtesy of Persepshen

serve it, all the way down to ketchup and mustard.”

In addition to focusing on sustainability and local ingredients, Persepshen is about the experience. “When people come to the restaurant, we treat them as if we are welcoming them into our home,” said Jason, who is the restaurant’s executive chef.

Sustainability is practiced in all aspects of the restaurant. “We incorporate sustainability in all parts of our business, from cleaning products to takeout boxes,” Katherine said. “We focus on minimizing our footprint as much as possible and believe it is vital to the longevity of people and the planet. We believe paying attention to these details can make a big difference.”

Showcasing local ingredients and supporting Arizona suppliers is a focus. “I have lived most of my life in the desert and love to work with farmers across our state,” Jason said. “Arizona has one of the longest growing seasons in the country and so much to offer. Working with local ranchers allows us to work with whole animals from organic pastures. We utilize every part of the animal, and our menu reflects this as it rotates weekly, based on which cut of the animal we are working through.”

Persepshen’s menu features a wide range of cuisines and flavors from all over the world, from Korean to Mexican. The menu changes weekly

based on the availability of animals and produce, with staples like the charcuterie board and steam buns.

Popular entrees include duck a l’orange with caramelized orange reduction and fingerling potatoes, and the burger made with 90-day dry-aged, Arizona grass-fed, pasture-raised beef.

Dessert favorites are the overloaded chocolate chip cookie and the chocolate cream pie, made with fair trade dark chocolate and salted caramel.

As parents of three young children, the Dwights are focused on the future. “We recognize the health benefits of eating real food and are aware of how food affects you,” Katherine said. “As we became parents, our passion grew stronger as we wanted our kids to have the best possible food and the best possible start in life.”

To learn more, visit


Restaurant Road Trip: Flagstaff for Foodies

WHEN summer temperatures rise in Phoenix, locals look to escape the heat. Just a couple of hours north, they can enjoy cooler temps and a wide variety of dining options.

“With more than 200 restaurants, Flagstaff offers family-friendly barbecue, pizza and burger spots that have a strong following, as well as four James Beard Award semifinalists within walking distance of one another in historic downtown,” said Ryan Randazzo from Discover Flagstaff. “Flagstaff has grown from a place with a handful of local favorites to a full-fledged dining destination.”

Here are a few favorite eateries to check out.


This lounge started as an annex to Tinderbox Kitchen. It offers an extensive selection of cocktails and spirits and menu items that honor the Basque history of the building through ingredients, spices, flavors and presentation.


Housed in an intimate, airy space, Atria features seasonal, modern American fare handcrafted with farm-fresh, locally grown ingredients. In 2022, chef Rochelle Daniel was a James Beard semifinalist.


Located two blocks from downtown inside a historic brick carriage house, Brix offers fine dining in a casual atmosphere. It serves seasonal cuisine made with fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers and ranchers.


This French-inspired cafe offers coffee, a full menu and fresh pastries. Chef/owner Sam Greenhalgh was nominated as a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2024.

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Known as the house that chilaquiles built, MartAnne’s Breakfast Palace is a family-owned Latin-inspired restaurant. It’s open for lunch and dinner, offering spicy flavors and colorful decor.


Oeno is the ancient Greek word for wine. Located in the heart of downtown, Oeno offers a selection of curated and diverse wines, beers and light bites. Guests can also order food from the nearby Shift Kitchen and Bar.


Flagstaff locals and visitors love the Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas that cook in 90 seconds. With one of its two downtown Flagstaff locations inside Dark Sky Brewing, the pizzas are known for pairing well with local beer. The location on Phoenix Avenue offers a selection of Italian wines.


A James Beard Award semifinalist in 2023, Proper Meats + Provisions is a popular butcher and deli with made-to-

order sandwiches, boards, salads and more, along with beer and wine.


Shift offers bold flavors, a locally driven menu and artfully composed plates with a casual and approachable ambiance. Chef Christian Lowe was a 2023 James Beard Award semifinalist.


Teatro (the Italian word for theater) Italian Food and Wine is set in a former theater and offers a culinary journey through the regions of Italy, from handmade pasta to grilled meats and seafood.


This fine-dining restaurant offers more than 100 wines and a menu that includes appetizers such as baked brie and steamed mussels and entrees like pan-seared duck breast, steelhead trout and filet mignon.

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Photo by Cameron Clark

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Vice president & special advisor to the president on American Indian affairs at Arizona State University


“Braiding Sweetgrass”


“In the book, the author states when land is, ‘just real estate, then restoration looks very different than if land is the source of a subsistence economy and a spiritual home. Restoring land for production of natural resources is not the same as renewal of land as cultural identity.’

While Robin Kimmerer is a botanist concerned with ecological restoration, her poetic prose and intellectual curiosity are steeped in Indigenous knowledge and how these teachings can inform current and future conditions of this home we call Mother Earth.

The book is beautifully written and offers lessons on the reciprocal relationship between plants and people that seamlessly blend Western science and traditional lessons passed down through generations of Indigenous peoples. Kimmerer gently pulls you into the plant world and traditional teachings of reciprocity. The lessons of gratitude and reciprocity are woven throughout the book, reminding us that the gifts we receive from nature also come with the responsibility of returning those gifts with gratitude and care. ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ is a reaffirmation that Indigenous knowledge has much to offer mainstream thinking if we only take the time to listen and truly appreciate lessons that the natural world offers.”

Learn about the Office of American Indian Initiatives (OAII) at ASU at



With 1,100 guests, the 2024 Wish Ball at Chase Field set a record for the largest turnout ever. The evening raised an astounding $2.7 million for Make-A-Wish Arizona to help fulfill the pipeline of 645 future wishes of Arizona children facing critical illnesses. As Wish Kids celebrated on the special field of dreams, the night was a poignant reminder of the weight of a wish.

To learn more, visit


Until homelessness is gone for good.

At Valley of the Sun United Way, we will never stop supporting our community until every child, family, and individual is healthy, has a safe place to live, and can succeed in school, work, and life.

See how you can help at

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