Frontdoors Magazine November 2018 Issue

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There’s no greater gift than life. That’s why Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is proud to support Donate Life Arizona’s important mission. Thousands of people are waiting to receive organ and tissue transplants with more than 2,400 people in Arizona. By simply registering at, you bring new hope to so many.



A MATTRESS Debbie Gaby is Beginning a New Chapter of Her Fairy-Tale Life



Andrea Tyler Evans EDITOR





Judy Pearson, Carey Peña, Lisa Mullavey FASHION WRITER


Jillian Rivera

On the Cover




Nicole King Thurlkill Studios


Thurlkill Studios

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

Frontdoors Magazine is dedicated to the memory of Mike Saucier.


TABLE OF CONTENTS {november 2018, volume 16, issue 11}


EDITOR’S NOTE......................... 05 Thank You Kindly 10 QUESTIONS WITH............. 06 Mike Nealy BOOKMARKED.......................... 10 Who’s Reading What this Month OFFICE DOORS......................... 12 Rita Brock-Perini of Veterans Medical Leadership Council CAREY’S CORNER................... 16 Heroes Among Us


COVER STORY.......................... 20 Cool to Be Kind NEXT DOORS............................. 30 Fuel of the Nonprofit Community GIVING IN STYLE..................... 34 The Making of a Fashion Capitol CHARITY SPOTLIGHT........... 40 Better Business Bureau KITCHEN DOORS..................... 44 Seasonal Gifting Guide A 2ND ACT..................................... 46 Sister Act OPEN DOORS............................ 52 Small but Mighty

6 NONPROFIT AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS FEATURED IN THIS MONTH’S ISSUE: + 100 Club of Arizona + Angel Mamas & Angel Kids + Arizona Sister Cities + Be Kind People Project + Better Business Bureau + Defenders of Children


+ Fiesta Bowl Charities + Kids in Focus + Phoenix Art Museum + Phoenix Fashion Week + Veterans Medical Leadership Council

EDITOR’S NOTE {on the job}

THANK YOU KINDLY Let’s face it. We all want to be happy, and there are lots of ideas about what happiness is and how we can get some. In fact, a new branch of study called positive psychology is trying to tease out the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Findings have shown that happiness is linked to gratitude, strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself — the greater good, as they say. By this metric, Marcia Meyer has every reason to be happy. The founder of the Be Kind People Project, she has devoted her life to teaching the next generation to be respectful, responsible, healthy and caring citizens. I recently had the chance to watch the group give a high-energy performance and see firsthand how the Be Kind crew is touching the lives of Arizona’s students. It’s a message I try to emulate and pass on myself. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for years, and have goaded my 14-year-old son into keeping one too. And even though mine is often filled with memorable dinners and his recounts Fortnite wins, the practice has helped train our brains to look for the good. Which is appropriate at this time of year. In honor of Thanksgiving, the Frontdoors team asked local chefs to recommend their favorite cookbooks. Maybe one of them will inspire you to cook a dish worthy of a journal mention of your own. But the season is about more than a dinner. It’s about reflecting on life’s blessings, no matter what else is happening in the world. At the Be Kind People assembly, I received Pay It Forward cards designed to put kind thoughts into action. Let me use a few of them here. Shout Out

to our writers Tyler Butler, Tom Evans, Jamie Killin, Judy Pearson and Carey Peña for energetically unearthing meaningful stories every month. You Rock to Nicole King and Jillian Rivera for capturing wonderful images that bring each issue to life. Thank You Kindly to our new creative director, Erin Garcia, who has jumped into her role with gusto and grace. And Huge Kudos to our publisher Andrea Evans, who is leading the publication in dynamic new directions. I’m fortunate to work with such a kind, smart and talented team. Finally, I’m grateful for you, dear reader, who inspires what we create and why we do it. Having the opportunity to tell stories of giving is a privilege not just in November, but every month of the year. Maybe that’s something I should enshrine in my gratitude journal. Because, as science is now finding, it isn’t happy people who are thankful. It’s thankful people who are happy.

Karen Werner EDITOR


P.S. This month, I also had the honor of interviewing Rita Brock-Perini, vice president of the Veterans Medical Leadership Council. At 80 years old, she has the kind of wisdom and life experience that make you sit up and listen. I’d be remiss not to be grateful for servicemembers like her this Veterans Day and to express thanks to everyone who has served.



Executive director of Fiesta Bowl Charities

1. How did you become involved with the Fiesta Bowl Charities? When I was transitioning from working for traditional professional sports properties, the Fiesta Bowl organization was looking for an executive director to lead the Bowl in the new College Football Playoff era. As a nonprofit, the Fiesta Bowl has always had charitable efforts, so joining the Bowl meant becoming involved with Fiesta Bowl Charities. While the Fiesta Bowl always had a really rich history as a top-level college football organization, an early goal of ours was to increase our charitable efforts and make a meaningful impact on people’s lives all


over the state. We continue to let the community know that we are more than just a game.

2. How has the Fiesta Bowl organization changed since you accepted the role of executive director? To be successful in this new era, we needed to become more of an internal sales and marketing organization, with dedicated leadership to build our sales efforts on a year-round basis. This was a major transition for the organization. I think the biggest

change has been our additional focus on and communication of our charitable efforts in creating a year-long calendar of community events. We’ve seen the nonprofit community and business community embrace our efforts and want to join what we’re doing.

3. To what do you credit the Fiesta Bowl’s ability to give so much back to the community? Our volunteers rock! We have an awesome staff that works hard all year and the local business community has supported our efforts, but without our 3,000 volunteers, we would not be able to give back so much. This year, we are proud to give away another $2.5 million directly to charities, and we couldn’t do it without the work of the entire Fiesta Bowl family, who believes in the mission of what we do. I thank everyone who has supported our events and bought tickets to our games, but at the heart of our success are our board of directors, Yellow Jackets, ambassadors and thousands of volunteers who make our events successful.

4. What is your favorite Fiesta Bowl event — aside from the big games? This is a hard one. With the Fiesta Bowl putting on fun events year-round, it’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. I would say our Fiesta Bowl Parade is a favorite of mine. The fact that it is free, over 100,000 people have the opportunity to enjoy it each year and we honor a community champion as our Grand Marshal make it a special event that we are proud to provide. We have volunteers who have been helping run the parade for more than 20 years!

5. Where do you think the Fiesta Bowl has made the biggest impact on the Valley? Certainly the economic impact of bringing annual high-profile games and fans to Arizona

has accumulated $2.75 billion of incremental impact over the last 12 years. Helping drive economic impact to the state and having focus on the community while having fun is our mission and guides us in the decisions we make.

6. What do you think are some misconceptions people have about the Fiesta Bowl? The Fiesta Bowl is not just a football game. I still get asked if my job is full-time and what I do the rest of the year since “we only have the games in December.” I assure you that the staff and volunteers stay busy all year planning, selling and preparing to put on world-class events throughout the year. It is more widely known now, but many people are still not aware of our charitable efforts and the fact that we are a nonprofit entity.

7. What does Fiesta Bowl Charities look for in the charities it partners with? We look to give to nonprofit organizations that contribute to the success of our Arizona community through our three pillars of youth, sports and education. Most of our charitable giving is directed through our annual grant cycle that starts in the spring of each year and it’s inspiring to go through each application and learn what these charities are doing.

8. What are some ways Fiesta Bowl Charities engages with the community? Of course, our volunteers are part of the community and their commitment is a huge part of our success. The unique piece of our engagement comes when our charitable efforts kick in. This year, our Wishes for Teachers program will give $5,000 each to 200 teachers to make their classroom, school and students’ learning experience wishes come true. Wishes for Teachers has quickly become a signature program as one of the best ways our work engages the community.



Mike Nealy is widely respected in the sports industry for his strong community involvement and the positive impact he’s had on the Fiesta Bowl organization.

9. How else does the organization touch the community? In addition to our charitable giving, we engage with the community through donated tickets to veterans, teachers and children who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to go to a game. Building playgrounds, football fields and community resource rooms; serving meals; and the tens of thousands of volunteer hours all allow us to engage our community and help improve the lives of those who live here.


10. What do you hope is next for Fiesta Bowl Charities? Our organization’s mission is to drive economic impact and focus on giving back to the community. We do this by being successful with our events. My hope and expectation is to do more of what we already do and continue to work on doing it better. The more support and success we have with our events, the more we will have to give back. To learn more, visit

BOOKMARKED {what are you reading} Local chefs recommend delicious reads SHARI COLE Owner of Simply Shari’s

R E C O M M E N D S : “The Whole Pregnancy: A Complete Nutrition Plan for Gluten-Free Moms to Be” BY AIMEE ARISTOTELOUS

H E R TA K E “The book is so well written and absolutely gorgeous, with the most fabulous recipes that anyone can eat, whether pregnant or not. Aimee has developed

a comprehensive nutrition guide that helps expecting and postpartum women achieve ideal health and weight during pregnancy and beyond.”

MICHAEL DeMARIA M Culinary Concepts co-founder and award-winning chef

R E C O M M E N D S : “The Babbo Cookbook” BY MARIO BATALI H I S TA K E “Mario Batali is one of my favorite chefs in the world. I own five of his cookbooks, love his cuisine and have eaten at almost every restaurant that he and his team own, which is about 12 different restaurants. When asked which cookbook is my favorite, I’d have to say ‘The Babbo Cookbook.’ It has remarkable

recipes, the pictures are great and it is easy to read and follow. While I’m a fan of all of the recipes throughout the book, the monkfish piccata and the pasta dishes are delicious. My favorite pasta recipe would have to be the classic tortellini en brodo. I do mine with chicken and fresh-sage pesto.”


Owner of Carmella’s Savory Fare

R E C O M M E N D S : “Barefoot Contessa Family Style: Easy Ideas and Recipes That Make Everyone Feel Like Family” BY INA GARTEN

H E R TA K E “What I love about this cookbook is that Ina explains that sharing our love of food and tables with those we love is too essential to be saved


for just special occasions. Every day at the kitchen table is special. Plus, Ina’s recipes are easy to follow with a minimum amount of fuss.”

BOOKMARKED {what are you reading}


Owner of Fabulous Food Fine Catering and Events and proprietor of Gertrude’s at the Desert Botanical Garden

R E C O M M E N D S : “On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals” BY SARAH R. LABENSKY, ALAN M. HAUSE AND PRISCILLA MARTEL


“I love this book because it teaches methods — it teaches you how to cook. Although it contains more than 800 recipes (and 1,200

photographs), it is not simply a book of recipes. It’s a complete cooking course between two covers. (And I wrote it!)”

PAULINE MARTINEZ Owner of Perk Eatery

R E C O M M E N D S : “The Flavor Bible” BY KAREN PAGE AND ANDREW DORNENBURG H E R TA K E “When we cook for the restaurant, we follow strict recipes and measurements for the sake of consistency, but when I cook at home it’s another story. In my personal space I never cook with recipes and I rarely have time to plan intricate meals. I usually end up with all

sorts of random items that I throw together as last-minute meals. This book is fantastic for exactly those moments when you’re not totally sure what goes with what. It gives the perfect pairing recommendations so the meal is edible and, more importantly, delicious!”

STEVEN MAYNARD Owner and executive chef of Tempo Urban Bistro

R E C O M M E N D S : “White Heat” BY MARCO PIERRE WHITE H I S TA K E “‘White Heat’ is not only a cookbook, it is a literary insight to the world of a

professional kitchen. It is a story book of food and a must for any chef.”


OFFICE DOORS {valley changemakers}

RITA BROCK-PERINI Vice president of the Veterans Medical Leadership Council Karen Werner | Editor

Rita Brock-Perini served as an Air Force captain in Vietnam. She is shown (above left) in uniform and (above) today, at 80 years old.

Rita Brock-Perini was born in Phoenix and attended St. Mary’s High School in the 1950s. The daughter of a Marine Corps veteran, and one of 10 children, she grew up volunteering with her family at the American Legion. “Because there were 10 of us, we were always folding napkins and cleaning tables. Anything to keep us busy and out of the way,” she said. In those days, the Legion did a lot of hands-on work in the community. Brock-Perini’s mom let her work in the clinic where babies received 12  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | NOVEMBER 2018

well-checkups from volunteer physicians. “I used to weigh the babies. I always thought that was so exciting,” she said. Those early experiences sparked an interest in both the military and nursing that has extended throughout her life. Brock-Perini went on to serve in Vietnam as a captain in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps. After leaving the military in 1971, she graduated from nursing school at ASU with the help of the GI Bill and went on to work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

as a federal inspector of healthcare facilities. After a 46-year career in military and civilian nursing, she retired in 2003 and was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame in 2013. But her service to country was far from over. Instead, she took on a new role as vice president and board member of the Veterans Medical Leadership Council (VMLC) and continues to touch the lives of servicemembers to this day. Founded in 1999, the VMLC works to ensure quality medical and mental healthcare for the 300,000 veterans living in Maricopa County. Examples of this include the VMLC providing assistance to a veteran whose leg was amputated so he and his wife could move to a ground-floor apartment. Or the VMLC providing funds for dental work so a struggling veteran could eat without pain. Or the organization paying rent for a terminally ill veteran to remain in his home with hospice until he died.

goes out, or to fix their car so they can get to work or medical appointments. “Our goal is to keep the family whole, so they have a roof over their heads, can put food on the table and can get to their medical or mental health appointments,” Brock-Perini said. Last year, the VMLC provided $225,000 to help more than 700 veterans and their families in this way. The program is remarkably free of red tape. Social workers from the Veterans Health Administration screen the veterans’ needs and send the VMLC a fax so that checks can be sent within a couple of days to the landlord, mechanic or whoever is providing the needed service. “As a nurse, I asked that we honor the veteran’s confidentiality status. So we do not know who they are,” Brock-Perini said. “The social worker uses a number and that’s how they are identified.” Even without seeing the individual results,

Brock-Perini helps to manage the VMLC’s Returning Warrior program, a project that hits close to her heart. “When the troops started coming back from Afghanistan, some of them were in terrible financial straits. Their checks were lagging and they were losing their homes,” she said. “We created a vehicle so we can offer immediate financial assistance, like a two-day turnaround, for any veteran.” Established in 2005, the Returning Warriors program was originally intended to help Afghanistan and Iraq veterans get back on their feet after returning home. But with so many Vietnam veterans experiencing homelessness and chronic illness, the program was expanded to offer assistance to troops and veterans of all services and eras. Some need help with rent or to make up a missed mortgage payment. Others need emergency assistance when their air-conditioning

A proud veteran, Brock-Perini calls for all servicemembers to be recognized. “Women have been serving in the military since World War I. As we respect the service of a male in the military or as a veteran, women should also be respected,” she said.



Brock-Perini receives an enormous amount of satisfaction knowing that she is helping her fellow veterans. “It’s important to me as a nurse and it’s important to me as a veteran, because I see what serious problems our veterans have.” That’s why, at 80, she powers on, with a strength and clarity of purpose uncommon in people half her age. As Veterans Day approaches, Brock-Perini is preparing for the VMLC’s annual Heroes Patriotic Luncheon, an event she hopes the entire community will support. “There are a lot of businesses that don’t know what they can do for veterans,” she said. “This is something they can do. They can either become a sponsor for the luncheon or they can donate, so that we’re able to cover the spectrum of needs when it is most critical.” Brock-Perini believes it was her childhood that sparked her interest in service. “We were a very large family, so we had to take care of each other. Helping people who cannot help themselves or are in situations that aren’t going to be

remedied without outside help is a big part of it,” she said. “It taught us to recognize where those situations exist and what you can do.” To learn more, visit



HEROES PATRIOTIC LUNCHEON Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 Arizona Biltmore


BEHIND THE DOOR {the caniglia group}


Steve Caniglia

Shelley Caniglia

3345 N. 34th St., Phoenix, AZ 85018

310 W. Georgia Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85013

Gorgeous, builder model home in popular Arcadia area gated community! 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and 4600 square feet. Gourmet chef kitchen sports large island with breakfast bar, granite countertops, Restoration Hardware-style stacked cabinets, gas cooktop and high-end stainless steel appliances. Wood and travertine flooring, box window seats and entertainment bar with wine fridge. Fully retractable sliding glass door leading from family room/kitchen to gorgeous backyard. Professionally landscaped front and back, built-in BBQ, huge covered patio, solar heated pool/spa combo with water feature, gas fire pit and travertine sun deck. Spectacular master suite with three customized walk-in closets, walk-in shower, separate tub and double sinks. 2 car garage with Tesla/EV charging receptacle and 1 car garage with built-in workshop. This is a must see!

Classic red brick ranch style home located in the heart of the extremely popular Medlock Place Historic District! 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and 1563 square feet. Fully remodeled kitchen w/ shaker style cabinets and drawers, wood butcher block countertops, stainless steel appliances, gas cooktop, farm sink and breakfast bar. Gorgeous tile flooring and stained concrete flooring throughout. Charming wood burning fireplace in family room. Both bathrooms fully remodeled with the hall bathroom sporting Spanish style concrete tile, vanity with quartz countertops and white tile shower surround. Wood plantation shutters in all common areas. Huge, flood irrigated lot with tons of grass for play, cozy front and back patios and mature landscaping providing shade and privacy. Located just down the street from the light rail, numerous restaurants, boutiques & stores!

The Caniglia Group

Shelley Caniglia: 602-292-6862 | Steve Caniglia: 602-301-2402 |

CAREY’S CORNER {carey peña reports}

HEROES AMONG US Widow of DPS officer helps families of first responders Carey Peña | Contributing Writer

“It was just another regular day and he was gone on a 24-hour shift. We had dinner and I went up to grab the pajamas and as I came down my daughter says, ‘Mommy, there’s somebody at the door.’ I looked out and realized that a DPS flight suit was standing there.” Looking through her screen door, Angela Harrolle could see a Department of Public Safety (DPS) officer flanked by two troopers. A sinking feeling took over. She knew what they were about to say. “They told me Bruce was rescuing two lost and dehydrated hikers up on the side of Bear Mountain in Sedona, and during that rescue he was struck and fatally injured by the helicopter rotor blade.” Bruce Harrolle, an Arizona DPS officer and paramedic, was killed in the line of duty n October 2008. HE DIED A HERO The thing about the word hero is that most of the people who truly fit the description don’t feel at all comfortable with it. After all, heroism is something that comes from within. Over the years as a news reporter and anchor, I’ve gone with first responders to fires and floods, mountain rescues and terrorist attacks. Every time I’ve asked the question after witnessing 16  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | NOVEMBER 2018

firsthand a day of saving lives, “How do you feel about being called a hero?” they all — and I mean, all of them — shrug and say, “I wouldn’t call myself that.” Giving is in their blood. DPS Officer Bruce Harrolle was trying to save lives and, in turn, lost his own. In the months and years following her husband’s death, Angela Harrolle realized there was power in keeping his story alive — and the stories of other men and women just like him. She remembered her husband always took a lot of notes and journaled about the calls he had been on and the stories he had heard. Harrolle, now the president of the 100 Club of Arizona, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to families of first responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, decided to launch The Call podcast to share these deeply personal stories of first responders and what they go through behind the scenes. And the show is getting rave reviews. In fact, Phoenix New Times rated it one Phoenix’s best podcasts. A LIFE OF GRATITUDE Since the world of podcasting is all about sharing the love, I asked Angela Harrolle to come on

Life took an unexpected turn for Angela Harrolle after her husband Bruce (left) was killed in the line of duty. She is shown with her two children Justice and Addie (above) and with the whole family (below).



A nonprofit organization, the 100 Club of Arizona is dedicated to standing behind the men and women who stand behind the badge. The group raised funds for Arizona’s first responder community in a recent telethon (above).

my show, Carey Peña Reports, to talk about how she keeps her husband’s legacy alive through interviews with first responders and through her work with the 100 Club of Arizona.

Harrolle says hers is truly a life of gratitude. Even though she has walked through unspeakable tragedy, she says gratitude encompasses her whole being.

“It’s truly a privilege,” she told me. “I’ve been given this opportunity to help other families. I hope every day when I meet new families that I can inspire them and give them hope.”

I asked Harrolle to name her favorite quote and she cites the late Sen. John McCain:

After Harrolle left the Inspired Media 360 studio, I got to thinking again about the word hero.

“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.”

Angela Harrolle is a hero in my eyes.

In precisely this way, Harrolle has answered the call.

At 33, she became a widow. With grace and resilience she raised the couple’s daughter, Addie, then 4, and son, Justice, then 2.

To hear my interview with Angela Harrolle and learn more about the 100 Club of Arizona, The Call podcast, and Bulletproof, visit

And she has gone on to help hundreds, if not thousands, of families of first responders through the 100 Club and, now, through The Call. The 100 Club of Arizona also puts a lot of focus on a program called Bulletproof (, a confidential and anonymous resource that provides law enforcement professionals and their families with mental health and wellness initiatives and additional awareness tools. 18  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | NOVEMBER 2018



COVER STORY {by karen werner}


Marcia Meyer and the Be Kind People Project put a new spin (and twist and body roll) on character education

It’s a Friday afternoon and members of the Be Kind People crew are rehearsing for a performance at Catalina Ventura Elementary School in Phoenix. Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You” plays as the troupe practices dance moves and huddles together for a pre-show pep talk. The group has been busy, already logging 91 assemblies in the first 55 days of the school year. Approximately 300 sixth to eighth graders file into the auditorium, not sure what to expect. The crew members roam the room, talking to and high-fiving students before the show in a move to create a personal connection. Then it begins. Adri Preston, a Phoenix native and ASU grad, introduces the dancers and raps a number filled with audience call and 20  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | NOVEMBER 2018

response. And just like that, the kids are feeling it, clapping and following directions as the group whirls through its one-hour show. Interspersed with B-boy spins and pop and lock moves are positive messages, urging kids to thank their teachers and be kind in school, at home and in the community. A few kids are pulled from the audience to become part of a game show, in which kind actions replace thoughtless behavior. Marcia Meyer sits in the last row, clapping along and enjoying the performance. She isn’t introduced to the crowd and doesn’t talk to the kids, but she beams when she talks about the crew members. “I love to hear them talk. Aren’t they cool?” she said. Meyer is the founder and CEO of the Be Kind

Though she doesn’t speak at school assemblies, Marcia Meyer (center) is the driving force behind the Be Kind People Project. She does everything from sort supplies to meet with school boards to hang out with the Be Kind crew.


Crew members serve as positive and approachable examples of kindness.


People Project, an award-winning nonprofit that provides youth development programming combining social and emotional learning with academics for kids 5 to 13. The organization works to build a generation of respectful, responsible, healthy and caring citizens by addressing issues that kids face — namely academic achievement, character education, childhood obesity, after-school hours and digital citizenship. The organization was created as an outgrowth of a social event Meyer created where women would get together to collectively prepare gifts for unsung heroes in the community. In 2011, after honoring neonatal intensive care unit nurses and the like, the group decided to honor teachers. “We were working with various Title I schools and were going to recognize some of their teachers, and they said you have to recognize all of our teachers. So what was supposed to be 575 women recognizing about 600 teachers turned into recognizing 10,000 teachers,” Meyer said. Rather than be put off by the challenge, Meyer leaned on her corporate background. A retired senior executive from PetSmart who says she “flunked retirement,” Meyer broke the request into its parts. She realized that, at the heart, teachers really want to help kids, so the group’s gift should help teachers help their students. “We talked about the big problem in schools with bullying, but we didn’t want to say the word bully. So we sat together in my garage and put together a list of attributes that would be the traits of a person who was not a bully, who was the antithesis of that: a kind person,” Meyer said. And then everybody left. “I was left with this list and thought what am I going to do now?” Meyer said. Inspiration struck in the form of her granddaughter Grace, who was then just entering school. Grace has special Caption HereMeyer contemplated how she wanted needs and other kids to treat her. She chose 10 words that if other kids would act on, would make Grace’s life



better. And thus the Be Kind pledge was born: I pledge to: • Be encouraging

• Be considerate

• Be supportive

• Be thankful

The crew is comprised of more than 50 dancers who are all Be Kind People Project employees. In fact, Meyer said, “We’re the largest employer of dancers in Arizona and one of the largest in the United States.”

Famous among fourth graders, the dancers are all screened, fingerprint-checked and instructed • Be helpful • Be respectful in education principles. They’ve also been trained • Be honest • Be a friend by acting coaches who have helped develop their presentation skills and self-confidence. “We look Meyer ordered a quarter million Be Kind pledge for good people, and then we have them audition cards and started going to schools distributing for dance skills, so that we get a combination of them. In a brilliant move, she decided to take along good people and good dancers,” Meyer said. a group of hip-hop dancers. “I knew kids didn’t want to hear from me. I’m a grandma,” she said. The opportunity to have a job rather than just • Be positive

• Be responsible

a gig is life-changing for the dancers, many of whom are recent arts graduates. “It’s fun, exciting, entertaining and a good workout but it’s also empowering to know that we’re in a position where we’re making an impact,” said crew member Ivory Myers, who writes all of the Be Kind People Project songs. “We’re not just impressing kids. We’re rewiring thinking and planting seeds of “You can’t ignore that,” Meyer said. “So we took several deep breaths and filed for nonprofit status.” kindness, positivity and change for our future.” USA Today got wind of the group and featured it in a story called, “Sharing in the USA.” As a result, feedback poured in from across the country, from “This is exactly what my kids need” to “Thank you for honoring teachers” to “Can you come to my school?”

Along the way, Meyer and her team did an enormous amount of research on schools and the problems kids face. As a result, the programming has changed and developed over the last six years into experience-, online- and project-based learning that equips students with tools for making good, responsible decisions and being accountable for building respectful relationships, improving grades and forming enduring values.

Change that is necessary and welcome. “Unfortunately, Arizona as a state doesn’t fare well in many key indicators for youth development,” Meyer said. “I don’t think we can change that, but I think we can change it for the kids that we have contact with.”

Not exactly messages kids are always eager to hear. That’s where the Be Kind crew comes in. The crew connects with kids through hip hop dance, spoken word and rap music, positive interactions and a message of what to do, instead of what not to do.

The Be Kind People Project tackles big issues, including cyberbullying, a program introduced this year. “It’s such a big issue and it’s so scary for our kids,” Meyer said. “There is an extremely high correlation between cyberbullying and school safety, mental health issues, depression. It even goes as far as suicide. In our country, civility needs a shot in the arm. When kids learn this early, it will make a difference.”

“They get a cool factor immediately,” Meyer said. “So we clearly use them to connect with students, so we can teach them something for a higher purpose. People can teach all day long but if the kids aren’t listening, it doesn’t matter.”

Crew leader Adri Preston agrees. “Kids have access to so much now — way more than we did 10 years ago. So giving them this one-hour program to encourage them to make kinder decisions is vital. It gets them excited about


More than a million students have been reached by the Be Kind People Project since the program started.


More than 3 million students, parents, teachers and community members have taken the Be Kind pledge.



BE ENCOURAGING. BE SUPPORTIVE. BE HELPFUL. How you can help the Be Kind People Project • Consider the Be Kind People Project for your Arizona state tax credit contribution. The organization will use the money to deliver youth development programs to students in Title I schools. For info, go to or call (602) 559-9399. • Go to the group’s FULL CIRCLE Premiere at the Madison Center for the Arts on Dec. 1, 2018. The theater performance will provide inspiration, motivation and fun. • Sponsor a school. It costs $4,000 for a school to receive an all-school assembly by the Be Kind crew and monthly follow-up on skills of the Be Kind pledge with online classroom learning. For an average school of 600 students, that’s a little over $6.50 per student for a year of academic, health, online and character education. • Email to have your name added to the Be Kind People Project “One Million Citizens for Kindness” during Be Kind America month (through November 30). • Volunteer! The organization needs help with a variety of projects. Email to get started.

treating each other in a kind way,” she said. The changes the Be Kind People Project inspires are more than individual; they can impact an entire school. Teachers report that after incorporating the Be Kind pledge they spend less time disciplining their students and more time teaching. A student in the Kyrene district started a kindness club. And one Title I school in Phoenix went from mid-to-lower achievement to being an A+ school after its teachers, students and parents adopted the Be Kind pledge. But it’s not just children and schools that the project has changed. It’s changed Marcia Meyer as well. In the process of launching and leading the Be Kind People Project, she finds that she has become a gentler, more tolerant, more hopeful person. She has also become more aware of our city, the complexity of the education system and the challenges families face. “Kids today are facing huge social issues,” she said. “Seeing thousands of faces, listening to responses, talking with schools, and hearing parents’ concerns has highlighted the pressures. They need support, inspiration and involvement from adults to help them make good choices.” Ivory Myers says Meyer is a guiding force for him and the whole Be Kind People crew. In essence, her mission has become their mission. “We’re an eclectic group who brought one person’s vision to life, not only honoring and thanking unsung heroes — our teachers — but really getting on the level of our youth and looking at life from their perspective. Our future is crying out for acceptance and validation.” Back at Catalina Ventura, the assembly is over and the kids file out of the auditorium. Only now, when they receive Be Kind pledge cards, the majority say thank you, while most didn’t say thanks for the sticker they received on the way in. It’s a tangible way the group tallies



the impact each performance has made. Adri Preston is pumped up by the performance, talking about off-the-cuff changes the crew made to speak to this particular group of kids. A crew member since 2015, she clearly loves being part of the Be Kind People Project and has great affection for Meyer as well. “There’s no one like her. She’s incredible and she’s inspiring,” Preston said. “She does it out of the kindness of her heart because she believes in us and she believes in our teachers. You don’t find that nowadays, people who are willing to drop everything to make a difference in our country.” Meyer is thinking about the country, while thinking about the community. Here at home, she is heartened by the impact the Be Kind People Project is making. “All of us can make a difference for the

good of Arizona — and even for our country — if we just take a positive step forward and think about the needs of others. These crew members give me hope. What we need is these kids times a thousand and everything would be better,” she said. For more information, visit

Recently, Eide Bailly announced the winners of its 2018 Nonprofit Resourcefullness Awards, recognizing creative and sustainable revenue ideas from nonprofits. The grand prize winner received $10,000 and runners-up each received $2,500. Congratulations to these Arizona winners!

GRAND PRIZE WINNER: THE BE KIND PEOPLE PROJECT There is a high correlation between poverty and childhood obesity, a condition usually caused by a lack of adequate nutritious and healthy foods. The Be Kind People Project has developed a School Salsa Garden program as an extension of its BE FIT. BE HEALTHY. BE KIND program to teach the skills of growing vegetables, develop an appreciation for fresh food through growing and gardening, and provide a project-based approach to learn important and practical life enrichment skills. To improve academic achievement, students also learn important science, sustainability and nutrition facts while working in their garden. Programs to date show that most students proudly take home veggies from their harvest, seeds to plant where they live and cost-effective, nutritious recipes to practice healthy eating with their families.

RUNNER-UP: FURNISHING DIGNITY Each year, many people sell their homes, move into retirement communities or have family members pass away with no good way to remove furnishings from their homes. Many would like the furnishings to go directly to people in need versus a thrift store. The Furnishing Dignity Pack and Pick Up Service packs and removes household items as a free service to the community. Furnishing Dignity then uses these furnishings for young people aging out of the foster care system or for individuals and families transitioning from homelessness. In this way, Furnishing Dignity receives items essential to its mission, materials are kept out of the landfill, and a new group of workers is employed.

RUNNER-UP: FUTURE FORWARD FOUNDATION The Future Forward Foundation grows healthy local produce on 26 acres in four different Pinal County locations in order to feed the hungry. The organization uses four refrigerated vans to transport the produce around the county to five food banks, two veterans centers, senior centers, Native American communities and churches. Additionally, the organization sells 25 percent of its harvest to finance its growing operations. The produce that the Future Forward Foundation sells sustains the organization, allowing it to follow its true mission and passion: serving the poor.

NEXT DOORS {ahead of the curve}

Tax Credit Contributions Becoming the

FUEL OF THE NONPROFIT COMMUNITY Tom Evans | Contributing Editor

Arizona’s nonprofits are becoming increasingly fueled by Arizona’s tax credit contributions. And despite changes on the federal level, these tax credits appear to be here to stay.

• Arizona Qualifying Charitable Organizations, a catch-all for a broad swath of nonprofits. Limits are $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples.

First, for the uninitiated — the state of Arizona offers an opportunity to receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on your state income taxes when you donate to qualified organizations in five categories:

• Qualifying Foster Care Organizations, with limits of $500 for individuals and $1,000 for married couples.


• Public School Tax Credit Organizations,

with limits of $200 and $400. • Private School Tuition Organizations, for which limits increased this year to $555 for individuals and $1,110 for couples. • Certified School Tuition Organizations — which may receive your contribution if you’ve already maxed out the Private School Tuition Organization credit first — for which limits increased to $552 individually and $1,103 for married couples. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s actually not. You can absolutely give your money to a qualified charity and/or tuition organization instead of giving it to state government. So, over time, these contributions have become increasingly popular for Arizona residents. And, as you might imagine, for the nonprofits that receive the gifts. “Many nonprofits have grown dependent on Arizona tax credit contributions,” said Jarrett Ransom, president and CEO of The Rayvan Group, a nonprofit fundraising consulting firm. “This past year has been a roller-coaster ride for these nonprofits as we all sit on the edge of our seats to see what changes will be made. But one thing I have noticed is that more charities are promoting the tax credit angle year-round and not just near tax time anymore. They are including it in their newsletters, online and other collateral, and at fundraising events.” The roller-coaster ride she’s referring to is happening on the federal level. In the past, tax credit contributions could be treated the same as any other charitable contributions on your federal tax returns — a huge bonus for donors. But the IRS is currently contemplating ending this deductibility, among other changes that took place as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. “There were two substantial changes at the federal level that will impact how tax credit contributions are reported and, in some cases, the economic benefit of making the contributions,” said Brenda Blunt, tax partner with Eide Bailly LLP, a prominent national accounting firm. “Prior to these changes,

Arizona tax credit contributions were essentially ‘free’ for individuals to make up to the donation limits, assuming the donor had an Arizona income tax liability sufficient to absorb the credits.” Nevertheless, these contributions are still an inviting way for tens of thousands of Arizonans to support their favorite charitable causes. “These contributions are very critical to our local nonprofit community,” Ransom said. “Organizations often designate these annual funds to a specific program or purpose … I always coach my clients to never become too dependent on one particular revenue stream. The healthiest nonprofits have a large pool of individual donors. This revenue stream should make up approximately 75 percent of an organization’s revenue stream. A challenge is that the tax credit donations also typically fall into the individual donor category, too.” But as long as tax credit contributions continue to be an option — and there’s no sign at the moment that the state legislature is going to repeal them — they will continue to be a fundraising tool in the nonprofit community. And that’s my segue into a little plug — Frontdoors Media is launching its 2018-19 Tax Credit Directory, our way of spotlighting eligible and deserving nonprofits from throughout the community in each of the eligible categories. You’ll find it on our website at and in print as well, and we encourage you to use it as a resource as you plan your tax returns. So maybe tax season isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. But for the nonprofit community, it’s becoming a critical time for their funding and sustainability.




GIVING GUIDE 2018-19 Arizona Tax Credit

A TAX SEASON GIVING GUIDE FOR ARIZONA It’s finally here, just in time for tax season! It’s our 2018–19 Tax Credit Giving Guide, providing a key resource for Arizona residents looking to receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on their state income taxes while helping a broad spectrum of nonprofits. This special publication provides an overview of tax credits, how they work and why they are important, and includes listings from dozens of organizations across the tax credit categories.


Visit or look for the Tax Credit Giving Guide on our magazine stands throughout the Valley.








Example: Mr. & Mrs. Smith give $800 to one organization or give $200 to four Qualified Organizations.








Example: Mr. & Mrs. Smith give $500 to two Qualified Foster Care organizations or give $1,000 to one organization.

SCHOOL TAX CREDIT Public School Tuition Organizations Private School Tuition Organizations Certified School Tuition Organizations*

200 $555 $552 $


400 $1,110 $1,103 $


* You may only make this contribution if you’ve already maxed out the Private School Tuition Organization credit first.

Example: Mr. & Mrs. Smith owed $2,000 on their taxes, donated the maximum combined amount to all tax credits of $4,413 on their Arizona tax returns and will now receive a refund of $2,413. No catch, dollar-for-dollar assistance to your favorite organizations and schools.

Deadline is April 15, 2019, Tax Day, to make these contributions and submit your forms to get your tax credit when you file.

"Project Runway" season 11 designer Richard Hallmarq, whose work is shown here, will be bringing his designs to the Valley this month.


GIVING IN STYLE {fashion in the philanthropy lane}

THE MAKING OF A FASHION CAPITAL Phoenix’s fashion scene is on fire Tyler Butler | Fashion Writer

The phoenix is a bird with regenerative powers, known for rising from the ashes of its predecessor better and stronger than before. In our state, the phoenix has come to symbolize our capital and its unwillingness to yield.

Through constant change, Arizona has overcome hardships to flourish. And like the phoenix, our state has shown itself to be resilient. Fashion and philanthropy have emerged with more influence and power than ever before. And it just


Design by Fashion Group International member Heather Petrey.

LabelHorde is a directory of fashion businesses operating outside typical fashion industry cities.

Fashion Group International helps its members become more effective in their careers.

so happens that we have several organizations moving the needle further in both of these fields.

a buzz about Arizona as a potential place to do business.

In fact, Arizona has become a training ground where designers come to share their collections and engage. And the established high-end fashion houses have come to recognize the unique beauty of the Southwest. This progress has taken decades and been made possible with the help of many innovators. Thanks to their efforts, Phoenix is on the precipice of prominence.

“When I moved back to Arizona in 2001 after working in the Los Angeles fashion industry, I nearly had to change careers because of the lack of local industry,” said Angela Johnson, co-founder of LabelHorde. “I decided to change the situation instead and started scaffolding an emerging community of designers through a fashion directory called LabelHorde.” Fastforward nearly 18 years and Arizona now boasts a burgeoning industry that includes hundreds of designers and other professionals as well as multiple schools offering fashion programs, multiple fashion weeks and organizations offering industry networking, education and more.

LabelHorde was among the first to emerge in our Phoenix fashion ecosystem. This platform was designed for emerging designers when there was nothing connecting the fashion community. This free directory where people can find Arizona fashion businesses as well as an annual show featuring more than 60 local designers started 36  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | NOVEMBER 2018

Fashion Group International (FGI), the gold


Iris van Herpen in collaboration with Julia Koerner from the collection of Phoenix Art Museum.

John Galliano for Maison Margiela from the collection of Phoenix Art Museum.

Alessandro Michele for Gucci from the collection of Phoenix Art Museum.

standard in fashion network groups, came to Arizona in 2000. This global, nonprofit, professional organization was founded in 1930 in New York City to benefit the fashion industry. FGI currently has more than 5,000 members in the fashion industry, including apparel, accessories, beauty and home. A branch here in Arizona is yet another sign that Phoenix is becoming an epicenter of design. Any talk of fashion in Phoenix has to include Dennita Sewell’s work with the Arizona Costume Institute at the Phoenix Art Museum. Sewell’s experience working at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art gave Arizona’s fashion community a real boost when she moved to our state. Her work has legitimized Arizona as a place of substance

in the fashion field and her keen eye has curated an assortment of designer pieces, collections and shows that are educating our citizens on the beauty of fashion while attracting the attention of other markets and fashion leaders. The latest fashion exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum, on view through March 24, 2019, explores the concept of hyper-current fashion. Presenting garments by designers such as Comme des Garçons, Iris van Herpen, Yeohlee Teng and Gucci (all of which are recent Museum acquisitions), ultracontemporary shows how fashion is responding to an increasingly diverse and fluid global society through designs that reference and interpret various aspects of contemporary culture. “It’s an exciting time for the museum to collect NOVEMBER 2018 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  37


Each year, Phoenix Fashion Week introduces Arizona to work by new designers, such as Christine Adar (below).

Yas Couture by Elie Madi at Phoenix Fashion Week.

High-end fashion house Yas Couture is located in Kuwait, but has made itself known in Phoenix.

Phoenix Fashion Week Photo Credit: James Almanz

pieces for its permanent collection,” said Sewell, the Jacquie Dorrance curator of fashion design at Phoenix Art Museum. “The works in ultracontemporary are head-to-toe looks that represent the purest expressions of the designers’ ideas as they were presented on the runway, but more than that, they are expressive of our current time.” Phoenix Fashion Week has been the leading fashion industry event in the Southwest since 2008. By bridging national and international designers with retailers, boutiques, fashionistas and top fashion media globally, the event is making serious traction inside and outside Arizona. And its statewide fashion seminars and workshops led by top industry experts are ushering in more talent.


Brian Hill, Phoenix Fashion Week’s executive director, had his mom’s advice in mind when he took on the task of developing the organization. She told him, “Create what doesn’t exist.” And so he did, leading the nonprofit to focus on the business of fashion first. The event has silenced naysayers as it makes strides to help emerging designers build sustainable and successful fashion brands locally. Today, Phoenix Fashion Week is available via livestream, so fashion fans around the world can enjoy it from the comfort of their phone, laptop, desktop and tablet. And the organization continues to champion new talent by launching initiatives like the Emerging Designer Bootcamp, which helps in representing fashion talent, finding them paid work and investing in curated

“Project Runway” designers Emily Payne (below) and Richard Hallmarq (far right) will soon hit a local runway to celebrate F.A.B.R.I.C.’s two-year anniversary.

“Project Runway” season 11 alum Richard Hallmarq specializes in fashionable jersey knit clothing.

"Ewok Hoody" designed by Emily Payne.

emerging brands for long-term success. These strides have taken the Valley into another stratosphere that now attracts established as well as emerging designers. In fact, the resources we now have in Arizona are bringing talented designers to learn and potentially utilize our resources. The latest example of this will be seen when “Project Runway” designers come to F.A.B.R.I.C. in November to share their latest collections. Richard Hallmarq from the show’s 11th season will showcase his knack for embracing the best of street style. Emily Payne from “Project Runway” season 13 will also take part in the event, sharing her line of luxury streetwear. What’s more, Payne plans

to leverage the trip to find the perfect place to run her line’s production. It’s actually among the reasons she is visiting; her goal is to see if LabelHorde would be a good fit for her line. With so much momentum, the sky is the limit for Phoenix’s fashion scene, which is innovating and creating its own culture and vibe, emerging as something fresh and uniquely Phoenix.




THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU Building trust in the marketplace Jamie Killin | Web Editor

THE STORY The Better Business Bureau has been serving its communities for more than 100 years, helping to set the standard for ethical business behavior through its accreditation services and other programs. The Better Business Bureau in Phoenix has a long history itself, beginning as the Better Business Bureau of Maricopa 80 years ago after the then Merchants and Manufacturers Association learned of the concept in a nearby city. “They wanted to copy it but decided to create a Better Business Bureau versus doing it inside

the Merchants and Manufacturers Association, which was an association for businesses and business services,” said Matthew Fehling, the president and CEO of BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest. “So, in 1938 they set up a Better Business Bureau of Maricopa.” Since then, the Better Business Bureau and its associated foundation have helped to alert consumers of scams, provide important insights into businesses, help resolve disputes, educate the community on business best practices, provide scholarships and more.

THE CAUSE Many don’t realize that the Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit and that the organization


doesn’t receive funding from the government or community members. Instead, it is

Matthew Fehling, the president and CEO of BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest, says that the Better Business Bureau works to create an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other.

primarily funded by its business members. “The earnings that we make and the income over expense don’t go to the benefit of any kind of shareholders or anything like that. It goes back out into the community that we serve,” said Fehling. “Our mission is broad enough to encompass a lot of different activities that we believe advance it.” That mission centers around protecting consumers and businesses alike through both Better Business Bureau services as well as the foundation, which focuses heavily on education. “We go out to educate consumers or businesses or vulnerable populations on wise investing and how not to get scammed,” said Fehling of the foundation. “We honor students who are doing

the right thing in athletics. We have a partnership with the Arizona Interscholastic Association where we honor ethical athletes. We have a new program honoring cadets that are in ROTC programs at their high schools. So we do a fair amount of work to educate the youth.” At its core, the Better Business Bureau aims to help businesses regulate themselves, making them less susceptible to government regulation and less likely to engage in unethical and harmful business practices. “The Better Business Bureau’s goal is really to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. So by that, we want buyers and sellers to trust each other,” said Fehling. “Trust is kind of the bedrock of the free market enterprise. When you take out



The Better Business Bureau works with businesses to offer accreditation for their good work ethics.


your wallet or your purse and pull out a piece of paper that happens to be green and has a number on it, you trust as a shop owner that

you’re going to be able to deposit that into the bank and pay some bills. I mean, even that requires trust.”

THE FUTURE Today, the Better Business Bureau in Phoenix continues to grow, with expanded services across Arizona, mergers in Southern California and new services to better serve consumers and businesses. While the mission has remained the same for the past 80 years, the organization has continued to find new services, such as the ability to leave reviews in addition to filing complaints, offering meeting space to partners, and providing online education resources. Through these resources, the Better Business Bureau plans to continue growing and strengthening the Phoenix business community.

100 years. But if you look at the way we started and what we did then versus what we do now, we’re tremendously different in the services we provide. But one thing remains true and that is that we believe that all of the services we provide advance our mission.” To learn more, visit

“Ethics, integrity and doing the right thing are not generational,” said Fehling. “People may say, well, the Better Business Bureau has been around for

Jamie Killin WEB EDITOR


Give Him a Brighter Future Individuals can give up to $400 to JFCS, and married couples filing jointly can donate up to $800 –and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on their Arizona state tax return while supporting children, adolescents and families in need. 602.567.8327

KITCHEN DOORS {seasonal gifting guide} Lisa Mullavey | Contributing Writer

QUEEN CREEK OLIVE MILL Queen Creek | A gourmet gift from Queen Creek Olive Mill will delight everyone on your list from the casual cook to the experienced home chef. This family-run business is Arizona’s only working olive mill and farm, making it the only place in the state that produces locally pressed, high-quality extra virgin olive oil. What makes this such a good place to shop for the holidays is that they offer so many wonderful and unique products in addition to their olive oil. Pick out a traditional EVOO or select one of their flavored varieties such as dark chocolate, jalapeño or blood orange. They also carry several kinds of specialty vinegars, including organic apple cider and cranberry balsamic. Finish your list with one of their robust barbecue or pasta sauces, a tapenade or a Queen Creek Olive Mill cookbook. Shopping for the office? They also have an array of corporate gifting options. Shop online or at one of their two retail locations.

ICONIC COCKTAIL CO. Various Local Shops and Markets | Iconic recently released their seasonal Cranberry Thyme handcrafted cocktail mixer. Made like a traditional grenadine, this mix starts with 100 percent pure pomegranate juice. The flavor of the holidays comes from steeping in fresh thyme and the addition of cranberry juice and a touch of pure cane sugar. Pulp from the cranberries is also used to further infuse the flavor of the berries. Use to create a custom cocktail or refer to the mixer’s label for fun recipes such as the Cran-Hattan and Phoestivas. Either way, the result will be a drink that captures the essence of the season in every sip. Iconic has many other flavors to choose from including selections made for coffee, hot chocolate, sparking water and tea, all available in 17 and 4 ounce bottles. They also have a mini-mixer pack with five flavors and a TSA-compliant pack for the traveler in your life. Shop online or visit their website for a list of places that carry their products.

ZAK’S CHOCOLATE Scottsdale | Zak’s Chocolate is one of only a few shops in the United States that makes its chocolate from scratch. While most use chocolate that others manufacture, Zak’s sources organic beans then roasts, grinds, flavors and designs their chocolate in-house. The result is delicious artisanal chocolate that you won’t find anywhere else. Zak’s will release their holiday chocolate collection the first week in December. This year’s flavors are peppermint mocha, candy cane crunch, eggnog, pumpkin spice and gingerbread. Zak’s will also offer chocolate Santa and Christmas tree designs. Owners Jim and Maureen Elitzak can help put together the perfect assortment for that special someone, complete with holiday packaging. (Their powdered cocoa, hot chocolate mix or single-origin chocolate bars wrapped in beautiful paper from Nepal would make festive stocking stuffers.) You’ll have a hard time leaving Zak’s Scottsdale store without a little something — or a few things — for yourself! If you’re looking to purchase specific quantities or flavors, it would be wise to order ahead.



Phoenix Public Market Cafe Phoenix | Known for dishing up good food in a casual, welcoming atmosphere, Phoenix Public Market and Café is also an ideal place to pick up a delectable holiday treat for your own table or to give as a hostess gift. Executive pastry chef Cole Turner graciously shared a few of the items that will be available through the New Year. Back this year are their holiday pies. Turner’s pumpkin recipe features a blended pumpkin filling with kuri squash, a winter variety that adds a beautiful orange hue and robust pumpkin flavor. Finished

with toasted meringue, it’s like none you’ve ever tasted. Another option is their roasted apple pie sprinkled with sweet streusel. You’ll also find a host of different cookies at the Café to choose from, including their signature sugar cookies and macarons, all dressed up in the colors of the season. There will be prepackaged assortments you can present with a greeting card or give as a favor at your own get-together. Not sure what to get? Let Turner and his team help pick out the perfect sweet for your occasion.

Phoenix Public Market Caf Photo Credit: Shelby Moore

A 2ND ACT {survivors giving back}


Finding purpose in unexpected places Judy Pearson | Contributing Writer

Some second acts are created from the ground up. Others develop from an existing passion and take on an entirely new purpose. The latter was the case with Cheryl Laflen. In 1956, after the horror of World War II, President Dwight Eisenhower created a program that would make the world a better place by connecting American cities with their counterparts around the world. Called Sister Cities, the program’s mission was to build friendships and a path to peace, one relationship at a time. Paired cities from around the globe share skills and knowledge across a wide spectrum of categories: humanitarian, cultural, economic, educational and even among first responders. In 2000, Laflen and her husband, Milt, were invited to join the Mesa Sister Cities program. At that time, the Mesa chapter had five Sister Cities, one each in Mexico, Peru, Canada, China and New Zealand. The vision and mission of the program captured their hearts, and they jumped in with both feet. In the program, the cities decide which projects they’ll work on, and one of the Laflens’ first projects was helping Arizona doctors to develop a medical clinic in Peru. It became the cornerstone of the couple’s volunteering, and was the first of


many projects to come. “The give-and-take between the cities goes both ways,” Laflen explained. “When Phoenix began to consider a light rail, we went to Burnaby, Canada, to look at their rail system. We spoke with the mayor, asking what issues they had encountered in their transportation start-ups. We brought that information back to share with our city’s planners.” Then Cheryl received the devastating news that she had breast cancer. Her immediate impulse was to seek out the same Mesa medical team she had worked with in Peru for her own care and consultation. Knowing them as friends made a terrifying situation better. And as often happens, her cancer experience brought with it a silver lining, and an unexpected second act. Once Cheryl recovered, the Laflens’ Sister Cities work continued with a trip to Guaymas, Mexico, where they helped build a senior center. One of their Mexican counterparts mentioned that his wife was being treated for breast cancer. “He told me that mastectomy supplies weren’t as available there as they are here,” Laflen said. “So when I got home, I sent survivor bras and prosthetics to my new Mexican sister so she

Cheryl and Milt Laflen (above) enjoyed volunteering together for Sister Cities. Shown here are trips to Caraz, Peru, and Guaymas, Mexico.

Cheryl and Milt Laflen created personal relationships with every trip they took. Here, the couple is shown on a Sister Cities visit to Burnaby, Canada.

could feel as good about herself as I did post-cancer.” Over the course of the next decade, Cheryl was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and later a metastasis to her lung. The multiple surgeries caused her grown daughter to describe her mother as “Swiss cheese.” Each time, Cheryl bounced back, jumping into more Sister Cities work. Born and raised in Tempe, Cheryl suggested to Milt that they join that chapter as well, adding to the potential destinations for volunteer work. One of Tempe’s Sister Cities was Agra, India. And again Cheryl’s cancer allowed her to pay it forward. Shortly after their visit to India, Cheryl received a phone call from a friend they’d met there. 48  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | NOVEMBER 2018

“Roheet told me his mother-in-law had just been diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer,” Laflen said. “He wanted to leave no stone unturned in helping her, and asked if I would connect him to my doctor. I did and my doctor was hugely helpful.” By this time, Cheryl and Milt had been asked to lead the Sister Cities program for the entire state of Arizona. They were midway through planning the annual conference in 2017 when cancer again dealt an unexpected shock. Milt was diagnosed with melanoma that had metastasized to every major organ. He lived just 17 days, making Cheryl promise she would complete the Sister Cities work they had started together. And she has. Today, Cheryl remains an Arizona Sister Cities board member and leads the youth ambassador

program. She thoroughly enjoys the interactions between talented young people from across the globe, chuckling, “I didn’t pick this particular garden, but I’ve proven one thing to myself. I can bloom wherever I’m planted!” To learn more, visit


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Don’t Just Take Our Word For It. Let Other Nonprofit Leaders Tell You How We Can Help. “We not only reached our goal but more than doubled it.” — Tom Egan, Executive Director Foundation for Senior Living “The workshop was a great value, and walked me through how to navigate the non-profit space...In three words: Thorough, Considerate, Professional.” — Jill Schiefelbein, CEO The Dynamic Communicator, New York “She is experienced at creating a comprehensive development plan, directing the fundraising programs, and managing the staff, board and volunteers.” — Frank Bourget, Executive Director Amercian Red Cross Northern Arizona

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OPEN DOORS {publisher’s page}

SMALL BUT MIGHTY Three organizations that are all heart for kids in need Andrea Evans | Publisher

I don’t know about you but it seems to me that this season is off to a quick pace. And our new Frontdoors event calendar has offered some wonderful opportunities to learn about several smaller organizations and meet the supporters helping them get established. I picked three to highlight this month — all with a focus on children.


ANGEL MAMAS & ANGEL KIDS This organization was founded in 2008 by Shira Nicks when she gathered a group of fellow moms to host a charity baby shower to support local organizations in need of diapers and other baby essentials. After four years of assisting other charities, Angel Mamas created its own program: Wings of Love. The program started by “adopting” a single mother fighting breast cancer and her son for an entire year. The following year, they repeated the effort with a larger family — a single mom and her three children, the eldest girl struggling with the ravaging aftereffects of early childhood cancer. Since 2014, the program has expanded to support multiple families with children fighting life-threatening medical conditions with financial and in-kind support on a monthly basis. I met the Angel Mamas at a recent AZ Mindful Moms gathering where I was introduced to the Angel Kids, the children of several Angel Mamas who wanted to give back too. For the holiday season, the kids are collecting new toys for patients in the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and distributing them at a very special holiday party. For more information on the Wings of Love selection process and Angel Kids toy drive, visit

DEFENDERS OF CHILDREN Today, the Defenders of Children’s expanded mission is to protect children, facilitate healing and end the intergenerational cycle of abuse in our society. In addition to working with client families, the staff liaises with other nonprofit organizations and state or county officials concerned with child welfare. Often the following services are needed to support each case: providing information and referrals; coordinating social services, including trauma-informed and free counseling for victims; and/or providing family support such as mediation, supervision, therapeutic intervention (aka reunification) and education advocacy. The organization offers legal services for client-families that meet the criteria, and offers forensic and expert witness services when needed. The staff and volunteers interact with agencies such as the Attorney General’s Office, the State Bar of Arizona, family and juvenile courts, and the Department of Child Safety to navigate a successful outcome for each child. To see some incredible success stories and learn more, visit



KIDS IN FOCUS This unique program was founded in 2012 by photographer Karen Shell after 26 years of volunteering with kids in need at organizations such as The Salvation Army, Florence Crittendon and UMOM. Kids in Focus utilizes photography lessons as a means to help kids who have experienced trauma. The program works to help them build confidence and, in time, give them a new lens on life. Kids in Focus offers mentoring from professional photographers for children ages 10 to 14 who come from backgrounds of poverty, homelessness, neglect and/or abuse. Together the kids and their cameras, with the guidance of their mentors, take a journey of creativity that culminates in a public photography exhibit and a hardbound book filled with their work. The result: empowerment to explore, to trust and to see the world in a new light. To see an online gallery of participant photography and upcoming shows, visit

Andrea Evans PUBLISHER


With thanks to all of these organizations for working on behalf of the youngest members of our community,


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

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Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.