Frontdoors Magazine February 2019 Issue

Page 1



100 Y e a r s


1 0 0 Ye








Rob and Melani Walton Discuss Philanthropy and Partnerships, From Local to Global

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






Andrea Tyler Evans EDITOR


ITʼS ARIZONA TAX CREDIT TIME! The Deadline is April 15 Donʼt forget to check out the Frontdoors Tax Credit Giving Guide for 2018-19. Find it on our website at



Lisa Mullavey, Judy Pearson, Carey Peña, Catie Richman






On the Cover Vintage photo of tourists at the Grand Canyon from the 1950s.

Credit: Grand Canyon National Park



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 {february 2019, volume 17, issue 2}


EDITOR’S NOTE......................... 05 Happy Birthday, Arizona 10 QUESTIONS WITH............. 06 Stuart Graff BOOKMARKED.......................... 10 Books with a bit of history OFFICE DOORS......................... 12 Mary Jane Rynd of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust CAREY’S CORNER................... 16 For the Love of Children


COVER STORY.......................... 20 100 Years Grand! NEXT DOORS............................. 30 We See Our Future When We Look at Our Past GIVING IN STYLE..................... 34 How Charming CHEERS TO THE CHAIR........ 36 Monique Porras CHARITY SPOTLIGHT........... 38 Center Dance Ensemble KITCHEN DOORS..................... 42 Food that Stands the Test of Time A 2ND ACT..................................... 44 The Castle OPEN DOORS............................ 48 My Own Bygone Days in the Grand Canyon State


++ Childhelp

++ Phoenix Heart Ball

++ Arizona Humane Society

++ Devour Culinary Classic

++ Sedona Film Festival

++ Barry & Peggy Goldwater

++ Easterseals

++ Teach For America

++ Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

++ Tovrea Carraro Society

++ Celebrity Fight Night

++ Grand Canyon Conservancy

++ Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

++ Center Dance Ensemble


++ Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s

++ Chicanos Por La Causa

++ Phoenix Children’s Chorus


Museum of the West

EDITOR’S NOTE {on the job}

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ARIZONA On Valentine’s Day, 1912, Arizona was granted statehood, the last of the 48 contiguous U.S. states to be admitted. To recognize its birthday, we’re highlighting nonprofit and community organizations celebrating their own milestone years. Working on it, I realized that I am celebrating a landmark date of my own — two decades in the Grand Canyon State. In the summer of 1999, my husband John and I packed a U-Haul and headed to Phoenix. It was an impulsive, out-of-character move for us both, and one that changed everything. New York in the 90s had been a wild ride, filled with grad school, new friends, great jobs, low salaries, TV appearances, and writing an off-Broadway play. It was also shaped by the untimely loss of John’s mom to a grueling battle with cancer and a booming stock market that made everything cost much too much. We had been lucky to take over the lease of the tiny rent-controlled apartment where John grew up, but unable to afford anything more. Looking ahead, it seemed we’d be trapped in this 250square-foot space so small you had to sit sidesaddle on the toilet to close the bathroom door. And then John’s Arizona cousins asked if we’d consider moving there. “Ha,” we scoffed with East Coast derision — until the videotape arrived. Footage of open houses with open floorplans, light-filled spaces and bathrooms large enough to close the door. Kitchens with counter space

and dishwashers — an unheard of luxury in our Manhattan price point. There were garages where we could park a car and backyards where we could start a garden and extra bedrooms to start a family. “How big?” and “How much?” were our only questions before we put a bid on a 1,500-square-foot house — modest by Arizona standards but deluxe in the 212 area code — and began packing up. Fast-forward 20 years and I can’t believe we made that move. But I’m very glad we did. John and I have run a business together for 17 years and, more importantly, became parents nearly 15 years ago. We have made a life here, full of friends and new experiences in our adopted state. Happily, over the years, all of my family followed us here, so it feels more like home than ever before. Arizona has a way like that — of being welcoming to newcomers and a great place to start again. I’d argue that much of that is due to organizations like the ones we’re highlighting this month. The ones that preserve the state’s special places, invest in our communities, help the underserved, and celebrate the state we all call home. Happy birthday, Arizona.

Karen Werner EDITOR




Photo by Andrew Pielage.

President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation 1. For those who aren’t familiar, what is Taliesin West? Taliesin West is Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and desert laboratory. He found the site in 1937, and with his apprentices — the Taliesin Fellowship — began experimenting with new materials and building techniques to create a desert camp that embodied his principles of organic architecture. It was here that a 71-year-old man began the most fertile and creative years of his long career, for more than 20 years. Today, Taliesin West is the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which not only preserves Taliesin West (and its sister site in 6  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

Wisconsin, Taliesin) but also advances the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright through public programs that bring more than 110,000 visitors from around the world to Scottsdale to experience his extraordinary work through tours, events and education programming.

2. How is Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius expressed at Taliesin West? Because Taliesin West was Frank Lloyd Wright’s experimental desert camp, it is one of the more personal and uncompromised expressions of his vision for how we can live in harmony with the world around us. At Taliesin West, the walls

appear to be ancient expressions of the desert itself, with lines that reflect the geometry of the McDowell Mountains east of the property. Through framed panoramas and vistas inside and out, the eye is always drawn beyond the buildings to embrace the landscape. You really get the sense of being at one with the world around you, inside and outside, part of a whole that connects buildings, landscape and people in a single ecosystem where everything and everyone can thrive.

5. You’ve added lots of new tours and programs; why have you done that?

3. How did you come to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation?

6. You recently received several grants to fund technology updates. What are your plans?

I grew up in Chicago and experienced Wright’s work on school field trips — and found that his designs, his ideas, even his life story were inspiring. Understanding Wright’s constant experimentation and innovation influenced me to live my life by constantly exploring, learning, experimenting and growing. And though I’ve had successful careers in law and business with Fortune 500 companies, I always knew I would cap my working life in the nonprofit world. When I heard about the leadership opportunity at the foundation, I wanted to combine my experience as a strategic leader with my lifelong passion to help steward Wright’s legacy, so that future generations could be inspired by his work as I have been through my whole life.

4. What are your goals for the foundation? We’re working hard to make it a resource for our community, and the world, by teaching Wright’s ideas about living in harmony with the world around us. Wright’s ideas ladder up to modern notions of sustainability, so that his work is more relevant today than ever, and we hope that our visitors leave with new ideas about how they can bring sustainability and beauty into their lives and their communities. We’ve been doing a lot of work — and more to come — to ensure that we have the financial stability and community support to preserve Wright’s homes and undertake our programs for many years.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy and work are incredibly diverse, leaving us with a number of ways to share his timeless ideas with the community. We want the community to feel the life of this space and experience it as it was intended: through beautiful art, stunning performances, unique educational offerings and informative resources.

We’re very excited that our new approach to sharing Wright’s legacy of beauty and sustainability is winning the support of our community. These grants will allow Taliesin West to continue its evolution from a traditional house museum to an engaging site infused with interactive, technologyenhanced experiences. For example, a grant from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has modernized our Internet systems, allowing the foundation the ability to create web-based programming on and off campus, with the installation of a fiber-optic cable and new IT hub at Taliesin West. Other grants from American Express, the Gila River Indian Community and a diverse group of funders build on the Piper grant to allow us to build interactive digital kiosks near the visitor entry court, iPads for field trips and summer camps, and many other initiatives that allow visitors to explore Wright’s legacy more fully than ever before.

7. What are some of the challenges that go along with running a National Historic Landmark? Perhaps our biggest challenge is funding the work to maintain these historic buildings. Because they were experimental architecture, they require constant attention and intervention. Our water distribution system and electric systems are outdated by decades — and it’s not FEBRUARY 2019 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  7


Wrightʼs desert masterpiece glows at night. Photo by Andrew Pielage.

always easy to raise money for infrastructure. Thankfully, we have a grant from the federal government to support some of this work — though we have to raise $3 for every dollar the federal government will provide. We also have to be careful about how we use the site. Unlike contemporary museums, we have to limit the use of the site to ensure that it isn’t damaged through overuse or accidents caused by visitors. This is especially true because we don’t operate like a house museum — we encourage you to sit on the furniture and experience the spaces as they were intended, rather than from behind a rope.

8. Are there any new projects or initiatives you’re excited about? We’re very excited to be starting to use our 500 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert in our programs. Later this year, we’ll be exhibiting a piece of site-specific environmental art along a new desert loop interpretive trail. Visitors will come to understand more about what we can learn from the desert, just as Wright did when he came here. The desert was the inspiration for so many innovations and designs in Wright’s career, and its resilience and beauty still inspire us today. 8  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

9. Last year marked Wright’s 150th birthday. In what ways is his work still relevant today? Not only is Wright’s work still relevant, it is more needed now than ever before. His ideas can truly help us advance the way we build and live, whether embracing his spirit of innovation to pursue more efficient technologies and materials, carrying on his tradition of education to meet the needs of STEAM-based jobs of the future, or emulating his care of the natural environment through more sustainable building and preservation practices.

10. What’s your favorite spot at Taliesin West and why? It changes from day to day, but right at this moment it’s a spot in Wright’s living room where you can take in three mountains, including the Superstitions, to the east. At sunset in the winter, when they are lit from the side, there is no more beautiful site in the Valley. To learn more, go to

IMPROVING OUR COMMUNITY together Because Arizona is our home, we want to see it thrive as much as you do. Nonprofit organizations play a significant role in making our state better, which is why we contributed more than 6,500 hours of our time volunteering in 2018. Let us show you our dedication to your financial success and help your nonprofit reach its vision of improving the lives of Arizonans. We are here to advocate for all of the good you do within our community. NATIONAL BANK OF ARIZONA The only bank you need.

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BOOKMARKED {what are you reading} Books with a bit of history

MARSHALL TRIMBLE Arizona's official state historian


“Arizona: A Celebration of the Grand Canyon State” BY JIM TURNER

H I S TA K E “Jim Turner, retired in 2008 as an outreach historian for the Arizona Historical Society, spent many years traveling the state giving talks for civic groups and historical societies. During this time he gained a vast knowledge of Arizona’s unique and colorful history. In 2009, Turner was honored as an Arizona Culturekeeper for his many years of writing and preserving the history of the state. His book is a comprehensive history of the Grand Canyon State

dating from prehistoric times to the present and even ventures into its bright future. The exceptional photography provides the reader with visual images of the state’s unique beauty from the deserts to the mountains, canyons and bountiful forests. It also highlights the multicultural inhabitants. Turner’s book was written as the state was celebrating its Centennial. The reader is afforded a delightful journey through its amazing cavalcade of history.”

DANA CAMPBELL SAYLOR Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame board chair


“Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics, 1883-1950” BY HEIDI J. OSSELAER

H E R TA K E “This book shines a bright light on the pioneering spirit of Arizona’s first women politicians. The author shows that reconstructing Arizona women’s history is difficult, because many women did not keep their correspondence. However, through this reconstruction process, certain patterns emerged. The early Arizona women politicians were ambitious, innovative, energetic and operated independently. It also became apparent that women in Arizona had an advantage because they played such important roles in the state’s economic development. Despite


all of the challenges of winning the right to vote in Arizona, some women felt compelled to continue forward and run for office. A public expectation existed that these Arizona women would alter the political landscape and champion laws that benefited women and children, end corruption in politics and challenge men for control of government. Their remarkable life stories remained largely untold until now. Do read the book and learn about the women whose shoulders you stand on.”


Food, drink and travel writer


“Who Is Gym?: The Stories Behind Arizona’s High School Sports Venues” BY SCOTT HANSON


“Do you know who your high school football stadium is named after? Or the gym? Or the school itself? If not, don’t worry because ‘Gym’ has all the answers — or more specifically, ‘Who Is Gym?,’ a book focused on telling the fascinating stories about the names behind Arizona’s high schools and their sports venues. Written by Arizona native and 30-year high school football and baseball official Scott Hanson, ‘Who Is Gym?’ is the result of three years of research and

interviews with Arizona’s high school athletic directors, administrators, alumni, librarians, local historians, longtime school employees, relatives of those honored, the honorees themselves and others who may have known the people whose names adorn the buildings and fields across Arizona. There is also a special foreword by Arizona state historian Marshall Trimble, who urged Hanson to take it upon himself to create a record and collection for our state.”

2446 E CAMELBACK ROAD | 602.955.8000

191456_PHOENIX_FRONTDOORS_7.75X4.75_MAG.indd 1

2/4/19 7:55 AM

OFFICE DOORS {valley changemakers}

MARY JANE RYND President and CEO of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Karen Werner | Editor

To many people, Virginia G. Piper is a name on plaques and Playbills, but to Mary Jane Rynd, Piper was a mentor and friend. “I love to talk about Virginia,” Rynd said. “She was a woman who inspired people to do the best they could, and to do better than they ever thought they could. She had the highest integrity.” Today, Rynd is president and CEO of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the largest private foundation in Arizona. But before Rynd worked at the foundation bearing Piper’s name, she worked for Piper herself. Rynd, who discovered she had an affinity for 12  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

accounting toward the end of college, was working at a Big 8 accounting firm where Piper’s sister was a client. Rynd attended various luncheons and events with the sisters and got to be friendly. Then one day Rynd received a call from Virginia. “She said, ‘Dearie, will you do my taxes?’ So I got to work with her, and it was such a privilege,” Rynd said. The widow of Motorola founder Paul V. Galvin, Piper had been active in philanthropy for decades. “She was very careful before she awarded a grant or made a contribution. She wanted to make sure she was giving it to an organization that was going to do good. She wanted it to benefit the community,” Rynd said.

Surprisingly, despite her great wealth, Piper did her own record keeping. “She had a great system,” Rynd said. “She did everything on index cards. If she got an interest payment she’d write down the date and at the end of the year, type it up and give it to me.”

and then apply the research that the faculty does to help solve those needs.” Through partnerships among scientists, community members and partner organizations, the initiative will access all of the university’s assets to try to build resilience in our communities.

Piper’s dignified influence and humble giving made an impression on the young CPA. Piper would visit organizations, meet with board members, ask tough questions, and make informed decisions on her own, with humility. “I learned to try to be a better person, and how to treat people with respect in any circumstance,” Rynd said.

Meanwhile, an older, equally far-reaching program will continue: the Piper Fellows program. The program was developed by Piper Trust’s first president, Judy Jolley Mohraz, in the first year of the trust’s existence. In meeting with nonprofit leaders in the community that year, Mohraz noticed they had one thing in common. “They all looked overworked and exhausted,” Rynd said.

Rynd joined the trust as CFO nearly 18 years ago, two years after it was established following Piper’s death in 1999. “I got the job description and it just seemed like all the facets of my life — all of the boards and committees I’d been on, all that experience — kind of folded into the CFO position,” she said. After years of working at Piper Trust, Rynd was named CEO and president last June. Now, as the trust prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Rynd wants people to know that it continues to work hard to improve health, opportunity and well-being for the people of Maricopa County. Reflecting Piper’s own grantmaking, the organization supports education, the arts, healthcare and medical research, the needs of children and older adults, and religious institutions. “I think people should know that we probably have the most outstanding board of directors ever put together,” Rynd said. The eight board members meet 10 times a year to discuss the trust’s programs and grantmaking. “Everybody’s always there, always prepared. They have good questions, really probing sometimes, but always respectful and always with the best interests of the community,” Rynd said. As the trust looks toward its next 20 years, it has introduced some ambitious new initiatives. “I’m really excited about the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience with ASU,” Rynd said. “It’s a way for the really smart people at the university to interact with and obtain knowledge from the community about what the community feels its needs are,

With an academic background, Mohraz decided that a fellowship program might be helpful. Today, that fellowship offers nonprofit leaders a selfdesigned professional development sabbatical so they can focus on leadership skills and programs to make their organizations more effective. “It has expanded, too; that’s the neat thing,” Rynd said. “People came back with such great ideas to help their organizations but they didn’t have the resources to implement them. So we started a grant program so that after the completion of your fellowship you can apply for a $50,000 grant to help implement your ideas.” The program has been transformative for some organizations, and for the Fellows themselves. Dozens of Piper Fellows bear the imprint of the training, their roots stretching deep beneath Arizona’s nonprofit terrain. But Piper Trust isn’t resting on its history. At 20, the trust and its officers are looking back while looking ahead. “It’s a milestone,” Rynd said. “It’s making us take stock and look inward to see what we could do better and what we should be doing differently.” When she began work at Piper Trust, Rynd didn’t imagine she would one day be leading the organization, but she’s thoroughly enjoying the position. “When I wake up, I’m ready to go. I can’t wait to check my e-mail to see what’s happened. I feel so blessed to be able to work with somebody FEBRUARY 2019 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  13


Above left: Pope John Paul II and Virginia Piper (right) in September 1987. Above right: 2018 Piper Fellows pictured with president and CEO, Mary Jane Rynd.

else’s money to help the community,” she said. Despite two decades of good work, the trust’s grantmaking is as needed as ever. “There are still so many deep needs,” Rynd said. “We haven’t cured our scourges of homelessness, poverty, low reading scores.” That’s why Rynd is excited to work to extend the reach and legacy of Virginia G. Piper. Along those lines, Piper Trust has interesting plans. During this milestone year, the trust is looking to professionally archive some of Piper’s personal items. “We’ve got audiotapes that she used to

Walter, the World’s Largest VW bus.

send back and forth to her parents. Just a myriad of things, from art to coffee mugs to important letters,” Rynd said. Piper Trust hopes to preserve these items in a way that will keep Piper’s memory and mission alive for future generations, so that she is more than just a name on a wall. “We all adored her,” said Rynd. “She was somebody that people were drawn to. Her kind heart just came through.” To learn more, go to

AC N ICN IN HT TH HE E SS TTAARRSS AARR I ZI Z OO NA 2 0 21 09 1 9 D ADN GGWWI ITTH NA benefitingthe theNational National Kidney Kidney Foundation of of Arizona benefiting Foundation Arizona Benefiting the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona

February 22, 2019 J W M a r r i ot t C a m e l b a c k I n n R e s o rt & S pa

Andy Chambers : : Sarah Dobb Zach Heasley : : Anja Imamovic Ian Schwartz : : Briana Santiago Ustymovych Marcus Seiler : : Mariyana Vasileva Jarrod Smith : : Gergana Slavova

event chairman

Jamie Andersen

G u i d i n g S ta r Awa r d R e c i p i e n t

Nancy Spetzler

for ticket info and sponsorships visit



c e l e b r i t y s ta r & P r o d a n c e r s Mackenzie Darling Berk : : Elvin Dioquino Laura Bianchi : : Kristijan Burazer Dr. Harini Chakkera : : Damir Karaman Dr. Sheetal Chhaya : : Daniele Cavallo Ali Dugaw : : Radomir Pashev Andrea Tyler Evans : : Ivan Dishliev Kerrie Addante Jacobs : : Tudor Alexander Tina Majerle : : Igor Ustymovych Racquel Miller : : Nikolay Kralev Dr. Jaya Raj : : JC Yeh Dr. Natalee Sansone : : Yavor Genev Denise Viner : : Elijah Armstead

CAREY’S CORNER {carey peña reports}

FOR THE LOVE OF CHILDREN Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson celebrate 60 years of Childhelp Carey Peña | Contributing Writer

“The answer to life is in service to others.” These are not just words spoken by Sara O’Meara, co-founder of Childhelp. It’s the way she’s spent the past 60 years. O’Meara and fellow Childhelp co-founder Yvonne Fedderson founded the organization in 1959. At the time, they were young Hollywood starlets. By chance they both landed roles on a project that would take them overseas. That assignment would change the course of their lives. Together they began rescuing so-called “throwaway children” in Japan and Vietnam. “We never dreamed it would be our whole life. We were actresses at the time,” O’Meara said. They went on to build nine orphanages, a hospital and a school in Japan and Vietnam. The young actresses were quickly recognized as child advocates in the United States and they were personally asked by Nancy Reagan to lead the fight against child abuse here at home. So they did. “The Ladies,” as they are famously known, went on to build the very first residential treatment 16  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

center for child abuse in the nation and defied all of their naysayers along the way. THEY DID IT WITH PERSEVERANCE AND PRAYER “Any time you try to do anything good, you are going to have the other side that is not always as complimentary, and other people may find fault,” O’Meara said. “The main ingredient is perseverance. If you know something is the right thing to do, you cannot let anyone discourage you.” Fedderson adds that every step has been guided by faith. “We pray about everything. God is the CEO of our organization … that’s for sure,” she said. Led by O’Meara and Fedderson, Childhelp built advocacy centers and group homes for children already affected by child abuse; created prevention programs like Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe, which they hope to see implemented in schools nationwide; and established the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, where trained professionals answer the phones in more than 150 languages. And recently, they added text messaging. Children in crisis can text 1-800-4-A-CHILD and receive immediate help. Now 85 and 84 (Fedderson points out she’s younger),

Childhelp co-founders Yvonne Fedderson and Sara OʼMeara started the organization from the ground up and have grown it to help millions of children around the world.

Yvonne Fedderson (above left) and Sara O'Meara (above right) first met in 1958 on the set of “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.” Theyʼve been friends ever since.



Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson remain active with Childhelp, whether working with children or in the spotlight, raising funds.

The Ladies show no signs of slowing down. They still have big plans.

Gala, chaired this year by international philanthropists Richard and Dr. Stacie Stephenson.

“There is always more to accomplish. There is more left to do. And we have great plans for developing other programs that have never been done before. We are known as the trailblazers,” Fedderson said. It’s a trail blazed by vision, compassion and faith.

The Drive the Dream Gala draws a celebrity crowd, including longtime Childhelp supporters John Stamos, Kathie Lee Gifford and Cheryl Ladd, among many others.

“We don’t want our plan, because that’s a meager plan compared to what God has planned for each of us,” O’Meara said. “And we can make changes. Everyone that is on this earth can make a change. They have to choose to want to make a change. That’s the difference.” CONTINUING TO DRIVE THE DREAM The Ladies have packed schedules every single day, so scheduling this interview was a challenge. When we finally secured a time to shoot a podcast on location at their home in Paradise Valley, The Ladies were warm and welcoming. They were excited to talk about all that Childhelp has achieved over 60 years — all the millions of children who have been saved. And what comes next. On Feb. 2, 2019, Childhelp officially kicked off its 60th anniversary year with the Drive the Dream 18  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

The Ladies left the world of Hollywood long ago. And while they still enjoy the glitz and glamour that comes with their fundraising galas and events nationwide, what matters most is finishing the job they started as young actresses back in 1959. “As long as there is one hurting child out there, we are going to keep going,” O’Meara said. To see O’Meara and Fedderson’s interview about the power of positive change, visit



Our Children. Your Tax Credit. Their Future.

GRADUATION RATES 99% of students at Catholic schools graduate from high school.

ADVANCEMENT 97% of these graduates go on to post-secondary education or enter the military.

SCHOLARSHIPS Graduates of Catholic schools are among the highest recipients of university scholarships.

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Catholic Education Arizona is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization and has never accepted gifts designated for individuals. Per state law, a school tuition organization cannot award, restrict or reserve scholarships solely on the basis of donor recommendation. A taxpayer may not claim a tax credit if the taxpayer agrees to swap donations with another taxpayer to benefit either taxpayer’s own dependent.


COVER STORY {by karen werner}


10 0 Y e

After 100 years, Grand Canyon National Park continues to provide a space for all visitors to connect with the outdoors.

Photo by W. Tyson Joye

It’s taken millions of years to make, and 100 years to preserve. On Feb. 26, Grand Canyon Conservancy will celebrate Founder’s Day, the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon’s designation as a national park. One of the world’s premier attractions, Grand Canyon National Park draws some 6.25 million people to Arizona each year to view the incredible steep-sided chasm etched by the Colorado River. That’s a lot of people. With all those visitors – not to mention wind, water and time – taking a toll on this treasure, there is a growing urgency to protect Grand Canyon National Park.

ear s

Working side by side with the park to do this is

Grand Canyon Conservancy (GCC), the nonprofit charged with preserving the park’s hiking trails, protecting the canyon’s wildlife and providing educational programs to the public. “We are the official nonprofit partner of Grand Canyon National Park, meaning that we help to raise private funds and we also operate retail shops within the park as well as guided educational opportunities about the natural and cultural history of the region,” said Alysa Ojeda, GCC marketing manager. “We have an incredible army of troops helping to protect the canyon for future generations.” The nonprofit’s roots stretch back to 1932, when naturalist Eddie McKee founded the Grand Canyon Natural History Association. A ranger working on the South Rim at the time, McKee recognized the need for a park partner that would support




idg ri Attr by Ter

Whether by enjoying the landscape, boating down the Colorado River or learning about the history of the park, visiting Grand Canyon has been a rite of passage for generations.

Photo by Michael Quinn

programs and publications about the canyon. The natural history association did just that from the beginning, funding interpretive talks, research and scientific papers.

of the operations of the park,” Schroeder said, “but we can really help with the margin of excellence. We give money to those programs that need the extra boost.”

“We were established in 1932, and we have always been there to support our park partner,” said Susan Schroeder, CEO of GCC. “Over the years what we have done to help support the park has changed, but our mission has always been to be there, in the highest use that we can be.”

Supporting the park is a life’s mission for Schroeder. Her first visit was a river trip through Grand Canyon in 1985. “I was living in Salt Lake City and I took a river trip. I know it sounds corny, but it changed my life,” Schroeder said. Within three years, she was working at Northern Arizona University to be closer to Grand Canyon.

Today that means a lot of things. GCC works with wildlife rangers, trail guides and scientists to maintain and preserve the park. Whether it’s purchasing collars to track the movements of bighorn sheep or hosting more than 360 classes and guided hikes a year, including photography workshops, Colorado River float trips and rim-to-rim backpacking, GCC is instrumental in raising funds and providing support. “We could never replace the park’s funding in terms


“I pinch myself every morning. I’ve been working here 10 years and every day I leap out of bed, excited to be able to come to work on behalf of Grand Canyon,” she said. Schroeder is proud of GCC’s partnership with the park. Retail revenue from the eight stores GCC operates plays a critical role. Proceeds from the in-park stores go to Grand Canyon National Park, and the GCC location in the Kaibab National


by Terr

i Attrid


After a trip down the Colorado River, Grand Canyon Conservancy CEO Susan Schroeder reconfigured her life to be near the Grand Canyon.


Forest benefits the National Forest Service. During the recent government shutdown, the stores took on added importance. Since park staff was limited, store associates not only sold T-shirts, books and other canyon-related products, they also answered visitor questions. “Our stores were very, very busy and a lot of it was helping the visitors wayfind around the park,” Schroeder said. “We train our sales associates not only to be able to sell product but also to help the visitors have a great time — to answer, ‘Where’s the best sunset?’” GCC works with the park to determine the highest priorities. Right now the organization is focused on fundraising for the Desert View Watchtower. “We are going to be transforming that area into a thriving cultural area,” Ojeda said. “We encourage visitors to enter that Desert View site at the east entrance, which is easier and more accessible.”

The area also provides a chance to learn about Grand Canyon’s cultural history. For instance, many of the Desert View Watchtower murals painted by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie were recently preserved with GCC support. The colorful paintings represent the physical and spiritual origins of Hopi life. “Ed Kabotie — Fred Kobotie’s grandson — was able to do some of the restoration work. So it’s a wonderful, full-circle story,” Schroeder said. GCC is also raising money for the Dark Sky initiative. Incredibly, one-third of the world’s population — including 80 percent of Americans — can no longer see the Milky Way. Grand Canyon National Park is one of the last places in the U.S. to experience a truly star-filled night sky. So the park has worked to become an International Dark Sky Park by replacing nearly 3,500 light fixtures



EASTERSEALS It’s a big year for Easterseals, in which the organization celebrates 100 years of working to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities or other special needs.

YEARS The organization opened in Arizona in 1929, so is also celebrating its 90th anniversary here. Dedicated to a future where everyone is included and empowered, the organization works to change the way the world views disability through high-quality programs including autism services, early intervention, workforce development, adult day care and more. Over the years, Easterseals has been a powerful advocate and resource for people and families challenged by disability. Now, as America faces new issues, the nonprofit continues to make positive, life-changing differences in the lives of people and families challenged by today’s disabilities. To learn more, go to


“PETS ON PARADE” Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is celebrating the 60th anniversary of “Pets on Parade,” the nonprofit’s weekly TV show. “Pets on Parade” is the longest-running local television show in Arizona and debuted on Dec. 8, 1958, just one year after AHS was founded. For the last six decades, “Pets on Parade” has touched the lives of pet lovers in Arizona and has inspired community action by featuring adoptable pets, educating the community on animal welfare, providing resources for pet owners, and advocating for the sick, injured and abused animals rescued by AHS. Each week, some 20,000 viewers tune in and it’s estimated that more than 31,000 dogs, cats and other critters have found forever homes thanks to this unique show. To learn more and view past episodes, visit


These historical photos show Fred Kobotie, the Hopi artist who did the paintings for the Desert View Watchtower.


PHOENIX HEART BALL Did you know that America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers are heart disease and stroke, respectively? The annual Phoenix Heart Ball, one of the premier social events in the Valley, aims to find ways to save lives and build a healthier community, free from heart disease and stroke. For 60 years, the Phoenix Heart Ball has helped to advance the lifesaving mission of the American Heart Association, a mission that has impacted the lives of countless men, women and children. The Phoenix Heart Ball Committee of 100 women works to raise funds and awareness for vital community programs, education and research. Contributions go far in supporting cardiovascular research, professional and community education and advocacy efforts. To learn more, visit



CHICANOS POR LA CAUSA Growing out of the movement led by Cesar Chavez, Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) was founded in 1969 to fight oppression facing Latinos in Phoenix. Over the course of the half century since, the organization has grown to become one of the largest Hispanic nonprofits in the country. CPLC is an all-encompassing organization for the underserved that provides service in four areas of impact: health and human services, housing, education and economic development. As a lead advocate, coalition builder and direct service provider, CPLC is committed to building stronger, healthier communities by promoting positive change and self-sufficiency. The organization impacts more than 306,000 individuals across the Southwest. To learn more, go to



throughout the million-plus acre park to minimize light pollution and provide a pristine view of the galaxy. The park hopes to gain Dark Sky Park status by spring. Funding trail restoration and maintenance is another high — and expensive — priority for GCC. Because trail restoration is so challenging, it’s estimated that a single mile of restoration work costs $250,000. Mules haul equipment and materials to work sites and trail crews often use pickaxes and shovels, and camp at project sites. Despite the difficulty, recent GCC efforts have focused on restoring more than 400 miles of historic trails. GCC also leads a popular educational program. “We take people into the canyon and help educate them about the natural and cultural resources along the rim, down the river. And we also have a very robust programming partnership with the park that reaches children, mainly middle-school



Photo by Terri Attridge

An unusual stone tower designed by architect Mary Colter, the Desert View Watchtower is designed in the style of Ancestral Puebloan towers. The Grand Canyon Conservancy is working to preserve it and turn the area into a thriving cultural region.

PHOENIX CHILDREN’S CHORUS Phoenix Children’s Chorus started in 1984 with just 35 children in two choirs. Now, in its 35th season, it has blossomed to include more than 400 choristers in seven progressively experienced choirs. The chorus fosters excellence in a diverse community of youths by facilitating artistic, musical and cultural development through choral education and performance. To date, it has transformed the lives of more than 5,400 children in Phoenix and throughout Maricopa County. In addition to celebrating its 35th anniversary, the chorus is also commemorating the career of its artistic director. After 25 years of service, Ron Carpenter is retiring at the end of this season. Over the years, the chorus has performed on five continents and in some of the world’s most prestigious concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Beijing Concert Hall and Sydney Opera House. With rehearsal locations in the East Valley and downtown Phoenix, the program boasts a full artistic staff of directors, pianists and instructors as well as executive staff to support, teach and enrich the lives of kids in this vibrant, growing organization. To learn more, go to


Photo by Lear Miller. FEBRUARY 2019 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  27

kids,” Schroeder said. GCC started the Field Institute in 1993 at the request of the park to develop more educational programming. The institute helps visitors experience Grand Canyon through classes, guided hiking trips and educational tours conducted by the people who know the canyon best — experts including geologists, historians, ecologists and archaeologists. As the park’s centennial nears, GCC is working hard to inspire people to protect and enhance Grand Canyon National Park for the next century and beyond. “To be able to work for the organization during this time has been incredible,” said Ojeda. “It’s been really fun to see all of Arizona get involved and want to promote it. From the Desert Botanical Garden to local breweries in Flagstaff to our partners over at Grand Canyon Trust, it’s been a really uniting experience.”



ATTEND A CENTENNIAL EVENT With the centennial commemoration of Grand Canyon National Park kicking off this month, Grand Canyon Conservancy and Grand Canyon National Park will present a calendar of free events throughout the year. Events at the canyon include the Founder’s Day celebration on Feb. 26, a fun-filled Summerfest & Star Party on the South and North Rims in June, and other special performances and presentations throughout the year. Go to to learn more.

SEDONA FILM FESTIVAL The Sedona International Film Festival was founded in 1995 as a project of the Sedona Cultural Park. A three-day exhibition of independent film, the festival celebrated cinema from around the world. In 2003, the festival became its own nonprofit organization and began an expansion that included monthly programs, multi-week film series and more. Gradually, the festival grew from a three-day event to an annual nine-day celebration. To honor the festival’s silver anniversary, the nonprofit screened more films than ever before to select this year’s lineup. As a result, 160 films — selected from more than 1,400 entries — will be presented from Feb. 23 to March 3. In addition, events, parties, workshops and celebrity guests such as Jane Alexander, Ed Asner, Richard Dreyfuss, Diane Ladd and Blythe Danner will be on hand to celebrate the best in independent film from around the world. For tickets and information, go to



TEACH FOR AMERICA Teach For America is the largest and most diverse provider of teachers serving in low-income communities. The organization has a proud 25-year history in Phoenix, represented by the strength of the organization’s school partnerships, and the impact its 112 corps members and more than 1,000 alumni have had. Working shoulder-to-shoulder with students, educators and community members, corps members go beyond traditional expectations to support the academic and personal growth of their students. The impact they have in the classroom shapes the trajectory of their careers. Today, nearly 500 Teach For America corps members and alumni teach in Arizona’s schools.

To learn more, go to





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by Mic

This year, Grand Canyon National Park is celebrating its past and working with Grand Canyon Conservancy to protect the park's unique natural, cultural and historic resources.




by Lea

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CELEBRITY FIGHT NIGHT Celebrity Fight Night worked with guest of honor Muhammad Ali for 22 years to raise money for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. The heavyweight attended every event with enthusiasm. Now, though the champ is gone, the fight continues. Celebrities and professional athletes from all over the country travel to Phoenix to take part in the glamorous fundraiser each year. The power-packed night not only leaves guests with great memories, it benefits the Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders Program at Barrow Neurological Institute in addition to other charities. To learn more, visit


PANDA The Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center — affectionately known as PANDA (People Acting Now Discovering Answers) — partners with the center’s researchers and physicians to improve treatments and find cures for devastating childhood diseases. PANDA is an all-volunteer board consisting of more than 150 Phoenix-area women. Over the last 20 years, its children’s fashion show and other activities have contributed more than $12 million to the Steele Center — the only academic pediatric medical research center in Arizona. And seed money from PANDA has been the catalyst for nearly $100 million in grants to fund children’s medical research. The group takes pride in knowing these funds have made possible lifesaving outcomes for Arizona children and their families, including some of their own.

To learn more, go to


NEXT DOORS {ahead of the curve}

WE SEE OUR FUTURE WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR PAST The world through Barry Goldwater’s eyes Tom Evans | Contributing Editor

Every now and then, you come across something that’s a window into a bygone era. Something that reminds you of where we came from, and where we need to go. I found myself thinking about this recently as I stood in Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West and stared at the face of the man in the photo “The Navajo,” taken in 1938 by some guy named Barry Goldwater. Some guy? It goes without saying that the late United States senator was an icon, not only in Arizona, but across the world. His accomplishments on the public stage were many, but there’s one fact about him that most people nowadays don’t know. See, Barry Goldwater was more than a politician. He was also a gifted photographer, who traveled the state exhaustively documenting its people, places, beauty and culture. He was one of the initial contributors to Arizona Highways magazine, which helped put on the exhibition in conjunction with the Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation. More on that in a minute. First, about the museum: If you haven’t been to the four-year-old Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (which 30  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

we’ll refer to as SMoW for the sake of word count), it’s probably not what you think. The impressive and expansive two-story structure boasts a modern design that somehow perfectly complements the Western art inside it, and the art itself challenges your notions of what “Western art” really means. It’s a Smithsonian Affiliate, and is already a centerpiece for the Scottsdale arts scene. “The museum is really dedicated to illuminating the past, in order to enlighten the future,” said Mardi Larson, director of marketing & communications for SMoW. And in that context, the Goldwater exhibition has a perfect home. Barry Goldwater’s images take you back to an Arizona of a bygone day. He had a knack for capturing the essence of what made — makes — Arizona special, a richness of culture and diversity, a place where breathtaking natural landscapes abound. The exhibition’s curator is Ali Goldwater Ross — Barry’s granddaughter — executive director of the Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation. She and a friend personally drove the exhibition’s artwork across the country from Atlanta to Scottsdale,

“The Navajo” (1938, Barry M. Goldwater, Courtesy of the Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation)


“Totem Pole” (1967, Barry M. Goldwater, Courtesy of the Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation)

where it will be shown until June 23.

illuminating the future, just as Larson told me.

“These images represent a time and culture long gone and far away,” she said. “This exhibition provides a look into the past that no one has seen and is a beautiful part of Arizona’s history. My grandfather had access to people and places that most did not, and it provides its audience an opportunity to learn.”

It’s the embrace of and respect for cultures and individuals in all walks of life, the love and appreciation of the natural environment, the desire to preserve what makes us who we are for future generations — those are the things that struck me most about Barry Goldwater’s photography.

But as you stroll through the exhibit and enjoy the photography, it’s hard to think of it as a bygone era. It’s also hard to imagine someone of Barry Goldwater’s stature in politics being the man behind the lens. It’s a testament to what we should want from a public servant — someone who went into office not for their own personal gain, but for a love of the people and places they take a vow to protect. The glimpse into the past provided by Goldwater’s images reminded me of what we all should value about today’s Arizona, and indeed today’s world. They are the things that make Arizona what it was in the past, but also what it is today and what it should aspire to become in the future. The past, 32  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

If we can embrace those ideals in this challenging age, if we can use them as a north star that guides how we prepare for the future, then I suppose we’ll be OK. And if you need a reminder of why this is so important, take some time to head over to SMoW, and see the world through Barry Goldwater’s eyes for just a little while. To learn more visit,



GIVING IN STYLE {fashion in the philanthropy lane}

HOW CHARMING Cause jewelry matriarch celebrates 15 years of innovation Tyler Butler | Fashion Writer

Charity Charms founder Kay McDonaldʼs love for charms began as a child.

Charity Charms has been a trendsetter since its inception 15 years ago. Kay McDonald, the founder of the company, created cause-infused jewelry before others were moving into this space.

could bring a new life to the iconic jewelry item and create a whole new concept to support worthy causes.

McDonald’s journey began at a young age, when she discovered her passion for making and selling things. She then began working in merchandising, branding and marketing. Combining these skills with her entrepreneurial spirit, McDonald opened her first business at 30. As her store, Regalia, matured, McDonald found herself involved with many charities, going so far as to give a percentage of her sales back to causes that were near and dear to her. It was then that she noticed the need for charities to have more meaningful, wearable items that could be used to thank donors while being more sustainable than a pen or a T-shirt. Sitting at her kitchen table with piles of charity brochures, McDonald’s brain churned, searching for the key to fit the niche she had recognized. She recalled a charm bracelet that her grandmother had worn. McDonald remembered the bracelet and the beauty of how it represented so many important facets of life in one classic design. Her experience in retail told her that, with the right marketing, charm bracelets could enjoy a resurgence. It was then that she had her aha moment, when she recognized that the logos and icons of varied charities would make ideal designs for charms. She knew she 34  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

McDonald’s entrepreneurial eye also recognized an opportunity to allow charities to earn revenue through a social enterprise they could call their own. She realized she could set her company apart by creating a program where causes could keep 100 percent of the profit. McDonald set out to find the right charity partner to launch this new concept. After a meeting with former Arizona Humane Society CEO Cheryl Naumann, she identified Compassion with Fashion as the best vehicle to introduce this concept to Phoenix’s philanthropic community. And that’s how Charity Charms began. McDonald self-funded the business, believing that her concept was new and fresh and had the right positive intent to catch fire. The initial Charity Charms products were sterling silver charms with a signature clip-on clasp. This allowed the charms to be interchangeable so they could be added to an existing piece of jewelry. The designs had a rich, Tiffany-like feel that remains a mainstay of the business to this day. The concept was also used in Charity Charms accessories that included keychains and fobs that complemented the sterling silver clip-on charms. The concept took off. With a website that allowed for full integration for charities to sell their custom charms

Charity Jewelry Trends F R O M K AY M C D O N A L D • Unisex Bracelets: More men are wearing bracelets. • Focus on Words: Keywords are being used to brand causes. • Layered Necklaces: With large pendant charms. • Purse Charms: Clip-on lobster clasps that can be added to purses, backpacks, even dog collars. • Designer Brands Jumping into the Game: Cartier, Tiffany and Louis Vuitton now have their own charity bracelets. • Sustainable Materials: Recycled metals and eco-packaging are hot. • Artisan Jewelry: Handcrafted pieces made by women in underprivileged countries to help support their families.

and provide an automatic way to give a percentage of sales back to each cause, the growth was so rapid that the company opened an office in Scottsdale to serve as its headquarters and retail outlet. But when the complex was later torn down, the company decided to restructure. The reasons for this included the economic downturn in 2008 and the need to modernize their business model. With the price of silver doubling and spending habits changing, Charity Charms saw a need to diversify. So Giving Bands were born. These affordable alternative bracelets feature pewter charms on colorful silicone bands, a new way for causes to provide giveaways. Throughout the years, the brand has introduced many new logo charm products and expanded their pewter line. They also offer a variety of other items including ornaments, keychains, lapel pins, purse charms, wine charms, earrings and nearly anything their clients want made. They’ve also transformed with the times, updating their offerings to include jewelry featuring words, hashtags and mission statements. The company now offers unisex products, adjustable bracelets and incorporates custom cards to personalize their inventory. Despite the changes, the brand has come full circle, launching their EMBRACELET line, returning the business to its sterling silver roots with a new logo

bangle design. Through it all, the company has remained true to its initial concept, “having an aesthetic that guides the company look with an icon on the front and charity information featured on the back,” McDonald said. “Each charm is a miniature work of art, a meaningful, wearable token that brands the charity in a subtle way.” The direct sale model Charity Charms has adopted enables charities to purchase items 50 to 75 percent below retail so that each cause can keep 100 percent of its profits. And make no mistake about the legacy of this brand; it’s one of the first purposedriven custom jewelry companies in the country. Today, 15 years after starting a revolution in cause marketing, McDonald has provided a stylish way for organizations to make a positive difference through sustainable, wearable pieces. To learn more, visit




Society of Chairs }

Frontdoors is proud to recognize those who volunteer their time, treasure and talents to support local organizations in a leadership role.

Monique Porras 2019 Evening of Hope Gala Chair Benefiting American Cancer Society,

How long have you been involved with the organization? I’ve been supporting it for decades. But related to the Evening of Hope Gala, this is my first year, and I’m committed to coming out of the gate with an impact! Why do you support the organization? At 19, I lost my mother to cancer. So I sacrifice my personal time to raise awareness and fundraise with the thought of my mom’s struggle. Every ask for support I make, every planning session, every night/weekend I am working on this, I do it with the memory of the day my mom asked me to apply her makeup for her funeral. The same strength I needed to fulfill her wish is the same fearlessness I have toward this gala. I believe in my mission to rejuvenate this event, to diversify the sponsorship base of organizations to truly represent the reach of cancer — it affects everyone in some way. And personally, I hope my community involvement will be a lifelong influence on my teenage son and an honor to my mother’s memory. Describe this year’s event. It’s going to be pretty amazing! My committee and I are giving this event a complete rejuvenation and incorporating some unique aspects that have never been done with the gala before. We plan to have notable names, public officials, Letitia Frye auctioning some unique experiences, and incredible entertainment. Money raised at this gala not only helps people locally, but the impact reaches far beyond. We are raising money that directly influences the patient. Favorite restaurant: Ocean 44 just moved to the top of my list. Incredible food, flavors and service.

Favorite place to travel: Back “home” to the Washington DC area. Proudest accomplishment: Leaving my longtime home base of the DC area to move to Arizona — knowing no one, single and with my 1½-year-old son — all to build up a large network and start my own company. Secret talent: I write cursive backwards to where you can read it through the other side of the paper. (I know … strange.) Talent I wish I had: To be a sommelier. How much fun would that be? Fun fact about you: I grew up on the East Coast, exposed to wonderful experiences through my parents, who are multicultural. My mom grew up in a very small town on a farm in Alabama and my dad in East L.A. I had the luxury of spending family vacations in these areas, which exposed me to different ways of living, and all are rich in value. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Thank you to all of our February Cheers to the Chairs! nominees: Jamie Andersen: Chair, Dancing with the Stars Arizona | Elizabeth Benoit & Cherie Rankin: Co-Chairs, Jr. League of Phoenix Rummage Sale Deborah Carstens: Honorary Grandparent Chair, Children's Museum of Phoenix Gala | Suzanne Hensing: Chair, Galaxy Gala | Andrea Katsenes: Chair, Fresh Start Gala

To Nominate Your Event Chair, Co-Chairs, Honorary Chair or Board Chair, Contact 36  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019


CENTER DANCE ENSEMBLE 30 years of artistry and education from Arizona’s ‘godmother of modern dance’ Catie Richman | Contributing Writer

THE STORY Phoenix’s Center Dance Ensemble founder and artistic director Frances Smith Cohen has nurtured a community of professional performing artists and dedicated her life to dance education. Her influence in the Arizona arts community spans decades and has earned her the title “godmother of modern dance.” Cohen started her formal dance training at 4. By the time she was 12, she was already choreographing and teaching. She went on to graduate from Bennington College in Vermont and serve as dance director of the Jewish Community Center in Tucson for 18 years. She also created Kadimah Dancers — the first professional modern dance company in Tucson — co-founded the University of Arizona dance program and helped establish the Arizona Dance Arts Alliance, to name just a few of her many accomplishments. In 1986, Cohen established the Arizona presence of Wolf Trap, a national program that brings dancers, puppeteers, actors and musicians to Head Start schools. She still serves as the program’s regional

director today. In 1988, Cohen founded Center Dance Ensemble, a modern dance company with the vision to develop the art form through original works performed by professionally paid dancers. Center Dance Ensemble found its home at the Herberger Theater, and has been the resident modern dance company since the theater first opened its doors. As an artist, Cohen is a master storyteller and visionary, but what has truly made her a Valley icon is her ability to inspire and encourage others. “She has a deep respect for artists themselves and she nurtures everyone she comes in contact with,” said Howard Paley, general manager of Center Dance Ensemble. “You look across the span of time when you have somebody that’s warm and welcoming and nurturing, then it almost doesn’t even matter what the art form is — that person finds the encouragement they need through this woman to pursue their passion in life.”

THE CAUSE Today, Center Dance Ensemble is recognized as the premier modern dance company in Arizona


and has developed a repertoire of more than 150 dances of original choreography. Center Dance

Frances Smith Cohen (above) started her dance training with ballet and tap, but discovered her passion for modern dance while in high school. Photo courtesy of the Herberger Theater.

Ensemble has a dual mission to produce the highest quality works and develop arts education programs to reach students across the Valley. “The company mission is performance and excellence in art form, but it’s also community and education and putting human soul and connection through dance and movement. We reach out in that way,” said Diane McNeal Hunt, Center Dance Ensemble’s assistant artistic director and education director. More than 6,000 children a year attend field trip performances of the beloved Valley holiday tradition Snow Queen through the Wolf Trap program. And Center Dance Ensemble brings performing

arts to students through their school touring program, including The ABC’s of Dance and From Ballet to Beyoncé. The company also offers artist-in-the-school residences, which incorporate dance education into the school curriculum. “Many times, classrooms are on schedules and you know everybodyʼs working on the same problem or the same notebook. When you come in with performing arts, it gives them that creative outlet and that individual expression,” said McNeal Hunt. “Dance education is important. It offers soul and awakens other parts of the brain. It lets them have creative expression that a lot of times they don’t have an opportunity for.”

THE FUTURE On March 3, Center Dance Ensemble will commemorate three decades of success at the Spirit of Dance 30th Anniversary Celebration in their home at the Herberger Theater, followed by a performance of “Rite of Spring.”

to expand and evolve the Center Dance Ensemble alongside McNeal Hunt. The organization is also working to develop a family series alongside the professional concert programs in order to cater to a younger audience.

As part of the milestone event, Cohen will be honored with the Spirit of Dance Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by lifelong friends Billie Jo and Judd Herberger.

“Center Dance Ensemble is going to be around for a long time,” Paley said. “The character of what we dance may change, but not the concept of the company. If the audience will continue to support us, and our donors will stand with

At 87, Cohen is not slowing down. She continues


Above left: A modern storyteller, Francis Smith Cohen tells tales through the art of modern dance. Above right: Based on Hans Christian Andersenʼs classic fairy tale, Center Dance Ensembleʼs Snow Queen is a cherished holiday tradition. Photos courtesy of Center Dance Ensemble and Howard Paley.

us, we will continue to do what we are really good at, which is community outreach.” For more information, visit




36th Annual


SILVER & TURQUOISE BALL Benefiting the Phoenix Indian Center

2019 Leon Grant Spirit of the Community Recipient

BROOKE SIMPSON (Haliwa-Saponi) Native American powerhouse vocalist and finalist on NBC’s talent competition, The Voice.


Premiere American Indian Silent & Live Auction Fabulous American Indian Cuisine & Entertainment Funds raised through the annual Silver & Turquoise Ball support the Phoenix Indian Center’s many programs and services; providing hope, support, and opportunities to strengthen American Indian youth and families. For information visit or contact Jolyana Begay-Kroupa at (602) 264-6768.

KITCHEN DOORS {food that stands the test of time} Lisa Mullavey | Contributing Writer

HOUSE OF TRICKS Tempe | In 1987, Robin and Robert Trick lovingly restored a 1920s bungalow and opened House of Tricks. Just off Mill Avenue, the tall buildings and flurry of activity nearby disappear among the canopy of trees and umbrellas on the restaurant’s large patios. Choose a spot at their outdoor bar, dine alfresco or reserve a table inside the enchanting bungalow. The evening my husband and I visited it was raining. We chose to sit on the heated patio next to an outdoor fireplace. The sound of the rain coupled with candles and the fire made for an incredibly romantic date night. We ordered cocktails and started with a House of Tricks specialty, the Harissa Spiced Mussels. Served in a big bowl with toasted bread, 16 mussels rested in a creamy cilantro vinaigrette with chorizo, charred tomatoes and avocado. For our entrée, we shared the amazing Beeler’s Pork Shank. Then we wrapped up our evening with a delectable Napoleon iced with chocolate ganache and layered with amaretto cream, finished with a scoop of chocolate gelato. All in all, a divine dining experience. Large parties and private events welcome; reservations highly recommended.

SCHREINER’S FINE SAUSAGE Phoenix | When Hugo Schreiner opened Schreiner’s Fine Sausage in 1955, chances are he never imagined his shop would turn into such a beloved local favorite. Many years ago, two of Hugo’s longtime employees, Gary and Nancy Schiller, purchased the business from him and have kept his legacy alive. Today, Schreiner’s has a lunch and dinner menu and boasts an impressive list of more than 60 varieties of homemade sausage, meats (regional, smoked and slab) and chicken. You can also choose from a selection of cheeses, condiments and imported and domestic products perfect for serving with Schreiner’s meats. (Sauerkraut, anyone?) Many local businesses also feature Shreiner’s meats in their recipes. I’ve stopped in many times to purchase their bratwurst for a game-day tailgate or for their tasty Italian sausage. I find it especially nostalgic that the business still has the same red and white exterior as when it opened 64 years ago.

LOS COMPADRES Phoenix | In the late 1930s, along with her family, Josephine Picazo opened a Mexican café in Miami, Arizona. Years later she moved to Phoenix with her husband and opened the first of two Los Compadres locations in 1958. While the original location closed last year, Josephine’s grandson runs their second restaurant in North Phoenix. Here you can try his grandmother’s original Sonoran-style Mexican food recipes alongside longtime Los Compadres fans and neighborhood regulars. My sister and I stopped in recently for lunch. Our waitress was warm and friendly, pointing out their most popular dishes. My sister ordered cheese enchiladas with rice and beans. The red chili was mild, the beans tasted homemade, and each enchilada was rolled with just the right amount of cheese. I had the charbroiled ribeye steak, which was juicy and served with rice and a colorful array of steamed vegetables. After our meal, we treated ourselves to their homemade horchata, which was tasty and refreshing. Visit their website for information on their entertainment schedule and catering.


A Decade Never Tasted So Good Celebrating 10 Years of the Devour Culinary Classic Ask any longtime Arizona resident what the local food scene was like 20-plus years ago and you will likely get a funny look and the response, “What food scene?” My, how things have changed. Arizona is now widely recognized as a top food and drink destination. We have an impressive talent roster that includes James Beard Award-winning chefs, successful restaurateurs and highly skilled food and beverage artisans. As a proud alumna of Scottsdale Culinary Institute, I’m thrilled to see the number of high schools and colleges with programs and degrees focused on culinary arts and hospitality. As a student, I was surrounded by individuals who flocked to Arizona from all over the country to hone their skills here, many of whom ultimately chose to establish permanent culinary roots in our great state after graduation. So, a food scene? Yeah, we’ve got that as well as an incredible annual event that celebrates all of it in the most unique and wonderful way. The Devour Culinary Classic celebrates its 10th

anniversary this month. While there are many culinary events that take place across the state each year, none is quite like this two-day festival because it solely spotlights the food and beverage scene across Arizona. During the weekend event, those who attend will enjoy fabulous drinks, nosh on gourmet fare, and watch up-close demonstrations by Arizona’s best chefs, restaurants and food and beverage experts. The Devour Culinary Classic has been recognized as a leading culinary festival by several local and national publications, Phoenix New Times and The New York Times to name two. There will even be a giant 10th anniversary birthday cake to commemorate Devour’s special milestone. All proceeds of the Devour Culinary Classic are given to local organizations that support local businesses and the arts, such as Local First Arizona. For more on the Devour Culinary Classic and Devour Week, visit or

The Gladly


Phoenix | A well-known local celebrity turns 9 in 2019: the Original Chopped Salad from The Gladly. So how did this famous salad, often called the “State Salad of Arizona,” come to be? Andrew Fritz, CEO and partner of In Good Spirits (IGS) Hospitality, clued me in on its origin. The year was 1998. IGS chef and partner Bernie Kantak was “inspired by a creative desire to make a deliciously herbaceous dish” and the Original Chopped Salad was born. The recipe is a delightful combination of Israeli couscous, sweet dried corn, smoked salmon, asiago, pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds), tomatoes, currents and arugula served with basil ranch dressing. The menu item is in such high demand that it’s ordered thousands of times each year and is so popular it has its own Facebook page with more than 3,400 followers. In 2014, the Food Network featured the salad along with The Gladly’s Pistachio Chicken Liver Pate in “11 Must-Try Dishes in Phoenix.” Loyal fans will also be able to purchase the first official Original Chopped Salad T-shirt at The Gladly this March. Let’s hear it for this Arizona favorite!

Photo provided by The Gladly.

A 2ND ACT {survivors giving back}

THE CASTLE Tovrea Castle is a jewel in the desert

Judy Pearson | Contributing Writer

She has kept watch over the city of Phoenix for nearly 90 years, although most of the thousands who pass her every day have no idea who or what she is. A church … the state capital … a wedding cake? We know her as the Tovrea Castle. And her rich story is now enjoying a second act. The castle was the brainchild of Italian immigrant Alessio Carraro. He arrived at Ellis Island at the age of 23 and beat a path to San Francisco in 1905, the year before the city’s horrific earthquake. He married, fathered two sons and built a successful metalworking business. And then, in 1928 (just 16 years after Arizona’s statehood), his search for success brought him to the boomtown of Phoenix. The Westward Ho Hotel on Central Avenue was just rising from the desert, while 18 miles away, William Wrigley Jr. was building his mansion in the shadow of Camelback Mountain. Still, Carraro wasn’t terribly impressed, until he traveled three miles south of the city limit to Van Buren Street, then a dirt road. That’s when he spied three knolls, with a house perched on one of them. He saw a taste of the American dream. 44  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

Mr. Warner and his wife, owners of the property, answered Carraro’s knock. Seeing the dust on his jacket and hat, they took him to their well for a drink. It was the coolest, purest, most refreshing water Carraro had ever tasted. And it sealed the deal. Carraro offered to buy the knolls, the house and the surrounding land, eventually totaling 277 acres. Fortunes were being made on every corner in Phoenix. Carraro’s would be called Carraro Heights. He started by building an elegant hotel, framed in wood and covered with stucco, much like the buildings in his native Italy. His 15-year-old son, Olivo — Leo for short — had arrived from San Francisco to help him. Their only blueprint was Carraro’s imagination. Twenty men worked nonstop for 20 months on the three-story, octagon-shaped castle, finishing just before Christmas in 1930. She stood proudly on the tallest knoll and boasted eight bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. Spread below her were more than 500 species of cactus, procured throughout Arizona and Mexico. White rock retaining walls and path borders gleamed in

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights has intrigued people in the Valley of the Sun for more than 90 years. It was built by Alessio Carraro (far right) and his son Leo (right).

the Arizona sun. Leo and a friend had spent four months hauling the rock up from the river bottom in a Model A pickup, and whitewashed it to create a stark contrast against the soil. But the hotel was only the first step in Carraro’s vision. With its beautiful setting and attention-grabbing elevation on the knoll, potential homebuyers would flock to Carraro Heights. The cupola atop the third floor offered a 360-degree view of the property. From there, buyers could pick out their lot and Carraro would build them a house. That is, if there had been any buyers. The stock market had crashed midway through construction, and the dark clouds of the Depression obscured everything, including the Valley of the Sun. Leo and Alessio lived in the hotel for six months before selling it to cattle baron Ed Tovrea for $21,000. Despite the castle bearing his name, Tovrea’s time in the house was short-lived too. He died the next year, but his widow remarried and remained there until her death in 1970. Family disagreements and the harsh desert sun took their toll on the beautiful castle. But her

beguiling beauty — and the 157 25-watt bulbs outlining her figure at night — still drew the attention of many. Then, in 1989, Phoenix voters approved a bond for historic preservation. In 1992, the city bought the castle from the Tovrea family for $1.7 million. With the hope of enabling public tours, painstaking renovations began to bring the castle back to her former beauty. In 2010, national financial struggles again struck the castle. But a small group of volunteers had fallen in love not only with the structure, but with her history as well. They organized the Tovrea Castle Society in 2011, with a mission “to provide a unique experience for visitors to Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights; preserving, maintaining and restoring its historic structures, gardens and grounds ….” Later that year, the society signed an agreement to operate the castle for the city. They handle fundraising, volunteer recruitment and training, and public tours. They registered the castle as one of the official Phoenix Points of Pride, as an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project, and on the National Register of Historic Places. FEBRUARY 2019 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  45

The castle under construction.

Marie Carraro Cunningham, Leo’s daughter and Alessio’s granddaughter, volunteers with the society, enriching tours with her family’s stories and photo albums. “My grandfather was a visionary,” she said. “He saw things in his mind that made him want to go forward.” The castle was the result. So was Carraro Grotto. Alessio was on the job as road superintendent in Yarnell when he came across a granite hill not unlike the one at Carraro Heights. In the rock outcroppings, he saw animals and created a “rock zoo.” He resided there happily, in a house he built himself, until his death in 1964. Carraro’s dream of a famous and much-loved Castle may not have come to fruition in his lifetime. But how thrilled he would be to see that his jewel in the Sonoran Desert is enjoying such a meaningful second act. For more information, go to




BEHIND THE DOOR {the caniglia group}


Steve Caniglia

Shelley Caniglia

7823 North 3rd Way, Phoenix, AZ 85020

3216 N. Manor Drive W., Phoenix, AZ 85014

Gorgeous, custom home located in the highly sought after, gated subdivision of Villagio in the heart of the North Central Corridor. The owners had this home built to their specifications and have invested over $1.5 million into the property. Home includes 4 bedrooms + office, 4.5 baths, 4578 square feet and 3 car garage. Dramatic, wood-beamed ceilings, hickory wood flooring, custom tile work throughout, concrete and tile kitchen countertops, hand painted Italian tile insets, hand stained wood cabinetry, waxed alder wood solid core interior doors, Spanish cedar front door, antique vanities and four fireplaces! The list of high-end finishes throughout this home goes on and on. Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances in kitchen with large kitchen island. The backyard includes a huge covered patio, fully tiled spa, outdoor cook center, serenity water feature, outdoor fireplace and grass for play. Excelling Madison schools and close to all of the hot new restaurants, boutiques, and stores with which North Central has become synonymous. Do not miss out on this amazing opportunity!

Nestled beyond the gates of the desirable Phx Country Club, this two story Georgian home is located on the 3rd fairway of the golf course. Superior curb appeal with gated walkway, bricked and bush lined driveway and mature trees. 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 6689 sq. ft. includes finished basement, 5 car garage. Formal living room with auto starter fireplace and large built in tv screen hidden behind a painting. Wood floors, custom cabinetry, french doors with new millwork, wainscoting and double hung dual pane windows throughout. Kitchen includes marble and tile countertops, custom front door refrigerator, 6 burner gas stove top, 1 electric and 2 gas ovens, farmhouse sink and secondary prep sink. Master suite has fireplace, his and hers custom fitted closets, marble floors and marble countertops in master bath. Wonderful large covered brick patio out back with built-in BBQ, brick fireplace with built-in tv and ceiling fans. Patio overlooks sparkling tiled pool and the golf course. This type of property rarely comes available on the market. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity!

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OPEN DOORS {publisher’s page}

MY OWN BYGONE DAYS IN THE GRAND CANYON STATE A few notable firsts Andrea Evans | Publisher

I can distinctly remember my first visit to Arizona. It was the one summer my parents planned a two-week journey from Los Angeles to Iowa and back in our lemon-yellow station wagon. The 1984 Summer Olympics would mean worse traffic gridlock than usual, so the decision was made to get out of town. This of course meant I would end up watching Mary Lou Retton nail her vault in a hotel in North Platte, Nebraska on a small fuzzy screen while asking, “Why didn’t we stay home and go to the Olympics?!” On our way back from visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in southeast Iowa, we headed south to make our way home via the southwestern states and a trip to the Grand Canyon was in order. After a few sweltering August days traveling though Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, we made it to northern Arizona and a day at the Grand Canyon. 48  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | FEBRUARY 2019

There were the glimpses from the car as we made our way through the park, but there’s nothing like the full effect you experience when you walk up the steps to the top of the Bright Angel Trail to see the in-person version of this natural wonder. My first thought? “It doesn’t look real. I feel like I am looking at a gigantic painting.” And you know what … I still feel that way every time I go. It’s such a beautiful, impossible, vast picture that I truly get the sensation that my eyes are playing a trick on me. I’ve hiked about a half mile down the trail when visiting on other trips but haven’t ventured to the bottom of the canyon, yet. Maybe someday. My second visit to Arizona is tied to a different bit of history. After deciding to attend Arizona State University in 1990, I put off visiting the campus until after high school graduation and a senior trip to Mexico. I had watched the Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on TV for many years and had several

family friends tell me what great places Tempe and Scottsdale were to visit. But my mom was not impressed with this decision and feared I would change my mind for some reason and end up back home. So there we were, on a late June mother-daughter road trip to visit the place that would become my new home.

thinking to herself that I would want to bail on attending ASU. We made it through the day and couldn’t wait to jump into the hotel pool. When we got back to our room, the local news alerted us that the heat on this particular day was unique. It was June 26, 1990 — the day that the all-time recordhigh temperature of 122 degrees hit. No wonder!

After a night at one of the Pointe resorts, we were up early to join our tour guide and fellow freshmen-to-be and take that first stroll along Palm Walk through ASU’s sprawling main campus. What we weren’t anticipating was the heat. It was dry but it was quite a step up from the 105-degree max we had lived through in Southern California. The tour guides were prepared and altered their stops to include the air-conditioned lobby entrances of each building on campus.

I obviously didn’t cancel my plans to attend ASU and the rest, as they say, is history.

I was so excited to be there, the heat really didn’t faze me, but my poor mother was wilting and

Andrea Andrea Evans PUBLISHER



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