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Bryan Sperber, president of Phoenix Raceway SEPTEMBER 2017



On the Cover PHOTOGRAPHY Thurlkill Studios


GENERAL INFORMATION & PRESS RELEASES 3104 E. Camelback Road #967 | Phoenix, AZ 85016 480-622-4522 | 2 | FRONTDOORSMEDIA.COM




TABLE OF CONTENTS {september 2017, volume 15, issue 9}

10 EDITOR’S NOTE......................... 05 Mike the Sauce NEXT DOORS............................. 06 New Suns' Core is Winning COVER STORY........................... 10 Phoenix Raceway SPORTS GIVING BACK. . ............. 18 Special Edition KITCHEN DOORS....................... 30 Where We Ate This Month OFFICE DOORS.......................... 32 Latasha Causey from USAA GIVING IN STYLE....................... 36 Fashion in the Philanthropy Lane HEAR HERE................................ 40 News, Updates & Events CHARITY SPOTLIGHT................ 44 Support My Club BOOKMARKED........................... 48 Who’s Reading What this Month A 2ND ACT. . ............................... 50 with Judy Pearson OPEN DOORS.. ........................... 54 ASU and Game Changer Legacy



EDITOR’S NOTE {on the job}

Sports aren’t for everybody. Let’s just start with that. To those who don’t follow a single sport, the teams and the players are just places and names. There’s no history, which means there’s no context. It can seem like a colossal waste of time and mental energy rooting for logos with nothing tangible coming back in return. For some, sports fervor can wax and wane with life circumstances. Moving away from home can change how closely you follow your teams. Family and work obligations can as well. Or sometimes you just lose interest and move on to other pursuits. I grew up in a sports household, where the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins were in our living room on a daily basis. I would follow all of them closely as a boy, teenager and young man. These days, I save most of my rooting energy for the Patriots. Sorry (not sorry). I funneled almost all of my general sports interest into the National Football League, with the Patriots as the focal point, because I find football to be the most entertaining. It was a choice of sorts. I say this not to inspire the wrath of readers, who are likely Cardinals fans, but to make the larger point that sports are personal. Every sports fan’s DNA is different and there’s typically an interesting history behind it. I also say this because in our September issue Frontdoors celebrates Valley teams and athletes in our first-ever Sports Giving Back edition. This coincides with the start of football season, the most wonderful time of the year. The idea of sports-as-very-personal also


applies to the athletes themselves. You root for certain athletes for your own reasons. Having now met Larry Fitzgerald a few times, I will root for him anytime he sets foot on the field. I am officially biased in favor of Larry. The same with David Johnson, the star young running back for the Cardinals. He isn’t as well known in the community as Larry but he has the same friendly, respectful demeanor as his teammate. They are both on the same plane – extremely approachable and down-to-earth — as Shane Doan, the former Coyotes star who just retired. This month I also was lucky enough to meet someone else I will root for on and off the court: Mercury star and WNBA legend Diana Taurasi (see story inside). In this month’s Next Doors, contributing editor Tom Evans writes about how the Phoenix Suns have a roster full of young men who don’t have to be shown how to help the community. They just do it. Also inside, Frontdoors writer Jamie Killin wraps up the efforts by our sports teams to make the Valley a batter place. The Valley’s teams and the athletes continue to help those in need and build stronger bonds among us all, sports fans or not.

Mike Mike Saucier EDITOR



NEXT DOORS {ahead of the curve}




The Phoenix Suns are on a seven-year run of not making the playoffs, something almost unthinkable back in the days of Charles Barkley and Steve Nash. It’s been rough during that time. The team’s popularity, which was once universal, has taken a hit. The result is the Suns are doing what most teams in their predicament do — draft young talent in hopes that superstars emerge. There are serious signs it’s working. Exhibit A: shooting guard Devin Booker, who scored 70 points in a game against the Boston Celtics last year and is number one on most lists of emerging NBA superstars. Other youngsters such as Tyler Ulis, Marquese Chriss, Josh Jackson and Alan Williams have upside as well and are joined by a core of veterans led by point guard Eric Bledsoe. Even in an extremely challenging Western Conference, the Suns should be … better. They may not be playoff-ready, but they’re getting there.


Forget about all that for a minute. There are things in life more important than basketball. The interesting thing is that this new group of young players knows it. Team insiders are thrilled about the group’s potential on the floor. But they continue to be awed by the youngsters’ commitment to community involvement off the court. Despite the fact that almost two-thirds of the roster is under 24 years old — and five of them aren’t even old enough to legally buy a drink — they’re already making their mark through helping causes close to their hearts. “This group is a little different in that they are coming together almost like a college freshman or sophomore class,” one team official told me. “They do things together, and there’s a great deal of unity, but then you have the older guys helping lead the way.” Start with the budding superstar, 20-yearold Booker. He puts his time in for causes



Alan Williams Photo: Barry Gossage, NBA Photos

such as the Special Olympics because he has a sibling with a disability and he understands what the children and their families go through. For the past two years, Booker has invited a Special Olympian to accompany him to the NBA Draft Lottery in New York. This year he invited an 11-yearold named Noah Smith from Surprise. Booker told the Arizona Republic: “It’s not just about the Phoenix Suns players, it’s not about myself, it’s just about the organization as a whole and that includes the fans, and Noah and his family are really big fans of us.” Forward Alan “Big Sauce” Williams, who we profiled in the May 2017 issue of


Frontdoors Magazine, just wrapped up a free basketball camp for underprivileged children (Booker and Chriss were there to help). Having attended North High School in Phoenix, Williams has repeatedly expressed a desire to give back to the community he grew up in. Other players return to their hometowns for their personal giving. Guard Tyler Ulis coached a basketball camp in Chicago this summer. Veteran forward Jared Dudley — whose influence is all over the charitable involvement of the younger players — had one in San Diego (Booker was at that one too). Bledsoe returned to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and gave away a thousand backpacks to children in need.



Eric Bledsoe

And that’s just what they are doing on their own. That doesn’t include what they’re doing under the umbrella of the team and Phoenix Suns Charities. “It’s tremendously impactful to have a group of players that understand and support the mission of Phoenix Suns Charities,” said Sarah Krahenbuhl, executive director of Phoenix Suns Charities. “They get that it’s bigger than basketball and are extremely engaged in giving back to the community.” Look, everyone knows that when it comes to pro sports, winning cures everything. And the Suns haven’t been winning on the court the past few years. Hopefully that changes soon. But a team’s connection to the community goes far beyond the court or field or ice. When fans feel that the players they’re paying to watch truly care about the city they live in, and will return some of their


Devin Booker

limited time and extraordinary treasure in the form of community involvement, it strengthens the bonds. That’s why Steve Nash, Luis Gonzales, Larry Fitzgerald and Shane Doan are all beloved locally. They not only are (or were) great athletes. They made it about more than just sports. This new group of young Suns gets it and they’re showing it through their actions. In time, the results will come on the court. The impact they are making on the community is immediate.




Susan Kenny Stevens Founding CEO

Jeff Moore

Chief Strategy Officer

Eva Nico

Senior Director of Programs

Growing Stronger. Sept. 20, 2017 The 2017 Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Annual Conference

3 keynotes & 14 breakout sessions

Join Us! Alliance Member $95, Non-Member $115 7:30 am to 9:00 am Networking/Breakfast 9:00 am to 3:30 pm Program Desert Willow Conference Center, Phoenix



image: copyright: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

Photo: Thurlkill Studios




FULL SPEED AHEAD {by mike saucier}


A sparkling new venue is rising in Avondale at Phoenix Raceway — more popularly known as Phoenix International Raceway, or PIR for short. For racing’s loyal Valley fans, it means bigger and better seats, more access to drivers, sweeter suites and new dining, bar and concession spaces. But the impact of Phoenix Raceway reimagining goes far beyond the traditional fan base. Nonprofits and community organizations will have a new go-to for events beyond golf tournaments and other traditional, tried-and-true ways to raise money for causes close to the heart. Stage a 5K on the racetrack? Host a reception followed by a pace-car ride around a 1.5-mile oval? It can happen.


As Bryan Sperber, president of Phoenix Raceway said, “You can’t do that just anywhere.” The $178 million project (with no taxpayer funds) — officially “Phoenix Raceway Project Powered By DC Solar” — is scheduled to be finished in November 2018. As a result, Sperber said Phoenix Raceway is positioned to have a much bigger impact on the nonprofit community in the Valley than ever before. He and his team are already meeting with nonprofits



and community groups about future events at the new facilities. “We could not have had that conversation for the last 53 or so years because we just didn’t have the proper facilities,” Sperber said. “Now, we’re going to be able to partner with them to raise money. It’s just the tip of the iceberg, now that we have the facility.” He added, “I think one of the ways you break through the clutter is you have a unique setting and something that your patrons or potential patrons don’t get to do every day.” With a slate of brand new venues where it can play host to a gamut of events, including a club six stories above the racetrack with a panoramic view of the track and of Estrella Mountains (and downtown Phoenix), Phoenix Raceway is poised to become a major event destination. “It’s really a breathtaking location,” Sperber said. “Where else are you going to go to a cocktail party or auction or any kind of fundraiser that’s going to have something like this? There’s only one place in the world and that’s our facility. We’re already in deep discussions with a number of 501c3s about ways they can take advantage of it – it’s pretty exciting.” To make this happen, Phoenix Raceway will be transformed into


a full entertainment venue. “We’re going to have assets that are now part of the project that really unlock the facility to be able to do a lot of various kinds of events,” he said. “That presents opportunities. We’ve had discussions with all sorts of potential partners on the event side of things. A lot of charitable organizations are looking for venues to raise money or to raise awareness. Now we can be part of that conversation. We really could not have been part of it all these years — we just didn’t have the right venues and the right facility. That all changes in November of 2018.” Sperber, a Florida State University graduate who hails from, of all places, the racing mecca of Daytona Beach, Fla., has received his share of accolades since his arrival in the Valley in 2002, from being named “Advocate of the Year” by the Arizona Tourism Alliance for his work in driving visitors to the state to being named to Phoenix Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list of top executives in 2006. With a new venue being constructed, Sperber and his team recognized an opportunity to change the way Phoenix Raceway plays a role in the community. Sperber, who has a track record of activity in the philanthropic arena, from sitting on boards to creating and


Renderings of Phoenix Raceway Project






supporting fundraising events, said he wanted to hit the “pause button” and determine how they can engage the community “in a more robust way and like we’ve never done before.” He asked his senior team members how they felt about creating an even greater impact on the community by having them serve on nonprofit boards. The idea, Sperber said, was not a hard sell for his team at the Raceway, which has supported dozens of charities in the Valley over the years via Phoenix Raceway Charities. “Everybody was really excited about doing it,” he said. “So I think we’ve got five or six of my senior people now on a variety of different boards and a lot of it is tailored to their personal tastes, where they have a passion.” Members of his team have since become embedded in organizations across the Valley, from the Boy Scouts to the Grand Canyon Association to Playworks, a nonprofit that seeks to transform children’s social and emotional health via the power of play, which is hosting a fundraiser at the track called Run the Raceway. “I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario where the timing is right, the project’s gaining attention and now, because of our senior staff being so much more engaged in the community, events to host at the Raceway become more possible,” he said. Phoenix Raceway, the venue with a grandstand capacity of about 45,000, hosts two NASCAR weekends and one LEFT TOP PHOTO Photo: Getty Images. On April 4, 1993, Mario Andretti earned his last race win of his career at Phoenix Raceway, his 100th overall, and became the oldest winner in the sport and only driver to win in four different decades. 2018 will mark the 25th Anniversary of this race.


IndyCar Series race weekend annually, one of just 13 facilities on the NASCAR schedule to host more than one race weekend per year. It has been a part of the motorsports scene since 1964 with the biggest names in all of racing gracing its track, from Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Davey Allison. The new venue will boast a tunnel that connects the midway to the infield, an upgraded club, 32 renovated and 19 new suites, new escalators and elevators, new souvenir areas, a new infield Fanzone, new guest services and ticketing building and technology updates throughout that include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Every part of the current venue will be touched, except the track. Sperber, who grew up in the south and spent significant time as an adult in New York at Watkins Glen International race track where he served as president, did not have a full appreciation of how motor racing is embraced in the Valley when he arrived on the scene in 2002. He was impressed by the diversity of the fans and the enthusiasm for the sport. “When I first got out here I thought, ‘Wow this is an incredible motorsports market and it probably doesn’t get the attention nationally it deserves for being a mecca for motor racing,’” he said. Since coming to the Valley, Sperber has seen racing undergo some key changes. “Our sport in general has been on an incredible trajectory,” he said. “I remember LEFT BOTTOM PHOTO Photo: Phoenix Raceway. Jeff Gordon celebrates his first Cup Series win at Phoenix Raceway. The win tied him with the late Dale Earnhardt on the all-time wins list with 76 career Cup Series victories. Gordon celebrated with a victory lap around the oval while holding a flag with Dale Earnhardt’s famous No. 3.



the days when there was a lot of elements of our sport today that were really thought of as just beyond our grasp. We would never light Daytona Speedway. Well, it happened. It would never be on Fox and NBC for the two halves of the season. Well, that’s happened. Our stars of our sport becoming crossover, like Jeff Gordon hosting Saturday Night Live, for example, and appearing in movies and television shows. So I’ve seen all that happen up to the point now where we’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars into modernizing these motorsports venues. It’s been a ride to see all of that take place over the last 15 years or so.” Part of that fun ride is the pure fun and entertainment value of the sport. Sperber said racing, like its roundball-focused counterparts, is driven by personality. “When I run into folks who grew up watching ‘traditional sports,' this is what I always say: ‘Every traditional sport at its core is really stupid,'” he said. “Basketball – it’s ten guys fighting over a rubber ball


trying to put it in a hoop. If I explained it to you that way and asked you to buy a ticket you’d say, 'I’m not going to pay to watch that.' Or 22 big guys fighting over a leather ball, trying to move it in 10-yard increments. Ridiculous.” Sperber went on: “But what draws you to sports is the rivalries, the passion, and the excitement around sports. It’s incredible theater and it builds tremendous loyalty. The rivalries extend beyond the playing field into the fan base. NASCAR is no different and so it is not as much about cars going around the racetrack and the technology side of it, which is clearly there, but by and large the lion’s share of interest in our sport really revolves around the personalities. It’s the human competition. Can this guy drive this car better than the other guy? Can his pit crew, can his team, prepare a racecar better and beat the other guy? And that’s what it’s all about.”




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HAVING BEEN BLESSED, CARDS RECEIVER SAYS ‘YOU HAVE TO GIVE BACK’ For Larry Fitzgerald Jr., it’s simple: “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

award in February, a league-wide honor which acknowledges a player’s work in the community.

Those are the words he used in describing his philosophy toward community responsibility.

Fitzgerald, 33, saw his mother and father giving to the community as he grew up in Minnesota.

“I’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have a long career – and that comes with a lot of responsibility,” he told Frontdoors. “You have to give back. There’s no way you would be where you are or I would be where I’m at if it wasn’t for the dedication of many people.”

“A lot of people sacrificed for you to be here, for me to be here,” he said. “I think it’s important to lend a helping hand to people that want to do the same things you’re doing. It’s something I saw my mom do. It’s something I saw my dad do. It’s something I saw the people who mentored me do and it’s something I’m always going to do."

The Cardinals receiver, a 10-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer, is one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game. But his off-thefield actions are recognized as well. He was named the co-winner of the National Football League’s Walter Payton Man of the Year 18 | FRONTDOORSMEDIA.COM

His mother, Carol Fitzgerald, counseled HIVpositive patients at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic. When she died from cancer in 2003, his father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., established a SEPTEMBER 2017

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fund in her name to honor her and support the causes she held dearly.

are affected in a positive way. That’s the way he looked at it and I was blown away by that.”

Carol worked for the Minnesota Department of Health as a health investigator whose focus was meeting with people who had contracted HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. She would have to share with them the troubling results of their health tests.

A natural transition for Fitzgerald after the NFL would be to continue his off-the-field work with his foundation and other causes. He has been careful not to say whether this season is his last or not. Clearly, the guy can still play at the highest level. But if he does decide to hang up his cleats, Fitzgerald said he will take some time to think about how best to spend his time.

Fitzgerald was made aware at a young age that there were people in the community who would need help, and when that happened people in the community rallied to their side. One indelible image made an impression on the young Fitzgerald – a 1992 visit to Minnesota by Magic Johnson, the Los Angeles Lakers star who had been diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, which made explosive headlines across the world as fans reeled over the revelation. “I’ll never forget in 1992 when Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV positive,” Fitzgerald said. “He came to Minnesota on a big HIV initiative and he came to the Metrodome and about 10,000 people showed up to raise awareness about the prevention of HIV.” Fitzgerald, who said he was nine or ten years old at the time of the visit, wondered if Johnson had not used his celebrity status to draw attention to HIV and AIDS it would have received the attention it needed. “I was a kid but I saw the impact somebody could have with that kind of platform,” he said. “I know he was devastated that that happened to him but he also knew that he could make a global impact and spearhead a lot of money being raised to help prevent other people from contracting it and so I saw that and said man that’s unbelievable that he would do that. Because most people, if you get a death sentence — well, it used to be a death sentence — might say ‘Oh woe is me’ and start thinking about all the bad things as opposed to going out there and making sure other people’s lives SEPTEMBER 2017

“I think for the most part I’m probably going to take a little time and kind of digest everything and figure out what the next move is,” he said. “I have a lot of interests. I have a lot of things going on off the field as it is. I need to figure out what exactly is going to keep my attention so I can focus on that and give my complete energy to it.” One option that’s always on the table for Fitzgerald is travel. Earlier this year he started his own travel agency, Nomad Hill, to help others see the world. He has explored Asia for 45 days, visited the Kremlin, surfed volcanoes in Nicaragua, biked across Vietnam, among other exploits in Egypt, Ethiopia and Japan. Although travel is harder these days because of his kids’ schedules, he is itching to get to Scandinavia, he said. “I’ve never been to Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, places like that that I really want to go to.” He said the Czech Republic, Greece and Mongolia are also on his desirable destinations list. Playing football or not, Fitzgerald said he is naturally moved to keep doing what he’s doing in terms of helping others and being the best person he can be. “I would say I’m intrinsically motivated to do good, to do my best. I’ve always been that way.”


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Photo: Arizona Diamondbacks



Photo: Barry Arizona Diamondbacks



Celebrity Golf Classic

Evening on the Diamond

The annual golf classic takes place at the Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler during late spring and brings sports celebrities and community members alike together to support (last year) the Cardinals’ Calais Campbell’s CRC Foundation. The foundation aims to allow children to learn life skills through sports, creative endeavors and guidance.

Last year marked the 11th annual Evening on the Diamond — raising raised over $2.1 million and hosting over 700 attendees, making it one of the top fundraising events in the Valley. The event includes a silent auction, live auction and land awarded the Lee T. Hanley Community Leadership Award to Amy Gibbons, past president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix.


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Photo: Phoenix Suns

Photo: Fiesta Bowl




Goldschmidt Bowling Bash

Suns 88 Slam Dunk Street Party

Fiesta Bowl Running of the Bills Duck Race

This year will mark the fifth annual Slam Dunk Street Party, which will celebrate 50 years of the Phoenix Suns in the Valley. The event will take place at the Southwest Airlines Hangar and include food, drinks live music and appearances by Suns legends.

This quirky event advocates “adopting” a rubber duck to race for a good cause — and a chance at winning some top dollar prizes. At the event that took place earlier this year, 12,000 ducks floated down the canal in Old Town Scottsdale!

Last year, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt hosted the inaugural Goldy’s Bowling Bash, benefitting his charity, Goldy’s Fund 4 Kids, which supports the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Lucky Strike Bowling Alley. The event, which hosted several prominent athletes, is expected to take place again this year.



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If you’re Diana Taurasi, winnowing down your proudest career moment is daunting.

those things in which you have to help each other to get to a certain point.”

After all, the 35-year-old Phoenix Mercury star has won three WNBA championships, four Olympic gold medals, Most Valuable Player awards for the season and for the WNBA finals and three college championships. She also just became the WNBA all-time leading scorer.

Milestones are one thing, but it’s the team connectedness on the court that provide true zen experiences for Taurasi.

But she managed to single out one shining accomplishment above all: Game 5 of the 2009 WNBA finals. “Playing in this arena and winning a championship here with the team we had – that resonates with me a lot,” Taurasi told Frontdoors after a practice session at Talking Stick Arena. Though it can’t compete with the feeling of winning her first championship, Taurasi called becoming the all-time leading scorer “really a prime moment in my career.” The California native chalks it up to the luck of having a stellar surrounding cast. “It’s a lot of luck,” Taurasi said. “Luck as in being around great coaches and players. You don’t do that on your own. Basketball is one of


“There are times in a game when one play leads to another play and it seems like all five people are on the same wavelength,” she said. “When you’re playing and you feel that, those are the good moments.” Since coming to Phoenix in 2004, Taurasi has her share of good moments away from the court. She said what has given her the most happiness here is how the city has embraced her and she in turn has made every effort to reciprocate. “I keep coming every summer and plugging away and working hard and trying to bring a championship to this city – that’s one thing I’m really proud of,” she said. “These days it’s kind of hard staying in one place for a long time whether it’s sports, business, or a relationship. So that loyalty to me has always been a big thing. I’ve tried to hold that close to my heart.” Of course, all good things must end. There will be a day Taurasi decides to hang up her


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high-tops. She is more straightforward than most athletes in discussing the end of her playing career. “You know, I’m looking forward to retirement,” she said. “It’s going to be a great time. I’ve put so much energy and work and dedication into this game that there’s a lot of things I haven’t been able to do because I’ve been playing basketball year round for 20 years. When that time comes I’m really going to look forward to reconnecting in different ways with people and interests that I have that when you’re playing basketball you don’t even think of and they don’t even pop up.” Some of those interests, Taurasi said, include architecture, music and plants. She’ll have plenty of time to think about it as she visits some of her favorite Valley coffee haunts such as Urban Bean on 7th St. and Sip on Indian School Rd. Another Valley athlete whose retirement is on the horizon, Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals, is the one Taurasi most admires in terms of how he conducts himself on and off the field. To be the face of the Valley for so long, she said, “is not easy to do – that’s a lot of energy.” “A lot of people don’t want to put the energy into both sides of being a professional athlete and Larry has and I’ve really admired him for what he’s done,” she said. “Obviously, too, Steve [Nash], when he was here. We were very close, sharing these hallways [at the arena] and just watching him and how he approached every day and every game in practice and in the weight room when no one was watching. Those two, especially here in the Valley, are just tremendous people.”

Photo: Barry Gossage, NBA Photos



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ARIZONA COYOTES FOUNDATION For the Arizona Coyotes, using their platform to bring awareness to important causes in the community is as important as their service.

That’s not to say the organization doesn’t dedicate a lot of time to philanthropic efforts — the Coyotes host a staff volunteer outing at least once every month.

“Our goal when we we’re doing different things or activations in the community or going out and volunteering, we want people to know about that cause more so than ‘Hey this is what we’re doing,’” said Olivia Matos, executive director of the Arizona Coyotes Foundation. “We want to do it so that people know it’s a need that’s out there in the community.”

“It’s genuinely an organization-wide thing,” Matos said. “Hockey players in general, the hockey community is just naturally very giving so I think for us it’s just part of the culture of what you do and for us it’s really about wanting to share the message of what the needs are in the community.”


The Coyotes primarily focus on helping


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children and service men and women, but don’t limit their involvement as to encourage the participation of as many people as they can. “We’ve learned over the years that people will jump in to help out a myriad of different organizations,” Matos said. “It’s more beneficial for us to stay broad in what we

support and activities we do because one week we may go to a homeless kitchen serving food and we’ll get a completely different group of people that are interested than if we go the next week to a Habitat Humanity Build.”

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS FOUNDATION This year, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation passed a major milestone — it reached a total of $50 million contributed to the community. To make this kind of impact, giving back to the community is a focus of the organization’s culture that reaches everyone on its staff. “It’s always been a top priority of the organization and it’s consistent with our players, our coaching staff, our front office and our ownership to really be positive contributing members of the community,” said Derrick Hall, president and CEO of the Diamondbacks. This commitment comes from the team’s dedication to serving the fans, and the community that they play for. “It goes back to us understanding our social responsibility,” Hall said. “We feel like we’re a community asset and knowing


that we can’t control what’s going on on the field result-wise we always are making an impact on the community so our state and our fans can always be proud of our engagement.” That engagement touches all parts of the community — from military and education initiatives, to fundraising for cancer awareness to their field building program and youth jersey program, which provides 50,000 jerseys and caps to youth baseball and softball leagues each year. “There’s such a wide variety of causes and there aren’t many that we turn away,” Hall said. "Through our grant process, the Grand Slam process, we want to help as many as we can.” “I think it’s that enthusiasm that as a whole unit, a whole organization, that we want to do more so we challenge ourselves to give more each and every year.”


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CARDINALS CHARITIES Cardinals Charities has worked to improve the lives of Arizona’s children, women and minorities for nearly 30 years — hoping to maximize its impact by focusing on specific causes. “There are so many valuable and worthwhile causes both in our own community and beyond,” said Cardinals owner Nicole Bidwill. “With Cardinals Charities, it was important for us to target our efforts in those three specific areas so that we could try to maximize our resources to have the greatest impact.” These efforts and values are instilled in all of those in the organization, ensuring that all those associated with the team are as invested in the state of Arizona as the state is in them. “People look to their hometown teams things for many things,” Bidwill said. “Hopefully through our play on the field


we can provide them with tremendous enjoyment and excitement. We also have the ability to instill pride and at times provide inspiration. But we also enjoy a unique leadership position and are expected to do things the right way, in part because others often model that. That’s certainly the case with philanthropy and giving back and why we see it as so important.” For Bidwill, the philanthropic efforts hit close to home as she incorporates her therapy dog, Barney, into many of the team’s community relations activities — like hospital visits. “So often we visit kids in the hospital and they may be having a really tough day but when they see this big, nearly 200-pound St. Bernard walk into the room everything changes and they light up,” she said. “Even if it’s just for a little while, they’re able to take their mind off their situation and just be a kid playing with a real big dog. I love


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that and I know Barney does too.” “With Cardinals Charities, it was important for us to target our efforts in those three specific areas so that we could try to maximize our resources to have the greatest impact.” These efforts and values are instilled in all of those in the organization, ensuring that all those associated with the team are as invested in the state of Arizona as the state is in them.

“People look to their hometown teams for many things,” said Bidwill. “Hopefully through our play on the field we can provide them with tremendous enjoyment and excitement. We also have the ability to instill pride and at times provide inspiration. But we also enjoy a unique leadership position and are expected to do things the right way, in part because others often model that. That’s certainly the case with philanthropy and giving back and why we see it as so important.”

FIESTA BOWL CHARITIES Community service is an integral part of most sports organization’s cultures — but for Fiesta Bowl Charities it’s the primary focus. “We are nonprofit ourselves so at the end of what we do our goal is to be able to give back to the community every single day,” said Jose Moreno, senior director of marketing and community relations. Fiesta Bowl Charities also has the longest


history of giving for a sports organization in Arizona — spanning nearly 50 years. “We’re a homegrown organization,” said Moreno. “We started here in 1971 and to be able to say we’ve been here almost 50 years, for almost 50 years of giving, to have those years of giving really sets us apart.” Fiesta Bowl Charities primary focuses are youth, sports and education, and their


special section {sports giving back}

reach spans the entire state by using revenue from the Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl college football games to invest in the community. “By purchasing a ticket you’re able to make a difference whether that’s with teachers, with youth, with veterans, with any one of our pillars that we support out in the Arizona community,” Moreno said.

One of their most impactful programs, Wishes for Teachers, has impacted 27,000 students by giving $5,000 grants to 100 teachers to invest back into their classrooms and students in whichever way they felt was best. “Our goal is to be able to honor and inspire teachers in any way we can,” Moreno said.

PHOENIX SUNS CHARITIES Giving is the legacy of The Phoenix Suns. They were the first professional sports team in Phoenix and began their philanthropic efforts 30 years ago. “We’re the first sports team here, we know that this community has been here for us and supportive of us for 50 years and we understand the responsibility that we have to give back and invest in our community,” said Sarah Krahenbuhl, executive director of Phoenix Suns Charities. Over the last 30 years, the team has invested $19 million into the community, with a focus on improving the lives of children and providing family services. “We’ve been here contributing for 30 years so we’ve been strongly impacting the lives of our most precious assets, our children, for many, many years,” Krahenbul said. Right now, the organization is focused 28 | FRONTDOORSMEDIA.COM

on Central High School, where the Suns’ investments are helping students succeed with higher graduation rates and more students moving on to college. “We invested in that school to help raise graduation rates about six years ago and that was a passion of our owner Robert Sarver,” Krahenbul said. “We’ve really been moving the needle there as far as improving the lives of those kids and giving them the opportunity to graduate from high school and go on to college.” At the Suns, the philanthropic passion of the staff — from players to ownership and everyone in between, makes all the difference, with initiatives like monthly volunteer opportunities. “Our organization is very centered around giving,” Krahenbul said. “We have monthly volunteer services and engage in different activities.”











...and more! TICKETS START AT $29!



KITCHEN DOORS {where we ate this month}

PRADO Paradise Valley There’s something magical about the luxurious atmosphere at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia — so their signature restaurant, Prado, might not immediately come to mind for a casual evening of small bites, but we think that’s about to change once you see its incredible tapas menu. Menu items like lollipop lamb chops with mint pesto and shrimp casuela are casual enough to share and eat as finger food while remaining as high-quality and delicious as you would expect from a top resort’s restaurant. All of which pair well with any of their drink options, which include high quality cocktails, local wines and Spanish wines, just to name a few. Plus, the kind of dining experience you have is up to you, whether you want to keep it casual at the M Bar, enjoy a formal meal in the dining room or soak up Arizona’s beauty on the patio. — Jamie Killin

Photo: Omni Montelucia

OCEAN POKE CO Arcadia First off: it’s pronounced “poh-kay” (rhymes with okay). Not “poh-kee” and definitely not “poke” (pōk). I’ve used all three variations since trying it for the first time in June, in Maui, where it’s a staple in grocery stores. Poke is cubed raw fish and you pick the seasoning and supporting cast. It may be new to some but poke (means “chunk” in Hawaiian) is Hawaii’s favorite food. It’s obvious why that is. It’s healthy, fresh and you come away from eating it with a full-but-not-too-full feeling. At Ocean Poke Co, you get enthusiastic service and, in turn, good vibes. I went with the Heat Check bowl, comprising white rice, spicy tuna, cucumber, jalapeno, wasabi, green onion, daikon sprouts, chile flakes and garlic soy sauce. The heat was over the top because I overdosed on the wasabi. That's on me. I will be back to explore the entire menu over time. Poke is here to stay. — Mike Saucier

Photo: Ocean Poke Co

OBON Scottsdale Quarter Obon is the newest addition to Scottsdale Quarter, opening just last month and bringing with it a much-needed new option for seafood. The restaurant, which has its first and only other location in Tucson, fits into the North Scottsdale scene perfectly, with a high-end atmosphere and on-trend menu. I wouldn’t consider it your typical sushi spot, as it offers a lot more than just rolls, which I can appreciate as someone who’s not always too enthused by the idea of eating raw fish. I opted for the chicken ramen, which while simple, definitely exceeded my expectations. Don’t worry — I did try some sushi too, which while usually not my favorite, tasted incredibly fresh and flavorful, especially by Arizona standards. — Jamie Killin


Photo: Obon



Photo: Tarbells

Tarbell's Arcadia Tarbell’s has long been a staple of the Valley’s culinary scene, but there’s a new cook in the kitchen — chef Adrian DeLeon — so we checked it out to make sure everything’s still cool. We shouldn’t have worried. Mark Tarbell’s namesake is in very good hands, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the flavors and dishes his kitchen created. We did bar seating


after a parent-teacher conference and were, well, extremely hungry. Thankfully, the Tarbell’s crew was at the ready with a wonderful seasonal salad, a crispy, fried soft-shell crab and luscious Scotch beef, all perfect, including the wine list. Was there ever a doubt? — Andrea Tyler Evans


OFFICE DOORS {leadership}



For Latasha Causey, being a philanthropist is just who she is. As the director of operations for USAA in Phoenix, her role includes creating volunteer opportunities for its 4,000 employees, but even before her time at USAA, she always knew she wanted to be part of a company that prioritized community. “I always wanted to work at an organization that had a service base to it,” Causey said. “You know, making sure you’re working for something bigger than yourself and not just going to work and it’s about making money.” This mindset was instilled in Causey early on by her parents, who encouraged her to be active in their church and always do something for others, even if they didn’t have much themselves.


“My Dad worked at UPS for over 30 years so there was just this sense of you have to do something for someone else, because if you don’t life will be nothing, life won’t even be worth it — so that’s just how I was raised,” she said. Through her church, Causey gained her first experiences giving back to the community, setting her up for a life of philanthropic efforts. “I was always very involved in those youth programs and through those youth programs we always had a give back whether we were doing some sort of community service project,” she said. “We were always doing something for someone else.” Her commitment to service continued at her first job in the human resources department of Charles Schwab, which


she began at the young age of 16 through her high school’s DECA program. She continued to work at Charles Schwab through college, and admired the organization’s focus on giving back. Now, Causey continues to help the community in several ways — one of which is by providing others with opportunities to do the same. “My favorite thing about my role at USAA is really what I get to do in giving others opportunities,” she said. This year, her team created 10,000 hours of volunteer opportunities for employees with a focus on connecting them to the


causes they care most about. Her role in the community doesn’t stop there either — she serves on the board of Teach for America, Ronald McDonald House, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and is a co-chair of Valley of the Sun United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council. These are causes she’s chosen because of her passion for education, love of children and role as a female leader. “It’s about me and what I’m passionate about,” she said. “I’m super passionate about education. I’m a native, went through the public-school system, I have two children that have to go through



I always wanted to work at an organization that had a service base to it. You know, making sure you’re working for something bigger than yourself and not just going to work and it’s about making money. the school system as well so if there’s anything I can ever do for education, because it takes the whole community, I want to be able to do that.” Her passion for improving the community is something she hopes to pass on to her children — who she brings to several of her volunteer events. “My kids have more than they ever need and they’re so fortunate,” she said. “My husband and I work very hard for them but we want to instill in them to just be good people, it doesn’t matter what you have, it can be taken away at any moment, you never know what your plan is, you could get hurt, who knows, so how about you help someone else?”

volunteer events, to asking when they’d be going back. “I feel like I’m creating this giving heart in them, I hope they continue it when they get older, I don’t know if they will but I hope they do but I truly believe it’s creating who they are,” she said. While Latasha doesn’t know what’s next for her career, or her philanthropic pursuits, she knows she wants to continue making an impact on the community. “I won’t stop in the community,” she said.”That I do know.”

She can already see the changes her focus on giving back is having on them too, similar to the way her parents instilled a passion for community service into her. She said her kids, ages six and ten, went from not looking forward to joining her at




BEHIND THE DOOR {the caniglia group}


Steve Caniglia

Shelley Caniglia

4340 N. 33rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

48 W. Linger Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85021

Classic ranch style beauty, extensively remodeled throughout in 2015! Open kitchen/great room concept, stunning wood burning fireplace, quartz countertops, kitchen island and breakfast bar, 6 burner gas cooktop, new dual pane windows and doors and gorgeous wood floors! 3 bedrooms PLUS an office/den, huge backyard with covered patio, sparkling pebble sheen pool, sport court and tons of grass for play. Dry bar with wine refrigerator, beverage refrigerator and kegerator. Excellent location tucked in a wonderful neighborhood in the Heart of the enormously popular Arcadia Area! Around the corner from numerous restaurants and stores including La Grande Orange Grocery & Pizzeria, Ingo’s Tasty Food, Chelsea’s Kitchen, The Tavern, Tommy V’s, Tarbell’s, Tomasso’s and many more!

Sprawling Ranch Style North Central home on wonderful cul-de-sac street. Red brick, North/ South exposure, extensively remodeled with quality finishes throughout. The gorgeous kitchen sports granite countertops, stainless appliances + 6 burner gas stove and wine fridge. Spacious living room in front of the home with large picture windows looking out to the front yard. Generous master bathroom with free standing tub. Beautiful curb appeal with lovely front porch. Back of the house has large covered patio with firepit in expansive, grassy backyard on 16,814 square foot flood irrigated lot. Close to the Murphy’s Bridle Path and all the best that North Central Phoenix has to offer!

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



GIVING IN STYLE {fashion in the philanthropy lane}

PHOENIX WELCOMES A (ROLE) MODEL RESIDENT Tyler Butler | SOCIETY AND FASHION WRITER Over the years supermodel Kim Alexis has been a strong advocate for many causes. She has hosted celebrity charity events, golf tournaments, hockey, tennis and bowling matches — all of which benefitted an organization in need. Kim has also given her time for three years as a volunteer for the Bolder Hospital. This world-class model is now joining the Phoenix community. With that, she intends to make a positive impact by sharing her expertise, connections and clout. What follows is a condensed version of our interview: Frontdoors: How did modeling come into your life; was it a childhood dream? Kim Alexis: Actually, I wanted to be a pharmacist growing up. It was only after I was discovered at age 17 that I began modeling. And by the time I was 18 I was already shooting covers in Italy. Things continued to take off from there. At 23, I was signed to an exclusive Revlon cosmetics modeling deal, which did limit the work I could take on. But, I still hold


the record for gracing the cover of Glamour magazine more than anyone else and in total I have been fortunate enough to be featured on over 500 magazine covers throughout my career. Frontdoors: So once you gained notoriety as a model, what did you set your sights on next? Kim Alexis: I planned to use modeling to get into broadcast. I studied acting and took voice lessons as well. I wanted to have a voice that I could leverage to influence and motivate people to help others. Frontdoors: You’ve hosted many charity events over the years. Is there one that sticks out? Kim Alexis: In 1989 I hosted a fishing tournament benefitting the American Cancer Society of Jacksonville and the guest of honor was Bruce Jenner. He brought a lot of attention to the event given his gold medal win in the 1976 Olympics and subsequent fame.


Frontdoors: Throughout the years it seems you’ve been involved with a wide range of causes. Is there a cause area you are most drawn to?

beautiful and beauty truly does come from the inside. I want women to understand that there is beauty in being comfortable with themselves.

Kim Alexis: Yes! I gravitate towards children’s causes and I am particularly drawn to literacy awareness. I’ve recently been introduced to Stand for Children and I am looking forward to getting involved further.

Frontdoors: So what is next for you professionally?

Frontdoors: Are there other Arizona-based causes that you feel compelled to support at this time? Kim Alexis: I’ve had the privilege of touring Florence Crittenton and I was most impressed. They have such a strong reputation and I hope to be of service by aiding them with awareness for their endeavors. Frontdoors: How do you envision sharing the lessons you’ve learned throughout your impressive career with others as you seek to help them? Kim Alexis: I want to encourage other women in all aspects of life. Everyone is SEPTEMBER 2017

Kim Alexis: Well I have a successful hair and wig line, Fortune Wigs. I am also filming a new show for the Food Network and the Cooking Channel called Food Quest, which will take audiences on a global culinary adventure. (Programming note: Kim Alexis' and Robin Leach’s show Food Quest launches on Friday, September 29 at 9:30 p.m. on the Food Network.)

Tyler Butler



GIVING IN STYLE EVENTS Arizona is a hotbed for philanthropy. As fashion emerges as a major driver for economic change and fundraising endeavors there becomes an opportunity to showcase the events that are combining these arenas for the greater good. Giving In Style Events will feature upcoming events and showcase what these designer offerings are accomplishing for our community and how they are impacting trendsetters.



High heels take a turn towards philanthropy at Florence Crittenton’s 9th Annual Heels for Healing and Diva Dash. This one-of-a-kind event brings the fashion of philanthropy and shoes into focus as it raises funds for this agency’s life-changing programs for girls, young women and their families in the community. Valley fashionistas will have a shopping opportunity to binge buy at Flo’s on 7th, the charity’s upscale resale store. Attendees will be treated to low prices on popular designer heels and handbags and all on sale for a good cause.

Crittenton’s chief executive officer explains, “Heels for Healing recognizes each one of our girls and the miles they have walked in their shoes. Launching this fashion-focused event, we have created an opportunity where shopping for great treasures can help girls, coming from all walks of life, on their path to recovery and healing.” And in a race to win the Diva Dash trophy and gift certificate to Flo’s on 7th, dashers will pair up in teams of four in heels, one inch or higher. The race’s obstacle course challenges participants to compete in lanes with a tricycle and a hula-hoop challenge.

As Dr. Kellie M. Warren, Florence 38 | FRONTDOORSMEDIA.COM


Hair by Julia Mendez

Corrective Cutting • Event Styling • Color Specialist Personal Appointments Available




HEAR HERE {news, updates and events} The best stories we saw this month about those who give generously and work for a better future.

NONPROFIT’S 1ST-EVER DESIGNER SALE WILL HELP WOMEN IN NEED DRESS FOR SUCCESS Dress for Success Phoenix, a nonprofit that has provided suiting and career services to Valley women in need for nearly a decade, will open its doors to the public for the first time during its inaugural designer sale. The Shop for Success Designer Sale is taking place Saturday, September 30 at the boutique, with a private VIP sale taking place from 10 a.m. to noon. At noon, the doors will open to the public, allowing the community to shop new, high-end, designer items with all proceeds going to Dress

for Success Phoenix. “We are so excited to host our very first designer sale,” said Lisa Doromal, founder and CEO of Dress for Success Phoenix. “This is a great way to engage our community and allow women to support our efforts by shopping beautiful, designer clothing. The proceeds from this event will allow us to enable women to look and feel their best with professional clothing, career services and so much more.” READ MORE ONLINE




AZ UNIVERSITIES STRIVE TO ADD ARTS TO STEM While the education system continues to barrel toward a STEM future, science, technology, engineering and math that is, many educators are calling for a full STEAM ahead approach by adding art back into the mix. This dogma isn’t restricted to primary school education where public schools are seeing arts programs diminish with budget cuts either — universities are taking notice as well. “We need the arts to spur the continued growth of creativity in other areas of the university,” said Valerio Ferme, dean of Northern Arizona University’s

College of Arts and Letters. “There has been much talk about turning the need for our students to focus on STEM, science, technology, engineering and math into STEAM, where the A stands for arts. Moving forward, I would like the university to explore how we can do this more, because I think that having our scientific minds be open to the arts might help them be more creative.” This isn’t the opinion of just one leader in education either, Lisa Pierce, the director of marketing and development at the University of Arizona echoed Ferme’s sentiment.






Frontdoors Media is putting a spotlight on the incredible arts organizations that call the Valley home this Fall. We believe the arts have the rare ability to benefit the Valley because they attract creative people, bind communities and benefit the economy. We are proud to spread the message about the amazing shows, exhibits and classes planned for the 2017-18 season.

3104 E. Camelback Road #967 | Phoenix, Arizona 85016 | 480-622-4522 | 42 | FRONTDOORSMEDIA.COM




GIVING BACK {charity spotlight}


THE CAUSE Research shows that engaging students with on-campus activities leads to higher graduation rates and lower teen crime rates. But many students find themselves spending more time fundraising for their extracurricular activities than participating in them — especially in schools that are in rural areas or short on funding.

and zip code to easily provide the gift of extracurricular activities to a student in need — from entry into competitions and funds for school trips to athletic equipment and music stands.

That’s where Support My Club comes in.

“You might have the best soccer player in the world, or a future Olympian,” she said. “But if you have a team of 20 people and only four soccer balls you’re not going to hone your footwork as well or as quickly as a student at a school with 100 new soccer balls.”

It’s an online directory of student needs that allows community members to make a difference by providing experiences and supplies that give high school students what they need to excel in their passions. “You find something that aligns with your interests and your giving ability and add it to your cart just like normal,” said founder and CEO Amy Armstrong. “When the donor checks out, the tax receipt is automatically created and goes to them so the school doesn’t have to process anything for the donor and the item goes directly to the students. So the donor doesn’t need to worry about getting anything to the student so we do that for them on both ends.”

“What we really strive to do is level the playing field,” Armstrong said.

The process doesn’t stop there, either. In addition to providing students with the items they need to enrich their education with extra-curricular activities, Support My Club requires that donation recipients write a thank-you note for each item received to teach them gratitude. For every $100 in donations a student receives, they also do an hour of community service, helping them to become more involved in the community and creating a cycle of philanthropy.

Donors can filter items by price, interest 44 | FRONTDOORSMEDIA.COM


THE STORY Armstrong founded Start My Club five years ago as a member of Social Venture Partners when she was part of the Education Affinity Group, which was focusing on Camelback High School. Chad Gestson, now superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School district, was the new principal at the school and was ready to make some changes by improving the school’s entire culture — not just academics. “If you get kids, and by kids I mean teens, to want to stay on campus and be engaged the academics will naturally follow,” said Armstrong, “And that way you don’t feel like you’re shoving tests down their throat. You make school a really cool place to be.” Gestson mandated that every student enroll in an extra-curricular activity, and


the need for supplies became apparent immediately, which helped Armstrong develop the concept of Support My Club. “At the same time all of this was happening I had a lot of friends getting married, you know you go through those cycles in life where all of a sudden everybody’s getting married, and so I was on wedding registries a lot so basically it was just the combination of a wedding registry for clubs and teens,” said Armstrong. The concept grew quickly — first expanding to three schools, then to all of Phoenix Union High School District before opening up to all Maricopa County and then all Arizona schools. Now, over 100 schools are participating and Support My Club has plans to expand nationwide.



THE EVENT Each year, Support My Club hosts the Philanthropy Bar to raise awareness of the donation platform. This year’s event will have a pep rally theme and will take place on October 25 at Unexpected Art Gallery in downtown Phoenix from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Attendees can look forward to a short presentation with announcements on new initiatives as well as a chance to meet several students who have benefitted from Support My Club. There will be cheerleaders greeting attendees with a routine, journalism club members conducting interviews, photography students running a photo booth and STEM club members demonstrating robot technology. To fully integrate event-goers into the festivities, they will even have the opportunity to wear a nametag stating what extra-curricular activities they participated in as students.





BOOKMARKED {what are you reading} Where Frontdoors Media asks high-profile Valley visitors and residents what books they have been reading.

Diana Taurasi Guard, Phoenix Mercury

IS LISTENING TO The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck


H E R TA K E "I’m not a huge reader but since my family’s in L.A. I do a lot of driving between here and there. So I’ve gotten into the audio books a little bit, which makes time go back fast, especially when I have a five-hour road trip. I just listened to this on audiobook, which is a very popular book right now, I think it’s a top ten bestseller. It’s very

simple: The thing you like the most – if you care about it too much it’s going to hurt you. And it’s a very interesting take on being passionate about something but not caring enough so you can really be the best at it and feel good about it. It’s an interesting ‘hear’ and read."

Bryan Sperber President, Phoenix International Raceway

IS READING Tools of Titans BY TIMOTHY FERRISS H I S TA K E "All the chapters are really small so for a guy with short attention span it really works out great. What Tim did is he basically went back to look at all the interviews he’s done with leaders in sports, leaders in business, culture,


arts and kind of gleaned bits of advice and put it all together in a book. I’ve learned a lot from reading it and implemented some of the things that other thought leaders have talked about, both personally and in business."


BOOKMARKED {what are you reading}

Michael Bidwell President, Arizona Cardinals

IS READING Founding Rivals BY CHRIS DEROSE H I S TA K E “I’m learning about the formation of our country and particularly the important congressional race that was fought right around the forma-

tion, between James Madison and James Monroe. I learned a lot more about history than before I started reading it.”

Todd Rundgren Singer, songwriter and producer who played Celebrity Theatre Aug. 25 for YESTIVAL tour with Yes and Carl Palmer

IS WRITING His Autobiography H I S TA K E "I’m in the final phases of finishing off my autobiography, which I’ve been promising to deliver, and have taken decades to do it. That’s pretty much all I’ve been working on. I don’t have time to read much else because I’m


trying to recollect everything I’ve been through and get it down in some kind of cogent form. The name of it will be 'The Individualist.' I’m not reading so much but I’m writing like crazy.”


A 2ND ACT {stories of perseverance}


'WE STICK WITH THEM FOR AS LONG AS THEIR JOURNEYS TAKE THEM' Judy Pearson | CONTRIBUTING WRITER “We’re going to make a difference!” These are powerful words to come from a high school senior, but they’re understandable given the scene Jenny Luttrell had just witnessed. Her younger brother, Jeff, was undergoing a bone marrow transplant after having survived his fourth diagnosis with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The Luttrell family had endured a great deal, but always with insurance coverage and the necessary funds to travel for treatment. The family in the room next to the Luttrells at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson was not that lucky. Their daughter was being treated, too, but they didn’t have enough money for gas to get home. “We collected money from all the families in the waiting room to help them,” said Patti Luttrell, Jeff and Jenny’s mom. “That was the day Children's Cancer Network was born.”


The organization began as Jenny’s high school philanthropy project, raising seed money with a garage sale. Today, it has an operating budget of $900,000, with Patti at the helm as co-founder and executive director. Fulfilling their mission of giving hope to children and families dealing with childhood cancer takes every penny. Broadly, their work includes providing financial assistance, creating awareness of childhood cancer issues, and offering education about healthy lifestyles. And after a decade, their work is still focused on the families. With September being Child Cancer Awareness Month, it's a good time to look at the work Children's Cancer Network is doing in the community. “We work with them from moment of diagnosis through survivorship,” Patti says. “We stick with them for as long as their journeys take them. They can come in and out of our support services.” Children’s Cancer Network provides SEPTEMBER 2017





families with admission bags, filled with resources, necessities and comfort items they’ll need for the long treatment road ahead. They learn something new from every family they meet. “One little boy asked for a bed so that when he got home from the hospital he wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor,” Patti remembers. “We discovered not having enough beds in a home wasn’t that uncommon. So we began providing them along with bed linens.” In addition, Children’s Cancer Network hits all the important events in a child’s life. Their adopt-a-family programs help families with back-to-school and holiday needs. “The hospital social workers recommend families and we shops for them,” Patti says. “Toys, clothing, household needs, we help with all of it. And we give them 52 | FRONTDOORSMEDIA.COM

gas and food gift cards to cover every day expenses. We work with all hospitals throughout the state.” At the organization’s resource center in Chandler, families can pick up information on local and national organizations whose support is more specific to their child’s cancer type. The center hosts some of the “It’s All About You” health and wellness programs, hands-on learning opportunities to build self esteem and healthy relationships. These programs are also sometimes held at the hospitals, but all provide a most important element in a family’s cancer journey: the ability to connect with other families in same situation. One of the programs Patti Luttrell is most proud of is HOPE – Honoring Our Peers Everyday. Working in the schools with students from kindergarten through high SEPTEMBER 2017


school, HOPE helps them understand the cancer journey their fellow students are traveling. They learn about treatment, that side effects are temporary, and that cancer is not contagious. “An elementary school boy was getting ready to go back to school,” Patti relates. “He was nervous about it: he had no hair, he was tired, he had missed a lot of school. Our team happened to be presenting the HOPE program at his school. The kids were so receptive. One 4th grader said to a team member, ‘I get it now. I want to help him.’ “The school then wrote notes to their classmate, welcoming him back. That was

the tipping point. The young survivor told his mom he was ready. Stories like that make all the hard work worth it!” Jeff is now 29. A graphic designer and golf novice, he just received a clear PET scan after having battled a squamous cell cancer on his tongue for five years. Jenny is 31 and lives in San Diego. Because of them, Patti continues to grow Children’s Cancer Network. The future holds more support programs, more survivorship conferences, more outreach into the schools. And more HOPE for children and their families facing their long and lonely cancer journeys.

Judy Pearson is a journalist, published author, and the founder of Her organization supports and celebrates women survivors of all cancers as they give back to the greater good in their 2nd Acts. Her passion is finding those who have have healed themselves by helping others. SEPTEMBER 2017


OPEN DOORS {publisher’s page}

ASU ALUMS INSPIRED TO BE GAME CHANGERS FOR KIDS When thinking about all of the amazing community funding our professional sports teams provide season after season, I can’t help but think how my friends and fellow alumni from Arizona State University play a role too. My time as a student volunteer for several organizations played a huge role in my future as a nonprofit-staffer-turnedconsultant. My fellow Sun Devils are taking this concept to another level. Meet Erika and Russ Dickey, founders of the Game Changer Legacy – a foundation created in honor of Russ’s grandfather, an inspiring Texas high school football coach for 35 years (and a teacher for 50). When they heard about an opportunity to help 54 | FRONTDOORSMEDIA.COM

student athletes that were game changers on the field become game changers in life, they jumped in and brought their friends along with them. The Game Changer Legacy raises funds and provides resources to support the Scholar Baller Initiative at ASU, a developmental program that focuses on empowering urban youth through their interest and connection to education, sports, and entertainment. The ASU Scholar Baller participants teach leadership and character development principles to high school students involved in athletics, art, music, and other extracurricular activities at local urban SEPTEMBER 2017

high schools. For the Dickeys, supporting this program was an opportunity to create a pipeline of future community leaders on and off the field. Three years ago, these funds resulted in the ability to hire a full-time director for ASU’s Scholar Baller program, increasing its reach and impact. Russ shared this testimonial from one of the high school teachers with me: "I have never been so impressed with the professional manner in which the ASU athletes talk to our students about the seriousness of grades and giving back to the community. The ASU studentathletes are of such high quality I wish that all of our students could meet with them." Today, the program involves student athletes from 12 ASU sports teams (six men’s and six women’s) and serves over 200 high school students each year. SEPTEMBER 2017

This growth will continue as the program expands to a third high school this year and the Dickeys bring together 100 founding families to join them — the Game Changer 100 — to continue support of this incredible initiative for seasons to come. Forks Up!


Andrea Tyler Evans PUBLISHER



2 017 - 1 8 TA X SE ASO N

Frontdoors Media will once again be producing its Tax Credit Directory for the 2017-18 tax season. With a run time from November 1, 2017 to the April 15, 2018 contribution deadline, it’s a great resource for eligible organizations looking to stand out from the crowd and for individuals looking for the right place to donate.

WHAT IS THE TAX CREDIT DIRECTORY? The Directory will lead with an article on the donations and how they work, citing experts in the finance, education and non-profit fields to demonstrate how easy it is for donors to participate. The article will provide links to further documentation, including the directory of eligible organizations in each of the four tax credit categories. The goal is simple — to show readers that tax credit donations are a quick, easy and effective way to support charities without adversely impacting their bottom line. The special section will then include a directory of nonprofits who will have the opportunity to reserve space in the section for each of the four tax credit categories: 1. ARIZONA QUALIFIED CHARITY TAX CREDIT 2. ARIZONA QUALIFYING FOSTER CARE CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION TAX CREDIT 3. PUBLIC SCHOOL TAX CREDIT 4. PRIVATE SCHOOL TUITION ORGANIZATIONS

The directory will include language about Frontdoors Media verifying the eligibility of these organizations for the tax credit, so that the reader can have third-party confirmation that their donation is going to a legitimate cause.

BENEFITS AND PRICING FOR ORGANIZATIONS • Organization will have logo placement the directory, as well as a 125-word description of the organization and a button linking to its tax credit contribution site. • Directory to be featured on home page of Frontdoors Media from November 1, 2017 to April 15, 2018. • Directory to be highlighted in special section of The Knock, our weekly newsletter, to our 35,000 subscribers and followers monthly, from November to April. • Directory to be promoted through Frontdoors Media’s social media outlets throughout this period.



E. Camelback Road #967 563104 | FRONTDOORSMEDIA.COM

Lynne Wellish | Sales

| Phoenix, Arizona 85016 | 480-622-4522 | SEPTEMBER 2017

Frontdoors - September 2017  

Frontdoors Magazine September 2017: Sports Giving Back + Phoenix Raceway's New Addition + Kim Alexis, Role Model + MORE! - Preview

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