Page 1

SPECIAL REPORT 2018

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

STONE CANYON PHOTOS: ROB CROSS

For the Love of Golf

www.BizTucson.com Sponsored by

2018 > > > Homes BizTucson The Golf Casitas at Stone Canyon and Boulder Vista Spring by Monterey

113


114 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 115


116 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 117


BizREALESTATE

Mickelson’s Vision By Jay Gonzales

Golf is supposed to be fun. It’s a simple notion and it’s the foundation for a business model for PGA Tour champion Phil Mickelson and his partners at Mickelson Golf Properties. It brought them to the Tucson area, where they purchased the financially troubled The Stone Canyon Club in Oro Valley in 2014, one of six properties the company now owns. Within a few years, they put the club on solid financial footing, built a brand 118 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

new clubhouse and triggered new housing developments, including one of their own. At Stone Canyon, Mickelson Golf Properties owns one of the elite courses in the nation. Golf Digest ranked Stone Canyon No. 3 on its 2017 list of the best golf courses in Arizona and in the top 100 in the country. There was only one other course in the Tucson area to make the magazine’s Top 25 in Arizona. The basic financial strategy for Mick-

elson Golf Properties is to acquire financially troubled properties at a bargain and then put its mark on them. In Mickelson’s vision, that’s to make a round of golf more fun for the average player than it often is at high-end country clubs. “In my heart, I feel like we’re making the game more enjoyable because we’re making the courses we take over more playable,” Mickelson said on a recent cool, winter day when he was at Stone www.BizTucson.com


Phil Mickelson Phil Mickelson has a love for golf. His reasons go beyond the $85 million in winnings and 42 PGA Tour championships, including five majors. Through his business, Mickelson Golf Properties, he said he is trying to bring the enjoyment of golf to the everyday player.

“I loved going out and playing with my dad and with my family. I loved competing at the highest level of college, amateur, junior golf and the PGA Tour. They forced me to work hard. But I also love playing in club events and with friends and taking buddies out. I love and appreciate every aspect of the game, and it makes me feel good when I see people love and enjoy the game as well.”

for Stone Canyon

Making Golf More Fun for the Average Player

Canyon to shoot promotional ads for the club. “My big underlying theme is making golf an enjoyable experience where you want to spend more time at the club rather than hurry up and get back home,” he said. “I want your spouse or your family to want to come out and join you here, and then you end up spending six to eight hours here rather than trying to cut it short at three or four.” While a day at the club remains the www.BizTucson.com

fundamental strategy, Mickelson Golf Properties has delved into creating opportunities for even longer stays. The company is the developer of The Golf Casitas at Stone Canyon, 28 residential properties a stone’s throw from the clubhouse. It gives buyers a less expensive option to the multi-million-dollar custom homes in the Stone Canyon development. The casitas are intended to be a place to stay for anyone thinking about mak-

ing a move to Stone Canyon. Owners can rent them for short stays through The Stone Canyon Club. The casitas are a more affordable option for an owner who is a winter visitor and doesn’t want to invest in a larger custom home. The golf experience

Nonetheless, the focus is on the golf experience for Mickelson and Steve Loy, his business partner and former coach and caddy. The two are partners in continued on page 120 >>> Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 119

PHOTOS: ROB CROSS

“Because I’m so appreciative of what golf has given me, I want people to enjoy and love the game the way I do. There are so many different things about golf that I love. When I was growing up as a kid, the solitude of just playing and practicing by myself was wonderful. Being able to play with other adults when I was a kid helped me interact socially with other people and be comfortable.


BizREALESTATE Mickelson Golf Properties, whose president is Roger Nelson. Nelson also is a developer of the casitas in partnership with Mickelson and Loy. Club General Manager Mike Russell, who has worked at the golf club since it opened in 2000, saw Mickelson’s vision for the golf course coming into focus the first time the three-time Master’s champion played it in late 2014. “A lot of it started with Phil’s first round here,” Russell said. “His first time around the course, he was kind of dissecting it and looking at everything. He was really taking notes on what he could do to make the course more playable for the higher-handicapped players, but still challenging for the veteran players.” “I have this belief that the underlying reason golf hasn’t been growing is that the courses are too hard,” Mickelson said. “When I say too hard, the average player is not able to carry over a hazard and stop the ball on a green, but they can play the ball along the ground.” The proof, Mickelson said, was at an earlier acquisition, McDowell Mountain Golf Club, a public course in a residential development in northern Scottsdale. Bunkers were removed and other adjustments were made to keep the course from “gobbling up golf balls from the average guy,” he said. “Our play went up 185 percent a year. That’s when I knew we were onto something.” ‘Stone Canyon’ for a reason

Today, the golf course at Stone Canyon remains stunning. For a local who knows Tucson like the proverbial back of his hand, Stone Canyon looks like it was formed somewhere else and set at the base of the Tortolita Mountains. Each hole seems to be in its own canyon surrounded by stones with a terrain unlike any in the region. The course winds through the desert with each hole isolated from the next because of the hills covered with rock formations. Those golfers who gauge the breaks on the greens based on the theory of “breaking away from the mountain” have to figure out which mountain the ball is breaking away from because each green seems to be surrounded by hills than can affect the roll. The views are unmatched. Even the 120 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

highest handicap players should try some of the elevated back tees where spectacular views make for breathtaking shots into the fairways or the par-3 holes. The risk of a lost ball on a tee shot is well worth the view and the opportunity to hit a memorable shot into a canyon surrounded by mountains of stones. The changes, since Mickelson put his stamp on the course, have been “subtle,” Russell said. It can be as difficult or as easy as the player desires with at least five choices and up to 10 options at the tee box. Adjustments to the course were made the summer after Mickelson’s group purchased it, starting with the removal of some of the bunkers that were making it hard for the average player to access some of the greens. Since it is a desert course, one of the challenges for a golfer who lacks a precision game is to find balls that go into the desert. Some clearing was done to make it easier for golfers to spot their balls. More recently, the greens were resurfaced and expanded to get them back to their original size. “We took out about five or six bunkers in certain areas on the course, and we did a lot of clearing of the desert in areas where people have a tendency to hit balls,” Russell said. “It was subtle, which is what you want. The golf course didn’t lose any of its characteristics. Every change was for the better.”

Looking down the fairway from the 17th green.

The Stone Canyon Clubhouse

To the rescue

The bigger change for the better came when Mickelson and his group bought the golf course and began investing in it after years of status quo for a development that had attracted a high-end resident – mostly winter residents – and million-dollar homes. When Nelson first became aware that Stone Canyon was available, he said it didn’t take a lot of convincing for the Mickelson group to take a good hard look at an acquisition. “We were looking for properties to acquire in Arizona, and Stone Canyon kind of came on the radar with a call from a longtime friend who talked me into taking a look,” Nelson said. “I had seen it when it first opened, so I knew it to be a beautiful property. I really did not have any idea what the circumstances were around the ownership. My friend continued on page 122 >>>

PHOTOS: ROB CROSS

continued from page 119

www.BizTucson.com


View of the par-3 ninth hole from a back tee box.

The green at the par-5 10th hole as seen from the fairway. www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 121


BizREALESTATE continued from page 120 just indicated that it was available. “We started talking about it. Phil and Steve had never even heard of it, so I had to get them to take a look at it. They were very excited about it because it’s such a beautiful property.” That the property was available was a mild upset in itself as Stone Canyon went through a dark financial period beginning with the real estate crash in the mid-2000s. The period was littered with bankruptcies and other financial distress that threatened the club’s existence. Much of the property in the development, including the golf club, ended up in a family trust where it was maintained until a buyer could come along and rescue it. “It was a beautiful, fantastic facility, well done. Everything was quality,” Nelson said of his first impression. “We had to figure out whether or not we could turn it around financially and make it successful.” At the time, Mickelson and Loy were focusing their business venture in Arizona where they were buying finan-

122 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

I feel like we’re making the game more enjoyable because we’re making the courses we take over more playable.

– Phil Mickelson PGA Tour champion

cially troubled golf courses and clubs and turning them around by making them more enticing and, in some cases, more affordable for golfers. In addition to McDowell Mountain, they own two other public courses – Ocotillo Golf

Club in Chandler and Palm Valley Golf Club in Goodyear. In addition to The Stone Canyon Club, they own two other private clubs – The Rim Golf Club and The Golf Club at Chaparral Pines, both in Payson. A Sun Devil who loves Tucson

Mickelson is originally from San Diego, but he is no stranger to Arizona. He attended Arizona State University, where he launched his golf career with Loy as his coach. His first of 42 PGA Tour victories came in Tucson when he played in the Northern Telecom Open. Playing as an amateur on a sponsor’s exemption from the Tucson Conquistadores, he beat all the pros. He took home the traditional Conquistador helmet that is the tournament’s trophy, but he didn’t take home the cash prize so that he could keep his college eligibility at ASU. “I’ve always had a certain place in my heart for Tucson because it was my first tour win and the Conquistadores were the first group to ever give me a sponsor’s invite,” Mickelson said. “I always continued on page 124 >>>

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 123


BizREALESTATE continued from page 122 have this feeling of love when I think of Tucson. I don’t feel this rivalry between ASU and the University of Arizona. In fact, I pull for the UA whenever they play. So when the opportunity came here, it was a perfect fit.” From a financial standpoint, the opportunity and the fit were far better in Arizona than in, say, Mickelson’s home state of California or other states in the West. “We’ve come close to purchasing properties in Washington and Oregon and California. We’ve gotten very close to the finish line on a number of properties, but the deal ended up not being quite right,” Mickelson said. “We feel that if one deal goes bad, we jeopardize the others, and so you have to make sure it’s the right deal for all the properties. “Arizona had the most opportunity to do what we wanted to do with so many courses closing, so many courses struggling,” he said. “There were opportunities to step in in California. The land

124 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

was just too expensive. It’s very expensive to get started there.” ‘A fun hang’

And so it’s Arizona for now for Mickelson Golf Properties. The sparkling 25,000-square-foot clubhouse at Stone Canyon that opened

in March 2016 is an obvious sign that the turnaround for the club has been achieved. It has transformed the clubhouse into a place to be rather than a just a place to start your round. “I want the environment to be comfortable,” Mickelson said. “Our whole

mindset in structuring our clubs is to create a fun hang where you want to bring your family, your friends, or meet and congregate.” Nelson added: “This new facility has given the staff an opportunity to do some things differently, where they can do different theme nights – whether it’s around a ball game, a UA game, the Super Bowl, live music – and have a different experience. It’s making it more social and more interactive and a lot more fun than it ever was before.” And that’s the plan, the business model, the vision – fun. “Stone Canyon was a risk for us at first because it’s such an elite property,” Mickelson said. “We had to create an environment that made you want to come here. I think it’s been a success because it’s able to sustain itself. It’s not losing money, but more than that, we’ve created an environment where people want to come here.”

Biz

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 125


BizREALESTATE

‘Stay-and-Play’

Casitas

Freestanding Homes with Intimacy and Ambiance By Jay Gonzales

126 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

we could develop some smaller homes, sell to individuals and then have prospects come and stay and see whether or not they’d be interested in becoming members.” As part of owning property in Stone Canyon, residents must get either a golf membership or a sports membership that includes everything but golf. The casitas are one of five planned communities in the 1,400acre Stone Canyon development, which opened in 2000. There are a total of 800 lots for custom homes, more than half of which are still available. Nelson said the casitas, like the other planned communities, are an option for someone who wants a home in Stone Canyon, but doesn’t want to put millions of dollars and a long construction schedule into owning a home in the development. “It’s kind of like I always say in development, everybody likes ice cream but everybody doesn’t like the same flavor,” said Nelson, whose primary background is as a CPA, but who has been involved in home building, master-plan community development and golf course development for 25 years. “There are 800 lots planned in Stone Canyon and the vast majority of those are an acre or better in size – and that’s a lot of the same thing. This is one of the few options in Stone Canyon where you can get a smaller lot, a smaller home, lockand-leave, the ability to do nightly rentals and make some income off your property.” continued on page 128 >>>

Golf Casitas at Stone Canyon

PHOTOS: ROB CROSS

The “properties” piece of Mickelson Golf Properties has taken on additional meaning at Stone Canyon – as in residential properties. The company formed by PGA Tour champion Phil Mickelson and his business partner primarily buys and operates golf courses, but it is building a 28-home development at Stone Canyon to provide added visibility and access for the Stone Canyon Club, which they purchased in 2014. Stone Canyon is tucked against the Tortolita Mountains in Oro Valley with an elite golf course and a new, 25,000-square-foot clubhouse. Already heavily invested in Stone Canyon, Mickelson, his partner in the golf properties company, Steve Loy; and Roger Nelson, president of Mickelson Golf Properties, have made another heavy investment. The Golf Casitas at Stone Canyon sits between the golf clubhouse and the nearby health and fitness center that is part of the private club. “The decision to buy the golf course was made solely on the golf course. The decision to do the casitas came later after we developed a footprint for the clubhouse,” Nelson said. “We had nine acres left over that was situated between the clubhouse and the health and fitness center. I just thought that we needed to do something to develop that area because one of the difficulties we’ve had in attracting members is that there’s no place on the property where prospects can stay. “The whole concept is to create a stay-and-play environment where

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 127


BizREALESTATE

continued from page 126 Until the casitas development was approved, the CC&Rs in Stone Canyon required rentals of any home for at least six months. The vast majority of homes are owned by winter visitors who spend considerable time away from their properties. When Nelson conjured the idea to build the casitas only a few months after Mickelson Golf Properties purchased Stone Canyon, he knew he was going to have to go through an approval process with the Town of Oro Valley. It wasn’t as difficult as he expected, he said. “This whole thing was part of the golf course recreational zoning, which included the health and fitness center, the vacant land and the clubhouse,” Nelson said. “We did a study for the

128 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

town that demonstrated to them that most high-end golf courses have a higher-density product of some kind, closer to their clubhouse, for this type of use. We gave them several examples all over the country and they basically agreed. We didn’t have to rezone it. “It’s the only place in Stone Canyon where (short-term rental) is available and this location couldn’t be better,” said Nelson, who owns one of the casitas with Mickelson and Loy. “It’s walking distance from the clubhouse and the health and fitness center. They’re the most affordable option in Stone Canyon by far. They’re like little jewel boxes.” There are two floor plans, both priced in the $500,000s. The first is a 1,717-square-foot plan with two bedrooms, 2½ baths and a two-car garage.

It has two elevations. The second is a 1,942-square-foot plan with three bedrooms, three baths, a two-car garage and a choice of three elevations. “I didn’t know exactly what we wanted,” Nelson recalled of the early design process. The initial plan was to build duplexes with a total of 32 units. Once that concept was developed, Nelson went to a ready-made focus group for feedback. “We came up with some preliminary conceptual designs and floor plans and then we showed the membership here to see how they would react – and it was very interesting,” Nelson said. “The members really did not like the attached product.” continued on page 130 >>>

www.BizTucson.com

PHOTOS: ROB CROSS

Stone Canyon Fitness Center


www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 129


continued from page 128 The next design plan had six larger units and 25 smaller, freestanding homes. When those designs were rolled out, a waiting list formed immediately for the six larger homes, but there was zero interest in the smaller models. Nelson and his architect literally went back to the drawing board and settled on the size and floor plans that are now for sale. Four casitas have been completed and seven are under construction. “We went back to the architect and said we’re closing in on this and it’s clear that they want units that are freestanding. It’s clear that they want a little bigger space. It’s clear they want two-car garages. It’s clear they want single level. And we went to work with that in mind. We went from 32 units down to 28 freestanding homes.” In the end, the look, the feel and the amenities don’t stray from what you might find elsewhere in Stone Canyon, even at the surrounding homes that were three and four times the price. Like most properties in Stone Canyon, the views and the setting are difficult to

130 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

match with the Tortolita Mountains to the north, Pusch Ridge to the east and, if the lot is slightly elevated, a long-distance view into the city. The casitas are just more in line with someone who might be there for a shorter stay and doesn’t need 4,000 square feet.

“The casitas are small units that provide a kind of intimacy and ambiance,” Mickelson said. “They’re 200 yards from the clubhouse or 100 yards from the fitness area; it’s easy to walk to both. “When you’re using this as a second

home, which many people do, you don’t have to have a massive home. You can have a small casita that can be managed and taken care of so you don’t have to hire a personal assistant to manage your home and make sure everything works. And it allows you to come in and experience Stone Canyon for a few weeks multiple times a year.” Of course, there’s nothing preventing an owner from making one a year-round home with an opportunity to enjoy one of the best golf courses in the country – “Golf Digest” ranks Stone Canyon as the no. 3 golf course in Arizona – even in the summer when the golf course has plenty of tee times as winter residents flee from the heat. While Mickelson Golf Properties does sell lots at some of its other golf properties, Stone Canyon is the only one where Mickelson’s company has gone so far as to build a residential development tied to the golf property. “It’s about finding your target,” Mickelson said. “We’re trying to provide an experience and a product for them.”

Biz

www.BizTucson.com

PHOTO: ROB CROSS

BizREALESTATE


www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 131


BizREALESTATE

Boulder Vista at Stone Canyon A New Trend: Smaller Luxury Second Homes

PHOTOS: COURTESY MERITAGE HOMES

By Jay Gonzales There’s nothing like a little hard data – right there in black and white – to back up your instincts and convince you to jump into a project worth $30 million or so. Jeff Grobstein, division president for Meritage Homes in Tucson, sensed he was seeing a trend toward luxury homes in the $700,000 to $1 million range at the time that the real estate market showed signs of recovery from the midto-late-2000s collapse that claimed the financial lives of investors across the board. “We’re largely a data-driven company,” Grobstein said of Meritage Homes and its luxury home division, Monterey Homes, which is building a 36-home development, Boulder Vista at Stone Canyon. Meritage already was involved at Stone Canyon, having taken over development of one of the early planned communities, Stone Gate, near the entrance to the 1,400-acre development in Oro Valley. It’s one of five planned communities now in Stone Canyon. Grobstein said the home builder was well aware of the history of the oncetroubled, high-end development at the base of the Tortolita Mountains. It had been through financial struggles for nearly a decade, including a bankruptcy by its then-owner. But Meritage was seeing a turnaround. “We had been out here for almost 2½ years (at Stone Gate) and we were seeing a trend for people in what I’d call the move-up, luxury second-home market. They were asking for homes that were 132 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

a little bit smaller than custom homes,” Grobstein said. “We quickly put some focus groups together as well as our own internal data. “We are constantly surveying our customers and hearing what they say. Plus, we subscribe to a lot of data. We’re seeing trends showing that while people will spend $700,000 to $1 million, they don’t want those big mausoleums anymore. That’s not to say they aren’t being built, but they want to be able to have a home that is built better or as good as a custom luxury home and make the process much easier than having to go through the process of the custom home.” And while the data triggered Monterey to buy the Boulder Vista property from legendary Tucson developer Don Diamond, Grobstein said there was further validation when PGA Tour champion Phil Mickelson and his company Mickelson Golf Properties bought the Stone Canyon golf course, built a luxurious clubhouse and made their own investment into a 28-home development. “We were going to do it anyhow, but we felt that was definitely a leading indicator and a positive thing for the Stone Canyon community to have Mickelson purchase and invest in the golf course,” Grobstein said. At Boulder Vista, Monterey is offering three floor plans, each single-story with two or three bedrooms, smartly named after some of the most famous golfers on the planet – Hogan, Nicklaus and Palmer. After all, Stone Canyon does hang its hat on its golf course, which Golf Digest ranks as the No. 3

course in Arizona and puts it in the top 100 in the United States. A development like Boulder Vista takes much of the guess work out of creating a custom home for someone who is putting high six figures into a home and doesn’t have a vision for what they actually want. In the custom home prowww.BizTucson.com


cess, an owner will have to rely on the vision of an architect to take their wants and needs and design the home. But it’s not that easy to convey, said Mark Barraza, sales associate at Boulder Vista and Stone Gate. “A lot of times, (buyers) don’t really know what they’re looking for, or what www.BizTucson.com

they say they’re looking for is different from what they’re actually looking for,” Barraza said. Boulder Vista provides enough options within its designs to fulfill what the customer – in the end – has in mind, Barraza said. “We try to find out what their living

situations are, what kind of homes they live in, what their lifestyle is, what their price point really is and what they’re looking for,” Barraza said. “Once you find that out, then you can direct them to the right product or the right lot.” The data, Grobstein said, showed continued on page 135 >>> Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 133


continued from page 170

134 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

www.BizTucson.com


BizREALESTATE continued from page 133 that customers in the market were looking for homes between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet, “which is what we did.” In the early stages of planning and design, Grobstein said, Monterey plotted out 50 homesites. But as they took a closer look at the topography and the unique makeup of the property with its rock formations and elevations, the number dropped to 36. “We felt that there was enough demand for a 36-homesite community with this type of setting where we could capitalize on the views, the rocks, the topography, and come in with what you could call a desert contemporary feel,” Grobstein said. “We worked through the data and through a pretty arduous process of design.” The common thread in the three floor plans is layouts where kitchens and dining areas open up into the great rooms. Ceilings are 12 to 16 feet high, but, thanks to modern technology and energy-efficient features, don’t strain the budget for utility bills. Each model is ENERGY STAR® certified which means the latest in energy-efficient ap-

www.BizTucson.com

pliances, air conditioning, insulation and windows among its features. Sliding glass doors that open the width of the great room encourage indoor/outdoor living where the views can be equally magnificent from inside and from the patio, making entertaining almost mandatory. “Most of the new homes we design and build today don’t have a formal living room or dining room,” Grobstein said. “This is what we’ve learned. You can easily entertain here between the back yard, the side yard and the great room. It’s amazing how it flows, and makes it easy to socialize.” One of the challenges at Stone Canyon is that it is tucked away in a far corner of the Tucson metropolitan area and is not really on the way to anything. Barraza quipped that many who end up at Stone Canyon first get there by accident. But once there, residents find that everything they need is nearby because Oro Valley has developed into a bustling and well-planned community with a wide range of activities. The typical Stone Canyon buyer is of-

ten someone who is moving to Arizona for the first time, Barraza said. They might belong to a country club already, but it might be at a place where they can golf only a few months out of the year. If they happen to get to Stone Canyon during a search for a home, they can be instantly captured by the beauty of the area. “That’s what first gets them here – and the weather,” Barraza said. “Usually, when they come out here the first time, it seems like it’s far. But then they realize that five minutes away there’s a grocery store, seven minutes away there’s major shopping, 10 to 12 minutes away there’s pretty much anything you need.” And then, Grobstein said, there’s just something about being in Stone Canyon, where the rock formations that surround the various properties can dazzle on a daily basis. “I don’t think it’s just about a house,” Grobstein said. “I think when you buy in a place like Stone Canyon, you’re buying into a lifestyle, you’re buying into truly one of the most special, beautiful, unique environments around.”

Biz

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 135


BizPHILANTHROPY

PHOTOS: AMY HASKELL

Supporting Children at Risk Stone Canyon Community Foundation Raises Funds By Jay Gonzales

In a little “oasis” of the greater Tucson valley, there’s a band of do-gooders – mostly from somewhere else – who are pitching in with their time, their caring and their money to make the community a better place primarily for children at risk. For the most part, they have little history with the area. Some may have visited in the past. Others might have relatives or friends here. But all of them made their way to the high-end development of Stone Canyon, having found the picturesque setting in their own ways. Most live here for just part of the year. They’re members of one of the most beautiful country clubs in Arizona. What they also have in common is they have a penchant for giving – and they do. Since 2008, the Stone Canyon Community Foundation – made up entirely of members of The Stone Canyon Club – has spread approximately $2 million into the community to organizations in the far reaches of the metro area from where they live, organizations such as the Sunnyside Unified School District Foundation and San Miguel High School on Tucson’s southside. Youth On Their Own, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson, Junior Achievement and Literacy Connects were on the list of 20 grant recipients in 2017. “This is like a little oasis in an area which, broadly, has a lot of problems,” said Dan Regis, who came to Tucson from the Pacific Northwest and who cochairs the foundation with Rod Rupp, a retired insurance company executive and winter visitor from Michigan. “These are just people with good hearts who wanted to say, ‘OK, we’re living here. We have some responsibility to help with this community.’ ” And they do help, sometimes in unique ways. 136 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

In February, the foundation had its hand in supplying a Garmin activity tracker to every certified teacher in the Amphitheater School District in an effort to impact the district’s wellness program and support healthy living for the teachers. The Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation also donated to the project. Mickelson and his company, Mickelson Golf Properties, own the Stone Canyon Club and the golf course. The donation was accepted by the Amphi Foundation and the activity trackers were handed out to teachers who were able to get away from the classroom to attend a festive ceremony under the sun at the golf course clubhouse. Clay Blair, a winter visitor from Kansas and a Stone Canyon member who has a family foundation and a previous relationship with Garmin, spearheaded the effort to provide the devices to the teachers. “When I talk to many of my colleagues at my old age, I ask them who are the significant people in their lives,’” Blair said at the ceremony. “And many times it was a teacher along the way.” Therein is one of the fundamental priorities of the foundation, providing support for youth and education programs, in this instance by providing support for teachers and their health. “We’re all about kids at risk and our priority is to find those organizations that are serving that distressed community,” said Regis, who has had a career in finance and currently manages his own investment firm. “If (the organizations) are serving them well, then they’re right in the center of our bowling alley and we don’t care where they are in the community.” While the foundation uses the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona continued on page 138 >>>

Club member Clay Blair emcees the Garmin presentation ceremony

Stone Canyon Community Foundation Co-Chairs, Dan Regis, left, and Rod Rupp, right www.BizTucson.com


Stone Canyon Foundation 2017 Grant Recipients Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson Easter Seals Blake Foundation Educational Enrichment Foundation El Grupo Youth Cycling Gabrielâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Angels Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona Higher Ground, A Resource Center Imago Dei Middle School Junior Achievement Kids Animals Life and Dreams Literacy Connects Make Way for Books Our Family Services Painted Sky Elementary School Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired San Miguel High School Sunnyside Unified School District Foundation TMM Family Services United Way Cradle to Career

PHOTO: ROB CROSS

Youth On Their Own

Amphitheater School District teachers join community members and Stone Canyon Foundation members to celebrate receiving their Garmin devices.

www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 137


BizPHILANTHROPY continued from page 136 as an advisor and to manage and dispense its funds, the foundation has its own grants committee that accepts and reviews applications, then recommends the awards to CFSA, which distributes the funds. Sometimes it’s a two-way process, Rupp said, with CFSA directing organizations to the Stone Canyon Foundation to submit applications. “We have a very structured allocations committee.” Regis said. “From the beginning the notion was kids and I think that kid focus became more narrow to children at risk for whom we could make a difference.” The foundation got its start in 2008 when a handful of Stone Canyon residents – “There were four couples that got together,” Rupp said – and decided to try to do some good. Neither Regis nor Rupp were among those at the start, but they both quickly became involved when they became part of the Stone Canyon community. “This is our fourth winter here and we actually got involved in terms of contributing prior to that because we were property owners,” said Rupp, who

138 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

has been on the foundation’s board of directors for three of the four years he and his wife, Suzanne, have actually had a home in Stone Canyon. “Because of my connection with our friends who were here before us and in talking with them about what does the foundation do, what are they about, where’s the money go, it piqued our interest because it really fit with some of the things that my wife and I like to be involved in.” But there is a challenge for the foundation in that it’s so out of the way from the center of the community, that it has admittedly been “under the radar” as a generous source of funds for organizations that need it. It’s a challenge the foundation is trying to address. “I think we all agree that we don’t do a good enough job of educating our community about the foundation. We need to do a better job because there are still quite a few people – even within Stone Canyon – that don’t know us,” Regis said. “We fly under the radar quite a bit.” To get the Stone Canyon community involved, the foundation annually holds two fundraisers that are the primary

sources of funding. There’s a spring golf event in which members get to play with members of the University of Arizona’s two golf teams – an event which also benefits the teams – and a fall gala. The golf course and the clubhouse are made available to the foundation at no cost for the events. The new clubhouse, built by Mickelson Golf Properties and finished in March 2016, has enhanced the events. “We have this beautiful facility and we have an organization in the club that not only was willing to be a part of this fundraiser, but they wanted to be part of it,” Rupp said. “We definitely raised the bar when the club was done.” The grant application process runs through January of each year with grants awarded in the spring. “We want to be well-known in the community that has needs, and we want to be well-known in our own community so that we can continue to raise funds to do the things that we have in mind,” Regis said. “We want to try and change the trajectory of the lives of children who are at risk, try to get them to some kind of a playing field that gives them an equal bite at the apple.” Biz

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Spring 2018

>>>

BizTucson 139


140 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2018

www.BizTucson.com

Stone canyon special section  
Stone canyon special section