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Yavapai Countians Honored for Philanthropy

Sedona AZ (October 4, 2011) — The Yavapai County Community Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of its 2011 Joy of Giving awards. Joy of Giving honors the exceptional commitments of local individuals and organizations for the betterment of Yavapai County. Nominations for these prestigious awards come from throughout the community. Award recipients are honored with grants of $500 or $1,000 made in their name by YCCF to the non-profit of the honoree’s choosing.

Dr. Ron Barnes has been named Philanthropist of the Year, the Highlands Center for Natural History has been chosen for the Community Benefactor award, Fann Employees Making A Difference will be recognized as Business Philanthropist of the Year, and Katie Boggs and Morgan Binder will be recognized as Youth Philanthropists of the Year.

After coming to Arizona in the mid 1970s, Dr. Barnes developed and owned three human service companies, consulted with and conducted seminars for more than 200 business, government, health care and educational organizations, and was identified by Time and U.S. News and World Report magazines as a psychologist, educator and business consultant. Dr. Barnes retired to Prescott in 1985 and has served on a number of community boards and committees. He developed the Prescott Area Leadership Program in 1990 and was recognized with the Prescott Community Visionary Award in 1997.

In the words of Dr. Carl E. Brown, “If philanthropy can be defined as the confluence of one’s time, talent and treasure that focuses on creating the greatest good – rather than in terms of the number of dollars that one disburses for charitable aims – then Dr. Ron Barnes stands out as an exemplary candidate for Philanthropist of the Year. If we further define philanthropy as the construction of a lasting legacy, particularly one that benefits the local community over a long period of time and extends into the foreseeable future, then again Dr. Barnes ascends to the top as a creative, dedicated and deeply committed philanthropist. As someone who thoroughly understands human nature and genuinely cares about the current and future well-being of people in his own community, Ron has endowed the Prescott area with three lasting legacies [Prescott Area Leadership, Hungry Kids in Yavapai County and Brain Integration services provided through both the Prescott and Humboldt Unified School Districts]. These legacies benefit not only individuals currently living in our communities but, because they create community change by adding services that will continue into the future, they help future generations.”

Youth Philanthropist Katie Boggs is a college student who has always had a heart for helping others. Her activities have included community efforts such as Key Club, Teens Taking Action and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She was Senior Secretary for Student Council and Peer Assistance Leadership while she attended Prescott High School. Boggs served on the Varsity Spirit Line and was honored to be Homecoming Queen during her senior year. She volunteered for community events including the annual Kiwanis Auction, the Boys and Girls Club gala, Shop with a Cop and Habitat for Humanity. She organized S.T.A.R. (Sex Trafficking Awareness and Relief), a community project to raise awareness and funds to help victims of sex trafficking.

“Katie has devoted countless hours serving her community in a variety of ways. She is an excellent role model and takes pleasure in helping others. She spent most of last year working on a project near and dear to her heart. While at a youth retreat, she viewed a video on sex trafficking and instantly knew she had to do something to raise awareness about this serious issue. She was gravely concerned to know this wasn’t just an international or national issue, but a state and local issue as well, so she decided to create S.T.A.R. Katie is admired by others for her positive choices, leadership, outlook on life, and for being an exceptional role model. She also emulates for others that we can all make a difference,” said Diane DeLong in admiration.

Jeremia Sunfellow, Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters, explained that Youth Philanthropist Morgan Binder is currently a senior at Verde Valley School and that her first major service project was with the Sedona Recycling Center while she was in middle school. During her sophomore year in high school, Morgan joined a group of students and teachers in building a house for a family of four in Agua Prieta, Mexico. She has volunteered as a Big Sister through Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters since her sophomore year.

“It is an honor to be Morgan’s Match Advisor,” said Sunfellow. “Morgan is a wonderful Big Sister and an exceptional student. She is a high achiever who makes time to contribute to her community. In spite of her busy school schedule, she finds time for others. Besides being a fun Big Sister, she volunteers with ESL groups at camp. For a very young person, she has a great awareness of giving back to her community. She will go on to do great things.”

Added Yvonne Rogers of the Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters program, “Morgan has been involved as a mentor ‘Big’ with two different ‘Littles’ in our program. The high school students who volunteer in our program make a difference in the lives of younger at-risk youth in our communities. With a role model like Morgan, these Littles have someone to emulate. We are grateful for her time and care. Young people like Morgan are our hope for the future and will help make this a better world.”

The story of the Highlands Center for Natural History, 2011 Joy of Giving Community Benefactor award winner, begins on a lush, wooded, 22-acre site among ancient boulders. In 1973, far-sighted community members and Prescott Unified School District leadership recognized the value of outdoor science-based education. Together, they preserved this small but biologically diverse site and called it the Community Nature Center. The first clientele were the teachers and students of Prescott schools.

During the 1990s, a dramatic metamorphosis occurred as program attendance grew beyond the bounds of the small site, the audience expanded from children to people of all ages, and the Center’s focus broadened from community to region. The Community Nature Center’s board and staff took steps to incorporate a new organization in 1996, the Highlands Center for Natural History, and to pursue a new site. The new organization secured a Special Use Authorization from the Prescott National Forest, giving the Center permission to operate an 80-acre parcel near Lynx Lake.

Completed in 2006, The James Learning Center showcases environmentally sound building techniques including passive and active solar energy, water collection systems, a constructed wetlands waste management system, and drought-tolerant landscaping. The building has achieved a Gold Rating from the U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification program. The final loan on the building was paid off in fall 2007 with over $3 million having been raised to complete the project.

Today the Center offers a wide variety of nature education experiences for all ages including summer and school break day camps for youth, school field  trips, family orientated programs, weekly guided naturalist walks, adult workshops, hiking and birding sprees, summer folk festivals and jazz concerts. The organization is powered by a small staff and over 150 active volunteers.

“I have been a volunteer, docent and then Naturalist at the Highlands Center for two years and find myself drawn to this magical place like a moth to a candle,” said Marion Johnston. “That the organization has been able to accomplish what they have in the community in the short time they have been in existence is amazing—a facility in the National Forest that is completely paid for by donations; a facility that is completely “off the grid” when it comes to electrical and water use; an organization that is staffed by only five paid people but has a cadre of over 150 volunteers. I know of no other organization like it.”

Meg Hendrick added, “For me, the HCNH gives me purpose (as a retired educator), a renewed involvement in a hands-on environmental education for children and adults. It is with much delight that I can be so immersed in such a special and dynamic organization. It is filling a void in our technological society, in ourselves, that comes from not being in touch with our natural world outside of our doorstep.”

In 2006, Fann Contracting’s Charitable Contributions Committee decided to formalize its charitable giving program and created an employee charitable contributions program known as FEMAD (Fann Employees Making a Difference). The goal of the program is to actively support local non-profit organizations in an effort to make a difference to Prescott and surrounding communities in Yavapai County. The program is employee-based and is strictly voluntary, with Fann Contracting matching each and every donation dollar-for-dollar.

In 2010, FEMAD distributed over $32,000 to seven local non-profit organizations which included:  Catholic Social Services, Northland Cares, Prevent Child Abuse, Stepping Stones, United Way of Yavapai County, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic and YEI Prescott Charities. Since its inception in 2006, the FEMAD program has raised more than $193,000.

“I am so proud of this homegrown program and even more proud to work for a company that gives back to its community in such a generous and compassionate way,” said Kerri Vaughn, FEMAD Coordinator. “I never could have imagined that, with a little insight and lots of support, we could have created such a successful and thriving program. Our employees are the backbone of the program and I feel that the program’s name, Fann Employees Making a Difference, truly signifies what we are all about.”

“Even in these very financially difficult recent years, FEMAD has continued to provide much-needed funding to agencies to help fill the gaps due to other funding cutbacks,” explained Robin Burke of Stepping Stones Agencies, a recipient of the FEMAD charitable effort. “We know that the individual employees who participate in the FEMAD program are also likely struggling financially, and yet, they still reach deep into their pockets to share with others in the community – giving to others because it is what is in their heart; not because they have an excess pool of funds to share. We believe that their efforts to dig deep should be recognized and honored. Truly, this represents the joy of giving! When everyone gives a little, it can have a tremendous impact.”

The Yavapai County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Arizona Community Foundation, is an 18-year-old permanent philanthropic endowment for the enduring benefit of our community. Its mission is to lead, serve and collaborate to mobilize enduring philanthropy for a better Yavapai County. It secures, manages and allocates donors’ gifts for charitable purposes in the County while working to improve the quality of life for local residents. Since its inception in 1993, YCCF has contributed millions of dollars to Yavapai County non-profit organizations and the communities they serve.

YCCF will honor this year’s award recipients during the Joy of Giving Awards dinner sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona on October 28, 2011 in the Sedona Verde Ballroom at the Prescott Resort in Prescott, Arizona. The public is invited to purchase dinner tickets at www.AzFoundation.org.


Mark your calendars to vote in the City of Sedona Special election November 8, 2011

1 Comment

  1. Tracey McConnell says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this news with your readers!!! We are truly grateful and appreciative of your enews.
    Wishing you the very best!

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