Profiles in Leadership

Learn more about our donors and partners and the positive impact their efforts are having on Arizona communities, demonstrated through their relationships with the Arizona Community Foundation.

Hal Tashman

Hal Tashman

Hal Tashman

ACF fundholder and former board member

“The dictionary definition of philanthropy is ‘love of mankind,’ which really resonates for me. Working with ACF has made giving back a wonderful experience, including inspiring me to establish a community foundation in New York for Turkish Americans and another in my hometown in Turkey.”

Joyce Medina Harper

Joyce Medina Harper

Joyce Medina Harper

Executive Director of the Dougherty Foundation, Latina Giving Circle member, and former ACF staff member

“One of the great privileges in life is the chance to serve my community. I am proud that my work brings more voices to the table— a positive step for equity—and makes it possible for students from all our vibrant Arizona communities to attend and succeed in college.”

Brenda Thomson

Brenda Thomson

Brenda Thomson

Executive Director of the Arizona Humanities Council and ACF collaborator

“I cannot imagine a future where people don’t work together. Collaboration is like oxygen. When you are surrounded by the energy, creativity, and support of others, you can breathe deeper, run faster, jump higher, and reach for the stars.”

Steve Evans

Steve Evans

Steve Evans

ACF board chair

“Change doesn’t happen without community leadership. ACF is fortunate to have access to a substantial wealth of knowledge and expertise in the community through our board, staff, and partners. No matter where you look, individuals, families, and organizations are stepping up to make Arizona better.”

Lisa Stratton

Lisa Stratton

Lisa Stratton

ACF Philanthropic Advisor and fundholder

“Telling people ‘I’m from Arizona’ is just the start of a conversation. My experience growing up in Yuma was different from growing up in any other part of the state. Each region has unique qualities that shape our individual perspectives, but what we all have in common is a desire to build a better Arizona.”

Essen Otu

Essen Otu

Essen Otu

Senior Director of Diversity & Community Affairs, Mountain Park Health Center

Essen develops strategies to ensure Mountain Park is an inclusive and community-embedded healthcare organization. Through his early involvement with ACF’s Black Philanthropy Initiative, Essen created and co-founded the Real Engagement through Active Philanthropy (REAP) giving circle. The goal was to develop a community of givers and provide Black men with a mechanism for community investment. His wife Allison was a founding member of the African-American Women’s Giving & Empowerment Circle at ACF. In 2018, Essen joined ACF's Board of Directors.

Gabriela Muñoz Perez

Gabriela Muñoz Perez

Gabriela Muñoz Perez

Gabriela is a practicing artist currently working on a series of portraits of women who nurture their communities. She is the exhibition designer and curator for the Karen Work Seleznow Gallery at ACF. Twice yearly, the Gallery opens to diverse Arizona artists who introduce their work to ACF fundholders and community members who visit the ACF office. Recent exhibits have included Queen Muhammad Ali & Hakeem Khaaliq's Invisible México : Afro-Mexicanos, Jacob Meders’ Compendium, Claire Warden’s Mimesis, and Alex Jimenez’s From Urban Lands to Natural Streets.

Heidi Jannenga

Heidi Jannenga

Co-founder & President, WebPT

Heidi leads the overall product and company vision at WebPT, while practicing conscious leadership to foster a purposeful company culture. Today, WebPT is one of the fastest- growing electronic medical record (EMR) software companies in the country, employing more than 300 people at its headquarters in the historic Warehouse District of downtown Phoenix. She is also a member of ACF’s Board of Directors, elected in January of 2016.

Linda Valdez

Linda Valdez

Linda Valdez

Reporter, Arizona Republic

Since 1993, Linda has been a reporter and member of the editorial board at the Arizona Republic. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 2003. Her book, Crossing the Line: A marriage across borders, tells the story of her marriage to a Mexican immigrant and the blending of their families and cultures. She is one of the reporters who has written in-depth investigative pieces about child welfare in Arizona, a project that was funded through a three-year grant from ACF.

Marjorie "Marj" McClanahan

Marj McClanahan

Marj McClanahan

Marjorie “Marj” McClanahan joined the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff’s Board of Advisors in 1998. At the time, ACF of Flagstaff had just made its first grants and Marj found herself asking, “Who is ACF of Flagstaff and what do we do?” She sought to answer this question with the help of other board and community members. 

As a Certified Public Accountant at Nordstrom & Associates P.C., Marj works with her clients to ensure financial stability, accountability, and trustworthiness. She emphasizes ways that her clients can positively impact the Flagstaff community, which often leads them to engage with ACF. She believes, “ACF’s affiliate system allows smaller communities to deeply understand the needs of our neighbors while leveraging the support of the central office in Phoenix to bring us together in a powerful way.” 

Marj and her husband Sam moved to Flagstaff 50 years ago, and she immediately became involved in the local community. In addition to her time spent on the ACF of Flagstaff Board of Advisors, she is a past member of the ACF Board of Directors and serves on the board for the Museum of Northern Arizona. 

Even after 20 years, Marj continues to contribute to ACF of Flagstaff, serving as chair of the Arts & Culture and Music grant committees. She also created the McClanahan Family Endowment, which she believes is “a nice legacy for our children who will see the gift that keeps on giving…today, tomorrow, and forever.” The success of the affiliate has helped solidify ACF of Flagstaff’s purpose and identity within the community, answering the question Marj posed early on.

Myers Family Charitable Fund

Myers family

Myers Family Charitable Fund

Dr. William and Sondra Myers were passionate about philanthropy and established the William & Sondra Myers Fund at ACF in 1999. In 2002, Dr. Myers engaged his children and together they formed a scholarship fund. The Myers Family Charitable Fund was established with an initial gift of $10,000 and has grown to over $819,000 through the years. The Myers family set a goal of creating a legacy by growing the fund to $1 million. William and Sondra, along with their adult children, contribute annually to the fund that offers dedicated scholarships to graduating seniors of Central High School in Phoenix. 

Working and learning together, the Myers family developed the criteria used for selecting the four annual scholarship recipients. These criteria include: being a graduate of Central High, obtaining admission into an accredited Arizona public university or community college, being the first generation to attend college, maintaining a minimum 3.0 grade point average, and demonstrating a high level of motivation with proven leadership skills. 

This family scholarship has three unique attributes. First, it is renewable for up to four years if a recipient maintains the requirements of the scholarship and provides a year-end achievement letter. With encouragement from the Myers family, each recipient is supported to graduate from college and overcome obstacles. Second, members of the Myers family engage personally by hosting an annual brunch in their home. This brunch is an inspirational event that enables past, current, and incoming Myers Family Charitable Fund scholarship recipients to share their stories with each other and the family. Third, William and Sondra have passed on the importance of philanthropy to their children and grandchildren, who also take an active role in awarding scholarships and participating in the brunch. 

Since inception, the fund has provided 37 scholarships for a total of $368,000. 

“The reward our family realizes from hosting these scholarship recipients supports the vision our father had when he and our mother started this fund over 19 years ago,” said Ben Myers. “And three generations participating in the process has made our family closer.”

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