Community Connections

The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona highlights stories and information that showcase the impact made by our donors and partners. 

The following stories are from our Winter 2020 edition of the Philanthropist Next Door eNewsletter:

Meet our Philanthropists Next Door, Winter 2020

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

This edition’s featured philanthropists wish to remain anonymous, but we just can’t resist sharing the story of their creative giving.

This couple came to the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona to set up a charitable gift annuity, an investment tool that provides lifetime income to the donor and, at the end of life, provides a sizeable gift to a nonprofit beneficiary.

But this annuity was unusual. Instead of providing income for the donors or children, the annuity was set up to provide $1,000 per month for life to a local, self-employed, near-retirement couple. The donors knew this couple had been putting off retirement and medical treatment due to financial difficulties.

One of the donors explained, “They are an exceptionally nice, hard-working couple, always giving of themselves whether it was a helping hand, volunteer work or financial assistance to those in more need than themselves. They are the type of people who would give you their last dollar if you needed it, but no one was looking out for them.”

When the beneficiaries were notified of the gift, they were floored. “It was like winning Publishers Clearing House,” said the husband, overcome by emotion. They were in tears when they came into the ACF of Sedona to sign the necessary papers.

The donors were equally thrilled. The wife was beaming and the usually reserved husband had a twinkle of light in his eye as they filled out their portion of the paperwork. They were simply delighted to be able to do it.

And of course the nonprofit organization chosen to receive the remainder of the investment is a worthy cause that will put the estate gift to good use in our community.

These local donors show us that giving comes in many forms. Instead of giving a simple gift to their chosen charity or even leaving a gift in their estate, they invested those funds to support good people AND a great organization at the same time.

During these tumultuous times, it is uplifting to know that people like these anonymous donors are out there, working in big and small ways, to help lighten the load of others in need. Let’s use their example to keep this neighborly spirit going!

ACF's Extraordinary Response to COVID-19

Stepping up to the Challenge Facing Arizona

The COVID-19 pandemic created an acute funding crisis for many essential nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and households.

ACF stepped up to the challenge, raising $9,495,108 and distributing $8,918,45 in a matter of months by doubling, and in some cases tripling, our productivity. Our donors compared to last year to make this possible.

Our dedicated staff worked night and day from home computers in an attempt to grant out dollars nearly as quickly as we brought them in. Not only did we streamline our grantmaking and fund disbursement processes, but we were also called upon by cities across the state to administer their COVID-19 emergency funding programs for small businesses and nonprofits.

ACF established seven regional funds, including one for Sedona and the Verde Valley. Locally, over $511,000 has been raised and granted from our Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund. A separate fund was established to help Arizona artists, who were particularly hard hit.

Local philanthropists, just like their statewide counterparts, put the needs of their neighbors as a top priority during the pandemic. Several donors, including Sedona Women, Christ Lutheran Church, Rotary Club of Sedona Village, and Seven Canyons generously created match challenges for their constituents, raising more funds than would otherwise be possible. Along with matching funds from ACF, the local fund has supported 40 nonprofit organizations providing critical, pandemic-related services to our local community.

Both in the Verde Valley and across the state, ACF has been able to leverage its expertise to achieve incredible outcomes. While it has challenged us like nothing we have ever experienced, it has also been incredibly gratifying. We at ACF and the donors who partner with us have all, collectively, been mindful of the question, “If not us, who?” 

Thank you, Sedona and Verde Valley donors, for partnering with us in this unprecedented philanthropic effort! To learn more, view our COVID-19 Community Impact Report.

Give Where You Live this Holiday Season

Give Where You Live this Holiday Season

Did you know that, thanks to our partners, ACF of Sedona has already passed the $1 million mark in local charitable giving this year?

We are the local charitable giving experts, and we would love to help you put your philanthropic dollars where they will have the most impact.

Some donors know exactly which organizations they would like to fund, but others gain great benefit from pooling their gifts with others to create large, meaningful grants that really “move the needle” when it comes to bettering our community.

Through the local community fund, ACF of Sedona is able to identify grant to the worthy projects being proposed in Sedona and the Verde Valley each year. An expert panel vets each organization and project for viability, ensuring that funds will be well spent.

Grants made from this fund are made possible from donors like who you chose to combine their gifts with others for maximum benefit. This fund is the centerpiece of our grantmaking each year.

You can donate to this fund today, or call Jennifer Perry at 928.399.7218 with questions. We match great people with great causes every day.

Spirit of Sedona 2020

ACF of Sedona Proudly Presents the 2020 Spirit of Sedona Awards

These individuals, business, and organizations have made significant contributions in our community this year. The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona is proud to recognize them for their contributions in making Sedona and the Verde Valley great places to live. Join us in congratulating:

Philanthropists of the Year: Donors to the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund

When COVID-19 hit our community, many of our nonprofit service organizations were pushed past capacity as needs skyrocketed. Our community stepped up to help them meet increased demand in many ways - with funds, volunteer hours, and expertise.

Donors to the Sedona Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund exemplified this community spirit. They showed exceptional philanthropic leadership, putting the needs of their neighbors as a top priority. In total, they raised $511,000 in just ten weeks! Thanks to their efforts, 30 community nonprofits received grants to support COVID-related critical care services. The grants supported food banks, senior services, and schools, among other essential services. 

The fund started as an $80,000 match challenge from the Arizona Community Foundation. We hoped to raise a total of $160,000. But our community went far above and beyond this goal. Some donors put out additional matching gift challenges to their constituents resulting in an incredibly dynamic and rapid-paced fundraising at Sedona Women, Christ Lutheran Church, Rotary Club of the Village, and Seven Canyons. In total, there were 74 donations to the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Thank you to the following donors for demonstrating the power of community:

Kevin Adams
Gil Agnew and Quinton Jenkins
Scott Amey
Frederick Avery and Rosemary Anderson
Bella Berlly
Kennard and Katherine Bork
Thomas and Sandra Brandvold
Dennis and Lucy Cassatt
Catena Foundation
Christ Lutheran Church Mission Endowment Fund
Christ Lutheran Church Congregants
Teresa Colwell and Isabella Zagare
Toni Coon
Cottonwood Economic Development Foundation
Ryan Danahey
BJ and Catherine Davis
Dick and Karen Deal
Judy Dolloff
Rick and Ellen Ferreira
Wendy Fickbohm
Carolyn W. Fisher
Egon and Deotila Hagemann
Sharon Haizmann
Cliff and Katie Hamilton
David Heacock
Mark von Hoetzendorff
Edmund and Caroline Johnson
Kincaid Financial Advisors
Troy and Carol Kurimsky
L & M Sky Fund
La Merra Holdings LLC
Richard and Susan Lamb
Lisa Lehman

James Loomis
Karen McClelland
David and Suzanne McCoy
Elizabeth McFarland and Larry Linebury
Jean McNulty
Donna Michaels and Jackie Ellis
Michael Owen
Morna L. Paule
Holli Ploog and Bert Campbell
Robert Powers
Rotary Club of Sedona
Rotary Club of Sedona Village
Rotary Club of the Verde Valley
Geoffrey Roth
Janice Saunders
Sedona Marine Corps League Charities
Sedona Women
Seven Canyons
Seven Canyons Members
Phil Shipp
Richard Sidy
Irma Strauch
Jeff Groenke and Nancy Swanson
Meri Thomason
Dottie Webster
Peter and Kathleen Wege
Jane Walker Whitmire
Why Not Foundation
Gregory and Nancy Williams
Gloria Woody
David Young

Volunteer of the Year: Jennette Bill

A longtime resident of Sedona, Jennette Bill began serving our community as a high school student representative to the Board of Keep Sedona Beautiful. That experience launched a lifetime of incredible service and leadership that has shaped our regional education and youth services landscape.

Starting as PTA President when her children were young, she recently helped found the Sedona-Oak Creek Education Foundation, which helps to sustain our area schools and provide scholarship opportunities for local youth. Jennette has also been active with the Missoula Children’s Theater, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Sedona Oak Creek School District Governing Board, Verde Valley School Board, among other roles.

When her children went on to college, Jennette turned her sights to Rotary, where she embodied what it means to be a true Rotarian - service above self. She describes Rotary members as “good people whose hearts are of a similar makeup, service-oriented.” Jennette was President of the Rotary Club of Sedona and is currently the president of the Rotary Club of Sedona Village.

As a Rotarian, Jennette has continued to improve the lives of Sedona and Verde Valley young people. She has led exchange student programs, youth awards, and leadership opportunities. She helped bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to area children and is currently working with the Village Rotary to establish a youth-focused community garden.

Jennette is energized by her service work and simply loves people. She tells us that while she loved running a dental practice for 28 years because it allowed her to interact with a broad swath of area residents, it was her volunteerism that fed her soul. “It’s a passion,” she says. “I love pulling people together to make these things happen.”

One of the people who nominated Jennette for the Spirit of Sedona Award says, “Her success comes from her interpersonal skills and willingness to do work with others. I’ve never known anyone with so much positive energy, inclusiveness, and follow through.”

Nonprofit Organization of the Year: Manzanita Outreach

Organizations fighting hunger, such as Manzanita Outreach, saw need skyrocket this year due to job loss from COVID-19. Manzanita Outreach provides food directly to people in need, and it went from serving 1,521 households per month in January to 6,400 households in May. That is a staggering fourfold increase in services in six months! To make matters even more complicated, they had to completely change the way they distributed food to keep everyone safe with social distancing.

How did they do it? Ingenuity, efficiency and lots of hard work!

Manzanita Outreach quickly adapted their logistical operations to meet the quadrupled demand for food assistance. They expanded weekly food distribution events and changed to a vehicle drive-thru delivery method so that social distancing could be maintained. They expanded home deliveries to seniors. They got food to remote rural areas by initiating a Farmers to Families Food Box program that provides local, farm-fresh produce and dairy products, delivered via refrigerated truck, to residents in need. They also increased collaboration with other organizations and updated communications so that residents could easily find food safely.

They are on track to distribute two millions pounds of food this year. Thank you to Manzanita Outreach for rising to the challenge presented by the pandemic!

Community Collaborator of the Year: Paul Friedman

Since retirement as a university professor, Paul has committed his time to bettering our community. He has become a central figure in enhancing the intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual wellbeing of Sedona and the Verde Valley.

Over the past eight years, Paul has created over 300 programs at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute. Particularly popular are his “Living Room Conversations,” which were designed to increase understanding among people with different political orientations and find ways to collaborate on constructive solutions. His long-standing “Community Forum” luncheons connect community leaders with residents to exchange ideas about important topics affecting the community. Another highlight among his many contributions is his “Sedona Great Ideas Lecture Series,” which brings humanities scholars, scientists, conservationists and philosophers to our residents of Sedona and the Verde Valley.

Paul is also a leader in conflict resolution. He has facilitated juvenile restorative justice conferences for the Yavapai Juvenile Probation department and started the Sedona Mediation Service center. Paul organized the “Live and Learn” program at the Yavapai County Jail for inmates to have open discussions and peacefully resolve conflicts.

Thank you, Paul, for facilitating connection and understanding between diverse groups in our community and for tackling tough subjects in the name of peace making. 

Business Benefactor of the Year: Goldenstein Gallery

Linda Goldenstein has pioneer roots in the Sedona area, and her connections to the community inspire her to involve both her business and herself in many important local issues and causes. Both the Gallery and its owner lead by example, donating funds, auction items, staffing, expertise, and event space to many causes in our community.

Among the many organizations sponsored by Goldenstein Gallery are the Verde Valley Sanctuary, with whom the Gallery sponsors the annual production of The Vagina Monologues. She has supported the Verde Valley Sinfonietta and Chamber Music Sedona for fourteen and fifteen years respectively. The Sedona International Film Festival and the Sedona Historical Society have also benefitted from the support of the Gallery.

Additionally, the Goldenstein Gallery hosts concerts to raise awareness and support for youth music education. The Goldenstein Gallery has become an important venue for talented young musicians to perform.

Linda is also widely acknowledged as a leader in the business community. Over decades, she has helped to build the business and arts sectors of Sedona and the Verde Valley into what they are today. As an active member of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, Sedona Gallery Association, and other institutions, Linda and the Goldenstein Gallery have made a tremendous impact.

Thank you Linda Goldenstein and the Goldenstein Gallery for showing us what “conscious business” is all about!

COVID-19 Exceptional Volunteer Award: Joy Sinnott

When the pandemic began, we were all wondering what we could do to help. While we were still thinking, Joy had already started sewing masks and gowns for the Northern Arizona Healthcare System. She is now organizing the efforts of over 50 people from SedonaKind and Sedona Women to make both gowns and masks—over 15,250 to-date! Joy then learned of the need on the Navajo and Hopi reservations. She gathered her sewing machine-armed “troops” and is now working with Milton Crewse/Tewa to meet their needs as well as those of 30 other organizations in need. If a sewing machine falters, Joy fixes them herself and delivers machines to those willing to sew for a cause.

Joy has always been drawn to those who most desperately need help, and she has a long history of volunteering to better our community. Joy has been a Board Member and Treasurer of Sedona Women and SedonaKind for many years. She also supports the Sedona International Film Festival and the Sedona Arts Festival.

Joy’s leadership has inspired many individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to go above and beyond to meet critical community needs. One of her nominators explains, “She is a champion of the underdog. Once Joy sees a need, she drops everything to put a plan together to make a difference. I honestly can’t imagine how Northern Arizona Healthcare could have done without her tackling the need for PPE during the current pandemic.”

Thank you, Joy, your exceptional efforts to protect our front-line medical workers and get our community through this pandemic as safely as possible!