Editor’s Note: Jim and Linda Lee were the featured profile in the early summer 2019 issue of Prescott Living Magazine
For 42 years, Prescott residents Jim and Linda Lee have shared their passion for the fine and performing arts, education, and health and science with the greater community — in fact, with Arizona.
That enduring passion resulted in their being named the 2019 Philanthropists of the Year by the Arizona Community Foundation of Yavapai County during an Aug. 9 luncheon at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center.
2018 Philanthropist of the Year Mike Fann said, “These are two people who are so special. There are few things in Prescott that have not been touched by the Lees.”
Fann noted the Lees have never sought accolades. Instead, they quietly and humbly provided support to performing arts, schools, health care and medical organizations, social agencies and many others.
Fann said the Lees were “lovers of humanity and the community.”
The couple received a standing ovation from a large crowd when they were announced as “Philanthropists of the Year.”
Upon receiving an engraved award from Arizona Community Foundation regional manager Carol Chamberlain, Jim and Linda held hands and nodded their appreciation to the crowd loudly applauding them.
Ever since they arrived in Prescott in 1977, the couple began developing real estate and commercial development projects. Among those were the Ponderosa Mall, the Ranch at Prescott, the Prescott Gateway Mall, the Walmart Super Center, and Touchmark at the Ranch. Most recently, they are principals in construction of an upscale apartment complex on the east entrance to Prescott on Highway 69.
The Lees support of community organizations extends to the Prescott POPS Symphony, the Music Memory Program for students, the Prescott Chorale, the Yavapai Symphony Association, Prescott Friends of Arizona Opera and many others. A visible symbol of their philanthropy is the Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium atop the STEM Academic Center on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Since its opening in 2017, almost 40,000 persons have visited the domed planetarium.
Another award was given during the Joy of Giving luncheon to the Ingebritson Family Foundation. It was recognized for its ongoing financial support of several organizations, including the Smoki Museum and the Coalition for Compassion and Justice.
Accepting the award for the Ingebritson Foundation was board member Howard Kesselman. He remarked that the late Jack Ingebritson, who created the foundation, was inspired by organizations that work with the most vulnerable populations in the community.
The Arizona Community Foundation of Yavapai County has as a primary mission the recognition of exceptional philanthropy. It also offers community grants to eligible organizations and nonprofits that provide unique charitable services to communities and people throughout the county, according to Chamberlain, who has served as executive director the past several years.