More than 200 people from throughout Yavapai County celebrated the annual awards ceremony sponsored by United Way of Yavapai County Nov.5.
The theme for the evening’s program was “Show Up United” at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. The program was organized by Patty Bell-Demers, her staff and the board of directors.
“Our mission is to make our communities better places to be. We do that through cooperative caring activities,” Bell-Demers said.
The event also kicked off the coming year’s official fundraising campaign.
United Way of Yavapai County President Mary Ann Suttles, Prescott, welcomed the crowd and introduced Darla Deville, Arizona Public Service community affairs manager-Northwest Division. Deville served as emcee and introduced various award recipients.
The county chapter called representatives of 21 nonprofits to the stage to receive a cumulative $285,220 in grants for 2021-2022.
United Way officials reported that during fiscal year 2019-2000, the organization distributed more than $400,000 to local nonprofits and programs. That included $233,500 in grants that went to more than 20 county-based nonprofits.
Another $112,500 was for pandemic relief; $16,000 for Yavapai County Education and Technology Consortium support to assist students in rural communities remain connected to internet connections; and $15,000 for emergency response needed for the Bagdad Spur Fire.
Five Daniel H. Roberts Veterans Scholarships were awarded to honor Roberts, a World War II veteran of the Army Air Corps who was imprisoned by the Japanese. He left a portion of his estate to United Way of Yavapai County to be used for veteran scholarships at local colleges or universities.
Scholarships were awarded to Sarah Gutierrez and John Garlington, both at Yavapai College; and Abdul Barrie, Benjamin Kowaleski and Robert Utley, all Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott. Additionally, the five veterans received new laptop computers from Laptops 4 Learning and Desert Financial Credit Union. They also received new backpacks packed with school supplies provided by United Way, APS and National Bank of Arizona.
United Way officials applauded representatives of five area chambers of commerce.
In Prescott, the chamber was cited for “collaboration”; in Prescott Valley for “generosity”; in Chino Valley for “passion”; in Sedona for “respecting the environment”; and in Cottonwood for “commitment.”
All chambers received Community Impact Awards because of ongoing activities on behalf of their respective communities.
Top 10 corporate sponsors of United Way were: Freeport McMoRan, APS, UPS, Costco, Town of Prescott Valley, PrintPack, Walmart, National Bank of Arizona, CDS Global and Care 1st Arizona.
Emcee Deville praised each of the sponsors and United Way supporters.
“You see from the enthusiasm we have here that when we collaborate and cooperate, we collectively can accomplish anything,” she said. “That’s apparent, even during this stressful period created by the pandemic.”
Bell-Demers acknowledged Desert Financial Credit Union during closing remarks when she accepted a $15,000 check. She said it would be dedicated to launching new in-person workshops and online learning opportunities through the United Way’s Center for Organizational Excellence.
Those workshops will feature programs that focus on such topics as leadership, finance, program management, accounting, grant writing and possibly cybersecurity. Bell-Demers said a survey will be conducted to determine which topics to be conducted to determine which topics generate the most community interest.