Thoughts from Dawn Wallace
In May, the whole country watched with agonized incredulity as George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. In the aftermath of Mr. Floyd’s death and so many tragedies like it before, we witnessed our fellow Americans take to the streets to protest and we heard them cry out in generational pain and frustration. We also saw the linking of arms, the holding of hands, and declarations of both black and white voices in unity for change, that gave rise to hope that our beloved country can someday be a place where every person is guaranteed an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In my education policy work, I often tried to push to the forefront strategies to mitigate the “achievement gap” and the impact of socio-economic status as a determinate of student success. As I have had time to reflect, I have become intensely aware of the superficiality of my assumption that the social determinates of education inequity are merely economic. To that end, I intend to engage Fellows and other civic leaders committed to furthering the success of our children of color and bring their work to the forefront during the 2020 seminar series.
Finally, please let me be crystal clear: The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and Flinn Foundation stand with those who speak and work to defeat racism and the associated violence in our nation and in our state. Our mission and the values of our organization guide our position on racial justice and equity— in how we identify and support our grantees and program participants, leverage our leadership to remove barriers, and share power and amplify others’ voices. That said, we also know we can do more and will do more to echo the call to action by all members of our community who have, are and will always champion the rights of every person to be treated with equal respect and dignity.
If you would like to learn and/or do more, I encourage you to draw on Arizona Community Foundation’s Philanthropy for All initiatives, including the Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI) and Latinos Unidos. Both include philanthropic funds, community organizations serving and representing the Black and Latino communities, and direct-service organizations.
Later this month, the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership, in partnership with the Arizona Community Foundation, will host a virtual CivEx seminar chronicling the history of BPI to its work today with Flinn-Brown Fellows leading Black community organizations and other public policy experts to address inequities in education and health care. We hope that you will join us for this important conversation. Stay tuned for more details.
Finally, we are preparing for the publication of the 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellows Directory as part of the 2020 Annual Convention. I encourage you to update your employment or any new affiliations, such as board or commission appointments or elected office.
We are also more than happy to help promote your work through social media, so please reach out to me if you would like us to publicly recognize a professional accomplishment, event, or program with which you are involved.
Announcement of 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellows
Last week, we announced the selection of 31 civic leaders for the 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellowship. Four counties from across Arizona will be represented in the new cohort, with about a third of the Flinn-Brown Fellows from outside the Phoenix metro area, including Flagstaff, Kingman, Tucson, and for the first time, Vail.
Our 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellows represent the private and public sectors in a variety of fields—business and industry, government, nonprofits, arts, and education—and hold a diversity of perspectives, experience, and policy interest.
The 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellows were selected by a committee of Arizona leaders: Steven G. Seleznow, president and CEO, Arizona Community Foundation; Tom Betlach, partner, Speire Healthcare Strategies and former director of Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System; Maria Harper-Marinick, Ph.D., retired chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges, and Senior Fellow, College Excellence Program, The Aspen Institute; the Honorable Eileen Klein, 35th state treasurer of Arizona, former chief of staff, Gov. Jan Brewer, former president, Arizona Board of Regents; Rep. Daniel Hernandez Jr., Arizona House of Representatives, Jack Jewett Award Winner 2019; Eve Ross, J.D., retired lead health care counsel, medical products division, W.L. Gore & Associates, and community volunteer; Shaun Kirkpatrick, board member, Flinn Foundation and Thomas R. Brown Foundations; and Tammy McLeod, Ph.D., president and CEO, Flinn Foundation.
We are featuring the 31 Fellows on our “Meet the 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellows” website page and are highlighting them individually this week through our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.
Kevin Bonine is director of education at Biosphere 2 and a science-faculty member in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona. At Biosphere 2, he helps design learning experiences for 100,000 annual visitors and 10,000 K-12 school children, offers teacher professional development, and facilitates residential research internships. Kevin grew up in Tucson, went to Tucson Unified School District schools and UArizona, then went to graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin. He has been back in Tucson with his wife, Angela, since 2001. They have two daughters, currently attending TUSD schools, and absolutely love our beautiful Sonoran Desert and Sky Islands. Kevin is currently chair of the board of trustees of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and enjoys chasing Gila monsters in his spare time. He was a Flinn Scholar and in 2014 a Flinn-Brown Fellow and rarely passes up a teachable moment.
Can you please describe your work and how public policy impacts how you manage your operation?
My work is primarily at the intersection of environmental stewardship and science education. In a variety of roles for almost two decades, I have been able to serve southern Arizona nonprofits, the K-12 education system, and UArizona.
One of the most striking memories I have of the first meeting of my Flinn-Brown cohort was how many of the people—well over half—in the room referenced the natural setting as their most valued aspect of living in Arizona. At the global scale, the natural environment provides all the resources for human societies, and more locally is critical for personal health and well-being, community pride, and long-term economic resilience. Our quality of life is intimately connected to our surroundings. I focus on helping people understand this important reality through accessible research projects, UArizona courses, public talks, and global treasures like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Biosphere 2. Arizona really is an amazing place that we should not take for granted.
Using field-ecology approaches, genetic analyses, and citizen science for local research on native species, including Gila monsters and canyon treefrogs, some of my work has provided land and natural resource managers more information about population sizes, connectivity, impacts of disease and urbanization, and species-wide variation. By engaging staff and visitors at partner sites like Saguaro National Park, we have been able to increase understanding and interest in the health and diversity of our unique Arizona ecosystems.
One of the keys to environmental valuation and protection is education. And, education – especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields – is highly correlated with personal economic well-being and community development. I have taught many thousands of students at the University of Arizona and have worked with many other educators in both formal (e.g., school districts) and informal (e.g., science centers, museums, national parks) settings to inspire and motivate students and the public to understand the value of science education and how our planet functions.
Policy and my work are tightly integrated, as I expect is the work of most of us. The activities described above include many policy links: K-12 and higher education; federally funded research and programming; local, state, and federal land jurisdiction; regulations governing pollution (and other externalities that are extremely challenging to inject into markets without some form of government intervention); nonprofits that receive tax breaks and other incentives; the influence of lawmakers, appointed officials, and voters; and the results of several hundred years of policy and law along with both their planned and unintended consequences. As individuals, we both reflect the values and policies of society and have the obligation to uphold and improve both for equitable distribution of resources and opportunities across current and future generations. Investment now in people and the environment can improve quality of life for millions for decades to come. Arizona deserves this kind of investment, the kind that both the Flinn Foundation and Thomas R. Brown Foundations are making.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work?
As an employee of a state university, I have modified teaching to online from in-person, experienced dramatic shifts in availability of financial and other resources—especially as public visitation of all types has been curtailed and school field trips and classes cancelled—and seen a shift in emphases towards virtual engagement and its efficacy. The work I do with my colleagues is as important as ever—especially as we see among members of society the differential acceptance of expertise and evidence that is part of the current tug-of-war between the repercussions of economy versus health prioritization in Arizona and around the world. Science and allied STEM innovation allows us to predict eclipses well in advance, detect asteroids getting too close for comfort, launch spacecraft into and beyond the solar system, and support humans living off-Earth. Why does society listen more readily to these kinds of scientists than the ones sharing information about health and the environment? I would be happy to share my hypotheses about this observation and invite discussion with interested Flinn-Brown Fellows.
A couple of examples of specific projects include, as chair of the board of trustees, multi-faceted fundraising efforts to see ASDM through closure and reduced visitation. With more work to come, we have been successful to date in mitigating layoffs because of generous donors and foundations, and tremendous staff efforts to obtain CARES Act loans and grants, especially under the Payroll Protection Program. A second example aligns efforts of ASDM, Biosphere 2, Visit Tucson, the Southern Arizona Attractions Alliance, and many participating venues such as the Reid Park Zoo, Pima Air and Space Museum, and the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Together we launched a #VirtualTucson campaign to maintain visibility of venues that rely in large measure on paid attendance. Virtual tours, experiences, and content allow these venues to reach the public and contribute to new ways of learning outside of school. These partnership successes will make all of us stronger, more resilient, and more globally relevant.
How has the Flinn-Brown Network been useful to you?
The Flinn-Brown Network has been especially valuable because of the variety of intelligent perspectives, allied efforts, and diverse backgrounds of the Flinn-Brown Fellows. Several collaborative projects since my cohort have only been possible because of the relationships and connections of the Network, including a very successful teacher training workshop day this past fall that provided 30 Arizona teachers with experiential education tools using the elevational transect afforded by the Mt. Lemmon Highway which goes to the top, at more than 9,000’ elevation, of the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. Tamara Prime deserves special recognition for her wonderful efforts to make this teacher workshop event possible.
How has your work at the University of Arizona and Biosphere 2 intersected with Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap and the advancement of bioscience research in Arizona?
One of the Flinn Foundation pillars, bioscience, also connects research, education, and economic development in ways not dissimilar from my description above. My work at UArizona, Biosphere 2, ASDM, and with other colleagues and partners emphasizes the importance of research and evidence-based decision making, the value of investing in effective STEM education, and fostering a culture of innovation and creative excellence. Although my work is less explicitly linked to health and medicine, the Bioscience Roadmap also includes elements of agriculture which aligns well with Biosphere 2 efforts to contextualize the environment and Earth systems with the Food-Energy-Water Nexus – an important way we present research to visitors and the public to foster engagement and understanding.
Career and Professional Opportunities
The Department of Economic Security is accepting applications for an assistant director of the division of employment and rehabilitation services (DERS).
See Job ID 56915 for more information.
The city of Peoria is accepting applications for a senior planner in the community and planning department. See JOB-Senior Planner for more information.
The city of Scottsdale is looking for a transportation planning manager. See the job description for more information.
The Coconino County Assessor’s Office is hiring an appraisal manager. See the job description for more information.
Events and Conferences
LISC Phoenix is hosting the 2020 Virtual Breakfast & Annual Community Awards on Oct. 28. The event will feature keynote speaker Laura Choi, research manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Registration opens in August and standard registration is free.
Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits’ 2020 Engage Nonprofit Conference has changed from an in-person two-day event in Phoenix to virtual meetings each Wednesday morning in August. The schedule includes Flinn-Brown Fellow Coral Evans, mayor of Flagstaff, on Aug. 12 and Flinn-Brown Fellow Nora Hannah, director of the Arizona Together Impact Fund, on Aug. 26. Vitalyst is also providing scholarships for qualifying organizations.
The Nonprofit Lifecycles Institute is currently hosting a digital facilitation series. There are still sessions available in July for those looking for ways to engage more online.
Flinn-Brown Fellows Updates
Teniqua Broughton’s (Phoenix, 2013) op-ed on rare disease medical and policy needs was recently published in the Arizona Capitol Times.
Yan Gao (Phoenix, 2019) is now engagement manager at the Arizona Department of Administration-Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology Office (ADOA-ASET).
Ben Graff (Phoenix, 2011) was recently featured in the Phoenix Business Journal.
Mignonne Hollis (Sierra Vista, 2013) is now the president of the board for the Arizona Association for Economic Development and vice president of the board for Good Neighbor Alliance.
Gail Knight (Phoenix, 2016) and Jeremy Babendure (Chandler, 2012) have been appointed to the Arizona Department of Education Technology Task Force.
Aaron Magezi (Phoenix, 2019) has been accepted into the doctoral program at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
Lea Marquez Peterson (Tucson, 2011) has been appointed to the Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board.
Stacy Reinstein (Phoenix, 2012) is now the deputy child care administrator for the Department of Economic Security.
Rachel Yanof’s (Phoenix, 2018) op-ed, “The opportunity to rethink Arizona’s education system is now,” was published on azcentral.com in May.
Russ Yelton (Phoenix, 2012) has been appointed to the board of directors of IMNA Solutions.
We have amazing Fellows who are running for office this year! Please let us know if we have not included your name.
- Lea Marquez Peterson (2011), Arizona Corporation Commission (re-election after appointment)
- Coral Evans (2011), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 6
- Jarrett Hamstreet (2017), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 15
- Daniel Hernandez Jr. (2011), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 2 (re-election)
- Joanne Osborne (2012), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 13 (re-election)
- Jennifer Pawlik (2018), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 17 (re-election)
- Debbie Nez Manuel (2017), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 26
- Aaron Lieberman (2017), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 28 (re-election)
- Raquel Terán (2018), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 30 (re-election)
- Tammy Caputi (2019), Scottsdale City Council
- Becky Daggett (2014), Flagstaff City Council
- Erin DePrater (2018), Kingman City Council
- Tim Elinski (2013), Mayor of Cottonwood (re-election)
- Michelle Hess (2013), Buckeye City Council (re-election)
- Juan Padres (2016), Pima County Supervisor, District 3
- Jodi Rooney (2018), Yavapai County Supervisor, District 2
- Doug Von Gausig (2011), Mayor of Clarkdale (re-election)