A Prayer for the Remembrance of 9/11

O God, our hope and refuge,
in our distress we come quickly to you.
Shock and horror of that tragic day have subsided,
replaced now with an emptiness,
a longing for an innocence lost.

We come remembering those who lost their lives
in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

We are mindful of the sacrifice of public servants
who demonstrated the greatest love of all
by laying down their lives for friends.
We commit their souls to your eternal care
and celebrate their gifts to a fallen humanity.

We come remembering
and we come in hope,
not in ourselves, but in you.

As foundations we once thought secure have been shaken,
we are reminded of the illusion of security.

In commemorating this tragedy,
we give you thanks for your presence
in our time of need
and we seek to worship you in Spirit and in truth,
our guide and our guardian. Amen.

– Written by The Rev. Jeremy Pridgeon, UMC

The Power of Women

“Women have a unique power of being able to look at the world’s problems and discover solutions that transform lives and make the world a better place.”

You can witness the power of those words first-hand at the Third Annual Power of Women: Wine, Women and Conversation event, which will be held on Wednesday, September 18, from 5-7 pm in the Life Center. We are shining a light on three women who are shaping the Phoenix community: The Honorable Kate Gallego, Mayor of the City of Phoenix; Dr. Maria Harper Marinick, chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges; and Dr. Judy Jolley Mohraz, trustee of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. They will be discussing their life journeys – the highs and lows and everything in between. We will hear the expansive amount of work they do for our community and how the connections and support they receive from our community has been transformational in their lives. Our own President and CEO Michelle Just and Letitia Frye, our Power of the Purse auctiontainer, author and speaker, will moderate the panel discussion.

Mayor Kate Gallego has spent her career working to find solutions to complex problems. Prior to being elected as Mayor this past March, she served for five years as the City Councilwoman for District 8. She is the second elected female mayor in Phoenix history and the youngest big-city mayor in the United States. She’s passionate about building a Phoenix that works for everyone, including her two-year-old son, Michael. Prior to being elected mayor, she worked on Strategic Planning and Economic Development for Salt River Project. Mayor Gallego graduated from Harvard University and earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Maria Harper Marinick is a national leader in higher education and strong advocate for access, equity, and student success. She has served in leadership positions for 17 years at Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college systems in the U.S. serving 200,000 students across 10 colleges. She was appointed chancellor in 2016. She is the first female and the first Latina to be appointed to lead a higher educational institution in Arizona. She is originally from the Dominican Republic and came to Arizona in 1982 as a Fulbright Scholar to complete graduate work at Arizona State University, where she earned a master’s and doctoral degrees in education.

Dr. Judy Jolley Mohraz has spent her life committed to the community and education. She served as the founding president and CEO of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the largest private foundation in Arizona and currently serves as a trustee. She positioned the trust to be a significant partner in civic leadership, constructive change and investment in solution-focused social strategies. Prior, she was president of Goucher College in Baltimore for six years and served on the faculty and administration for 20 years at Southern Methodist University. Her academic focus was American history and she authored a book about Black education in the northern U.S. in the early 20th century. She serves on numerous boards and was a presidential appointee to the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy. She earned her doctorate from University of Illinois and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Baylor University

Michelle Just, as we all know, is the amazing leader of Beatitudes Campus and has made enormous contributions nationally in the aging services field. Letitia Frye has been involved in Beatitudes Campus for the past five years as auctioneer at Power of the Purse. She has made a big impact on the Arizona nonprofit community and has helped raise more than $400 million for these organizations.

For those of you who attended Power of Women last year, you know how positive and uplifting this evening is. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer on your new friends. I hope you will come this year!

We invite you to join us at Power of Women and be part of the Women, Wine and Conversation. Tickets are $45 (wine and appetizers included) and can be purchased by calling me (Barbara Wood at x16136) or coming to the Foundation offices. Please call me if you have any questions. I hope to see you there!

The Power of Women

“Women have a unique power of being able to look at the world’s problems and discover solutions that transform lives and make the world a better place.”

We will be able to witness first-hand how true that sentiment is at the Power of Women: Women, Wine and Conversation event, which will be held Tuesday, September 25th from 5-7PM in the Life Center, where we will shine a light on four amazing women who are shaping the Phoenix community. Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, Children’s Museum of Phoenix President and CEO Kate Wells, our very own President and CEO Michelle Just, and Letitia Frye, auctioneer, author and speaker, who will moderate the panel. They will be discussing their life journeys – the ups and downs and in-betweens – and talk about how connection and support from their community has been transformational in their lives.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams

Chief Williams has served the community for nearly three decades in law enforcement – 22 of those years were serving Phoenix. She brings a unique perspective to her role, as a law enforcement leader, a wife, a mom and a daughter. Chief Williams brings all of those lenses to the police department to create an atmosphere of accountability and transparency.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix President and CEO Kate Wells

Kate Wells co-founded the Children’s Museum of Phoenix 20 years ago with a group of moms and friends to create a learning environment through play for children and the adults who care for them. From this grassroots effort, the Children’s Museum is now rated among the Top 10 in the country. Kate, too, wears many hats as a mom, daughter and wife. Kate’s mom, Eileen Bell, is a Beatitudes Campus resident.

Beatitudes Campus President and CEO, Michelle Just

Michelle Just, as we all know, is the amazing leader of Beatitudes Campus. But we may not all know how her professional and personal journeys intersect in her many roles as a leader, a daughter, a sister and a friend. Michelle has made enormous contributions nationally in the field of aging services.

Letitia Frye, Auctioneer, Author and Speaker

Letitia Frye has made a big impact on the Phoenix nonprofit community, having raised more than $400 million for nonprofits by doing “her thing” as an auctioneer. You have seen her in action at Power of the Purse! Every year, Letitia becomes more motivated to give back, in part due to the many personal challenges that face her.

At Power of Women: Women, Wine and Conversation, you will have the opportunity to meet these amazing women who are leading the way for a better community. These women are our thought leaders who have made a difference. They are our mentors and yet they learn from others, too. These are the women who encourage us to get involved and work to influence positive change.

At Power of Women, you can hear these leaders talk about their passion in shaping our Phoenix community and find out first-hand how they are making a difference.

We invite you to join us at Power of Women and be part of the Women, Wine and Conversation. Tickets are $25 (wine and appetizers included) and can be purchased by calling me (Barbara Wood at x16136) or online at BeatitudesFoundation.org. Please call me if you have any questions. I hope to see you there!*


Employee Appreciation Fund

Here is another letter that shows just how wonderful our employees are.

“Working the desk in Plaza South, I was told that someone’s cat may have accidentally gotten out of an apartment, but might just be under the sofa. No one nearby was able to get down on the floor to check for the cat. One of our maintenance men happened by (I didn’t get his name) and I asked if he would check under the sofa in the apartment for us. His response [was] ‘of course!’ The cat was there and all was well. Our wonderful maintenance man then went on about his job.”

Please show your appreciation to our employees for all the little and big things they do for us every day by contributing to the Employee Appreciation Fund if you haven’ t done that yet this year. You can make a check payable to Beatitudes Campus Foundation and put ” Em p loyee Appreciation Fund” on the note line; you can put an envelope with cash in it addressed to the Employee Appreciation Fund in the boxes in the Plaza Bistro and Buckwald’s, or you can have it added to your monthly statement by filling out a form that you can get from the billing department in Agelink. There is one additional way, if you have an IRA, you can have a portion of your RMD sent to the Beatitudes Campus Foundation and earmarked for the “Employee Appreciation Fund.” If you have any questions, please call Bette Henriques, Committee Chairman, at x18809.

New Beginnings

At the start of a new calendar year, we are messaged all around about “new beginnings.”  I am seeing a host of media ads about mattresses, cars and furniture as retailers look to prop up the inevitable dips in sales following the business holiday season.  Then, of course there are dozens of (urgent!) weight loss commercials specifically geared to appeal to those who have overdone it through the holidays.

I look at “new beginnings” in my search engine and find that the terminology has been tapped by treatment centers, counseling and mental health services, adoption services, numerous religious organizations, a governmental office of personnel management, alternative education, a Kenyan soap opera, a series of novels about a guardian angel named Victoria Schwab…….. the list goes on and on and many of them very important.  So I am a bit reluctant to just crowd in what we are doing at Beatitudes Campus with everything else.  One, because I would rather it not be “lost in the crowd” and two, because we are really, literally beginning a new phase in the life of this fifty-plus year old campus with our physical updates, furthering our Radical Hospitality attitudes and programming at a resident-centric level like never before.

As we are learning from the ATLAS process (an organizational assessment program funded by the Virginia G. Piper Foundation) about which Michelle Just, our President and CEO wrote in this space some weeks ago, organizations have life cycles.  Only those with strong determination (aka “grit”, the subject of my last Roadrunner article) are able to keep at the top of their operating space and continue their mission in meaningful ways.  Absent the will to innovate, collaborate and research, companies can find themselves going the way of least resistance, continuing with methods that may need updating and not stretching to fund their depreciation or bring improvements to the marketplace.

This is but one of the reasons I am so happy to be a part of Beatitudes Campus.  We have made a conscious decision not to lapse into mediocrity, but rather to continue a process of “new beginnings” that strives for excellence in every aspect of the life plan community sector.  We have just finished our intensive Phase I of the First Impressions updates which has touched most campus buildings, and we have already seen some definitive results with those making decisions about making Beatitudes Campus their home.  Painting, floor coverings, furnishings and artwork have a rather profound impact on decision making in senior living often even above our superior care ratings in the licensed areas.  Our mission continues to be just as our founders envisioned…….to be leaders and innovators.  And we have definitely learned that First Impressions (an integral part of our Radical Hospitality program) is a foundational part of the equation, especially as we also envision the continuance of that mission into the redevelopment process.  The higher occupancies that result from attention to this part of the overall equation coupled with strong operations produces a position at which our lenders look far more favorably and which allows us to take next steps.

Now with the first part of the time sensitive program complete, during the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year, we will be continuing the First Impressions/Radical Hospitality process with not only completion of Phase II of the physical assets/décor plan but also with continued training for every member of our staff in the fundamentals of this important aspect of our culture.  (Phase III, the completion of the program, is slated for fiscal year 2018.)  So, our “new beginnings” is an evolutionary process in which we expect to involve staff and residents in the planning process for the next few years in not only our redevelopment for new areas, but also in the re-tooling and updates for our existing buildings.  I am so excited to work with the Residents Council and building representatives on what constitutes the best for each area.  We will be producing common area maps that will be very valuable tools that help keep décor assigned to an area in that location and how the room(s) are to be set following any necessary movement of furniture for an event or holiday season, among other deliverables.

Thanks again for the opportunity to be of service to this campus and it’s top notch residents.  You are an inspiration and joy – great days ahead!

Plan Now to Make More Possible Tomorrow

Happy New Year to all of you – residents, staff, partners! This is the time of year when we are more mindful about reflecting on our life and our world. New Year’s reflections often remind us to do more of what works – the right things – and less of what doesn’t work.

We now have turned the page on 2016 and are ready to begin a new chapter. With a new year also comes new resolve to think about tomorrow today. What are we truly passionate about? How can we make a difference? How can we be better servant leaders? What organizations or causes do we care about to devote our personal resources of money, time and energy? The list of projects and endeavors we want to be involved in is probably long and varied, but making such a list will help us to think about where we want to place our energy and resources.

You – the residents, staff, family and friends – devote much time, talent and treasure to Beatitudes Campus, through your volunteering, leadership and charitable gifts to many of the campus initiatives, to programs and to the Resident Assistance Fund. I am humbled by your generosity. Thank you!

The start of a new year can also be a signal for us to begin to make plans for future charitable gifts. With a planned gift, you can create a lasting legacy of support and help the campus continue to provide excellent opportunities and services for generations to come. Every day, Beatitudes Campus, along with our residents and friends, are expanding the boundaries of what’s possible through programs that connect us through our mind, body and spirit. We support programs that exercise our minds as well as our bodies, and programs that help us to expand our campus into the community. One of the driving forces behind these programs is you. You make things possible today, and tomorrow, with planned charitable giving. Planning now makes more possible tomorrow.

There are many different types of planned giving options. You can help ensure the future of Beatitudes Campus programming and innovation in a way that works for you. Cash contributions are always appreciated, and there are other creative and flexible options that can benefit you and Beatitudes Campus. There are many ways to make a significant impact through a planned gift – you can consider making a gift that costs nothing in your lifetime through a charitable bequest under your will or trust, or by beneficiary designation. An easy way to include Beatitudes Campus in your estate plan is to name Beatitudes Campus Foundation as a beneficiary of your donor advised fund, retirement plan, IRA or life insurance policy. Planned gifts can also give back—and can help you prepare for your future. They can provide income for you and your loved ones for life. They can also allow you to take income, gift and estate tax deductions and can provide favorable capital gains tax treatment. Planned gifts allow you to leave a legacy for future generations.

All people who have made a bequest or other type of planned gift are invited to join the Culver H. Nelson Founder’s Society at Beatitudes Campus. It’s our way of recognizing you and thanking you for your generosity and for ensuring the future success of Beatitudes Campus. If you have made such a gift, we want to know and recognize you, so please let me know. Throughout the next year, we will offer some workshops on gift planning to help you with your options. In the meantime, I’d love to talk to you. Of course, you will want to talk to your financial or tax adviser also. Feel free to stop by and talk with me about any kind of charitable giving. Please contact me in the Foundation Office (x16136 or stop by the South building – our office is next to Oasis Therapy).

So, let’s turn the page to our next chapter. Exciting possibilities await in 2017!

ATLAS: Strength and Endurance

img_2773At last Wednesday’s Town Hall, I had the opportunity to share some exciting news. I announced the campus has been invited to participate in a very successful two-year program offered to eight past grantees of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. The program, ATLAS, is designed to strengthen and sustain the operating capacity of Trust-identified nonprofits who play important roles in Maricopa County’s human service, civic and cultural life.

ATLAS, symbolic of strength and endurance in Greek mythology, is a Piper Trust project, launched in 2012, designed to increase the operational capacity and organizational resilience of nonprofits, who are already successfully living out their missions through their strong foundation, leadership team, and culture of innovation and learning. Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens designed and developed ATLAS in partnership with Piper Trust and serves as the lead consultant for the project. Dr. Stevens is a renowned expert on nonprofit capacity building and pioneered the nonprofit lifecycle framework. She holds a doctorate in organizational behavior and is the author of five books, numerous journal articles and case studies. ATLAS draws heavily on the principles in Nonprofit Lifecycles, Dr. Stevens’ award-winning book first published in 2001.

The Campus ATLAS team, made up of members from our senior staff team and board of directors, will spend the first four months assessing organizational operating capacity, identifying current critical challenges, and facilitating the development of a plan to move forward. The remaining 20 months will be focused on addressing areas identified in the plan. Assisting our team is Jeri Royce, of 3-P Leadership, a trained organizational lifecycles consultant paid for by Piper Trust. Jeri will work closely with our team, not only through the assessment process, but through the two year odyssey of plan implementation. The Campus will also receive $50,000 in grant funds from Piper Trust to support the implementation of the capacity building plan!

img_2772Piper Trust has a history of proactively leading and developing programs intended to further strengthen nonprofit organizations so they can serve the community’s ever growing needs. We have been blessed with two grants from Piper Trust over the years. The first in 2002 to fund our initial redevelopment work, then again in 2011 to launch a new program in our organization, Beatitudes Home Health.

I am honored that the campus was selected to participate in the third cohort group of ATLAS. Our team joins seven other organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Foundation for Senior Living, in this round of the program and will have the opportunity to participate ongoing facilitated peer learning discussions. Past participants include our Duet: Partners in Health and Aging, UMOM, Adelante Healthcare, and Rosie’s House.

I look forward to sharing with you the progress of our participation in ATLAS, how it will play a role in our strategic and redevelopment plans, but most importantly, how it will continue to build upon our strong 51 year mission of service.

Progress Marches On

I can’t believe it’s already four and a half months since I came to Beatitudes Campus! It has been a great time of assessing where we have opportunities and tooling up for our future.  What a pleasure it is in my many travels on behalf of the Campus to speak of our many unique characteristics and determination to serve as many seniors as possible in meaningful ways.

During these first few months, we have been able to kick off a number of projects and initiatives – a few that have been contemplated for some time and others that have been developed to distinguish Beatitudes in our rather active marketplace.  The First Impressions project, funded by the Beatitudes Foundation, has begun in earnest and is already making an impact on the environment around the property.

As you might well imagine, on a campus with buildings that span from less than ten to over fifty years old, many opportunities for improvement in the look of furnishings, colors and floor coverings have presented themselves. So about three months ago, we took an entire inventory of where we were and how we could best tune up image and surroundings to benefit our valuable residents and those who are considering residency.  It may not surprise you to learn that the tab was very, very high if we were actually able to do each and every item on the wish list, but undaunted, we went about breaking it down into phases and ways in which to achieve the best “bang for the buck.”

About $66,000 had previously been set aside for flooring in the Foundation and they generously granted an additional $271,000 for the project which includes not only carpeting and wood vinyl, but also replacement of a good deal of furniture, artwork and accessories in the Health Care Center, Plaza View Assisted Living, Plaza North and Plaza South as well as the Central Park buildings.  To date, we have seen completion of new wood vinyl flooring in all of the Central Park lobbies and elevators, as well as new paint schemes in those lobbies and throughout the upper floors at the entrances of resident apartments.  We have also completed the replacement of all upper floor lounge carpets in Plaza North and Plaza South.  A two tone painting scheme in hallways separated by a chair rail is underway in those buildings.  The big news is that the remodel of the first floor lobby begins the week of September 19th with the removal of the desk/counter as well as carpet.  It is all going to be replaced with our new flooring selections as well as a great executive desk, credenza and hutch, which our volunteer staff will continue to staff as they do in other buildings on campus.  We have also completed the installation of new flooring in Plaza View’s upper floor elevator vestibules and lounges and then the first floor dining room and activity room will see their new carpet installation start around the first of October.  Last, but certainly not least, 200 new multi-purpose, colorful chairs for use throughout the campus are starting to hit the scene.  As a result, we will be retiring a lot of the extraneous and dated seating that has survived through the years.

Major activity will begin on October 10th when we will begin to see the furniture, artwork and lamps delivered throughout the campus.  We are also hosting the 2nd annual PASRS (Professional Association of Senior Referral Specialists) conference on October 13th when we will enjoy the company of about 300 visitors on campus who will be looking at us for potential placement of their clients.  Of course, we are putting out the welcome mat, but also will be working feverishly to have our décor in place to present ourselves well, in addition to our mission and outstanding care services.   Some of the items will not be delivered until November, but once all of this work is completed by Thanksgiving, Phase I will essentially be complete.

All of the remaining areas of need have been collected into a Phase II process which will occur through our upcoming fiscal year (October 1st, 2016 – September 30th, 2017), funded by both the Foundation as well as largely by our campus operations.  Our board approved the plan this last week, but capital expense budgets are only possible by well executed operations, so we will also be working diligently to meet all of our occupancy and expense budget targets.  The completion of the First Impressions plan is scheduled through quarters one through four this coming year and we are tremendously excited about the impact that all that we are doing is making on campus.

So that brings me to the new Friends and Family Referral Program that we have kicked off as of September 7th.  For every qualified referral that you provide to the marketing department, that has not been previously identified to us or toured, we are anxious to pay you, our valued residents (or members of your family) $1000 for the first successful admission, $1250 for the second and $1500 for the third.  That’s $3750 that you can earn per year!  In addition to the prospects not having been previously in our marketing database, they must complete three months of residency and be current on their account.  It’s that simple!  Think about former neighbors, members of your church or members of your own family that you would recommend becoming a part of Beatitudes Campus and provide their names to the marketing department.  The program runs all through next fiscal year to September 30, 2017 but I urge you to hurry.  As I write this article, there are 23 apartments that are “sold” and not yet occupied between rentals and entry fee (Central Park).  Even though we will experience some residents that will transition to higher levels of care, there are a few apartments to fill and enjoy this opportunity.  I will say I honestly cannot wait to hand out that first check at a Residents Council or Town Hall meeting to someone who has referred a successful admission under this program!  And, I want to keep handing them out…….again and again throughout this year.  I love working together with you – simply the finest Life Plan Community I have ever known.  Together, we are creating the community of choice in, not only the Phoenix metropolitan area, but the southwest U.S. – full of choices, opportunities for service and a place of love, acceptance and fellowship.  Please be sure to get in touch with me if you have any questions…… call Marketing at x18487 or myself, at x16107.*

Foundation for the Future

Dining Services has a long standing tradition of developing talent within the department. Most of our current supervisors were servers or cooks within the department. We hire a large number of younger people in Dining Services. Many of the people we hire have no interest in a career in Dining Services. That’s okay. We understand not everyone will be a “lifer” like me. However, we do get a large number of very vibrant, personable and talented individuals entering our doors. We teach them how to provide a customer service experience and work with others while serving their 700 new grandparents.

Many great careers have been launched in food service mostly as a stop gap to earn money while going to school. Our very own CEO, Michelle Just, got her start in food service as a bartender during college before beginning her healthcare career as an administrator in Denver. When Michelle moved to Arizona, she started at the Campus in 2000 as a marketing counselor, was promoted to VP of Fund Development, then Sr. VP, Health Services before ultimately being promoted to Chief Executive Officer of the Campus in 2014.

Many others within Dining Services have developed and transferred to other departments starting as servers and working their way up to lead server then supervisor. After having this experience, they transferred to Human Resources, Life Enrichment, Resident Services, Transportation, and Welcome Center roles. We love to see our people develop and learn. Who knows, our next CEO in the future might have been a Campus Dining Services team member!

The Dining Services Department has recently launched an intentional development tool titled “Path to Promotion” to ensure formal growth paths for staff.  Team members are invited to participate and given activities within the department designed specifically to learn the next steps on the path to promotion, so that they are ready when a next level position comes available. The persons in the program will be mentored through the steps on the path by their immediate supervisor and frequent conversations will take place with the staff member along the path until they have developed competency in the activities and are ready to come off the bench and fill a next level role within the department.

Beatitudes Campus is a leader in senior living and it only makes sense to develop people and become a learning organization.  Further developing on the gifts and talents our team members possess will assist not only in providing an exceptional customer experience for current residents, but will continue our legacy into the future as the premier place in Arizona to live or work.

P.S.  I’d love to hear from you if you have grown here at the Campus.  Please leave a comment below about your experience.