September 2020 Network News

September 28, 2020

By Matt Ellsworth

Dawn Wallace

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

As we approach the beginning of autumn, I can truly say I’m happy to look back at the summer of 2020 in the rearview mirror. While I cherish the LONG summer days my family and I spent together, it is reenergizing to look forward to the months ahead and the promise of a return to some sense of normalcy. I’m cautiously optimistic that improving health benchmarks may be a predictor of a positive trend for the state. However, the advice from experts remains that we should continue to be diligent with the health and safety protocols, including masks and social distancing. #MASKUPAZ.


To that end, while we are committed to doing our part in mitigating the spread, we are looking forward to returning to our programming for the 2020 Fellows cohort, albeit partly virtually. Additionally, we are planning for future Arizona Center for Civic Leadership activities, including Flinn-Brown Network engagement and monthly CivEx webinars. We hope the broad reach of virtual events will provide an opportunity for Fellows outside of Maricopa County to participate and engage in activities that previously were less accessible to them.

Last month, I spent an hour virtually with our current Flinn Scholars during their annual retreat, sharing my perspective on civic participation and leadership. I met the most amazing young people—our next generation of civic leaders—and learned so much about their dedication to academic excellence and passion to make an impact in their communities.

The 2021 Flinn Scholarship application cycle is now open. I encourage you to share a link to the application information with anyone who knows or works with a high-performing high-school senior. A student like this—who might be tempted to leave Arizona for Harvard or Stanford—could be a strong candidate for one of the most prestigious merit-based scholarships in the nation, valued at more than $120,000. The deadline to apply is Monday, October 5.

Past and Upcoming CivEx Webinars

I want to thank Fellows Teniqua Broughton, Christine Thompson, and Rachel Yanof for their insights in the CivEx conversation last week on postsecondary attainment in the Black/African American community. The webinar hosted over 225 participants and inspired more questions than we had time to answer! I’m appreciative that Teniqua has agreed to make this discussion the first in a series of CivEx sessions that will focus on issues impacting the Black/African American community. If you missed the webinar, you can view the recording and PowerPoint on our website. For those of you who are interested in supporting the work of the State of Black Arizona, along with Expect More Arizona and Achieve60AZ, please check out the Call to Action.

Please join us on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. to hear Fellows Mignonne Hollis and Russ Yelton discuss their work in rural economic development. Details will be forthcoming.

Fellows Survey

We want to hear from you! Please take five minutes to respond to this 12 question survey. We are preparing the annual printed Flinn-Brown Fellows directory and at the same time refining and adding new fields to our online public directory. We need your help to ensure we have your information up-to-date. Your thoughts on a few other topics related to the Flinn-Brown Network and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership are the final component of the survey and will help us develop future programming. 

Please submit your response by Sept. 30.

You can also update your contact information at any time with the link at the end of this email, which is included in every Network News.


Last week, Fellow Alec Thomson, executive director of the Arizona Census Count Committee, and I sent out a call of action to our Network related to the 2020 Census. We are less than a month away from the conclusion of the 2020 Census, and we asked the Flinn-Brown Network of amazing civic leaders for an assist as we hit the final stretch. The Arizona’s 2020 Census will shape the next decade for our state—so, please send an email, share information on social media, and/or let Alec know how you want to partner at [email protected].


Finally, 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.


Fellow Spotlight

David Martinez III

David Martinez III
Director, Capacity Building & Community Engagement
Vitalyst Health Foundation
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David Martinez III serves as director of capacity building and community engagement at Vitalyst Health Foundation, working with community-based leaders, organizations, and coalitions to increase capacity and civic participation.

Prior to joining Vitalyst, Martinez was project manager for the Center for the Future of Arizona and before that community engagement manager for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. He was in the inaugural class of the Flinn-Brown Fellows and is involved with the Arizona Community Foundation’s Center for LGBTQ Philanthropy and the Desert Botanical Garden.

Originally from Marana and one of six children, David is a first-generation college student, earning a B.A. in secondary education, political science and journalism from the University of Arizona. He served as Student Regent on the Arizona Board of Regents, worked at the UA Office of Institutional Equity, and interned with U.S. Rep.Raul Grijalva.

Martinez currently lives in central Phoenix and as a localist, loves to explore Arizona.

1. Can you please describe your work and how public policy impacts how you manage your organization?

At Vitalyst Health Foundation, I oversee our capacity-building and civic-health portfolios of giving. Overall, the work is to improve the health of Arizonans and our communities, but we see health as more than just health care. We work to protect the Affordable Care Act and AHCCCS/Kids Care in Arizona and ensure health is in all policies at the local level, especially around housing affordability, access to healthy local food, and multi-modal transportation options.

In my specific work with capacity-building, we work with community-based leaders, organizations, and coalitions whose work may intersect with policy, and are actually now developing work to build the capacity of more nonprofits to engage in advocacy and public policy.

Within the civic-health work of Vitalyst, we often convene or join action on public policy like community safety, school safety, and the census. The idea is that we cannot have healthy communities without a healthy democracy, so we support how communities come together to tackle their communities’ toughest challenges.

2. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work?

Working for a health foundation during a public-health crisis has been fascinating and challenging, but only shows how important it is to see health more broadly, the social determinants of health, and the inequities that existed far before COVID-19.

Our first round of support was in partnership with the Arizona Community Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. Now, we are preparing a second round of support specifically for policies, systems, and environmental changes enacted because of COVID-19, and specific support with a health-equity lens for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, whose inequities are only exacerbated by COVID-19, and who are left out of resources from government.

While the work has been challenging, it also has reminded me how resilient Arizonans and our communities are. It also reminds me how important it is that we trust science and data in decision-making, and just how connected we are as community. We have a lot of work to do on that front, but I think the Flinn-Brown Network is a perfect example of what is possible.

3. How is the nonprofit sector uniquely set up to develop the next generation of civic leaders?

Nonprofits create paths for people to serve and give in their communities. This builds stronger connection to place and nurtures interpersonal relationships and trust between neighbors. These are all community-building activities that can support the next generation of civic leaders to better understand community needs and use that knowledge to advocate for those needs and those most in need. I’ve shared more thoughts on this on our website.

4. How has the Flinn-Brown Network been useful to you?

I have been called a “super user” of the Flinn-Brown Fellows Network because I so value the personal and professional relationships that we have been forged. I try to keep in touch with Fellows and hope you all do the same! I love celebrating each other’s successes and working together to tackle our shared challenges.

I often called upon Fellows myself to help tackle challenges, including now working with some Fellows to address the issue of police brutality and community safety. I have contributed to Fellows’ political campaigns, no matter which party they represent, because I hope we all take the lessons learned from the seminars to our respective roles. No matter where you are in this journey, connect with me on social media. Let us keep in touch, because you never know when you will see someone with a colorful vase in their office (or Zoom background) and what possibilities for collaboration the future can bring.

Career and Professional Opportunities

The Nature Conservancy is seeking a state director to lead, manage, and inspire the chapter’s staff and trustees to collectively achieve the maximum contribution to the organization’s mission. Job Description | Job Profile

The Audubon Society is hiring a Rio Salado Audubon Center manager to plan, operate, and manage the day-to-day operations of the center, as well as the implementation of long-term goals of the center. Job Description | Apply

First Things First is hiring a regional director to oversee the First Things First Pima North Regional Partnership Council. Job Description

The Arizona Department of Transportation is hiring a strategic-initiatives project manager to lead and manage the strategic-initiative program, continuous-improvements efforts and the roll-out of the Arizona Management System (Lean) within the Financial Management Services Division. Job Description

Applications are open for Arizona Forward’s 2020-2021 Emerging Sustainability Leaders Program. Applications are due by Sept. 9.

Find other jobs in the public sector with Government Jobs and azstatejobs.

Events and Conferences

Did you miss a previous CivEx? Now you can find CivEx webinar recordings on our website. View past events.

Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities and Vitalyst Health Foundation are partnering to support efforts that reflect this cross-sector approach in communities throughout Arizona. The Live Well Arizona Incubator is looking for motivated teams that have identified a geographically based health issue that lends itself to a multi-sector solution. Learn more.

Join the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation for the new Reimagining Today’s Workforce webinar series. On Sept. 10, join the conversation starting with The Childcare Equation: COVID-19, Parents, & Employer Solutions webinar.

Join the MAP Talk on Sept. 10 on COVID-19’s impact on the economy. Dr. George Hammond, director of the Economic and Business Research Center at UArizona, will provide an update on how COVID-19 is impacting our local and state economy, and what a rebound might look like.

Flinn-Brown Fellows Updates

Teniqua Broughton (Phoenix, 2013) has joined the board of directors of the Desert Botanical Garden Foundation.

Blaise Caudill (Phoenix, 2014) has joined Southwest Gas as a public-affairs analyst.

Laura Dorrell (Clifton, 2017) is now the chief nursing officer at Gila Health Resources.

Jenna Goad (Phoenix, 2012) is now the assistant to the city manager for the city of Goodyear.

Katelyn Harris-Lange (Phoenix, 2020) is now vice president of the Greater Phoenix Urban League Young Professionals.

Ben Henderson (Denver, 2014) is now the director of operations and cabinet affairs for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

Nicole Pasteur (Washington, 2013) is now the Arizona press secretary for Biden for President.

Kate Radosevic (Phoenix, 2020) is now the Friend of the Farm coordinator for the Arizona Food Bank Network.

Mel Sanderson (Phoenix, 2020) has joined the board of La Paz Rare Earths and is now director of trade and investment, Africa Business Portal. She has several upcoming speaking events: Mining Law Summit at UArizona, Kozmetsky Center of Excellence, St. Edward’s University, and the Society for Mining Metals and Exploration Conference.

Larry Sandigo (Phoenix, 2018) is now the Arizona Latino vote director for Biden for President.

Jami Snyder (Phoenix, 2013) is the 2020 president-elect of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.