Bashas' receives Foundation philanthropy award

Mel Clack and Ralph Weiger are the recipients of the 2001 Yavapai County Community Foundation Philanthropists of the Year award.

Other recipients are Bashas' Markets of Camp Verde and Wells Fargo Bank of Prescott's Frontier Village, Business Philanthropist; and Kiwanis Club of Bradshaw Mountain, Community Philanthropist.

The nominating criteria included outstanding contributors to improve the quality of life in Yavapai County, tangible results from a philanthropy history, innovative solutions to community problems, individual involvement and commitment to charitable causes, leadership by example, giving without personal gain or benefit and genuine caring for people.

The honorees will be recognized at the Community Foundation's eighth annual Joy of Giving luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 31 at the Prescott Resort. The public is invited to attend this celebration of the philanthropic endeavors of our community members. Reservation must be receive by October 25 to the community Foundation office by calling 708-9632. The cost is $20 per person.

Mel Clack lost his vision 42 years ago at a time when he had a wife and three children to support. There was very little help for the blind and visually impaired at that time. Remembering that and wanting to help others with the same problems, Clack help to found the Yavapai Blind Center in Prescott.

The Prescott Noon Lions, the Sunrise Lions and the Prescott Valley Lions helped Clack make the Blind Center become a reality. Through the years he has continued to work hard to service the needs of the blind, visually impaired and, since 1980, the hard-of-hearing. He has served on the Center's board of directors in various capacities, include president. Clack is also active in the Prescott Noon Lions, other community activities and his church.

Since his move to Prescott six years ago, Ralph Weiger has provided leadership to the Yavapai Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization in his capacity as advisor to the president of the board of directors. During the past three years, Weiger also served as president of the Yavapai College Foundation.

Under his leadership the Foundation has significantly expanded the donor recognition program and communications in the community. The YC Foundation's endowment has grown significantly during Weiger's tenure. He also currently serves on the advisory board of the Yavapai County Community Foundation.

His past involvements have been the chair of the "YES for Yavapai College" fundraiser and on the Board of Visitors for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, to name a couple. He has been involved in many projects that have improved the quality of life in Yavapai County, as well as outside Yavapai County.

Bashas' Markets of Camp Verde spearheaded a fundraising effort to purchase a grand piano for Camp Verde's new theater. They have allowed students to sell produce, conduct bake sales, raffles, and have car washes on their premises.

They are also strong supporters of the fine arts committee, Booster Club and all night senior graduation party. In addition to hiring many of the school's students and staff, they also employ students from the special education department. Many of their employees are active in school and learning activities.

The Wells Fargo Bank of Prescott has been a signature sponsor for nine years for the Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters Annual dinner and Auction, providing much needed financial support. They also helped promote the event, as well as secured high-level auction items.

Wells Fargo Bank has donated furniture and computers too.

They have been very active with Bradshaw Mountain High School, providing countless volunteer hours in many youth sports programs. Throughout the state of Arizona, Wells Fargo Bank has demonstrated their willingness to designate grant funds to address inadequate housing through Habitat for Humanity.

These grants represent $25,000 to the recipient affiliates. Locally the bank has provided employees to work on Habitat construction sites. In addition, they recruited construction volunteers from other banks to join in a partnership with the Habitat projects.

Wells Fargo Bank has been very instrumental in fundraising efforts for the Margaret T. Morris Center by helping them establish the Firs annual Silver Sentinel Fund Raiser and Celebration. This event helped the organization meet a $50,000 challenge grant.

The Kiwanis of Bradshaw Mountain has been chartered for 18 years with 45 members form the Dewey, Prescott Valley and Humboldt communities. Each year the Kiwanis supports the community by sponsoring and mentoring the award winning Key Club at the Bradshaw Mountain High School. They are sponsors of a mile of highway and keep it clean.

In addition, the Club has enriched lives by contributing financially to many community organization. Each year they work in partnership with the Prescott Kiwanis Club in their annual auction. This group has an impact on the community as well as internationally with their campaign to end iodine deficiency disease in underdeveloped counties.

For more information, please contact Kristi Edwards, CFRE, regional foundation manager at 708-9632 or kedwards@azfoundation.org.

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