The Saguaros, a philanthropic membership organization dedicated to raising funds for Arizona children’s charities, held their inaugural Sentinel Awards May 18 at Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West.
Here, The Saguaros announced a total of $1,767,532 in grants ranging from $2,500 to over $200,000 to 28 Arizona charities focused on helping children, according to a press release.
In addition, The Saguaros recognized outstanding Arizonans who had a significant impact on the lives of Arizona’s children. Recipients received the Sentinel Award in the form of an engraved Soleri bell to commemorate the honor.
Sentinel Awards were given in two categories honoring an adult and youth. The adult award was given to Jane D’Amelio, director of philanthropy and strategic partnerships for Right Toyota. The youth award was given posthumously to Amanda Hope Gavin, a girl who lost her battle with leukemia in 2012 and inspired the creation of Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels, a local organization with the mission to bring dignity and comfort into the harsh world of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, the release stated.
“The Sentinel Awards were created to celebrate the individuals and organizations who are making a massive difference in the lives of children in our community,” The Saguaros Charities Chair Trent Hancock said in the release. “Saguaros are often referred to as the ‘sentinels of the desert’ because they are deeply rooted and stand watch over their charges. These are the same attributes we are honoring at this inaugural awards event.”
The Saguaros grants included the following:
Attendees also heard deeply moving personal stories from some of this year’s charity partners, the release stated. Stories were shared about a photography mentorship program for at-risk kids that builds confidence (Kids in Focus), a school where kids with hearing loss get the help they need to thrive (Desert Voices), a resource for children and their families dealing with a cancer diagnosis (Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels), and an organization that provides stability for youth experiencing homelessness (Homeless Youth Connection).
Two Saguaros members, Kyle McMillan and Christopher Maderazzo, were also named Sentinel members of The Saguaros, the highest designation awarded in the volunteer organization.