Benevilla will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year.
The nonprofit senior and family services agency was founded in 1981 by citizens of the Sun Cities area out of concern local services were not readily available to the community’s residents. Their mission was to promote health and independence by providing supportive services to their neighbors.
Forty years ago this May, Benevilla formed as Sun Cities Area Interfaith Services, Inc. (IFS) and was established as a nonprofit, non-sectarian agency by concerned citizens and the Ministerial Association.
From humble beginnings as a group of 30 volunteers helping with errands and home care services and a handful of employees IFS grew into Benevilla, a vibrant network of Life Enrichment Day Programs, comprehensive care-management programs, free support and educational services across the northwest Valley — all supported by more than 500 volunteers and more than 100 employees — seeking to help keep seniors and families independent in their own homes.
Since 1981, Benevilla has been an evolving nonprofit agency enriching the lives of older adults, adults with disabilities, children and the families who care for them.
1981: Sun Cities Area Interfaith Services, Inc. (IFS) was established as a nonprofit, non-sectarian agency in May by concerned citizens and the Ministerial Association serving 250 individuals the first year.
1982: IFS opened its first Adult Day Center with 11 participants in September.
1984: Three Day Centers were operating, and the Bereavement Support Group and Home Support Services were introduced.
1986: Grocery Shopping and Business Assistance programs began.
1988: IFS obtained a permanent home. Del Webb donated their 7,400-square-foot admin and support services building and moved it section by section to its new location on El Mirage Road. Dedication of new building was March 23, 1988.
1999: Purchased and renovated a bank building in Sun City to establish the Mary Bovard Center, the first Memory Care Day Center in Arizona. Received the “Best of the West” award from WESTMARC for service to the community.
2002: Name of organization changed to dba/Interfaith Community Care (ICC).
2004: Grand Opening of Chez Nous Center & Café in Sun City West. Received first CARF accreditation.
2005: In May, purchased 6.5 acres in Surprise Original Town Site to build community care campus. Sun City West First Baptist Church agreed to provide space for Helping Partners program — a day center designed for developmentally disabled adults.
2007: In April: Groundbreaking ceremony with leadership donors and more than 250 community members in attendance.
2009: Administrative offices moved to the Hellen and John M. Jacobs Independence Plaza campus. Opening of Birt’s Bistro and Bookstore and Catering service. Opening of Lucy Anne’s Place (adult day center) and Wirtzie’s Child Development Center. ICC won “Best of the West” for service to communities with Rio Salado College and the city of Surprise. ICC received a grant from “First Things First” and established the Family Resource Center.
2010: Name of organization changed to Benevilla. Home Delivered Meals program started based on needs from residents in Corte Bella and Surprise. Benevilla organized the first Northwest Valley Transportation Stakeholders group when the Sun Cities area transit closed.
2011: Received approval from Department of Labor and Division of Development Disabilities to provide group supported employment training for developmentally disabled adults residing in our community. Implemented the “Communities for All Ages” initiative which established a community garden and created and installed an art mural in the Lizard Run Park adjacent to Benevilla.
2012: Identified and opened a new day program site in a Peoria church to service the developmentally disabled adults in our community. The Surprise Community Garden officially opened to area residents in October.
2014: Received the 2014 Encore Enhancement Prize for exceptional organization from Piper Trust. Rebranded and upgraded day centers to Life Enrichment Programs. Established Benevilla C.A.R.E.S. program resulting in stronger partnerships and collaborations with other aging service providers. Benevilla partnered with Sun Health and formed another non-profit Northwest Valley Connect to focus on the mobility and transportation needs of our community.
2015: Opened Sun City West office in the summer of 2015 offering free information and referral, support groups and volunteer education. Received WESTMARC Best of the West award for Quality-of-Life Enhancement.
2016: Benevilla received 12th CARF Accreditation. City of Surprise GSE was opened.
2018: Opened Wirtzie’s Infant Room in August 2018. Family Resource Center moved entire program off Benevilla Campus into two new office spaces in city of Surprise facilities.