Recognition of Resilience

"In ordinary times, we need to be resilient if we're going to thrive and grow. But these are no ordinary times. 2020 has been a year of unprecedented upheaval." 

- Elizabeth Wentz, Director 

Watch the inspiring stories

About the recognition

This past year, community champions have adapted to multiple pressing issues, including the pandemic’s health effects, the economic shock of safety closures, and the unacceptable state of social and racial justice. And then there’s the chronic challenge: heat. A record-breaking summer that only intensified these compound threats. Champions across sectors have shown incredible resilience and worked tirelessly to address these challenges. Among the many champions, KER and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust have identified three entities to recognize for their inspirational efforts to strengthen community resilience.

2020 Honorees

Adaptation: United Dairymen of Arizona and Arizona Food Bank Network

Demonstrating flexible, innovative, and creative approaches during a time of rapid change. 

In 2020, 15% of Phoenix families reported food insecurity, and food banks saw a 28% increase in usage. Like the Kerr family, local dairy farmers adapted their entire production to distribute millions of pounds of milk to families in need. 

Equity: RAIL CDC

Addressing the uneven distribution of vulnerabilities within communities to ensure that resources and prosperity benefit everyone.

With a focus on the Mesa and Tempe corridor, RAIL CDC went door to door to check-in with local business owners. They minority-owned businesses survive by teaching them to apply for grants and educating them on city resources.

Social Cohesion: Wildfire 

Strengthening how communities connect and respond to challenges or opportunities together. 

During a global pandemic, Arizona families had to choose between paying their rent, keeping the lights on, or buying groceries.  To make applying for aid easier, Wildfire collaborated with local agencies to develop a digital tool that cut down application times to approximately 32 minutes. 


Fervor Creative Production

Don Newlen - Executive Producer, Director of Photography, Editor

Drew Moraca - Cinematographer, Associate Editor, Colorist, VFX

Matthew Torres-Gomez - Camera Operator

Theresa Koscuisko - Associate Producer

Congratulations to

Angie Rodgers, Arizona Food Bank Network

Wendy De La Pena, Arizona Food Bank Network

Roxanne Helman, United Dairymen of Arizona

Bill Kerr, Kerr Family Dairy

Wesley Kerr, Kerr Family Dairy

Laura Suarez, RAIL CDC

Augie Gastelum, RAIL CDC

Ryan Winkle, RAIL CDC

Cynthia Zwick, Wildfire

Dominic Braham, RICE

Lena Madini, RICE

ASU Knowledge Exchange for Resilience

Elizabeth Wentz, Director, Narrator

Patricia Solis, Executive Director, Content Support

Lillian Ruelas, Events Coordinator, Logistics

Thanks to

Mary Jane Rynd - Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Karen Leland - Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Jowan Thornton - Salvation Army

Marcia Nation

Jennifer Dokes

Crystal Alvarez - Knowledge Exchange for Resilience