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12:31 AM Tue, Sept. 25th

Honorees are focus of annual Joy of Giving dinner on Oct. 29

Courtesy photo<br>
Barbara and Robert Mariano are the Philanthropists of the Year.

Courtesy photo<br> Barbara and Robert Mariano are the Philanthropists of the Year.

PRESCOTT - Three individuals, a child-advocate organization and a credit union will receive Joy of Giving Awards at the Yavapai County Community Foundation's annual awards dinner on Oct. 29.

The foundation has selected Robert and Barbara Mariano as Philanthropists of the Year, Jodi Padgett will receive the Philanthropic Leadership Award, Court Appointed Special Advocate of Yavapai County has been chosen for the Community Benefactor award, and Credit Union West will be recognized as Business Philanthropist of the Year.

Robert and Barbara Mariano will be jointly presented with the Philanthropists of the Year award. Among their contributions to the community, Bob and Barbara have been instrumental in bringing a Hospice Home to Prescott after many years of work. Today, Hospice Home is open to anyone in need of near-end-of-life care and assistance. The Marianos' efforts will benefit countless local families for years to come.

In addition to the Marianos' work with Hospice, the couple has been involved in numerous other volunteer capacities. Bob chaired the capital campaign for the Yavapai Regional Medical Center and served on the Board of Directors for Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters, chairing the Board Development Committee and helping with the capacity building campaign. They both served on the boards of Prevent Child Abuse and the Sharlot Hall Museum, and they have become a Big Couple to an at-risk boy through YBBBS.

"This couple has worked as a dynamic team to better the lives of all the residents of Yavapai County," said nominator Yvonne Rogers of YBBBS. "They are the kind of people who make this a great place to call home."

Padgett's award recognizes her support of numerous nonprofits serving the residents of Yavapai County. A breast cancer survivor, Padgett has participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-day, 60-mile walk for breast cancer and is in training for her third walk. She has also held fundraisers at her Skull Valley ranch in support of the cause and donated wine from her Painted Lady Vineyard to the events. She continues to contribute $5 per wine bottle sold to benefit Susan G. Komen.

She has served on the Yavapai County Community Foundation Advisory Board and continues to serve as a member of the Arizona Community Foundation Investment Committee and numerous YCCF grant committees. Padgett is also an annual and planned gift donor to YCCF. Padgett has served on the Board of Directors of the Highlands Center for Natural History since 1999 and has given generously to the center each year.

Yet another local organization to receive Padgett's continued support is Yavapai County 4H/Expo. Padgett has repeatedly helped in the annual auctions, and has bought an animal every year to support the children who raised the animals. (Her ranch is now home to such critters as a pet duck and the family goat, Wayne.) Padgett regularly supports such organizations as the Nature Conservancy, Prescott Chamber of Commerce and Yavapai County Humane Society, and educational institutions including Prescott schools and the Orme Ranch School. As a financial adviser at Taylor & Padgett Wealth and Legacy Strategies, Padgett often gives her time and expertise to community service, be it through her work with seniors or her accounting advice to nonprofits. She also devotes her energy to causes like the Preventative Elder Abuse Council, including a case in which she worked with PEAC after discovering an instance of potential financial abuse by a caregiver.

"Jodi gives quietly and with grace, never wanting to place herself center-stage," said Fiona Reid of the Highlands Center. "She has always said she is a 'wannabe philanthropist.' Perhaps with this award she can finally accept the fact that she long ago graduated to that status."

CASA of Yavapai County is a 21-year-old nonprofit working to support community-based volunteers who have been certified by the Supreme Court to help abused, neglected or abandoned children involved in the juvenile court system. Since it's inception in 1989, 550 trained volunteer CASA volunteers have served a total 1,415 children between the ages of birth and 18 who are wards of the court across Yavapai County. Volunteers are screened and trained to step in and advocate for these children's educational, medical, psychological, physical and placement needs, as well as help to arrange family visits for the children when appropriate.

"Imagine what it would be like to lose your parents," said nominator Kristi Edwards, formerly of YCCF. "Now, into your life come dozens of strangers: police, foster parents, social workers, judges, lawyers and more. Having a CASA means having by your side a trained and committed adult who has been appointed by a judge to watch over and advocate for your best interests. It can make the difference between homelessness and a safe home, between dropping out and completing school, between unemployment and success, between jails and becoming a productive member of society."

Credit Union West, a not-for-profit organization, in the past 12 months alone, has distributed more than $94,000 throughout Yavapai County. Furthermore, the firm sacrifices staff time, operating costs, travel costs and supplies to the numerous worthy projects it supports financially.

"The best part of working with Credit Union West is that they have truly become partners with us in whichever program they chose to sponsor," said nominator David Irvine, executive director of the Highlands Center. "Their staff is incredible to work with and they provide excellent advice and council. Their partnership provides much needed financial support, but also technical assistance, marketing expertise and a friendly team of collaborators."

This year, CUW has been a major sponsor of signature events for nonprofits including Yavapai Big BrothersBig Sisters, the Highlands Center and the Association of Fundraising Professionals - Northern Arizona. CUW has also always been a dedicated supporter of the military, and has recently supported projects such as Operation Welcome Home to benefit troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Operation Military Kids with the American Legion Auxiliary, the Military Services Monument for Prescott Valley and Valentines for Veterans, among others. Additional local nonprofits to benefit from CUW's recent support include YCCF, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic and Foundation, Heritage Park Zoological Society, Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley chambers of commerce, United Way of Yavapai County, Coalition for Compassion and Justice and many more.

Award recipients will be honored with a $1,000 gift made in their name by YCCF to the nonprofit of their choosing.

This year's annual Joy of Giving Awards dinner is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. The ceremony will begin at 6:15 p.m. in the Sedona/Verde Ballroom at the Prescott Resort. The public is welcome to attend and reservations can be made by contacting Tracey McConnell at 928-499-9795 or tmcconnell@azfoundation.org.