Nearly 400 viewers tuned in to the Mike McQuaid I Am Home Breakfast, a virtual fund-raising event streamed live from home plate at Chase Field on Dec. 11 that celebrated McQuaid’s life and contributions, client successes and the 15th anniversary of the Human Services Campus.
Avondale Toyota was the hour-long virtual event Signature Sponsor. A total of 40 sponsors supported the event.
Hosted in an ESPN-like production by HSC Executive Director Amy Schwabenlender and HSC Board Chair Jonathan Koppell, Dean of the Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions at Arizona State University, the event featured a video tribute to campus founder and former board president Mr. McQuaid, who passed away in July from COVID-19, a 15th anniversary look-back video and stories of two individuals impacted by the work done at HSC.
While donations continue to come in, the event has so far raised more than $600,000 to support HSC programs and services to assist people experiencing homelessness move from street to home, according to a press release.
“We are deeply grateful not only to those who took the time to watch the event but for those who so generously donated during this very difficult time in all of our lives,” said Ms. Schwabenlender. “The pandemic has posed unexpected challenges in our efforts to help individuals experiencing homelessness, and the good work being done by our campus partners, staff, volunteers and donors doesn’t, and won’t, stop. Too many lives are at risk.”
The event also featured a performance by the Phoenix Symphony brass quintet, the first performance by orchestra members this year following cancelation of the season because of the pandemic. Arizona Diamondbacks’ mascot Baxter made a special appearance.
The fund-raiser also provided an opportunity to inform viewers of the status of a request before the Phoenix City Council for approval to add shelter beds at Central Arizona Shelter Services, a 100-bed shelter at Andre House across the street from HSC and 200 emergency beds during extreme heat or cold weather in the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room and the Lodestar Day Resource Center, both on the campus.
The request is expected to be considered by the City Council in February following a presentation at the Phoenix Planning Commission in January that has been twice postponed following requests for continuances from Phoenix City Councilmember Michael Nowakowski, who sought additional community meetings beyond the dozens already conducted as part of the zoning-change process.
“We have been going through the process for nearly two years and we’re a bit frustrated because there are hundreds of men and women experiencing homelessness on and around the campus who desperately need access to a shelter bed, the first and most important step in moving them from street to home,” Ms. Schwabenlender said. “And now that we’re in winter, the need becomes even more critical as freezing overnight weather moves in.”
Ms. Schwabenlender said that with the end of the year nearing, new federal guidelines can benefit taxpayers making donations this year. A provision in the CARES Act allows any taxpayer to deduct up to the first $300 ($600 for married couples filing jointly) donated to nonprofits in 2020 even if they take the standard deduction.
The state of Arizona provides separate tax credits for individuals making charitable contributions to Qualifying Charitable Organizations. Ms. Schwabenlender urged individuals to consult with their tax advisor for complete details.
To make a donation or for more information about the Human Services Campus, visit www.hsc-az.org. To view the Mike McQuaid I Am Home Breakfast go to https://iamhome.hsc-az.org/.