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Piper Trust Names Five 2007 Piper Fellows

Sabbaticals for Nonprofit Leaders Provide Professional Development, Renewal

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (December 10, 2007)-The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust today awarded Piper Fellowships to five exemplary nonprofit leaders, who will participate in self-designed sabbaticals for professional development and renewal.

The 2007 Piper Fellows are Blase Bova, Society of St. Vincent de Paul; Lisa Glow, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center; Theresa Leon, Friendly House; Connie Phillips, Sojourner Center; and Kurt Sheppard, Valle del Sol, Inc.

“The pressures of high-impact jobs in the nonprofit world are not unlike the stresses and demands of other key leadership roles in the public and private sectors,” said Judy Jolley Mohraz, president and CEO of the Piper Trust. “Piper Fellowships allow us to acknowledge the requirements of nonprofit leadership and provide access to new thinking, new models and the most current resources on social enterprise available.”

The Piper Fellowships, each providing up to $30,000, are intended to give professionals in the nonprofit field a minimum of one month to a maximum of two months work-release time plus expenses for study and travel. The sabbatical experiences have ranged from seminars at leading universities to visits to nationwide best-practice sites to leadership development programs and personal coaching.

Since 2001, the Piper Fellows program has funded 28 nonprofit executive sabbaticals.

In addition to providing a maximum of five fellowships annually, Piper Trust awards up to $10,000 to match new or increased professional development for each awardee organization’s staff. “Staff development funding has enabled staff, who have held down the fort while the executive is absent, to build skills, acquire knowledge and gain insights as a team,” said Mohraz.

A committee of three community leaders, including one Piper Fellow from the previous year’s class, made fellow recommendations from among 13 applications. Judges this year were Don Henninger, publisher, The Business Journal of Phoenix; John Murphy, president and CEO, Flinn Foundation; and 2006 Piper Fellow Marsha Porter, Executive Director, Crisis Nursery. Piper Trust names a new selection committee for each round of fellows.

For more information about the Piper Fellows program or details about any of the recipients, visit the Leadership Development section.

2007 Piper Fellows

Blase Bova
Director of Development, Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Blase Bova has worked at St. Vincent de Paul for 10 years primarily in program management as the Director of Special Works Ministries, which serves the homeless and families facing homelessness. More recently, Mr. Bova has taken on responsibilities for development, a wholly new area for him. Away from the frontline, he now must transfer his leadership skills to a new environment of fundraising initiative and proactivity. To build more traditional fundraising skills, he will complete Indiana University’s fundraising certification program. He also will meet biweekly with a personal fundraising mentor and attend the executive training program at Stanford University’s Center for Social Innovation. To acquire more personal and cutting-edge skills, Mr. Bova will participate in the University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Festival, Stanford’s Digital Media Academy and an Inward Journey/Outward Bound program.

Lisa Glow
President and CEO, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center 602.218.8223,

Lisa Glow, a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law, had a distinguished career in state government and in private practice, before taking her dream job of running a nonprofit organization. Since mid-2006, she has been head of Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center. To date, Ms. Glow has addressed operational infrastructure; now, she wants to pursue nonprofit leadership training opportunities. She intends to study Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management at Harvard Business School and The Shambala Institute for Authentic Leadership in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She also will attend the Boston Autism Consortium and make site visits to innovative entrepreneurial programs such as Dancing Deer Bakery in Boston, which donates 35 percent of its proceeds to education, Lakeview Disability Training Center in Pensacola, Fla., and several programs in New York City.

Theresa Leon
Chief Operating Officer, Friendly House

Theresa Leon was hired in 2001 as COO of Friendly House, an 85-year-old Latino social service agency, with the idea that she would be in line to lead the organization in the future. Ms. Leon holds a master’s degree in social work from Arizona State University and currently serves on the Catholic Social Service Board and the Arizona Personnel Board for the City of Glendale. She will use the Piper Fellowship for personal and professional development to prepare herself for new and expanded responsibilities. She will attend the Leadership Development Program at the Center for Creative Leadership and complete final coursework for the Nonprofit Leadership and Management Certificate Program at Arizona State University. In addition, Ms. Leon will work with a personal coach over the fellowship year to advance her work for the organization.

Connie Phillips
Executive Director, Sojourner Center

Connie Phillips has been part of Sojourner Center since 1994, when there were 28 beds to offer women and children escaping domestic violence. There will be 324 beds at Sojourner in the next 18 months. Ms. Phillips would say that the state of Arizona responded, donors appeared and volunteers have come to help. In fact, she led Sojourner through a successful, all-consuming capital campaign. Over two years, the organization raised $11.8 million. Now, she wants time to focus on internal organizational needs, professional leadership development—and renewal. She will take the “Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations” course in the Social Enterprise Program at Harvard Business School. She also will do self-study with the Lance Secretan training program based on the servant-leader model. Ms. Phillips will seek spiritual renewal through retreats and workshops.

Kurt Sheppard
Chief Programs Officer, Valle del Sol, Inc.
602.248.8102 x122,

Kurt Sheppard came to Valle del Sol after a 20-year career in the United States Air Force. Prior to becoming the organization’s Chief Programs Officer, he led many innovative and progressive initiatives at the behavioral health and leadership development agency that strengthened infrastructure during a period of tremendous change. Now, Mr. Sheppard sees an avenue to lead the organization toward greater social enterprise capacity and new sources of unrestricted revenue. He plans to attend Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management Seminar and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders. Mr. Sheppard also will participate in the National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise Conference and then, during a time of retreat and reflection, develop a business plan for Valle del Sol’s future social enterprise initiatives.