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Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Announces 2018 Piper Fellows

December 20, 2018

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Announces 2018 Piper Fellows
Five Nonprofit Innovators Receive Transformational Fellowships

2018 Piper Fellows pictured with President and CEO, Mary Jane Rynd.

2018 Piper Fellows pictured with President and CEO, Mary Jane Rynd.

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has named its 18th class of Piper Fellows—five outstanding nonprofit leaders with diverse backgrounds who are dedicated to improving and enriching health, well-being, and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County.

The 2018 Piper Fellows are exceptional leaders eager to grow personally and professionally while advancing the mission of the Fellows program to produce impactful change. They are: Katie Cobb, president of Barrow Neurological Foundation; Trinity Donovan, CEO of AZCEND; Major Barbara A. Sloan, executive director of Phoenix Family Services at The Salvation Army; Meg Sneed, director of quality and data services at Fresh Start Women’s Foundation; and Kate Wells, president and CEO of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

A selection committee of four community leaders, including a Piper Fellow from a prior class, reviewed the applicant pool and made the 2018 Piper Fellow recommendations to Piper Trust’s Board of Trustees. The newly selected Piper Fellows will become part of the larger and enduring Piper Fellows network of 77 dynamic doers to date.

“Piper Trust believes in supporting both the organizations working to create positive change and investing in the bold and talented people behind them,” said Mary Jane Rynd, president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “We are pleased to provide this group of exceptional Arizona leaders the opportunity to meet with change agents across the country and expose them to new ideas, to grow professionally, and to strengthen resilience in our community.”

The 2018 Piper Fellows will each participate in a Piper Fellowship—a self-designed, professional development sabbatical focused on strengthening leadership skills and exploring renowned programs that can help nonprofits become more effective and resilient. Fellowships encompass a range of activities, such as study with thought leaders and innovators (e.g., at MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Disney Institute, Sesame Street Workshop), immersion programs that expand cultural knowledge, and in-depth visits to best-practice sites around the country.

The sabbaticals are often transformational for Fellows and result in real, sustained impact in their organizations and in the community. For example, Chrysalis president and CEO Patricia Klahr (2013 Piper Fellow) credits her Piper Fellowship for ultimately helping her organization become the first trauma-informed domestic violence organization in the country to be certified by Trauma Institute International.

A Piper Fellowship offers each selected organization potential grant awards of up to $90,000. The Fellowship includes support for the study and travel during the sabbatical, professional development for staff of Fellows’ organizations, and eligibility to apply for an Organizational Enhancement Award to implement a learning or program developed during a Fellow’s sabbatical.

Piper Fellows from all 18 classes also benefit from regular and facilitated Leadership Circles—where conversations have often led to new collaborations. Fellows frequently cite the relationships gained with peer colleagues as the most rewarding aspect of the program.

About Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust:

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust supports organizations that enrich health, well-being, and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County, Arizona. Since it began awarding grants in 2000, Piper Trust has invested more than $429 million in local nonprofits and programs. Piper Trust grantmaking areas are healthcare and medical research, children, older adults, arts and culture, education, and religious organizations. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @PiperTrust; visit us on Facebook. Piper Fellows resources: brochure; classes by year; video shorts.



Karen Leland, 480-556-7125 /
Chief Communications Officer
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust
1202 East Missouri Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85014