Patricia Hibbeler, Chairman Ernest L. Stevens, Jr., Cheryl Stevens, Roylynne Bilagody, Governor Stephen R. Lewis, Traci Morris
Published April 23, 2019
PHOENIX —The Phoenix Indian Center’s key fundraising event, Silver & Turquoise Ball, took place earlier this month (April 6) at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona. With more than 500 in attendance, the event raised well-over $300,000 dollars to benefit programs and services provided by the Center; supporting American Indian families and children in Maricopa and Coconino counties, and rural communities across Arizona.
“What a tremendous night we had,” said Patricia Hibbeler, CEO of the Phoenix Indian Center. “This year’s event was record-breaking for us with the largest attendance and dollars raised in 36 years. We are truly thankful for the generous support and contributions from our attendees, sponsors, committee members, and our American Indian artist community who donated beautiful artwork to both our silent and live auctions,” Hibbeler added.
Brooke Simpson receives the honorary Leon Grant Spirit of the Community Award from Joy (Grant) Manus, daughter of the late Leon Grant, and actor Rodney Grant.
The 2019 event chairs were Governor Stephen R. Lewis from the Gila River Indian Community and Chairman Ernest L. Stevens, Jr., with his wife Cheryl, representing the National Indian Gaming Association. Auction chairs were renowned American Indian artists, Rykelle Kemp and Jacob Meders. With more than 100 silent and live auction items to bid on, attendees enjoyed a musical-themed evening highlighted by painted vinyl records, as art centerpieces, created by American Indian artists from communities throughout the United States.
Each year, the Phoenix Indian Center highlights an American Indian chef who creates an Indigenous-inspired menu. Chef Freddie Bitsoie, from the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., offered a 3-course plated for attendees, and in addition, offered his culinary talents to a live auction package, with one lucky winner bidding on a private dinner for 6 prepared by the Chef at a private home.
Brooke Simpson, who was a top finisher in NBC’s vocal talent competition, The Voice, was honored by the family of Phoenix Indian Center’s first executive director and contributing founder, the late Leon Grant, with the Leon Grant Spirit of the Community Award. Simpson, who is from Haliwa-Saponi Tribe in North Carolina, was recognized for her work as a young American Indian female who continues to use her success to engage American Indian youth by sharing her personal story of struggles, determination, and commitment. “We want our youth to know they don’t have to be in their later years to be recognized and honored for the work they are doing right now. We want to encourage and support our young people,” said Joy (Grant) Manus, daughter of Leon Grant. The evening was capped-off with a riveting 30-minute musical set by Brooke Simpson and her four-piece band, leaving attendees in awe of her talented vocal ability.
Sponsors of the 2019 event included APS, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Desert Diamond Casinos, SRP, Gila River Indian Community, National Indian Gaming Association, Cox, Discover, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Complete Health, Burch & Cracchiolo, CopperPoint, Freeport-McMoRan, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, Navajo Transitional Energy Company, Wells Fargo, and Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort.
The Phoenix Indian Center is in its 72nd year directly serving more than 7,000 people each year, and reaching more than 20,000 annually through the Center’s many grassroots educational activities provided to the community at large.