West Valley, AZ – The Benevilla annual Donor Appreciation Brunch was held at Briarwood Country Club in Sun City West Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The event honored dedicated community members and supporters of the Benevilla mission, and Joanne Thomson, Benevilla President and CEO, presented two awards. The 2019 Bill Wolfrey Community Service Award was given to Birt and Louisa Kellam and the Business Leadership Award to Arrowhead Lexus.
The Bill Wolfrey Community Service Award is named in honor of one of the founding members of Benevilla, originally called Sun Cities Area Interfaith Services, founded more than 38 years ago. Birt and Louisa Kellam were honored for their outstanding commitment, support and service to Benevilla and the Northwest Valley community.
Louisa Kellam is the daughter of musicians; both her parents were choral conductors. She began studying the piano at age 5 and the violin at age 6. Louisa graduated from high school at the age of 16 as the class valedictorian and then graduated from Indiana University at age 19 with a degree in education.
Besides music and the arts, Louisa has a passion for superior women’s health care and having access to it nearby. The Louisa Kellam Center for Women’s Health at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center is named in her honor.
Louisa volunteers frequently at the Dysart Community Center teaching English as a Second Language, as well as currently serving as the Board Chair. She also serves on the board of the West Valley Symphony and has volunteered her time on various church committees and with several other organizations over the years.
Birt Kellam retired as Corporate Vice President of A. G. Edwards, Inc., a national investment firm headquartered in St. Louis. Over the years, Birt has served as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Sun Health Corporation, Del E. Webb Memorial Hospital, Sun Health Medisun, Sun Health Research Institute, West Valley Art Museum and Arizona Broadway Theatre. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Town Hall, Sun Health Foundation, and finally Benevilla.
He played an integral part in raising funds for the SunDome in Sun City West, as well as the major capital campaign for the building of the Benevilla Hellen and John M. Jacobs Plaza. In fact, Birt’s Bistro on the Benevilla campus is named after Birt because of his belief that this new project would have a positive effect on the community. Birt currently serves as a member of the Benevilla Board of Directors.
The 2019 Benevilla Business Leadership Award was presented to Gary Seegan, General Manager of Arrowhead Lexus, for the dealership’s continued dedication to Benevilla and community involvement. Arrowhead Lexus continues to be a great ambassador of the Benevilla mission and is a true community partner.
Established in 2006, Arrowhead Lexus is part of the Berge Auto group, which currently has 9 local dealerships. Arrowhead Lexus has been a supporter of Benevilla for the past 13 years and has held the prestigious Presenting Sponsor title for much of that time. This generous support allows Benevilla to provide services that promote independence and instill a sense of dignity and self-empowerment.
Due to the strong relationship with Arrowhead Lexus, Benevilla was proud to be chosen as one of two local Phoenix nonprofits to benefit from Lexus Corporate’s Giving Back program in 2018. More than $6,000 worth of toys, games, electronics and supplies were donated to benefit Benevilla programs.
After the event, Benevilla President and CEO Joanne Thomson commented: “We are blessed to have such wonderful and generous people like Birt, Louisa and Arrowhead Lexus as such strong advocates and supporters of the work Benevilla does in the community. I sincerely thank them for everything they do for us.”
Started by community members in 1981, Benevilla is a nonprofit human services agency working to enhance the lives of West Valley residents. For more information, call 623-584-4999 or visit www.benevilla.org.