Benevilla Presents 2022 Bill Wolfrey Community Service and Business Leadership Awards

December 15, 2022

Benevilla recently had the pleasure of presenting two annual awards to honor those that support and champion the Benevilla mission. Jane Willis received the 2022 “Bill Wolfrey Community Service Award”, and the City of Surprise received the Benevilla “Business Leadership Award.”

The Bill Wolfrey Community Service Award is named in honor of one of the founding members of Benevilla, Bill Wolfrey. Originally called Sun Cities Area Interfaith Services, and later Interfaith Community Care, Benevilla has been supporting those in need in the Northwest Valley for more than 41 years.

Jane Willis was honored for her outstanding commitment, support, and service to Benevilla and our community. Her passion for helping others and her service to our community has been unwavering. She was introduced to Benevilla by her late husband, Noel Willis, and through the years their support and advocacy for the organization grew. Jane has been noted to say she married into Benevilla. Jane was previously on the Benevilla Board of Directors and was Chair of the Board in 2015 and 2016. During her term, she was able to advance the agency during a transition period of the retirement of then Benevilla President & CEO, Michelle Dionisio and head the search committee for her replacement. Benevilla is honored to thank Jane in this small way for her support, volunteerism, and friendship over the years.

The City of Surprise was presented with the 2022 Benevilla Business Leadership Award. The City of Surprise has been highly supportive of Benevilla for over 20 years. Through grant funding, sponsorship event support, and in-kind space for the Benevilla Family Resource Center office in the City Hall complex, they consistently support the Benevilla mission and encourage their work within the city. Mayor Skip Hall and the City Council members are dedicated advocates and ambassadors for Benevilla and continually look for ways to partner.  Most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic when the city had to shut down their in-person meal program at the senior center, they looked to Benevilla to step in to provide home delivered meals. With the support of the Benevilla Group Supported Employment members (adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities) Benevilla was able to deliver hundreds of hot, freshly prepared meals to those in need in the community. Also, the Surprise Community Garden, which is open to the public and located on the Benevilla main campus is part of the “Community for All Ages” initiative, a partnership between Benevilla, Rio Salado College and the City of Surprise.

Benevilla President and CEO Joanne Thomson commented: “We are so blessed to have such wonderful and generous people like Jane and the City of Surprise as such strong advocates and supporters of the work Benevilla does in the community. I sincerely thank them for everything they do for us.”