Benevilla Receives Inaugural City of Surprise Award

October 04, 2023

Benevilla is proud to be the very first City of Surprise Community Legend Award winner announced at the recent 2023 Surprise Area Interfaith & Golden Rule Community Breakfast. The city of Surprise has been designated a “Golden Rule Community” since 2018. Benevilla was named as Organization of the Year for its impact on the lives of Surprise residents for more than 40 years.

Joanne Thomson, Benevilla President & CEO accepted the “Organization of the Year” award on behalf of Benevilla. “We are honored to be working hand-in-hand with such wonderful people and have the chance to celebrate this recognition together with our fellow city, faith, business and non-profit leaders from the region. If you haven’t heard about Benevilla and haven’t toured our campus, please come by. We would love to show you all the impact we make in the community,” said Joanne.

The new award program was created by the Surprise Veterans, Disability & Human Services Commission, celebrating the actions of individuals and groups making a difference in Surprise. Steffen Hanzel, the chair of the Surprise Veterans, Disability and Human Services Commission, presented the inaugural awards. This year’s event at the Dysart Unified School District Office brought out spiritual leaders from multiple religions and highlighted the golden rule, which is basically treat others how you’d like to be treated.

The Golden Rule is a moral or ethical principle that is often expressed in various forms across diverse cultures and religions. It is a guideline for how individuals should treat others, emphasizing empathy and consideration for the feelings and well-being of others. The most common formulation of the Golden Rule is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This means you should treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself. In essence, it encourages people to consider the impact of their actions on others and to act in a way that promotes fairness, kindness, and respect.

Criteria for nomination included measurably improving the lives of vulnerable Surprise residents through grassroots efforts, promoting quality of life and accessibility and equity for all residents of Surprise and linking residents to support for a fuller lifestyle. In total, Benevilla, through their programs, offered 48,807 acts of care and compassion and enriched the lives of 6,998 individuals in the community in the Northwest valley in 2022.

A major highlight of this success comes from their Life Enrichment Adult Day Programs that provided 126,130 hours of respite for caregivers over the past year. These programs are designed to provide meaningful activities and socialization opportunities for individuals with disabilities, allowing their caregivers a much-needed break.
In addition, Benevilla saw major increases in services performed to meet the needs of those struggling to remain independent at home in the community through their free C.A.R.E.S. (Community Assistance, Resources, Education and Support) department. Overall, 2,527 families and individuals received help from referral resources Benevilla partners with. 2,643 free Home Services acts were provided through volunteer driven programs like their grocery shopping, assisted transportation, Friendly Visitors/Phone Pals wellness checks, light handyperson services, emergency errands, business assistance, and holiday meal deliveries. And 442 community members received support, education and resources through the Benevilla educational workshops and their annual Caregiver Connect event.

We encourage community members to learn more about the 2022 Community Impact Results at Benevilla by visiting

Started by the community and for the community in 1981, Benevilla is a not-for-profit human services agency dedicated to enriching lives of West Valley residents by serving older adults, adults with disabilities, children and the families who care for them. For more information on services, volunteer opportunities, to take a tour or donate to Benevilla, call 623-584-4999 or visit