| Stars of the Season | Black Out Kids Cancer Event | Cardon Children’s Medical Center |

I have tried to articulate in words my admiration for the American culture for a while. It just baffles me how efficiency and common sense can be experienced in every corner of this wonderful country, or every layer of society. The word capitalism used to mean evil when growing up. It was actually trendy to be anti-capitalist and sinequanon to be in favor of what we used to call “non-extremist socialism”. I remember my readings of Sartre and Simone – did I actually understand them? – and how I used to think of how I would change the world and turn it into a less materialist place… and, yes, … less chauvinist as well!
Today, the more I get to live in this country, the more I realize that only an efficiency and efficacy-based political system can allow a bigger number of people to have access to different services and products. Simple democracy and also simple math: more efficient, less costly, more affordable, more people being benefited.
I happen to believe that things work well here because in all public levels, processes and systems are conducted as a business and, as such, should be self-sustainable and profitable in order to make it in the market out there.
Obviously, in order to run any business, there has to be people that will embrace its culture and mission, and that are also trained in how to provide what is requested from his/her role in a responsible and professional way. I use to say that the USA has this “ghost” army, comprised of common citizens, that is so organized, so efficiency-oriented, so pragmatic, that it is almost impossible to believe that other countries will thrive without this kind of “soldiers” at the forefront of their battles. Things work here because behind an idea or project, there is a capillarity-based system, an intrinsic network of these “soldiers” that know how to plan, program, create, develop, maintain and improve in all aspects of society.
I am afraid to say that all this pompous preamble was to provide context for my admiration for the Stars of the Season committee as well. The whole group and meetings are so well organized, so synchronized, so efficient, that at the end of each event, we can tell that our “business” has reached its intent: capitalize ALL resources, in ALL instances, so ALL that could be done was actually done and, consequently, the children of Cardon Children’s Medical Center could receive the most of ALL: love and a chance in life.

| Banner Foundation and Stars of the Season |

When the “model-slash-entrepreneur-slash-friend” Micheline Etkin invited me to join the Cardon Children’s Medical Center Stars of the Season Advisory Council, under the umbrella of Banner Health Foundation, although flattered, I didn’t accept right away. This group raises funds for several projects whose aim is to improve children’s health. One should not take such a responsible role lightly. So I started to wonder how I could contribute to “the cause”, and how an Architect could contribute besides design. Well, first believing in the project. You can not go too far if your heart is not in it. And talking about heart, that is exactly what this year’s project is about: To raise funds to sponsor a program that will provide care for children born with congenital heart defects or who develop heart conditions early in life. Not your problem? Never was? The answer will always be: It is OUR problem.
As Donne wisely said a while back ago (1624):

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

So this Architect here will contribute, somehow, somewhere, with something. Because my heart is in it, and the bells toll for children.

| Casa Brazil Semeador Project |

We had the opportunity this last November to contribute to one of Casa Brazil’s project. Iconic Architecture and Design provided architectural services for this two bedroom residence that will serve as a country school for disadvantaged kids in Brazil. These children will have different types of classes, including nursery classes, and will have the chance to have at least one meal a day. The construction will take place in the Northeast Region of Brazil, in Fortaleza.

Brazil is emerging. From a developing country, it has been considered the sixth largest economy in the world, an event with no precent in history. Yet poverty, lack of infra-structure and other social stigmas still percolate in all levels. We are proud to partner with Casa Brazil to make this scenario better.

“In 2003, a group of Brazilian women in Phoenix, Arizona formed a volunteer group to help the children of impoverished towns and villages of northeastern Brazil. They began hosting fund-raising events featuring the food and culture of Brazil, and eventually formed an incorporated, non-profit organization called Casa Brazil, Inc. Today, Casa Brazil raises about $20,000 a year to feed, clothe and educate more than 400 children at the Semeador Facility in the village of Paripuera, Ceara, Brazil. Casa Brazil, Inc. also distributes toys to the children each holiday season as well as food baskets for the teachers and their assistants.

Fundraising undertaken by Casa Brazil is conducted exclusively by volunteers, to ensure that contributions to the organization go directly to helping the children. The success of Casa Brazil’s mission depends entirely upon the on-going generosity of the Arizona Brazilian Community, teachers and students of Arizona State University, our American friends and a special 2009 donation from the Consular Corps of Arizona Foundation” (www.casabrazil.org).

| Borderline AZ |

We were invited to join as one of the sponsors for the first annual Borderline AZ Event held at the Henkel Building in North Scottsdale, May 13, 2010. Jamie Nollette of Nollette Creations and Chris Carrell of Jones Lang LaSalle formed Pipeline worldwide, a 501 (c) 3 to raise money to dig wells in Africa and India.

These two good friends attended a mission trip to Africa and the conditions they witnessed changed their lives. They related their story to me about the desperate need for fresh drinking water in these areas and thereby changed my life.  Their experience spurred them into action resulting in Pipeline Worldwide.

The evening was spectacular, with over four hundred generous folks attending with open wallets and giving hearts. Our hard work netted over $40,000.00, enough to dig four wells. One Hundred per cent of the proceeds is used to dig these wells.We are already planning next year’s event and know it will be even bigger and better.

Wells are already in progress and there is a trip planned to dedicate them in October. Check out www.borderlineaz.com to learn more about how you can help, or attend the dedication.

| Kelli Berry Studio Art Exhibit |

Kelli Berry held an art exhibit in March at StudioADT in Tempe. The evening showcased Kelli’s art work created over the past eighteen monthes.  Along with thirty original pieces there were also gallery wrapped and framed prints of her work. Here work will hang at StudioADT until the middle of July.Kelli has been commisioned to provide original artwork for The Family Resource Center, Banner Suricenter Desert Campus and has contracts pending for ST. Joseph’s Outpatient Surgicenter and St. Joseph’s Radiology Center. She also donates some of her art to several charities for auction every year. She is represented by www.artquiver.com.

Please feel free to visit her @ www.kelliberrystudio.blogspot.com and www.facebook.com/kelliberry to view her full body of work.

| First Annual Paradise Valley Hospital Cinco de Mayo Golf Tournament |

We were fortunate enough to sponsor a hole for the First Annual Cinco de Mayo Golf Tournament to benefit Arizona Foundation for Eye Health on the 5th of May, 2010 in partnership with Paradise Valley Hospital. Korey Sims, Facilities Director was the ramrod for this auspicious event and fine job he did too.

Grayhawk Raptor course was the scene of the crime and good time was had by all, including the Havelina that joined us. Karen and I worked the hole giving away Iconic multi USB ports and a hard time to every golfer who was lucky enough to come our way, all the while sipping some delicious margaritas in honor of the holiday. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.

Karen and I were sporting huge Iconic Blue suede sombreros embellished with silver and white cording; well you can see the photos for yourself and make your own judgment. We gave away a round trip ticket on Southwest Airlines, A couple of dozen Callaway golf balls, some tequila and a lot of free laughs.

We look forward to joining the Paradise Valley folks and The Arizona Foundation for Eye Health next year for their second year’s festivities.

| Healthcare Chicks |

In February, Iconic Architecture and Design hosted Julie Johnson’s Healthcare Chicks a group of women involved in all aspects of the healthcare industry. Our members include facility folks, nurses, real estate representative, architects and interior designers and a few vendor reps as well. We all speak the language of healthcare and understand the special challenges of our clients. We were proud to be the first host for Health Care Chicks and had the opportunity to provide hospitality to about sixty women.

We also paired this event to introduce Ms. Molly Carson from Ryan Companies to the Phoenix market. Molly moved to the valley from Minneapolis in January and has filled the position of Vice President of Development. She focuses on the healthcare market and solar development. We are glad to count Molly among the female movers and shakers in Phoenix.