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Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Announces 2023 Class of Piper Fellows

Front Row:  Ryan Corry, Carmen Guerrero, Torrie Taj, Shelby Pedersen, Steve Zabilski (Piper Trust president and CEO).  Second Row:  David Roche, Kate Fassett, Matthew Kasper, Monique Lopez, Dr. Kris Volcheck.

Nine Piper Fellows selected for their leadership and impact in Maricopa County—all receive Fellowships for study, reflection, and growth.

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Nine inspiring Maricopa County nonprofit leaders were selected for Piper Trust’s 2023 Class of Piper Fellows. The Fellows are:

  • Ryan Corry, chief philanthropy officer, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (serves individuals and families in central and northern Arizona through facilities across the state; its main campus is located in South Phoenix).
  • Kate Fassett, chief advancement officer, Valleywise Health Foundation (serves predominantly the underserved population in Maricopa County, AZ; its world-renowned Diane and Bruce Halle Arizona Burn Center serves the entire Southwest region).
  • Carmen Guerrero, executive director, Cultural Coalition, Inc. (serves all of Maricopa County, AZ).
  • Matthew Kasper, artistic and general director, Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras (serves all of Maricopa County, AZ—with its youth musicians representing 61 ZIP codes).
  • Monique Lopez, chief operating officer, UMOM New Day Centers, Inc. (serves all of Maricopa County, AZ).
  • Shelby Pedersen, CEO, ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth (serves underserved communities in eastern Maricopa County, AZ, and specifically the downtowns of Chandler and Mesa).
  • David Roche, Dickey Family director and CEO, Heard Museum (located in Phoenix, AZ, and serves local, national, and international audiences).
  • Torrie A. Taj, CEO, Child Crisis Arizona (serves children, youth, and families through multiple locations in Phoenix and through statewide programs).
  • Kris Andrew Volcheck, DDS, founding president and CEO, Brighter Way Institute (located in downtown Phoenix and serves all of Maricopa County, AZ).

The newly selected class becomes part of the larger and enduring Piper Fellows network that is now a community of 111 Fellows. The 2023 Piper Fellows will participate in self-designed professional development “sabbaticals” focused on strengthening leadership skills and exploring renowned programs that can help nonprofits become more effective and resilient.

A Fellowship supports professional development, study, and travel for the Fellow, including an intentional respite activity that allows the Fellow to reflect on learnings. Additionally, the Fellowship supports related professional development for the staff and/or board of a Fellow’s organization. After completing the Fellowship, the Fellow is eligible to apply for an Organizational Enhancement Award to implement learning or programming that emerged as a result of the Fellow’s study. In total, a Piper Fellowship provides up to $90,000 in potential grant awards for a Fellow’s organization.

“Our commitment to supporting nonprofit leadership extends beyond financial contributions. By offering fellowship sabbaticals and access to the robust network of Piper Fellows, we aim to create a life-changing culture of care and empowerment within the sector,” said Steve Zabilski, president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “We envision a future where nonprofit executives can lead with vitality, embracing challenges with fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.”

The 2023 Piper Fellows applications were reviewed and selected for recommendation by an external committee, this year comprised of: Darlene Newsom (2011 Piper Fellow; founder of Newsom Nonprofit Consulting), Edmundo Hidalgo (2008 Piper Fellow; community advocate and nonprofit consultant), Julia Patrick (CEO and founder, American Nonprofit Academy), and Brian Spicker (president and CEO, Maricopa Community College District Foundation).

“I was awarded a Piper Fellowship when I was CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa,” said Edmundo Hidalgo, a 2008 Piper Fellow and now community advocate and nonprofit consultant. “The Fellowship gave me the opportunity to dream and think strategically—it was a transformational springboard that helped take me and my organization to the next level. I still draw on the experience today and remain active in the Piper Fellows community,” Hildago said.

Applications will open for the 2024 Class of Piper Fellows in spring 2024.

About Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust:

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust supports organizations that enrich health, well-being, and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County, Arizona. Since it began awarding grants in 2000, Piper Trust has invested more than $717 million in local nonprofits and programs. Piper Trust grantmaking areas are healthcare and medical research, children, older adults, arts and culture, education, and religious organizations. For more information, visit | X/Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn. For Piper Trust’s Annual Financial Report: Fiscal Year Ending March 2022, visit FY2022

Media Contact:

Karen Leland, | 480-556-7125
Chief Communications Officer, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

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