JDD Specialties provides monthly writing content to support the communication goals of the ASU Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.
In 2021, Social Spin, a social-impact startup, established a nonprofit foundation to manage its charitable work and bought property at the northeast corner of 24th and Portland streets that will be the site of its major push into affordable housing development. LISC Phoenix appreciates the work.
ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy commissioned JDD Specialties LLC to write its 40-year history. The storytelling approach makes for fun, enlightening reading about the institute’s origins and survival.
State of Black Arizona continues its push to raise awareness about rare diseases with this white paper that explores and encourages better policies and practices that reduce possibilities of misdiagnosis and address the unacceptable consequences of delayed or denied access to care.
A feature article on Carolina Aranibar-Fernández explains how LISC Phoenix takes creative placemaking to next level with a new artist-in-residence position.
I met Gwen, my neighbor who is homeless, in March of 2020, just as the COVID-19 lockdown began. My gym was closed, and so I started taking long walks for my physical, mental and emotional health.
I passed Gwen many times when I walked on Central Avenue before we started to have conversations. I posted them on my JDD Specialities Facebook page as part of my #20/20 series.
I’m continuing that conversation in this blog. The posts are in reverse chronological order.
JDD Specialties continued an annual tradition of writing profiles of people and organizations that LISC Phoenix identifies as doing exemplary work in helping to build equitable communities. The 2021 honorees include:
UMOM’s Newsom Village, exemplary project: Newsom Village builds upon UMOM legacy of developing permanent affordable housing
Arouet Foundation’s Financial Opportunity Center, exemplary program development: Arouet Foundation rises to challenge of operating a LISC Financial Opportunity Center
Mesa Vice Mayor Jenn Duff, exemplary advocate: Jenn Duff’s continuous search for best ways for Mesa to develop starts with neighbors and local businesses
City Councilmember Robin Arredondo-Savage, exemplary advocate: Robin Arredondo-Savage brings small business, veteran background to Tempe community-development efforts
2020 Funds to Feed grantees and partners, exemplary community response: COVID-19-response Funds to Feed Grant inspired innovation, launched new era of grant-making
JDD Specialties provided editing, writing and consulting services to the State Black of Arizona for a series of reports released in 2021, including “Volume V: Driving Local Investment in Black Arizonans,” “Health and Well-Being of Black Girls and Women in Arizona” and the “State of Black Business.”
All families experience stress at some point. Knowing that family stress is a first sign of child abuse and neglect, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona in April 2021 issued a community call to action and toolkit. It’s an effort to raise awareness about the factors that protect families from overwhelming stress, and provide tips, tools, and messages to help community members strengthen families in everyday ways.
The toolkit was developed after a series of virtual listening sessions in 2020 with stakeholders in the child welfare system, including families who are in the system and who identified as being at risk of having contact with the system.
Beyond Strategy Consulting is a multidisciplinary professional practice that uses the art of collaboration to deliver results and strengthen communities. Founder Cassies Hilpman Breecher tapped JDD Specialties to help write content for a revamped BSC website. JDD Specialties is also part of Cassie’s team of collaborators.
How does the Phoenix community development garden grow? With innovations like the Funds to Feed grant administered by LISC Phoenix. Here’s how a city of Phoenix CARES Act story begins:
COVID-19’s devastating socioeconomic impact on underserved communities already struggling in food deserts required a crisis response with as many helping hands as possible doing the hard work of ensuring individuals and families avoid hunger.
Or maybe what it took was the community development version of a green thumb, a grower’s heart and a commitment to plow new ground in grant-making.
(Photo by Cihuapactli Collective)
With the support of LISC Phoenix, the Arouet Foundation helps women newly released from Perryville Prison navigate complex systems that pose barriers and obstacles to their success. The Financial Opportunity Center, a special initiative of LISC, is a crucial part of Arouet’s support system to formerly incarcerated women.
Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU vice president of cultural affairs, is a force for the arts on the regional and national scenes. In 2020, her work centered on two pandemics: COVID-19 and racism. The Red Book Magazine featured her in its holiday issue.
LISC Phoenix recognizes people or organizations that have helped it in its work to build equitable communities. JDD Specialties, as it has in years past, wrote profiles of the 2020 honorees.
Exemplary Collaborative, Arizona Home Matters Fund: “New Arizona affordable housing fund built on solid foundation of collaboration.”
Exemplary Project, Urban Living on Fillmore by Native American Connections: “Urban Living on Fillmore’s form follows Native American Connections’ functions.”
Exemplary Partner, U.S. Bank: “U.S. Bank COVID-19 relief funds follow a trail of trust, partnership to transit corridor microbusinesses.”
The unprecedented economic impact of COVID-19 took a huge toll on small businesses. LISC Phoenix is in the thick of helping those businesses, especially those owned by women and people of color, get through the crisis.
Here are some of the stories that capture some of LISC’s equitable economic development work:
Heroic efforts for the arts
For the third consecutive year, JDD Specialties wrote all profiles for the ON Media Arts Hero program. Arts heroes are honored each month in theater programs for venues in Phoenix and Tucson.
The 2019-20 profiles of heroes are available in digital booklets:
JDD Specialties is a consultant and writer for Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, one of the nation’s top-100 foundations. The trust awards annually about $23 million in grants to nonprofits in Maricopa County.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, JDD Specialties helped the trust communicate a multifaceted, rapid response of strategic emergency grants.
In August 2015, JDD Specialties helped the trust and the Arizona Commission on the Arts with a joint announcement about a three-year grant to launch the AZ Creative Aging initiative, which a national leader of the creative aging movement called “brilliant.”
Bianca Buliga grew up thinking ‘business’ was a dirty word and that nothing good comes of its practice. Her early perceptions seemed diametrically opposed to her life goal of making positive, societal change. The 2017 graduate of the ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management knows better now. In April 2020, She was featured in the school’s Alumni Spotlight.
Gbemi Abudu’s ambition to lead a fulfilled life could very well change the worlds of young women and transform markets in Africa. The ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management Alumni Spotlight was on her in April.
The ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management Knowledge Network website highlights the impressive work and expertise of faculty. Here are examples of some of the work JDD Specialties added to the website:
JDD Specialties has contributed editing and writing technical assistance to the ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College’s principled innovation initiative since 2018. That work continues in 2020 with heavy support of a variety of storytelling projects that accelerate awareness and understanding of principled innovation.
This wrap-up of a LISC Phoenix event that has become a major celebration of community development work in Arizona featured LISC COO Annie Donovan. The national expert in community development and impact investing, shared five things to focus on when addressing structural factors that create and perpetuate poverty in our communities.
This personality profile about Marlena Robbins is about how she puts all of herself into her work. And there is so much to the person that she is. She is an artist with a keen intellect and a biding respect for indigenous culture. (The article appeared in the holiday 2019 issue of The Red Book magazine.
(Photos by Tina Celle.)
The Red Book magazine wanted a profile on an artistic newcomer who has quickly made a name for herself in the Valley. She brought a lot with her in her move from Louisiana to Arizona.
Progress on the Valley’s affordable home ownership crisis requires thinking and acting differently. Trellis and its partners, including LISC Phoenix, are doing just that. Here’s an article about a transit-oriented development project that offers a rare Phoenix home-ownership opportunity near the light-rail line.
JDD Specialties helped meet the quick-turnaround challenge of producing a double-byline journal article for an International Economic Development Council publication. In about 10 days, a barebones outline about LISC-inspired inclusive prosperity efforts in Indianapolis became a crisp, readable 2,500-word article co-authored by Elizabeth Demetriou, national director for economic development at LISC, and Emily Scott, economic development program officer at LISC Indianapolis. Four years of writing articles for LISC Phoenix helped prepare JDD Specialties for this project.
JDD Specialties helps Castelazo Content achieve its goals by delivering content for one of its clients, the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.
Castelazo Content has tapped JDD Specialties to write a series of articles about notable alumni of its client Thunderbird School of Global Management.
April 2020, Bianca Buliga, marketing manager
April 2020: Gbemi Abudu, managing partner, BMGA Enterprise LTD
August 2019: Solomon Frank, Outer Atoll Resources
July 2019: Wolfgang Koester, chief evangelist, Kyriba
June 2019: Kim Williams, Warner Bros. executive
ASU Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions assigned to me a project that made my heart sing. I wrote profiles of the six outstanding graduates for Spring semester 2019. Jennifer Harrison, Kelly Walsh, Josh Loescher, Aly Perkins, Katharine Leigh Brown and Joanna Williams are phenomenal students and exceptional human beings.
(Photo credit: Howard Paley)
ON Media celebrated the third year of its Arts Hero program in Phoenix. (It conducts the same program in Tucson.) This has become one of my favorite annual projects because of all the talented and extraordinarily decent people I meet.
Fran Cohen Smith, a champion of modern dance in Arizona and a driving force behind Wolf Trap, an arts-integrated, early-child-learning program, was one of my favorite interviews of the 2018-19 season. We laughed and talked for hours at First Draft. Her profile appeared in March programs at Valley venues, about two months before she died at 87. Fran was seen dancing on stage with children just weeks before she died.
(Photo credit: Howard Paley)
ON Media honored another season of Arts Heroes in Tucson. It’s always a pleasure to write profiles of the honorees. Soleste Lupu and Joey Rodgers, owners of Dancing in the Streets AZ, were among my favorites for the 2018-19 season. The husband-and-wife team teaches classical ballet in South Tucson.
The third cohort of Native American businesswomen completed the Project DreamCatcher program in May 2019. Project DreamCatcher is funded by Freeport-McMoRan and implemented by the Thunderbird School of Global Management. The article about the program and its commencement ceremony was posted to the Thunderbird Knowledge Network website, which receives content support from Castelazo Content.
LISC Phoenix and its community development partners sponsored a forum on anti-displacement strategies. I wrote the article that wrapped up the half-day session on April 16 and a tour later that at the Rio Salado Recreation Area in South Phoenix.
Editor’s note: Charles Marohn, founder and president of Strong Towns, shared thoughts about Phoenix-area development during a 2018 visit. This article was written for LISC Phoenix, one of the sponsors of Marohn’s visit.
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” — Jane Jacobs, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”
The definition of insanity, the adage goes, is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. Charles Marohn, founder and president of Strong Towns, argues that current development patterns force people, especially those in the Southwest, to live some variation of Crazytown, USA.
The horizontal expansion development patterns we see today make life unnecessarily difficult for some residents and are not sustainable long-term, Marohn said. Cities and towns can’t afford the post-World War II, automobile-centric, sprawl development pattern seen coast to coast, he said.
“You’re in a dysfunctional system designed to do a dysfunctional thing over and over again,” Marohn said.
“Phoenix, the state of Arizona, a lot of the Southwest, is designed to grow in a very certain, specific way. … Not only is the landscape perfectly adapted to that, but the structures that we’ve created — socially, politically, culturally, economically — are perfectly aligned to do that,” he said.Continue reading
The Red Book Magazine asked Jennifer Dokes to write a short profile of Gerd Wuestemann, the new CEO of Scottsdale Arts, for its January 2019 issue.
“This is who we are. This is what we do. This is why it matters.”
— Geri Wright, president and CEO of Act One
JDD Specialties prepared a case statement for the Act One Field Trip Program that told the story of the Phoenix-based nonprofit. Act One removes financial and logistical barriers to ensuring students in Title I schools have an arts-related field trip experience.
In 2015, LISC Phoenix added an economic development component to its strategic plan to revitalize neighborhoods. In 2016, the nonprofit identified four corridors along the Valley Metro light rail line that could benefit from LISC-style comprehensive economic development efforts. In 2017, LISC Phoenix, with the help of JDD Specialties, will highlight the challenges, opportunities and successes of those corridors through a series called, Communities on the Line.
The president and CEO of LISC, a champion of inclusive economic development, was the featured guest at the LISC Phoenix annual breakfast and awards ceremony on Nov. 1.
“Sometimes in our work we get caught up in what’s the capital stack that we need, where does philanthropy play, where do banks play, where does local government play, where do we play,” Maurice Jones said. “The real issue is do I see the face of my daughter in that homeless guy. …The most important muscle in the work that we’re talking about now is the heart. It’s not the other stuff. We know how to do it. It’s whether we have the heart to do it.”
The Red Book, a resource for those involved in the social and philanthropic community, and azredbook.com launched a new magazine. The Red Book Magazine will have a single focus. The premier issue published in September 2017 focused on the arts. JDD Specialties was honored to write a feature, “Leap for Joy,” for the first issue of The Red Book Magazine
On Media hired JDD Specialties to write profiles for its Arts Hero project. The 17 profiles will appear in the 2017-18 theater programs published for Phoenix and Tucson performances.
September Phoenix Arts Hero
JDD Specialties has expertise writing about community development, urban design and sustainable communities. An article for LISC Phoenix that recaps “Happy City” author Charles Montgomery’s May 2017 visit to the Valley of the Sun is an example of that work.
JDD Specialities has skills honed in a long career in daily journalism to produce content quickly. This article about a client’s major event was delivered in less than 24 hours.
The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust gave JDD Specialities LLC the honor of writing short profiles of the 2016 awardees of Encore Prizes for Exceptional Organizations. The 2017 award will go to an exceptional individual.
The Be Kind People Project, a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization, launched its national Be Kind America campaign in October 2016. JDD Specialties provided communication support and helped implement the initiative.
There are many stories to be told about the 5.5 mile South Central Extension of the Valley Metro light-rail system. An article about a Ford Foundation workshop on equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD) for the underserved South Central corridor is the first of many articles JDD Specialties will write about the $700 million public transportation infrastructure project and its impact on residents and businesses.
There’s more to arts and culture in community redevelopment than meets the eye. Arts and culture can be an anchor in economic development strategies and a significant component of urban revitalization.
The Goode Wright Gentles Agency engages the editing, writing and consulting services of JDD Specialties to advance communications strategies for the agency and its clients.
In 2016, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust joined the list of satisfied JDD Specialties’ clients. The trust uses JDD Specialties as an independent contractor for writing, including news releases and guest columns.
JDD Specialties has a consultant’s contract with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to do writing and editing services for its Phoenix office. LISC Phoenix’s primary initiative is “Our Future is on the Line,” which helps advance economic development and neighborhood revitalization along the Valley’s light-rail route. The nonprofit is a key player in creative placemaking and transit-oriented development.
Policy primers and briefing papers produced by Vitalyst, formerly St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, contribute to public discussions about improving Arizona’s health-care infrastructure. JDD Specialties provided writing and editing services that led to publication of “Fired Up: Community Paramedicine Models Blaze a Trail for Healthcare Delivery Reform,” “Community, Health, Savings: The Power of Community Health Workers in an Evolving Healthcare System” and “Connecting the Dots: A Healthy Community Leader’s Guide to Understanding Hospital Community Benefit Requirements.”
JDD Specialties helped the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust with a multipronged effort to promote public support for the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center whose 22-year existence is threatened by a new neighbor’s complaints. Preserving endangered Mexican gray wolves is among the accredited sanctuary’s noble deeds. JDD Specialties wrote the Pulliam Trust news release that informed media coverage of the issue; a guest column that provided some inspiration for an editorial and an “advertorial” that encouraged donations to the center.(Photo by Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.)
LISC Phoenix was among the early supporters of a plan to turn the historic music building at Steele Indian School Park into a Native American cultural center. LISC Phoenix executive director Terry Benelli said the renovated center could be one of the region’s best examples of creative placemaking with cultural emphasis.
JDD Specialties applies journalism skills to help clients explain complex issues, such as this Vitalyst Health Foundation policy primer on the community paramedicine component of mobile integrated healthcare. The February 2016 report required interviews with several leaders of Arizona fire departments and districts. Additional profiles on Arizona fire-service based community paramedicine programs will be posted on the Vitalyst website.
JDD Specialities was honored to write the profile of Russ Perlich, the 2015 Piper Trust Career Prize awardee. Perlich, a graduate of the University of Arizona and a retired CEO of Phoenix-based Quadna, is the co-founder of Act One. He received the $50,000 Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust prize for his post-career work in ensuring students from underserved public schools experience the arts.
JDD Specialties also wrote the news release announcing the prize awardee.
JDD Specialties founder Jennifer Dokes was a critical reader for the Center for the Future of Arizona’s October 2015 report, “Vision 2025: Arizona Comes of Age.”
Transformative organizations like LISC Phoenix look for ways to explain their impact on the community. JDD Specialities helped facilitate publication of an article about transit-oriented development in Green Living Magazine.
Jennifer Dokes joined the board of the Monsignor Edward J. Ryle Fund in January 2016. The fund, established in memory of a legendary Arizona scholar and advocate for social justice, promotes intelligent discourse in the public square.
JDD Specialties facilitates discussions of key issues of the day. For example, founder Jennifer Dokes was the moderator for an Arizona School Boards Association discussion with thought leaders about the nexus between education equity and Arizona’s future.
Coleman Strategies LLC, based in Washington, D.C., hired JDD Specialties as an editorial services subcontractor for the first annual report of New America, a nonprofit civic enterprise.