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Phoenix Community Alliance entered last year as an organization whose two tenets – to advocate for the community and engage with our Membership – successfully adapted to challenging times. During the Pandemic, in-person events were temporarily off the table and interactions shifted toward an emphasis of Zoom calls. PCA remained fully-operational, bringing people and projects together like never before.
When we could return to hosting in-person events, we gradually (and cautiously) did so. Although we enter the beginning of another year with similar pause, we remain optimistic as we chart our course into the future.
In recapping 2021, and PCA’s presence and advocacy in the local Greater Downtown Phoenix community, we look to these five major milestones. For our almost four-decade old organization, the path forward is a clear one: we will continually engage our Membership, and build on the tremendous progress and relationships made.
PCA powered through another year of uncertain times. Amidst a second year of the global pandemic, we worked hard to ensure our Members stayed as engaged as ever, while remaining safe.
In 2021, the organization hosted 75 Committee meetings with over 1,400 total attendees. By consistently offering virtual meetings, our Members had the opportunity to continue to advocate and have a seat at the table on initiatives like multi-modal transportation (which represents public transportation options like lightrail, bike and scooter rentals), arts and culture, downtown development, education, decreasing homelessness, and building more affordable housing.
On top of regular Committee meetings, PCA held six Member events: four virtual, one in-person, and one hybrid. Ranging from quarterly Member meetings to election forums to in-person mixers, this year’s events celebrated our initiatives, our Members, but most importantly, our future.
All of our Members amazed us in their commitment to PCA’s mission to advocate, and continued to show up our events and Committee meetings.
With the arrival of a dedicated content specialist in September, we charted a new course with our scrappy social media presence to amplify what makes Phoenix Community Alliance so special – its Membership.
With reoccurring social media features underway, like weekly new Member and individual Member posts, we’re able to highlight our historic premier organization, the relationships and projects that made us, and shaped Greater Downtown Phoenix.
By early November, rising vaccination rates allowed PCA to hold its first in-person event since 2019 at the NEW 850 PBC Building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, a public private development between ASU, City of Phoenix and Wexford Science + Technology.
For safety sake, guests gathered on the outdoor patio with PCA Members Kahvi Coffee of Fork & Dagger Hospitality and GenuWine Arizona catering the events. (The food was as good as the photo in the Instagram carousel suggests!) Afterward Joe Martin of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, and ASU’s Associate Vice President for Program Development Rick Naimark gave intimate tours of the interior.
The following month in December, we pushed ahead and hosted a Member Luncheon, and honored Center City Award recipients for services to the community. Despite attendance caps, there was still demand to see this event with the hybrid audience who tuned in to watch, with notable officials like Historic Preservation Officer Michelle Dodds in attendance virtually.
The Annual Member Meeting is a time to allow Membership to interact, for Committee Chairs to give summary reports on progress they’ve made throughout the year, as well as the beginnings of action to be crystalized with Committee Chairs nominated in the New Year.
The Center City Awards were announced at the Annual Member Meeting, held at ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management. The panoramic atrium space provided a dramatic venue to award local changemakers. For the Center City Awards ceremony, which dates back to 1993, the preeminent voice of Phoenix’s Central City South neighborhoods, Eva Olivas, executive director of the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, and Kell Duncan, owner of The Churchill Phx, were both honored. The pair respectively received Champion and Newcomer Awards, to denote long-term and recent community-building achievements.
Within the local Phoenix community, The Churchill served as an incubator for local businesses to open their concepts in a cost-controlled destination venue. While the non-profit Phoenix Revitalization Corporation spearheads many local improvement projects in the Central City South neighborhoods.
2021 was an impressive year for PCA advocacy efforts. Between supporting budgets and funding, writing letters of support, and encouraging our Members to get involved in key initiatives, PCA touched on a plethora of advocacy topics all with one goal in mind: building a stronger downtown for a better Phoenix.
For more information on month-to-month specific efforts, our PCA Members should be on the lookout for the monthly Advocacy Alert e-newsletter.