Missy and Lyle Anderson Act on a Vision

March 1, 2012, marks the 10th anniversary of the Teaming Up For Kids luncheon to benefit Florence Crittenton, a 100-plus-year-old organization whose mission is to serve young women in need. Though Florence Crittenton was founded as a home for unwed mothers, the organization has expanded its vision to meet an ever-growing list of needs of young women from fractured homes, abuse, drugs and more.


Each year, the event has honored a Hope Award recipient, an individual who provides a Head start, Opportunity, Positive future and Education for children. Past recipients include Gerda Weissmann Klein, Gene D’Adamo of the Arizona Republic, Gov. Janet Napolitano, the Duke of York, Wayne Gretzky and Jack Nicklaus. Dr. Robert Spetzler, director of Barrow Neurological Institute, will be the 2012 honoree.


But this year, there’s more: Unique to the 2012 luncheon is the presentation of the Visionaries Award. “To mark the 10th anniversary, the awards committee determined that in addition to the Hope Award we give the Visionaries Award and, specifically, that it should be given to Missy and Lyle Anderson,” says Florence Crittenton interim director Herb Paine. “This is the first – and maybe the only – time we’re doing it. Without Missy’s vision, Teaming Up For Kids wouldn’t exist.”


Missy Anderson’s history with Florence Crittenton goes back more than 18 years. When she first visited the facility, the plight of the young women resonated with her. “I would come away so moved – and also in tears,” she says.


“I was a single mom for nine years and had a history of abuse as well,” she says. “But I had the resources to deal with the abuse through counseling and more. These young women didn’t.”


The first fundraiser she attended was a picnic orchestrated by CC Goldwater. Waylon Jennings played at the low-key event, and that inspired the group to plan other events – a few Western barbecues and a formal evening as well. Ten years ago, Missy joined the board of Florence Crittenton and served as its president for two years.


"I think my vision first of all came out of the great faith I had in Linda Volhein (long-time executive director who recently retired). I knew we needed to expand and strengthen our board before we considered a capital campaign. We worked hard for a year and a half building case studies before we launched the capital campaign.


The luncheon came about when Fight Night founder Jimmy Walker, approached Missy and her husband, Lyle, a golf-course and golf–community developer who has designed courses with Jack Nicklaus, to entice the golfer to come to the Valley for Fight Night. “I told Jimmy I’d only help bring him out here if I could put him to good use for Florence Crittenton,” Missy says.


Nicklaus came to the Valley – and also became the first Hope Award recipient. Both Nicklaus and former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz spoke at the event. From the beginning, Missy felt strongly that the luncheon should involve men – and corporate support, and the fundraiser, with its sports-metaphor moniker, has become a full-on team effort.


Corresponding with the first luncheon was the launch of the capital campaign, chaired by Lyle. Because the Florence Crittenton campus needed additional space, Lyle secured and donated the adjacent land, which allowed for four residential cottages, one of which bears the Anderson name.


The expansion has allowed for a continuum of care that includes therapeutic programs, transitional living for young women at age 18, a regular school for all the residents and a charter school for academically accomplished girls.


Missy, who no longer is a board member, stays closely connected with Florence Crittenton, and the young women continue to move her. “For some of these girls, Florence Crittenton is our last hope. When they turn 18, they are on the streets. Many won’t make it to 22 or 23. It’s a pivotal age to make an impact on them,” Missy says.


Paine says Missy’s commitment resonates with the young women. “She was here for a tour the other day. It was very clear to me as she talked to the girl who guided us and myself, that she was then, and is today, a role model for the girls we serve.”


Missy credits an early boost from Chip Weil of the Arizona Republic, who helped open doors for the organization; Alan Young of Powers Young & Company, who managed the campaign; a strong board, and the Valley’s corporate and philanthropic community.


And another person: Lyle.


“Lyle has been a Rock of Gibralter for me. He started the Charles Crittenton Society by doing parties at our house. He’s been so supportive. The capital campaign was such a big undertaking. He made phone calls and gave of his time and energy – as well as his pocketbook. I am glad we were able to do this together.”

– C. Miller




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