Local Nonprofit Advocates for Veterans, Children & Community Engagement with National Initiatives

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Checkered Flag Run Foundation to Expand its Educational Programs in 2018.

The Checkered Flag Run Foundation is a nonprofit founded by Alan "AP" Powell, that provides diverse educational programs, impacting under-served students, veterans and community members. Based in Scottsdale, the local organization began in 2011. This past year, the Checkered Flag Run Foundation expanded its reach through hosting a week-long engagement for Arizona’s Veterans, addressing Arizona’s teacher shortage crisis by putting Veterans in the classroom, donating over 8,000 backpacks to children in South Phoenix and working with law enforcement to improve community policing practices.

Moving into 2018, the Checkered Flag Run Foundation plans to ramp up its four programs: HeroZona, The Bridge Forum, Veterans Reach to Teach and Phoenix Tools 4 School.

HeroZona:
Last November, Checkered Flag Run Foundation’s week-long engagement, HeroZona, provided opportunities for Arizona’s 640,000-plus veterans with a multi-day networking event. The most notable HeroZona events included the HonorWalk, Salute to Veterans Festival, a job and hiring fair, an expert panel of local business owners, public recognitions at sporting events and a veteran appreciation dinner. HeroZona gained support of the entire Arizona community with backing from Senator John McCain, Governor Doug Ducey, Mayor Greg Stanton, Arizona Department of Veteran’s Services, corporate sponsors and educational colleges.

HeroZona will be celebrating its 2nd annual week of events across Metropolitan Phoenix in November of 2018, which will honor its centennial anniversary of Veterans Day.

The Bridge Forum:
The Checkered Flag Run Foundation has organized five Bridge Forums, and hosted two forums in Arizona in the past year. The Bridge Forum is an exclusive panel of police chiefs that participate in an open dialogue forum with community members in an effort to understand different perspectives, attitudes and beliefs about community policing. Feedback from participants was recorded and used by Arizona’s police departments for additional research and curriculum training, and to better impact the community by using best policing practices.

Currently, the Scottsdale Police Department is working on their feedback from Scottsdale’s Bridge Forum in January to implement 29 new initiatives for 2018. Examples of initiatives that the Scottsdale Police Department will be introducing include establishing sufficient resources for police personnel dealing with trauma, establishing dialogue opportunities with minority communities, enhancing engagement with the community’s youth and identifying ways to address the needs of the community related to behavioral health.

Previous forums have included participation from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey; Attorney General, Mark Brnovich; Secretary of State, Michele Reagan; County Attorney, Bill Montgomery; Scottsdale Mayor Jim lane; community leaders; civic organizations and several Valley mayors and police chiefs from Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Peoria and Salt River Pima- Maricopa Indian Community.

The Checkered Flag Run Foundation is currently in its planning process for its sixth Bridge Forum in the spring of 2018, which will include both high school and college aged participants. For more information about The Bridge Forum, visit http://www.thebridgeforum.com.

Veterans Reach to Teach:
Now in its 3rd year, the Veterans Reach to Teach program was created to bridge the more than 640,000 veterans living in Arizona. With more than 1,700 teacher vacancies in the state, the program aims to lower the number of vacancies by connecting Veterans with those teaching opportunities.

In 2017, the program assisted 200 Veterans and their spouses in earning their teachers certifications to serve in the classroom. Veterans Reach to Teach also launched a summer toy giveaway last May, in which military veterans in the classroom presented more than 10,000 toys to children in the Roosevelt and Laveen school districts in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week.

Phoenix Tools 4 School:
The 5th annual Phoenix Tools 4 School event celebrated the largest back-to-school giveaway in South Phoenix history this past July. Checkered Flag Run Foundation and the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center at Phoenix South Mountain rallied 800 volunteers to giveaway more than 8,000 backpacks for kids grades kindergarten through 8th grade. Santa Barbara Catering also provided breakfast at the event for more than 12,000 children. Sponsors such as UPS, APS, SRP, JP Morgan Chase, Crescent Crown Distributing, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns to supply the kids with backpacks, school supplies, and haircuts to prepare for a successful school year.

The 6th annual Phoenix Tools 4 School will occur on Saturday, July 28th from 7 a.m. to 11p.m. For more information please visit cfrf.org or krocphoenix.org.

For more information about the Checkered Flag Run Foundation or to learn how to get involved, visit https://www.checkeredflagrunfoundation.org/.

About Checkered Flag Run Foundation
The Checkered Flag Run Foundation provides diverse educational programs that impact under-served students and veterans. They believe access to quality educational opportunities ensures the investment of every student and Veteran getting to cross the “finish line.” For more information about the Checkered Flag Run Foundation or to learn how to get involved, visit https://www.checkeredflagrunfoundation.org or visit their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/checkeredflagrunfoundation.

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Kassidy McDonald