The Phoenix Suns honored Connie Robinson, founder of 48 Arizona Women and the Arizona Center for African American Resources for her work in the greater Phoenix Community with the Golden Standard Award. The Golden Standard Award recognizes African Americans in the Phoenix community during Black History Month. The Suns are celebrating individuals such as Robinson who are promoting equality and excellence in the Valley.
ARE 48 ARIZONA WOMEN AND ARIZONA CENTER FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN RESOURCES?
I am the chair and co-founder of these two Arizona-based nonprofits. 48 Women was born out of a project that I presented to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Women’s Funding Network after graduating from a women in philanthropy and leadership program. At the conclusion of the program, we were asked what we were going to do to make a difference in our community through the eyes of women in leadership. That is how 48 Women was formed, we celebrate great women who are well known and those doing mighty work who are not known. We recognize those women for the work they are doing.
The Arizona Center for African American Resources (AZCAAR) was founded after a group of African American leaders were approached by then-Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano asking what are the needs of our African American community. We put together a strategic plan that identified pillars of need from communication, leadership, literacy, education and the juvenile justice system. We have been a prospering group of leaders who are tackling literacy campaigns and programs, looking at the disproportionality of the juvenile justice system and how it impacts Black youth and trying to change lives through various initiatives and education.
WHY IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY?
48 Women provide student presentations across the state in partnership with the Arizona Historical Society to increase content and educational programming in rural areas across the state. We’re renovating a theater that will be titled “Women 48 Theater” to host workshops, presentations and be a resource for the community.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
When I lay down at night I do ask myself “What have I done to do good in this world?” With the work between these two organizations, I get the ability to help those impacted by the justice or education system. I get to take the vision and collaboration to put it into action. At the end of the day, month, year we get to see the results of the work we are doing.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HONORED BY THE SUNS?
In a word, grateful. When you’re in your passion doing good for the benefit of others, I don’t look for recognition. I look to making things better. It makes me stop and pause to be grateful that I’m helping transform lives. I am grateful to Phoenix Suns Charities. As an avid Suns fan, it’s a great honor.
CAN PEOPLE GO TO LEARN MORE?
48Women.org to learn all about our upcoming events including our March 25 Reception and April 29 Legacy Luncheon where we’ll honor a new decade of 48 Most Intriguing Women. You can also visit AZCAAR.org to take a look at the wonderful work we’re doing as well as volunteer opportunities.
**This interview has been edited for length and clarity.