Scottsdale Community Leaders Launch ‘The SCOTT Project’

Article originally posted on HERE on February 20, 2020

Group seeks to create platform to advance local issues, projects

More than two dozen community, business and education leaders from throughout Scottsdale have formed a group to work on issues that will shape the future of the community.

The SCOTT Project is an initiative with roots in the campaigns that were successful in the November 2019 election, when Scottsdale voters passed by record margins both the capital improvement bond program for the city and the Scottsdale Unified School District budget override measure.

Keeping the spirit and success of those efforts alive, many of the leaders of those campaign groups are reuniting under the SCOTT Project and adding community, business and education leaders who share the same visionary goal for a vibrant and resilient community and economy.

By recruiting members from a wide variety of city groups, the SCOTT Project will create a forum for civil discussions of community issues including many that will shape the agenda for the upcoming election year for both the city and school district, according to a press release.

The group’s initial issues include:

  • Economic vitality: How will the city continue to grow and prosper years into the future.
  • Capital improvement projects: Maintaining and investing in the city’s infrastructure.
  • Education/workforce development: Supporting strong schools, a foundation of healthy cities.
  • Mobility and access: Finding solutions for congestion challenges that come with prosperity.

The SCOTT Project is an extension of the Scottsdale Coalition of Today and Tomorrow, a group formed three years ago to educate and engage citizens on critical issues.

“Scottsdale is a diverse, vibrant community with many voices and many points of view. All of our community members’ expectations deserve respectful consideration, and when they put their efforts together, they can come up with solutions that advance the city,” said Don Henninger, executive director of SCOTT, in a prepared statement.

The SCOTT Project Steering Committee met starting last November to begin organizing the group and setting its goals. Its work is centered on civil discussions, based on facts and research, with healthy debates that lead to consensus solutions to challenges. Extensive input, through polls and surveys, and communication back to the community are fundamental to its work.

To enhance the research and communications efforts, The SCOTT Project has partnered with The Athena Foundation Scottsdale, a 501(c)3 non-profit think tank, to undertake those support functions, the press release stated.

The SCOTT Project Steering Committee:

  • Don Henninger: Executive director, SCOTT
  • Mike Norton: Director, Athena Foundation
  • Andrea Alley: Community Advocacy & Outreach Consultant
  • Dennis Robbins: Executive Director, Scottsdale Charros
  • Paula Sturgeon: Entrepreneur, author, speaker
  • Jason Alexander: Citizen advocate, editor Scottsdale Together
  • Tammy Caputi: President, Yale Electric West; City Council candidate
  • Julie Cieniawski: Education advocate, SUSD board candidate
  • Dana Close: Program, events manager, Scottsdale Leadership
  • Jim Derouin: Derouin Environmental Law
  • Allegra Fullerton: Policy analyst, Center for Future of Arizona
  • Rebecca Grossman: CEO, Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS
  • Lisa Hoberg: PVUSD United Parent Council
  • Sonnie Kirtly: COGS executive director
  • Larry Kush: Senior VP, Orion Investment Real Estate
  • Justin Owen: Executive director, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy
  • Laraine Rodgers: Operations director, SCOTT
  • Jon Ryder: Executive director, Run to Win Campaigns
  • Sandy Schenkat: Cultural Attachee, Marshall Gallery on Main Street
  • Mark Stanton: Pres/CEO Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce
  • Carter Unger: President, Spring Creek Development
  • Leann Witt: Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

The SCOTT Project is an extension of Scottsdale Coalition of Today and Tomorrow, which is directed by Don Henninger. (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newspapers)

The SCOTT Project is an extension of Scottsdale Coalition of Today and Tomorrow, which is directed by Don Henninger. (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newspapers)