CopaBall 2016: Annual event benefits a wide array of public health programs in Metro Phoenix

CopaBall 2016nv-philanthropy-aug-sept-16

Annual event benefits a wide array of public health programs in Metro Phoenix.

By Peter Madrid

Diversity is the key word when it comes to describing the annual CopaBall, the primary fundraising event for the Maricopa Health Foundation.

While the Valley is rich in charitable and philanthropic events, the CopaBall, established in 2003, benefits a wide array of public health programs in Metro Phoenix.

The 13th annual CopaBall is scheduled for Oct. 22 at the Montelucia Resort & Spa. Benefiting the programs of the Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS), the event brings together leaders in healthcare, business, and the philanthropic community.

The event has raised more than $2.5 million to support the many diverse programs of MIHS. That’s what makes the foundation’s work satisfying, according to CEO Nate Lowrie.

“The impact of the CopaBall is tremendous in the community,” Lowrie says. “Each year we have a focus. Last year the event benefitted the Arizona Burn Center. In other years it has supported our graduate medical education program and our children’s center.”

The theme of the 2016 CopaBall is mental health. According to Lowrie, money raised will benefit youth and young adults in the first-of-its-kind in Arizona First Break Clinic. It will be a specialty treatment center for young people diagnosed with psychosis.

“Mental health sometimes lives in the darkness,” Lowrie says. “Left untreated, the cost curve is very expensive. The impact and hardship also take their toll on the family. This program will help change the outcome of that person’s life through preventative measures and giving them help early. This is the first of these clinics and the foundation is helping in a big way.”

Lowrie first became involved with the CopaBall when he sat on the board of directors of the foundation for six years. He was named CEO last year and said it was “really fun because it set a record,” raising $525,000.

“When we look at things from a nonprofit standpoint, certainly tragedy or hardship are very important to us as a community and as Americans,” Lowrie says. “We’re a culture that likes to step up in times of need. What’s unique about what we’re doing is the overall care and how expansive it is across the Valley.”

Each year the CopaBall honors physicians, nurses, MIHS leadership, and those making a significant impact at MIHS. The event is as colorful as it is important, Lowrie says. But it’s not the celebrities and the distinguished guests who make the evening, he says. It’s the people who work on the front lines and are honored for that work who have the biggest impact.

“MIHS is a pillar of medical education, research, and care for our people when they are most vulnerable,” says Bart Patterson, Maricopa Health Foundation chairman of the board and CEO of Clear Title Agency of Arizona. “The CopaBall is dear to my heart because of how much it raises in financial support for the women, children, and families when they need it most.”

Lowrie recalls the 2013 CopaBall. Money was being raised for the Arizona Burn Center. He was going through some hardships in his own life. He tells the story best.

“That night I’m listening to a patient, who was caught in a fire, and spent almost a year in our burn center. His body was devastated in the fire. He had prosthetic limbs. He talked about going into the burning house and trying to save his family. He suffered the most.”

“Then the Phoenix Boys Choir got up and sang after him. I thought to myself, ‘what I’m going through is nothing in comparison to what he’s going through.’ It was a special night hearing him tell that story. That’s courage and grit. It gave me a chance to look at myself and say, ‘yeah, you’re dealing with some hard stuff, but set it aside.’”

Lowrie adds that the event makes for a “lovely night. It’s the amazing people I get to share the stage with who make it special. Unlike other segments of the medical industry that seem very glamorous, we have folks who are in the trenches serving the community. You can’t get any more special than that.”



What: 13th annual CopaBall, benefitting the Maricopa Health Foundation

When: Oct. 22, 6 p.m.

Where: Montelucia Resort & Spa, 4949 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale.

This year’s honors: Joey Ridenour Nursing Excellence Award; J. Kipp Charlton Physician Excellence Award; The Chairman’s Award



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