2021 Award Winners

Congratulations to our 2021 Winners and Nominees!

Individual Category: Gail LaGrander

Gail LaGrander has been involved and instrumental in various interoffice projects addressing climate and health and health equity.  She is a champion when it comes to working with and advocating for Community Based Organizations and the various communities they serve. Most recently, Gail has served as a connection to the Community Based Organization, Salud en Balance, for the Healthy Urban Environments Initiative (HUE), which aimed to address climate and health disparities specific to heat illness in mobile home communities. She continues to be enthusiastic about climate and health and helping communities.

Research Category: David Hondula

His scholarly contributions in the area of heat exposure and the impact of his work on the community make him uniquely qualified for this award.  Some of his most impactful research is at the intersection of improving understanding of heat exposure and exploring how governments can best implement solutions. Dr. Hondula continues to serve as an advocate for improving health equity in our community, tirelessly working with others on improving policies that would help those that are directly impacted in our community.

Organization Category (1): Salud en Balance

Salud en Balance is a community-based organization with the goal of making the residents they serve healthier. Salud en Balance has done great things for Maricopa County residents such as educating residents on the risks of extreme heat. More specifically, Salud en Balance helps Maricopa County residents living in a mobile home community in Central Phoenix. Salud en Balance has distributed over 600 heat toolkits to six different mobile home communities throughout Maricopa County that are at higher risk of developing heat illness. In addition to distributing heat toolkits, they have also helped Maricopa County residents sign up for heat alert warnings. Salud en Balance has also helped organize a workshop to educate residents on how to fix their air conditioners when a problem arises. Salud en Balance continues to play a vital role in the community and makes great strides in promoting health and reducing health disparities.

Organization Category (2): Unlimited Potential

Unlimited Potential is a community-based organization founded in 1985.  Their vision is “Equitable opportunities grounded in acceptance and respect, promoting strong individuals, families, and communities”. They embody this vision, most recently through their work on the Energy Insecurity Project.  They served a crucial role as the bridge between the research team and the South Phoenix community.  Additional actions they have undertaken include connecting community members with Community Health Workers to assist with applying for utility assistance programs, educating community members and Community Health Workers on the topic of climate and health, and assisting in setting up a workshop for community members on A/C maintenance and home repairs.  Unlimited Potential’s insight and involvement have been invaluable.

Organization Category (3): Waste Not

Waste Not has been an integral part of the Greater Phoenix Metro Area for nearly 35 years. Waste Not is a champion when it comes to eliminating food insecurity and helping the planet to become healthier and more sustainable. They accomplish this by rescuing food from local businesses and delivering it to over 80 Valley organizations that are making a difference in the community. These organizations include homeless shelters, transitional housing, senior facilities, preschools, after-school programs, rehabilitation centers, and food pantries. A great deal of time, money and resources go into growing and delivering nutritious food. Yet, each year, 40% of that food is thrown away. At the same time, nearly 1 million people in Arizona struggle with food insecurity. Waste Not is transforming this broken system by connecting tens of thousands of Arizonans with quality food that would have otherwise gone to waste.  Waste Not is doing incredible work and has been a lifesaver for many local people and organizations.

To read about former award winners and nominees or how to apply next time, return to the Climate and Health home page.