By Alison Bailin Batz
Over the past several years, the Airpark’s own AXA Advisors Southwest has worked with local partners on Weekend Jetaway, an evening of music, culinary creations from leading Valley chefs, cocktails and casino games set in a private jet hangar within the Scottsdale Airport. During the event, guests play a casino-style dice game, with several lucky winners taking home a multitude of luxe prizes, including the grand prize—an all-inclusive, first-class trip on a private jet for four.
“We are proud of what we’ve created, and now it is time to elevate it to the next level,” says Dillan Micus, executive vice president of AXA Advisors Southwest, recently named among Arizona’s Most Admired Companies for its work in both the business and philanthropic communities.
Turns out, Micus and AXA were being literal.
“Earlier this year, we partnered with Elevate Phoenix and PGA star Tom Lehman to take our concept to the next level together,” says Micus, noting all proceeds from the 2014 event will benefit the nonprofit organization.
Lehman, an Airpark-area resident who has been playing golf professionally for more than 30 years and is the only golfer in history to have been awarded the Player of the Year honor on all three PGA Tours, is a founding board member of Elevate Phoenix.
“Elevate Phoenix is a unique and often life-changing program for Arizona youth that provides in-school teaching; after-school mentoring/tutoring; career instruction/post-secondary preparation; character, life skills and peer leadership development; community service; adventure activities; and reading/literacy improvement within urban public schools,” says Lehman.
Currently, the organization reports a 98 percent graduation rate and 90 percent post-secondary rate among participating youth in Arizona’s most urban communities.
“The heart of our success is the work of our team of full-time, primarily ethnic staff who serve as teachers, mentors and life coaches to students over multiple years. Teacher mentors are available to students 24/7,” says Lehman. “These one-on-one connections make in-school learning more effective. As a part of this relational approach, Elevate Phoenix standardizes its learning objectives and equips staff to meet the varied learning needs of their students.”
Currently, Elevate Phoenix is serving 4,500 local students at a cost of just $222 per student.
As the nonprofit organization got off the ground, it was funded wholly by contributions from businesses and civic organizations.
“We’ve never done a large-scale gala or fundraising event involving the entire community,” says Lehman. “Our goal with Weekend Jetaway is to grow it into the premiere event of the fall season.”
In an effort to show his support to the event in its first year of partnership, Lehman himself has signed on as the official Weekend Jetaway host and honorary chair.
“Weekend Jetaway will take place in a private jet hangar within the Scottsdale Airpark on Saturday, Nov. 1,” says Lehman, noting the event has strategically been moved to November so it can take place the same weekend as the Charles Schwab Cup in Scottsdale, which he has won in previous years. “Like before, it will feature live music and both gourmet food and drink from chefs across the Valley including Sassi, SOL Cocina, The Yacht Club, Tom’s Thumb Marketplace, The Melting Pot and many more as well as dancing, a silent auction and even games—with the winner from the evening taking home a free trip for four on a private jet.”
With Lehman and Elevate on board, this year’s gala will include some new twists as well, including the chance to be Lehman’s personal guest at the 2015 British Open, new sponsor Alliance Beverage, new restaurant partner Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, and elevated entertainment.
Tickets include food, drinks and entertainment and start at $100 per person. Sponsorships are available now and range from $500 to $10,000. Silent and live auction packages are also being accepted through the end of the month. To get involved at any level, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.weekendjetaway.org or contact committee team member Alison Bailin at email@example.com or 602-318-3775.