Today the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry honored Bob and Renee Parsons as our 2017 Transformational Leaders of the Year. Their selection for this award was one of the easiest choices we’ve ever made. The Parsons are transforming Arizona’s education landscape through The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation and the work they do through non-profit education partners like A for Arizona, New Schools For Phoenix, Arizona Charter Schools Association, Center for the Future of Arizona, Cactus Pine Girl Scouts, Teach For America Phoenix, and many others.

With a tagline–We deal in hope—the Parsons Foundation “inspires hope by providing critical funding at critical times to communities striving to make a difference.”

And make a difference they have.

In the five years since Bob and Renee started the Foundation, we have seen over 17,000 more Arizona students attending low-income ‘A’-grade schools – and this does not even account yet for all of the new schools that have opened since 2012 or the On-the-Way to ‘A’ campuses who have had off-the-charts AzMERIT scores – and seen a decline of 15,000 low-income students attending a ‘D’ or ‘F’-rated school. In that same time period, student educational gains increased significantly as Arizona continues to garner attention as top “achievement gainer state”. It’s no coincidence that these achievements followed the Parsons’ critical investments in Arizona.

The Parsons know, as we do, that having a high quality education is transformative for students, families, and communities. These opportunities are rapidly growing in Arizona thanks to the commitment Bob and Renee have to growing “great” and making it available to every student.

Thank you Bob and Renee for investing in education, which carries the hope of opportunity for all our students. Our work at A for Arizona in particular would not be as impactful without your sharing in our vision and helping us to make it a reality. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition for all you have contributed to our state.