Lending Hands

BY Riki Altman-Yee and Talyor Transtrum | October 24, 2018 | Feature Features National

Meet the next generation of altruists—the movers, shakers, givers and go-getters who are rocking the Valley's nonprofit world.
Meghan and David Johnson pose with their almost 2-year-old son, DJ, who inspired them to launch the Mission 31 Foundation.

The Johnson Family’s Mission 31 Foundation is helping hospitalized children and their families get wired.

As a running back for the Arizona Cardinals, David Johnson knows the value of mobility. And as the mother of a newborn with a medical condition, Meghan Johnson remembers the hours she and David spent at the hospital, under extreme stress. So when The Johnson Family’s Mission 31 Foundation team approached them with the idea of a roaming electronics cart for hospitalized kids and their families, he says making it a reality was a no-brainer. Phoenix Children’s Hospital got the first David’s Locker, which was packed with video games and iPads that can be used on its isolation floor free of charge. “The technology can be used for a variety of reasons, such as paying bills, providing a distraction during treatments, doing homework and much more,” David explains. “Since opening David’s Locker in April, over 7,200 children have had access [to it].” The Johnson Family’s Mission 31 Foundation has received overwhelming support—especially from the Arizona Cardinals and its executive board members—which has allowed the nonprofit to provide resources to seriously ill children and their families. The Johnsons opened a second David’s Locker in September at Cardon Children’s Medical Center, and they expect to deliver more carts soon from the generous donations received at their recent Johnson Family: Agents of Change fundraiser at Mountain Shadows. “We’re so thankful,” David says. “Both of us are equally passionate about children and helping our community.”

For mother-daughter duo Susie and McKenna Wesley, philanthropy runs in the family.

“I’ve learned everything from her,” says McKenna Wesley. She’s talking about her mom, Susie, who she takes after in more ways than one. Both began their careers as models. Both have successfully transitioned into another career—Susie’s been a Realtor at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty since 2000; McKenna runs The Bubbly Blonde, a widely followed fashion and travel blog. But both are also prolific philanthropists in the Valley. “I’ve served on just about every committee there is and served on most of the major boards in town,” says Susie. She’s not kidding. Throughout her philanthropic career, Susie has raised over $10 million in community funds, served as a Phoenix Heart Ball committee member for 20 years, co-chaired the O’Connor House Evening of Music, chaired the Phoenix Theatre Applause! Gala, co-chaired the Arizona Science Center Galaxy Gala, served as Barrett-Jackson VIP Liaison since 2008 and was recently honored as a Phoenix Theater Woman Who Cares. McKenna serves on many of the same boards and uses her following to give attention to causes close to her heart. “Being able to see how much my mom has taught me that you can build anything from nothing,” says McKenna.

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