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Champion for Children

Torrie Taj Serves the Valley’s Most Vulnerable Through Her CEO Role at Child Crisis Arizona

While Torrie A. Taj, a Midwest transplant now living in Chandler, was attending Arizona State University (ASU) in 1990, a college advisor said something that changed her life.

“He told me that jobs and money would come and go, so the most important decision is to choose a profession I can be proud of, and that will give my life meaning and purpose,” says Taj.

Already an avid volunteer throughout her youth, the advice solidified her decision to pursue a career path focused on service above self.

Upon graduating from ASU with a degree in psychology in 1991, Taj dove headfirst into service-based leadership, taking on roles—both volunteer and on staff—with the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, Arizona Association of Fundraising Professionals, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and A New Leaf, where she spent 23 years, including as chief operating officer and deputy chief executive officer. Taj would also continue her education, both as a student by participating in studies at Harvard Business School and earning numerous certificates in Nonprofit Leadership from ASU Lodestar, and as a teacher through adjunct faculty roles with ASU and Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at Maricopa Community Colleges.

In 2015, Taj took on her biggest role to date.

“I was honored to be named the CEO of Child Crisis Arizona, whose mission is to provide Arizona youth a safe environment, free from abuse and neglect, by creating strong and successful families,” says Taj. “We do this through offering emergency shelter and residential for youth from birth to 21, foster care and adoption services, early education, communitywide parenting classes, workshops, support groups, and more.”

Over the past seven years, under Taj’s leadership, the organization has grown to serve more than 9,000 unduplicated individuals annually. The unprecedented growth, especially in its early education programs, meant its staff members and programs outgrew their space, most recently needing to be sprinkled across the Valley.

But that is about to change.

“Earlier this year, we broke ground on a 38,000-square-foot, net-zero campus in Mesa,” says Taj. “Spanning 2.4 acres, the two-story campus will be one of the first for any nonprofit in Arizona to put sustainability at the forefront.”

In addition to bringing all of Child Crisis’ services, programs, and team under one roof, according to Taj, there are several strategic collaborations planned once the campus is completed, with such organizations as Ballet Arizona, United Food Bank, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona.  

Set to be completed in 2024, the campus will allow Child Crisis and Taj to continue its current programs, and expand to serve others in the community who need it most.

ChildCrisisAZ.org

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