Hometown Superheroes

Two Local Men Fighting for Those in Need

The world needs more superheroes. Not necessarily the kind who can fly, but rather the kind who step up to find ways to assist those in need at times where they may feel powerless. Two men in North Scottsdale are consistent in their efforts to make an impact and bring awareness to worthy causes, caring for children and the homeless in innovative and immeasurable ways.

Steve Schnall is the senior vice president and chief development officer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation and was instrumental in a recent collaborative effort to make children feel like they can take on the world, no matter their challenges.

Patients at Phoenix Children's Hospital ranging in ages 3 to 17 years old worked with students from ASU's Herberger Insititute for Design and the Arts Fashion Lab with the goal of turning dreams of superpowers into a reality. Each patient was paired with a designer, who over the last six months has worked to create the ultimate “super suit.” The months-long project culminated with Power Play, a runway reveal of the teams’ super suits at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in April. Power Play taps into each young patient’s vivid imagination through clothing design that showcases his or her superpower strength as we all join forces to fight childhood illness.

“Children facing challenging medical issues at Phoenix Children's Hospital often amaze us with their seemingly superpower ability to push through some of the toughest diagnoses and treatments,” Steve says. “Seeing the children’s power shine through the super suits is an inspiration for all of us.” 

Steve has spent his entire career at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, serving its incredible mission and leading philanthropic efforts to drive the vision of becoming a world-class pediatric medical center. He says helping children in his community is crucial. 

"The quality of a community is measured in many ways, but one of the most important ways we build a great community is the degree to which we invest in and take care of our children."

Schnall notes that Power Play has been a hugely successful initiative in bringing out confidence in children. 

"It is deeply important that we tell the stories of our brave young patients and the ways that they find the courage to fight the battles they face. Power Play does just that in a beautiful and creative way."

Steve says it was heartwarming to see volunteer involvement as well as the pride the families, patients and partners had in this journey. 

"Seeing volunteer leaders like Sheila [Zuieback] from Phoenix Children’s Hospital Board of Directors passionately and unselfishly take on a project of this magnitude is powerful and rewarding. There are so many dedicated volunteers out there to lead the way."

Often, those in need find themselves with no voice. Mike McQuaid, chair of the Human Services Campus Board of Directors, saw a need to assist individuals who were neglected and needed proper steps to bring them hope and a path for success.

The Human Services Campus is a collaborative force of partner organizations united on one campus to end homelessness. The campus offers a range of client services including reunification with family and friends, mental and physical health, shelter, employment, meals, legal services and housing. 

"My vision was to create a campus where those experiencing homelessness could come to find help in one location," Mike says. "I was asked to manage the construction and initial operation of the campus because of my background in real estate development. That coupled with my extensive experience working with the homeless at Andre's House led to my involvement."

Mike notes how fortunate he's been to be involved with many individuals and community groups from the Scottsdale area who have helped with funding, volunteering and advocacy for the work they do at the Human Services Campus. 

"Many of the sponsors and donors for our annual 'I Am Home' breakfast live in the Scottsdale area," he says.

The collaboration of many services and partners serving those experiencing homelessness is critical to addressing this issue in the community. Mike says that creating a model of putting the client at the center of the services necessary to end one's homelessness is unique, and it has become a best practice model for other cities and towns dealing with homelessness.

"I have many great memories of our work at the Campus. One is the creation of MANA [Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force] House. It has grown into a major housing and support center for formerly homeless veterans. I recently attended the graduation ceremony for a friend of mine and former client of the campus. He once lived out of a shopping cart, and he is now housed and employed...after being homeless for more than 20 years, so these examples are what make my days so rewarding."

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