Sprays for Strays
She was traveling the globe and had a successful career in the corporate world—and Veronique Munro walked away from it to be a stay-at-home mom to her dog, Snoopy.
Infinity Sun, Munro’s thriving sunless tanning company is the result of that decision. It not only allowed her to spend more time with Snoopy, whom she considered her business partner, but it also enabled her to give back in honor of her four-legged family member.
Snoopy passed away in 2011, but his legacy lives on in Sprays for Strays, Munro’s nonprofit that helps dogs find their furever homes, all supported by colleagues in the sunless tanning industry.
The organization has raised funds to help rescue groups across the country pay for various fees, medication, behavior modification training, and other expenses needed to get pooches into permanent homes.
Over the last 10 years, the nonprofit has helped rescue thousands of dogs. But Munro knows it goes both ways.
Munro shares the story of a woman who survived cancer because her rescue dog gave her a purpose and a reason to survive.
“We think we are rescuing them,” Munro says. After a pause, she continues, “In a way, they are saving us. And I believe that on the deepest level.”
On a family trip to Italy, Igor and Irina Ilyinsky downloaded several travel apps to enhance their experience.
However, those fell short of expectations.
"I downloaded all of these apps that didn’t serve our needs,” Irina recalls.
Igor adds, “A lot of the apps out there leave a lot to be desired. Most are focused on heavy tourist areas, but not areas where people may be interested in.”
They felt there had to be something better out there.
Upon discovering there wasn’t, the couple created ListenUp, their app that offers immersive insight into cities and neighborhoods where listeners are.
Igor’s 30 years of technology experience was key in creating the app, which relies on geospatial information and stories from real-life storytellers from the area.
Once users download ListenUp and allow it to access location and send notifications,
the information flows through earbuds or their car Bluetooth. It plays automatically wherever they are if the app has information in that area. It is free and available in 22 languages.
“It's the first audio app to tell you about where you are, wherever you are,” Irina says. “You should be able to roam the city safely and truly enjoy the experience.”
Arizona Foundation for Women's Soiree
Its reach can be seen through numerous nonprofit causes spanning women’s health and safety, domestic violence and human trafficking, and emergency legal and social services—Sojourner Center, Homeward Bound, Florence Crittenton, and Check for a Lump—to name a few.
Since 1995, Arizona Foundation for Women has supported the safety, health, and economic empowerment of Arizona women through research, advocacy, and philanthropy, explains Juliet Burgess, a member of the organization’s board of directors and chair of the fund development committee.
“These organizations have their hands full providing critical direct services. We help so they don’t also have to do all of the outreach, fundraising, and advocacy work themselves,” says Burgess, who is also the founding partner of The Burgess Law Group.
The annual Arizona Foundation for Women's Soiree is one of the ways it does this. The foundation’s presentation of the Sandra Day O’Connor Lifetime Achievement Award is the piece de resistance of the high-profile event. Past recipients have included Madeline Albright, Soledad O’Brien, Billie Jean King, Barbara Bush, and Sally Ride.
Themed “A Moonlight Masquerade,” this year’s Soiree is being held on Feb. 24 at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa. Actress Mary-Louise Parker is this year’s award recipient. She’s being recognized for her work in Uganda and numerous worldwide charities.
Last year, the Soiree raised more than $300,000, a total expected to be surpassed this year.
Burgess talks about the ripple effect of how the foundation has positively impacted countless Arizona women across all backgrounds, experiences, and situations.
“It’s a reminder of all the things that are bigger than us individually and what we can do collectively to help others,” Burgess says. “That’s really inspiring to me—what a small group of people can do when they work together.”