By Beverly Kievman Copen
Sedona AZ (July 2, 2020) – In the early 2000’s, visionary educator and community leader, Dr. Mel Copen, clearly saw the opportunity for uniting The Village with a common vision. As a result of Mel’s inspiration, the Sedona Village Partnership was created in 2012. Rooted in our core ideals; Connect, Educate, Respect, Collaborate, and Accomplish, our Mission is “To serve as a catalyst to inspire thought leadership and action in our community, to forge collaborative relationships, to build trust, to exchange ideas and information, and to find solutions for Village challenges as well as our dreams.” This is aptly summed up in our Vision Statement, “Connecting the Community.”
The community held numerous fundraisers that first year, honoring Mel and giving rise to our organization. During the Partnership’s eight year history, a variety of events have taken place to foster a greater sense of community such as a “December Holiday Piano Concert” at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock, “Movie Under the Stars” at The Collective Sedona, co-sponsored with the Sedona International Film Festival, and “Star Party” co-sponsored with the Verde Valley Astronomy Club also held at the The Collective Sedona. Other activities have included a matching grant for the International Baccalaureate program at Big Park Community School and scholarships for its less-advantaged preschool students. Last fall, we co-sponsored the Verde Valley Forum on Land use and have organized the upcoming Fine Dine Wine fundraising dinner at J Wine Bistro for our new community preschool, Sedona Village Learning Center. In addition, we awarded the preschool a grant to assist with startup costs and we continue mentoring as needed.
Recently we have been successful in expanding membership of our Board of Directors so that we become younger, gender balanced, and ethnically diverse. Two positions remain to be filled as we continue to search for the right people to round out the Board. We have also created a “Partners” category of membership to increase the number of community-focused people and like-minded organizations to join in planning, organizing, and executing events and activities which will benefit our community and its residents. This is especially critical now to unify and strengthen The Village. Our president, Dr. Don Groves, has repeatedly said, “I believe our community is stronger when we define it by what unites us rather than by what divides us.”