By Cecily Markland
More than 14,000 people in the Phoenix Metro area have one thing in common. What these thousands of Phoenix-area residents share is that they are alumni of Brigham Young University.
In recent months, the Arizona chapter of the BYU Alumni Association has increased efforts to bring more of the Phoenix-area alumni together and to share various events and opportunities with others throughout the Valley.
According to the BYU Alumni Association website, chapters across the country provide opportunities for alumni and other “friends” of BYU “to learn, volunteer, contribute and serve with the students, programs, and activities.”
With the number of alumni in the area, says Tom Duford, president of the Arizona chapter of the BYU Alumni Association, “We should be doing more than any other chapter to share the Spirit of the Y.”
Tom says, in the past nine years as he has served on the chapter board, two as president, he has seen the chapter make significant strides toward that goal.
“We’ve seen a great deal of growth,” he says, “particularly in involving members from the west side of the Valley.”
Over the course of his career, Tom has served with small organizations as well as four major national corporations in HR, PR, sales, promotions and operations. He created a foundation called AZ Volunteers Foundation, to connect volunteers with opportunities. Brother Duford has also served on the board of several nonprofit organizations, including Boys & Girls Club, Arizona Volunteers Foundation, a large HOA and, now, the BYU Alumni chapter.
Under his direction, the chapter has participated in service opportunities, including developing clean-up projects for the Town of Guadalupe.
“Last year we filled more than 30 dumpsters,” Tom said. “We will do another service project in October in conjunction with the Church’s day of service.”
Tom says, “The Phoenix Chapter plans many events throughout the year to provide spiritual and social activities; to provide wholesome programs and to assist our community. Attendance at the Y is not necessary to participate in any way that appeals to you.”
For example, the chapter supports BYU sporting teams when they come to town with firesides, tailgate parties and other activities; and, in February 2014, the BYU folk dancers will be in Arizona. Previous events have included Dbacks alumni nights, Vocal Point performances, BYU Music Department firesides.
Career resources include networking, mentoring, assessments and job fairs.
According to Brother Duford, current chapter goals include improving employment support, expanding high school outreach and enlarging their mentoring program.
“Currently we are raising funds for BYU Alumni and the BYU Management Society’s local scholarship replenishment grant through a golf tournament,” Tom says. “These funds provide needs-based scholarships for students from the Phoenix area attending any of the BYU campuses or Arizona universities. For the 2012-2013 school year, we were able to award about $20,000 in scholarship grants to very deserving Arizona youth.”
The golf tournament will be Thursday, September 19. Players and sponsors are still being sought. For more information, visit the LinkedIn Phoenix chapter link, Facebook page or website page (www. www.alumni.byu.edu) or email Tom Duford at td8677@gmail.