A longtime lawyer and community leader, Margaret Hunnicutt is the 38th recipient of the Don Carlos Humanitarian Award, Tempe’s most prestigious honor, awarded by the Tempe Community Council.
Hunnicutt and three other laureates were honored at a ceremony on September 29.
The awards, sponsored by the Salt River Project, honor those who have made Tempe a better place through impactful and enduring work that meets the needs of human services.
“Margaret Hunnicutt embodies the humanitarian spirit of the Don Carlos Awards,” said Rachel Lambert, Chair of the CTC Board of Directors. “Margaret has given many years as a dedicated community leader for social services in Tempe. She is a tireless advocate for education to help ensure the success of students and teachers, helps provide families with the means to achieve economic stability and does what is necessary to help meet the needs of the most vulnerable in Temple. She is a brilliant model of people helping people and is an inspiration to all. “
The Don Carlos Humanitarian of the Year Award is named after Tempe founder Charles Trumbull Hayden, whom Spanish-speaking pioneers affectionately called “Don Carlos”. The award embodies Hayden’s heritage and spirit.
Hunnicutt was honored for her commitment to advocating and supporting Tempe’s schools, students and teachers, as well as struggling or underserved community residents. She has served on numerous boards and volunteered for several organizations serving education and social service needs in Tempe including Tempe Diablos Charities, Tempe Community Council, Tempe Chamber of Commerce, Tempe Community Action Agency , Newtown Community Development Corporation, Tempe Union High School District Foundation, and Executive Women’s Golf Association.
Hunnicutt was previously CEO of Landings Credit Union. Now retired, she has spent many years as a dedicated community leader in social services in Tempe, embodying “people who help people”.
Hunnicutt is a member of Tempe Leadership Class XXI, Valley Leadership Class XL and Kiwanis Club of Tempe. She has received numerous professional and community awards, including Mountain West CU Association Credit Union Professional of the Year and Tempe Chamber Business Woman of the Year.
Hunnicutt had a profound impact on the students of Tempe. She led the first collaborative effort to help families understand and complete the FAFSA with help from the Phoenix Leadership Class. This is the first step in securing student assistance so low and middle income students can pursue their college dreams without the burden of tuition fees for their families.
She organized back-to-school backpack drives to benefit school children in Tempe and helped ensure teachers were supported through her initiation into I’m [IN]Acquired reward and recognition program. She has provided meeting space for community organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Tempe as well as the Surety and Waiver Committees, which are important to the financial health of K-12 Public Schools in Tempe.
Hunnicutt helped prepare tax returns at no cost for low and moderate income families and served as a site coordinator and hosted the Tempe Community Council Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program in the Landings Credit Union for years. She organized water drives to give to homeless people and sponsored fundraisers and end of year parties for clients of the Empowerment Centers. She encouraged her staff to get involved and gave them time to engage in community service.
From helping to ensure that young people receive a great education in Tempe schools and beyond, to taking the initiative to raise funds that support programs for people with disabilities, to ensuring that whether homeless people receive water during our warmer months or to provide families with the means to achieve economic stability, Hunnicutt is both a contributor of resources and a leader for organizations that serve the most vulnerable from the community of Tempe.
TCC Impact Award: ICNA Relief
By providing caring and compassionate service to survivors of adversities and disasters, ICNA Relief draws on the principles of the Muslim faith to serve. ICNA Relief supports anyone in need regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity or citizenship status. The association operates a food distribution warehouse, a medical clinic for uninsured people, a shelter for women who are homeless or who have survived domestic violence, and helps refugees find employment. The organization distributed 580 backpacks containing school supplies to children of Tempe in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. ICNA Relief engaged 1,264 volunteers who spent 4,700 hours preparing and distributing culturally appropriate food boxes to the elderly, households affected by COVID-19, and any household in need. This enabled more than 5,000 families or 25,000 people to receive more than 250,000 pounds of food worth $ 688,000.
Volunteer of the Year: Marni Anbar
One-on-one service to the community encourages others to get involved. Selfless service, with a warm smile, a positive character, faith and through multiple organizations, Marni Anbar sees every opportunity as a chance to involve others in volunteering. The Air Force veteran and member of the Air National Guard has a master’s degree in mathematics and is the founder of DISCOVERosity Zone, LLC, which promotes STEM learning in children. She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Tempe, the Rotary Club of Tempe Downtown, the DK Chapter Philanthropic Educational Organization and a volunteer for Tempe YMCA, I-HELP, TCC Agency Review, Kyrene Schools, the FIGG Community Garden and alumnus scout troop leader.
Young humanitarian: Ella Zeiders
A collaborative leader who values inclusion, Ella Zeiders embraces leadership with empathy, awareness, kindness and reliability. She is an excellent student who volunteers in the community and in her school. His volunteering over the past decade has included mentoring non-profit sports programs that give foster children and people with disabilities the opportunity to participate. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the Site Based Council at McClintock High and a student athlete. She is enrolled in Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University.