The 2018 Tucson Champions for Children & Families Awards Luncheon was held Tuesday, May 8, 2018. With over 325 guests and 9 sponsors, our preliminary count puts your support at $43,000! Thank you for all you do for children and families in Arizona! Thank you for helping build community where all children can reach their full potential.

Visit News & Notes for photos of the 2018 event!



This award recognizes persons with a long history of diligently championing the issues of children and families.
 RusselL and Barbara Miller, Ohio Children's Foundation. 2018 Martha K. Rothman Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree, Child & Family Resources. 

RusselL and Barbara Miller, Ohio Children's Foundation. 2018 Martha K. Rothman Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree, Child & Family Resources. 

Russell and Barbara Miller

Russell and Barbara Miller have devoted their lives to ensure children are free from poverty, hunger, fear and violence. Through their work in the community, as well as the philanthropic efforts of their charity The Ohio Children’s Foundation, they strive to invest in children from birth to maturity.  

Through the financial generosity of their foundation, the Millers have donated over $11 million to organizations in Tucson, Ohio and nationwide – not only investing financially, but becoming active ambassadors for the projects they support. As founding members of the Strong Start Tucson campaign, the Millers worked on the ground floor to bring affordable, high-quality preschool to all children in Tucson. The Millers are committed to promoting both high-quality services and policy, and live the example that only action on both fronts will result in long-term improvement in the lives of children. 

Russell and Barbara Miller have made a life out of doing the right thing for children. They advocate on the front lines and make a difference with their actions. At every turn they ask, “Is this good for kids, and how can we help?” Through the humble dedication of their time, intelligence and treasure, the Millers have brought positive change in the lives of Tucson children and families.  


This individual has been an inspiration in their work for a better world for children and their families. Their creative, hands-on, advocacy has spanned over many years. They have brought about a positive change in the lives of Arizona children.

Christine Swenson-Smith

Christine Swenson-Smith is characterized by a steadfast commitment to promoting the well-being of all children in her charge – a commitment demonstrated by a career dedicated to improving outcomes for abused and neglected children through significant reform of the child welfare system. Through leadership roles with the Department of Child Safety and the Pima County Juvenile Court, Christine championed local and nationwide initiatives to decrease the number of children in foster care, increase the number of families that were reunified, and find forever families for children for whom reunification was not possible. Christine was integral to the launch of PCJCC’s Model Court project and Pima County Family Drug Court, as well as spearheading innovations in these institutions – including arranging trauma-informed therapy for every FDC client. The improvements she brought to these systems, as well as the countless individuals she mentored who hold crucial positions in local and state systems, uphold Christine’s legacy and commitment to improving the world for children and their families.     

Gabe Zimmerman Emerging Champion Award

These individuals have emerged as up and coming community champions for children and families. They are inspirational, compassionate, and innovative in their advocacy for making our community a better place for children and families. 

Dr. Drew Cronyn and Dr. Tracey Kurtzman

Dr. Cronyn and Dr. Kurtzman, pediatricians at El Rio Health Center in Tucson, have transformed healthcare for transgender, non-binary and gender diverse youth. Through the launch of the first formal transgender health program in Southern Arizona, which has quickly grown to be a model healthcare program in Arizona and the only one in the state designated as a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the doctors have literally changed and saved lives. With their selfless, passionate and relentless efforts, they have proven themselves tireless champions for children and families. 

The Spotlight Award

This group has worked tirelessly to shine a light on the challenges facing children & families in Arizona,
illuminating critical issues and advocating for transformational reform. They are steadfast champions for change, providing a voice for the voiceless and vulnerable members of our community. 

The Arizona Daily Star: Editor Jill Jorden Spitz, Editorial Page Editor Sarah Gassen, and Reporters Emily Bregel, Norma Coile,  Patty Machelor and Perla Trevizo

The Arizona Daily Star, with their three-part investigative series “Fixing Our Foster Care Crisis,” demonstrated a deep commitment to examining and elevating the issues surrounding Arizona’s child welfare crisis. Through a year of reporting, including interviews with more than 100 local, state and national experts and families connected to the child-welfare system, they brought critical attention to deep-rooted issues, and the targeted solutions that can spark real change. 

About Champions

Champions for Children & Families is our annual premiere fundraiser to raise awareness and support for the programs and outreach needed in our communities. This special event brings together advocates who are passionate about helping children in our community, and honors leaders who have made a significant impact on the well-being of children and families through our Champions for Children & Families Awards.

The 2018 Award Honorees join a long list of distinguished Champions for Children and Families. Visit our Champions Winners page to see past honorees.


SPONSOR THIS EVENT! Call Sarah at (520) 321-3773 or email for more information.