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Luna takes over as volunteer chair of Downtown Opportunities Board


August 30, 2006
Paul J. Luna, president of the Valley of the Sun United Way , has accepted the position of volunteer chair of the ASU College of Public Programs Downtown Opportunities Board.

Luna replaces David Berns, formerly of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, who recently left the Valley for a job at the Casey Family Foundation in Seattle .

Luna previously served as a member of the Downtown Opportunities Board, which the college's dean, Debra Friedman, created to involve local leaders in shaping the strategic partnerships between the College of Public Programs and the Phoenix community.

Luna also served as convocation speaker at the college's graduation celebration in May. His remarks are available on the Web at (http://copp.asu.edu/students/commencement.html).

The college anchors the new ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, with nearly 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students majoring in more than 30 programs. The programs include social work, public administration and nonprofit management, and centers of interdisciplinary research, such as the Morrison Institute for Public Policy and the Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management.

Regarded as a “Gold Standard CEO” within the United Way , Luna strategically guides the organization to meet the growing health and human service needs of Maricopa County . The Valley of the Sun United Way , ranked among the top 20 United Ways across the nation in funds raised, is undergoing a fundamental change from a fundraiser and fund distributor to a focus on improving lives by created sustained change.

“Paul's skills, insights and reputation in the community are invaluable,” Friedman says. “His generous spirit of partnership and the values we share go a long way toward helping us build on the vibrant connections among community leaders and organizations.”

Luna, a native of Arizona , earned a civil engineering degree from Stanford University . He has worked in the government and public sector and his dedication to the community has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Business Journal's “2004 Most Influential” and Chicanos Por La Causa's Professional Achievement Award.

The board meets monthly and will be involved in college programs, events and activities. Other community leaders serving three-year terms on the College of Public Programs Downtown Opportunities Board include:

• Deborah Dillon, Phoenix youth and education program director.

• Deb Gullett, chief of staff of the Phoenix mayor's office.

• Chris Herstam, government relations director of Lewis & Roca LLP.

• Scott Jacobson, executive director of Valley Leadership.

• Brian Kearney, chief executive officer of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

• John Reid, executive director of ChildHelp.

• George Scobas, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Valley of the Sun YMCA.

• Fern Tiger, president and creative director of Fern Tiger Associates, and professor of practice in ASU's College of Public Programs .

• Alberta Tippeconnic, assistant director of Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona Inc.

“I am grateful to Paul and other members for their exceptional talents as we create synergies that benefit our students and exchange knowledge and best practices throughout the community,” Friedman says.