One of the Kyrene Foundation's annual activities is helping to gather gifts for distribution to needy families in the district at Christmas time .

The Kyrene Foundation has named four new members of its all-volunteer board of directors and refashioned its annual fundraiser. 

 The new members are current Kyrene parents and include: Jason Sinykin, of Chandler, a community relations manager for Instant Care of Arizona; Randy Shoemaker, Phoenix, who works for PSAV at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass;  Joseph B. Ortiz, Ahwatukee, a financial advisor with Edward R. Jones; and Tim Nguyen, senior vice president at Fine Mark National Bank & Trust.

“Because the work of Kyrene Foundation is all accomplished by volunteers, the willingness of these gentlemen to step up and be part of our organization’s long history of support for the Kyrene District is necessary and appreciated,” said foundation President Shirley Coomer of Keller Williams Sonoran Living. 

“We look forward to continuing to contribute to the well-being and success of Kyrene students, families and staff,” she added.

Last year Kyrene Foundation Initiatives provided $20,000 in grants to teachers; $5,000 for a school enrichment initiative; $5,000 in athletic scholarships to students who needed support to participate in school sports; $20,000 in funding for youth enrichment such as tutoring, after-school classes & intramurals.

In addition, 250 families were provided a turkey with trimmings in November and in December over 900 children received Christmas gifts.

To make all that possible, the foundation depends substantially on its annual fundraiser, which is being moved up and renamed.

Slated for 7-11 p.m. Sept. 28, at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, the ninth annual fundraiser has been rechristened Night for Kyrene.

Formerly known as the Taste of Kyrene, it will bring together more than 250 local community, business partners, parents, teachers, staff and administrators.

To purchase tickets, donate to the silent auction, volunteer or become a sponsor, visit or email

The night includes a dinner buffet and silent auction, a wine pull and entertainment by the School of Rock Sugar Skulls.

Chaired by foundation board member and Altadena Middle School parent Suzanne Rinker of Ahwatukee, the steering committee comprises a dozen local volunteers.

The Sugar Skulls consist of 22 musicians ages 12-18 from the three School of Rock music schools in Gilbert, Ahwatukee and Scottsdale. They audition every eight months to be in the group.  

“The Sugar Skulls play a high energy set with songs by artists like Queen, Prince, Boston, Styx, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and more,” a spokeswoman said.

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