“Spirit of Philanthropy” was the theme throughout Tuesday’s West Valley Women luncheon.

The networking group, which meets on the first Tuesday of each month at Skye restaurant in Peoria, was treated to two presentations which highlighted local projects.

Luncheon sponsor Elizabeth Lowe of Wells Fargo Advisors spoke about her association with Benevilla as one of the non-profit’s board members, and then played a video highlighting the group’s programs and volunteer and donor programs.

West Valley Women’s Lisa Platt announced that Benevilla was selected as the group’s non-profit member of 2012, which entitles it to receive a complimentary membership and admission for each monthly luncheon. Marketing director Courtney Sullivan accepted the award.

The philanthropy theme continued when Platt presented 9-year-old Glendale resident Emily Fawcett the group’s first honorary lifetime membership award in recognition for her work running Emily’s Toys 4 Joy.

Emily collects toys to be donated to children in four local hospitals, and this past year collected 3,500 items. She began the project after being hospitalized for a serious dog bite three years ago and recognized the need for providing toys for children who are in the hospital.

Emily was recently named a “Friend of the City of Phoenix” in recognition for her work collecting toys for hospitalized children. 

Tiffany Torres, senior policy adviser for Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, read a statement from Phoenix Vice Mayor Thelda Williams commending Emily on her work.

“As a mother and grandmother, I can empathize with the pain and anxiety felt during the healing process by families of children hospitalized for illness or accidental injuries,” Williams wrote. “I’m proud to know ... the energy behind the generous gestures. Thank you for your generosity.”

For information on West Valley Women, visit www.westvalleywomen.org. For information on Emily’s Toys for Joy, visit http://www.facebook.com/EmilysToys4Joy.

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