Office Doors: Jerry Wissink
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Posted by: Jillian Rivera
CEO of BHHS Legacy Foundation Creates Nonprofit Hub
By Karen Werner
Recently, Jerry Wissink, CEO of BHHS Legacy Foundation, presided over the dedication of Legacy Place II, a renovated building on Coronado Road in downtown Phoenix that houses nonprofit agencies dedicated to improving the quality of life and health in our community.
A longtime and respected community leader, Wissink likes nothing better than to bring key people together. Luckily for Arizona, those people are usually well-connected and always know someone who knows someone who can make things happen.
That was the case in 2014, when BHHS Legacy Foundation pioneered the creation of a nonprofit hub by opening the original Legacy Place. Wissink offered the space to eight nonprofits, and the building was filled in short order.
By focusing on nonprofits that fit Legacy's philanthropic mission and providing shared amenities for them — meeting rooms, a courtyard for al fresco dining and outdoor events — it encouraged all of the agencies to collaborate.
“When they're all in a common campus, they tend to work more closely together, which is a huge piece of this model,” Wissink said.
Because of the success of Legacy Place, Wissink continued to look for opportunities to create synergies among nonprofits by creating another shared space. The perfect spot presented itself in 2015. Located at 340 E. Coronado Road, just down the street from BHHS Legacy Foundation and the original Legacy Place, the building provided the ideal setting for a second nonprofit center. So Wissink took on the role of project manager along with Plaza Companies as he oversaw the renovation, landscaping, interior design and more.
Today, Legacy Place II is home to four new tenants dedicated to doing good in the community: Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels, the Association of Arizona Food Banks, Brighter Way Institute and Smiles Beyond the Bars.
“We’re very excited to be here,” said Dr. Kris Volcheck, CEO of Brighter Way Institute. His organization needed the space — the administrative team had been working inside a mop closet at one of its clinics. “Not only is Legacy Place II a great space, it offers an opportunity to collaborate and have community among the nonprofits here.”
For BHHS Legacy Foundation, the renovated buildings are both an investment in real estate and an investment in the community. “They will help revitalize the area and provide nonprofits a very good space to carry out their missions,” said Wissink.
The concept of a nonprofit incubator makes sense — so much so, other organizations are contacting Wissink to follow his lead. The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona is creating a Legacy Place in Tucson, and the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona is creating one in Sierra Vista, too.
Looking ahead, Dan Oehler, BHHS Legacy Foundation board chair, sees Legacy Place II as second in a string of facilities that will help the foundation carry out its mission. “When can we get started on Legacy Place III?” he asked.
A spirit of camaraderie prevailed at the dedication as nonprofit executives mingled and Fr. Bud Pelletier, spiritual advisor at St. Vincent de Paul, offered a blessing of the renovated building. Wissink looked on and smiled, pleased that BHHS Legacy Foundation has had a hand in fostering these connections.
“We felt this would enhance the collaborative spirit that needs to be present in the nonprofit field,” he said.
The tenants agree. “We are so grateful to Jerry Wissink,” said Lorraine Tallman, founder and executive director of Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels. “He clearly sees how to help people. Some people get caught up in the minutiae of things and he doesn't. He's there to help.”