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Sophie, David and Anna Kolbe.

 

Before the advent of antibiotics, tuberculosis raged throughout the country. Due to Arizona’s dry climate, Phoenix became a mecca for those seeking relief and a cure for the infectious disease. To help with the influx of patients, care and support, 16 female volunteers with St. Luke’s Home – a hospital that served TB patients – created The Board of Friendly Visitors in 1908.

“In 1915, the organization changed its name to The Board of Visitors,” said Publicity Chairwoman Laura Westfall. “Now, we focus on raising money to serve the healthcare needs of women, children and the elderly in our community. Since its inception, we have granted over 24 million dollars to deserving nonprofits in our community.”

With 50 active members and 122 associate members, The Board of Visitors is Arizona’s oldest women’s charitable organization. This past April, they held their Board of Visitors Annual Charity Ball. According to Westfall, this is Arizona’s longest-running philanthropic event, having just celebrated their 107th gala in 2022.

The black-tie soiree featured high school females, called Flower Girls, escorted by their father or another date. Following their presentation, the pairs perform a waltz before an evening of dinner and dancing. 

“Board of Visitors is amazing because there are so many girls from different schools, and everyone can experience the events together. It was so special to be with old friends and make new ones. It was also an amazing time with my family, and it will forever be one of my favorite high school memories,” Arcadia High senior Indy Clayton said.

“I was so honored to be a Flower Girl for the Board of Visitors this past year. It was such an amazing experience, and I am so grateful to have made such great memories with my family and friends,” senior Kate Erblich said.

Xavier senior Sophie Kolbe is a third-generation flower girl:

“I was grateful for the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of my mom and older sister in being a Flower Girl with my twin sister this year. It was a fun night for a great cause,” Sophie said.

In addition to the annual ball, the Board of Visitors holds two other major yearly fundraisers: Care Card, Arizona’s largest shopping fundraiser, and their Fashion Show Luncheon.

boardofvisitors.org