(back) Olivia Pakis, Harper Driscoll, Kinsley Edwards. (front) Avery Estes, Lexi Lewis, Asher Estes, Adelynn Rowe, Lilly Pakis, Caroline Christensen.


On the cover of the May 2022 edition, Arcadia News featured a group of kids (and a mom!) standing in front of a homemade lemonade stand. Now, we’re here to explain what those kids were up to.

PANDA – People Acting Now Discover Answers – is the Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center. It’s an entirely volunteer-run board with 200 Phoenix-area members.

PANDA was created 23 years ago to bring awareness to the brand-new (at the time) Steele Children’s Research Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. 

“The organization supports discovery processes to improve treatments and cures for devastating childhood diseases at the Steele Children’s Research Center. More than $22 million has been raised since 1999!” President-elect Courtney Gaintner said. “The Steele Children’s Research Center is Arizona’s only academic pediatric medical research center.”

The physician-scientists and researchers at Steele help children through science, translational and clinical research, education and care – and have been for 30 years. Gaintner said that the physicians conduct more than 60,000 annual visits with patients throughout Arizona. 

Lemonade Stand Day – the photo featured on the May cover – was created to “engage the next generation of philanthropists in the community.” In April, kids around the Valley hosted lemonade stands to raise money for Steele Children’s Research Center. 

A committee of PANDA volunteers created the event back in 2018. This year, over 30 stands were set up with multiple families participating, and these young philanthropists raised $18,500.

“The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation sponsored Lemonade Stand Day and offered a $10,000 fundraising match, which brought the donation total to $28,500,” Gaintner said. 

Sprouts and Danzeisen Dairy supplied the lemonade, cups, ice and lemons for this year’s event. Funds raised will go toward the PANDA Children’s Genome Sequencing Project.

“All of our fundraising events for 2021-22 will allow us to purchase the NovaSeq 6000 System, a state-of-the-art whole genome sequencing machine that is faster and more efficient than past equipment. With this new equipment, whole-genome sequencing can be completed on 48 children in as little as 40 hours,” Gaintner said. 

PANDA events include the “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show & Luncheon, started in 1999 by the 35 founding members. They also host Pandas for Patients, PANDA Prowl & Block Party, and various campaigns with businesses throughout the year.