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  • Posted Tuesday May 2, 2023

TGen recognizes Valley leader, William Post, and Atlanta restauranteur, Maria Fundora, at its annual Founders Dinner

Awards recognize sustained commitment to furthering research and precision medicine

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — May 2, 2023 — Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), part of City of Hope, showcased its research and honored two leaders with awards at the 2023 TGen Founders Dinner, an annual gathering held April 20 in Scottsdale.

The Founders Dinner brings together community supporters and leaders, while providing TGen the opportunity to present its scientific achievements of the past year and celebrate the accomplishments of their faculty with those contributors who make the work possible.

Valley leader, William J. Post, received TGen’s John S. McCain Leadership Award in recognition of his advocacy for TGen’s and City of Hope’s research and clinical advances in precision medicine. Named after the late U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the annual award recognizes individuals or organizations whose leadership and dedication have made a significant impact in the fight against disease and improving the quality of life for patients worldwide.

In presenting the award to Post, TGen President and Scientific Director Jeffrey M. Trent, Ph.D., said, “Bill is a great Arizona leader in the mold of Senator McCain and a great friend of TGen, without whom we never would have been able to reach the goals we continue to set for ourselves and help so many people. I cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of the award.”

Post is a highly respected executive leader and public advocate in Arizona, renowned for his honesty, integrity, intellect, and sound judgment. Post began his career with Arizona Public Service and its parent organization, Pinnacle West in 1973 and retired 37 years later as Pinnacle West's chair and CEO. He has served on numerous corporate boards and is actively involved in community service, having chaired the Business Coalition, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way Campaign. He is currently the Chair of TGen and serves as a director on the boards of First Solar, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, City of Hope, ASU Foundation, and the Center for the Future of Arizona.

“What a tremendous honor,” said Post. “When I think about the individual and the organization that this award represents, it truly is extraordinary accolade. To the extent that I could have a participatory role in all that TGen has accomplished is both gratifying and humbling.”

Also honored at the event was the Atlanta restauranteur and businesswoman, Maria Fundora, who received TGen’s Collaborative Spirit Award. The award recognizes an individual or organization who support TGen’s research and clinical development efforts.

“It’s a privilege to honor Maria and Purple Pansies. We’re thankful Maria chose to share their story with TGen and City of Hope, and to come alongside our efforts and place trust in our ability to help patients in need,” said Erin Massey, Chief Development Officer at TGen, and Vice President of Philanthropy at City of Hope. 

Fundora’s upbringing instilled a belief in giving back to her community and helping those in need. She founded Purple Pansies in 2009 following her mother’s death from pancreatic cancer. The nonprofit organization has raised over $5 million, contributing to the creation of three out of the four key regimens used to treat pancreatic cancer and supporting other Purple Pansies initiatives. Her goal is to honor her mother's memory and make a lasting difference in the lives of others through compassion and generosity.

“I’m grateful to accept this award on behalf of myself and all my colleagues at Purple Pansies,” said Fundora. “We have one thing in common: we support each other, and we support TGen and City of Hope. They continue to make significant advances against pancreatic cancer with the patient at the heart of their work, and that is why I continue to fight alongside of them.”

William J. Post (above at left) receives TGen's John S. McCain Leadership Award from Jeffery M. Trent (right), Ph.D., TGen President and Research Director.  In the photo at right, Atlanta restauranteur, businesswoman, and founder of Purple Pansies, Maria Fundora (right), receives TGen's Collaborative Spirit Award from Erin Massey (left), Chief Development Officer at TGen, and Vice President of Philanthropy at City of Hope.  

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