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Have You Met Josh Weiss?

Using innovative approaches, Josh Weiss and his public relations firm 10 to 1  are able to join nonprofits and for-profit businesses for their mutual benefit. “I really enjoy bringing about a collaboration that ultimately impacts the whole community!”

He explains his viewpoint. “I’m big on teamwork between nonprofits and the for-profit sectors; I believe that they both greatly benefit!  For example, a local deli, Chompie’s, donated money to Playworks Arizona. We were allowed to re-do the Chompie’s placemats with a Playworks theme, which educated children and the community as to what this organization accomplishes. I also love when partnerships serve as a significant introduction for employees to community involvement. And often it’s a significant introduction for employees when a company becomes involved with a nonprofit. Besides their initial support, employees often are opened to donating their own time and money and become permanent volunteers outside of the workplace.”

As the Playworks mission statement reads, “Playworks is the only nonprofit organization in the country providing trained, full-time coaches focused on recess to hundreds of low-income schools in major urban areas. We also provide training and technical assistance to schools, districts, and youth organizations that want to ensure that every kid plays-safely, inclusively and with joy.” Josh declares, “Playworks has been shown to cut down on bullying, which in turn promotes the amount of learning that can take place in the classroom!”

Josh Weiss grew up in Cleveland, and went to Kent State University as a Radio Journalism major. “My first job after school was working for House Speaker Madigan in Springfield, Illinois. I met and married my wife there, and since she was an excellent golfer and loved warm weather, we decided to move to Phoenix. We love the look of the area, the landscape and the freshness it projects.  After 10 years in the Southwest I like to say that I’m a born-again Arizonan! We find the community so appealing and welcoming here. And we’ve made many friends.”

Josh reflects on what has influenced him. “A significant experience for me was becoming a member of the Scottsdale Leadership Program. It was an honor to even be accepted into the program. We met every other Friday for 9 months. Each session had a different instructional theme. One week might be Public Safety Day, another time we might discuss area Arts & Culture, then another would be Economics Day. I like to say it gave me a PhD in the City of Scottsdale! It also opened my eyes to much I hadn’t been aware of, especially to the transportation infrastructure of the area. This was something I would never have become aware of if it hadn’t been for the Scottsdale Leadership Program. That interest in transportation led to my 6 years on the Scottsdale Transportation Commission.”

Josh Weiss is a great example of leadership in the community and his own home. With his own children, Josh and his wife are raising them to be supportive of those in need.  “At least every quarter we raid their piggy banks, and the kids pick a nonprofit or group that they wish to contribute to. The kids visit the organization so they understand exactly what their money will go toward, and why it is important to others. Already they have supported pet rescue groups, food shelters, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Childsplay, and the WNBA Phoenix Mercury Project!”

What are your local volunteer activities?  Past and present include:  Scottsdale Transportation Commission (former Chair and Vice Chair), Scottsdale Railroad and Mechanical Society (benefiting the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park), Playworks Arizona, notMYkid, Scottsdale Leadership, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, The Paiute Neighborhood Center in Scottsdale, and my local synagogue. 

Who inspired you to give back to your community?  My parents were active on boards in the greater Cleveland area, so I always thought it was important.  A couple years after moving to Arizona in 2000, I didn’t know how to get locally involved.  I was accepted into the Scottsdale Leadership program which taught me literally how to find and get involved in community organizations.  I also have led or contributed to the community involvement efforts of several companies I worked for, so when I started my own company I knew that volunteerism and involvement would continue.  My wife and I have already gotten our young kids involved in volunteering and donating.

Which fundraising event is your favorite?  Playworks Arizona has an annual Corporate Kickball tournament which is a lot of fun.

Favorite restaurant?  Local Bistro (Hayden and Thompson Peak in Scottsdale)

Whom do you most admire, and why?  My grandfather, Henry Weiss had a major impact on me.

If your life were a movie, who would you want to play your part?  I’m told I look like Toby McGuire.

Do you have any pets?  One dog, a black lab/bloodhound mix named Odie.

Favorite TV show?  Game of Thrones or 24

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you?  That my wife did all the real work keeping the house in great shape.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned through the years?   Figure out what you’re good at, and then do that. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time.

What was your first job?  Owned my own disc jockey business (lasted 9 years and paid for college)

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?  My kids.

What is your most treasured possession?  A Kiddush cup that belonged to my grandfather.

What is the quality you most like in people?   Self-confidence

Favorite books/writers?  Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House and Kyle Mills’ Rising Phoenix

What is the trait you most deplore in others?  Hypocrisy

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?  Playing with the kids, vegging out watching TV, or swimming laps.

What would we be most surprised to know about you?  I didn’t take school seriously and if my kids got the grades that I did I’d be disappointed.

What is the best advice you have ever received?  Only worry about what you can control.

What are some challenges facing nonprofits?  Staying positive and avoiding internal cynicism.  If the people who live the nonprofit are personally negative, there’s little chance the organization will succeed.  Both passion and negativity are contagious.