Jenny Willigrod, 2020 Inductee
Jenny’s family moved to Chandler in 1996 and decided to rent for a year while they scoped out the valley. They fell in love with Fountain Hills and bought their first home in 1997 when their daughter was a year old.
Jenny immediately became involved in the Moms’ Club and met many people. The Moms’ Club was her first act of volunteering as she oversaw children’s activities for years.
When her daughter started kindergarten, Jenny became PTA vice president and eventually served as president of the PTO.
Her professional background is in graphic design and art, so there were numerous times she created the backdrops for the elementary school performances and helped with the high school art programs and murals at Fountain Park.
In 2005, Jenny became a member of the Fountain Hills Civic Association. Later, the Association merged with the Public Art Committee and became the Fountain Hills Cultural and Civic Association (FHCCA).
In 2009, after the Town Council and the Chamber of Commerce developed a strategic plan created for the town, Jenny, along with Jerry Butler, began the “Greening of Downtown” program which had a strategic goal of adding green elements to the downtown to make the parks and the Avenue of the Fountains more pedestrian friendly.
The program was a huge success, raising more than $300,000 in donations, allowing the committee to plant 165 trees in the park, add various other gardens, add landscaping to the Musical Park and help with two Eagle Scout projects.
Jenny and Jerry received the Legacy Award from the Hall of Fame for the “Greening of Downtown” project.
The recent success which stemmed from the “Greening of Downtown” was the Community Garden. Jenny served on the Garden board for the first two years to help the group obtain donations and implement the vision.
Throughout the last decade, Jenny served as FHCCA vice president and eventually became its president. During her tenure, the FHCCA added several programs to the 50l(c)3 umbrella. The programs include the Community Garden, Vision Fountain Hills, Leadership Academy, Munch and Music and Dark Skies.
She retired as president of FHCCA in May 2019 but remains as a board director.
Her new endeavors include serving as secretary for the newly-invigorated Fountain Hills Community Foundation and is co-chair of the Public Art Committee. She is currently serves as art coordinator on the “Fountain at 50” committee.
In addition to her volunteering in the community, Jenny is known for her outstanding artwork. She is one of 40+ artists who own and operate the Fountain Hills Artists’ Gallery on the Avenue of the Fountain as a cooperative.
Jenny said, “I enjoy volunteering in this community of so many dedicated individuals who truly love this town. The sense of purpose that I have achieved through giving back to my community has been very fulfilling. The opportunity to have met so many wonderful people along the journey is the true gift.”