Ross Nash Farnsworth
Ross Farnsworth has long been recognized as a leader and doer in the growing community of Mesa, AZ. He started volunteering in his youth, with church work, and continued through adulthood serving numerous schools, civic and agency boards and advisory committees. His dedication to the community is extensive, particularly his involvement in addressing the problem of family homelessness in Mesa since 1990.
Over 20% of the approximately 18,000 homeless people in Arizona are children. The children of homeless families often experience acute and chronic health problems, hunger, developmental delays, psychological problems and underachievement because of being homeless. During the past years, Farnsworth's involvement significantly impacted a previously unmet need to provide shelter, basic needs, job training, case management and support for homeless families. Farnsworth championed this cause by initiating and advocating legislation, with public and corporate support.
La Mesita Lodge, a 1950's era motel in need of repair, was selected as the site for La Mesita, A Family Shelter. Largely due to the efforts of Farnsworth, La Mesita has served more than 700 families averaging three to four individuals since 1991. His most notable contributions to La Mesita include serving as Board Member and Chair, hosting and working Chrissy's Breakfast, a community breakfast that annually raises $10,000 to benefit the families at La Mesita and organizing others to make playground enhancements and basketball facilities for the youth.
The hands-on approach of Farnsworth to addressing critical issues is an example for many to follow. His entire family—wife, 12 children, their spouses and children—is involved throughout the year with a concerted effort for Chrissy's Breakfast. Many of his employees have volunteered their time on various physical plant projects, conducted food drives and participated in the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program.