Explore the picturesque town that once was Arizona’s territorial seat of government.
By Kristen Almquist
As the temperatures begin to rise throughout Southern Arizona, locals start setting their sights on cooler climates.
Many will travel a few hours north to where towering pines and comfortable temperatures transport visitors to what seems like another state altogether.
Nestled at an elevation of 5,200 feet above sea level, Prescott, Arizona, sits among the largest stand of ponderosa pine forests in the United States. Prescott’s perfect weather provides an average temperature of 70 degrees, with four beautiful and distinct seasons, and breathtaking landscapes complete with granite mountains, lakes, streams, and rolling meadows filled with wildlife.
Prescott is rich with history embodied in its world-famous Whiskey Row and abundant historical landmarks. Whether folks are seeking to relax in a natural environment filled with beauty and wildlife, or the history of cowboy forays in the most famous saloons of the Old West, there’s something for every visitor.
The town was established in 1864, one year after President Lincoln made Arizona a territory. Immediately designated the capital, Prescott was named for Harvard-educated historian/author William H. Prescott, who was widely viewed as one of the great intellectual minds of his era. His book, The History of the Conquest of Mexico, was utilized in naming several downtown streets.
With scenery so appealing, visitors will be sure to discover something new and exciting. Activities include horseback riding, golfing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, and exploring local breweries, restaurants, shopping, festivals and more! Prescott has a hometown feel that keeps out-of-towners, young and old, coming back year after year.
Michael McDonald / CEO of Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
Photo by Thomas Veneklasen
Q: How did you become interested in your career field?
Like so many important and worthwhile gifts that come along in a life, I kind of fell into nonprofit leadership. As a teenager I wanted to be priest, that is until I fully understood what celibacy meant (or wouldn’t mean). So I sort of wandered part-time through too long an undergraduate program at the UA while being a stay-at-home dad and working nights and weekends as a janitor at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Each evening I ran into the same little old nun who crept down the long corridors. She’d always chime out, “Michael, Pray for Admissions. Because without margin, there is no mission.” In well over a century of their healing ministry here in Southern Arizona, those nuns were more successful capitalists than any high-profile businessman I’ve ever come to know. Eventually I’d get a business management degree, work in a for-profit, and when I got laid off, stumble into my first “profit-with-a-purpose” (nonprofit) gig.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of your job?
When a peer of mine at another organization was struggling with the challenging role of being their organization’s titular leader, I thought of how much I enjoy playing the piano, teasing melodies and harmonics out of the instrument while hammering away at some fun and funky rhythms. All of this made possible by the great pressure placed upon the piano’s unseen workaday bridge, over which the sparkling strings are strung pitch-perfect and furiously hammered away at. An effective nonprofit leader should be that bridge.
Q: What is the greatest reward of your job?
The reward is that someone enjoys and benefits from the instrument’s (nonprofit’s) beautiful music. The greatest reward is when other instruments join in. Now that becomes the making of quite the community pachanga!
Q: Do you have any family members in Tucson?
My beloved spouse of 40 years and I are very thankful that our three children and five grandchildren live in Tucson, as well as other extended family across Southern Arizona.
Q: What’s your favorite food indulgence?
Along with an ever-present side of medium-heat salsa, my go-tos — brought to you today by the letter “B” — are beans, beer, and brownies.
Tucson Lifestyle Magazine is Tucson's only glossy, monthly city magazine, targeting Southern Arizona’s affluent residents. With over 35 years of publishing experience, Tucson Lifestyle is committed to showcasing the people, places, local flavors, and attractions that make our city unique.