The Cosanti Foundation

Arcosanti Is a Project of The Cosanti Foundation

The Cosanti Foundation is an Arizona-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire a reimagined urbanism that builds resilient and equitable communities sustainably integrated with the natural world. Our vision is a world of equitable communities which improve earth/life balance and do better with less. We pursue this mission and vision at our two flagship locations, Cosanti (in Paradise Valley near Phoenix) and Arcosanti (near Mayer in central Arizona), as well as with projects, programs, and partnerships that hundreds of thousands of people have participated in over the last 56 years.

Through ongoing experimentation with and application of the principles of arcology (a combination of the words architecture and ecology), we seek to demonstrate a kind of construction and community that offers an alternative to sprawl development and a solution to modern social and environmental crises.

In 1969, with the publication of The City in the Image of Man, The Cosanti Foundation established the groundbreaking theory of arcology, a combination of the words architecture and ecology. One year later, in 1970, Soleri began experimenting with his theories on a larger scale at Arcosanti, a 25-acre “urban laboratory” just 70 miles north of Phoenix.

In addition to experimental and theoretical architecture, The Cosanti Foundation is known for forward-thinking environmental sensibility, advocacy for creating connected communities through vertically-dense live-work mixed-use spaces, and a focus on frugal, minimalist living.

The Cosanti Foundation’s Core Values

Little has changed about the core values of The Cosanti Foundation over the past 55 years. These central tenets still resonate with society’s heightened environmental consciousness today.

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Embracing Frugality & Resourcefulness

Thoughtfully approaching the built world and our practices in daily life in ways that are experientially rich but materially frugal.

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Nurturing Ecological Accountability

Supporting the world’s human habitat without burdening the Earth’s capacity and limited natural resources.

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Creating an Experiential Learning Environment

Promoting the empowering impact of “learning by doing” and the dynamic educational experience that comes from immersion in one’s work.

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Leaving a Limited Carbon Footprint

Advocating for an urban density model where mixed-use spaces make better use of limited resources and connect to economic, social, and cultural outlets.

The Cosanti Foundation has developed educational programs that help to increase our understanding of the importance of embracing these four concepts that guide our work. Through hands-on art-making workshops, lectures, publications, academic and cultural collaborations, and tours of the experimental architecture at both Cosanti and Arcosanti, The Cosanti Foundation continues to advance the idea of a better built world, one that is in balance with its natural surroundings.

The Meaning Behind The Name Cosanti?

Like arcology, “Cosanti” is a combination of two words that embody the spirit of Paolo Soleri’s emphasis against hyper-consumerism: the Italian words, “cosa” and “anti”, which translate as “against things.” The Cosanti Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1965 to advance a philosophy of forming communities focused on living more fully with less… and with less detrimental impact to the ecology of the Earth.

Embracing the concept of arcology, The Cosanti Foundation’s mission becomes more and more relevant in today’s world as human civilization grows larger and more complex. The need to live more sustainably is critical when society is faced with designing cities to accommodate a growing population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050.

Compounding the projected population explosion is the notion of how the Earth’s natural resources – the ecology – become compromised as food shortages, climate change, and a culture of relentless consumer consumption continue unchecked. To this end, the guiding principles of The Cosanti Foundation are a progressive rationale for why re-examining the way communities are formed and the human habitat is built is essential in the 21st century.

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Cosanti in the Valley

Cosanti in Paradise Valley, Arizona is home to the former architectural and design studios of Paolo Soleri (1919-2013). Here, Soleri perfected his silt-casting construction technique; wrote his magnum opus, Arcology: City in the Image of Man in 1969; established The Cosanti Foundation in 1965; and created Cosanti Originals, a modest bronze and ceramic Windbell business as a revenue stream to support his Foundation and his explorations into theoretical architecture.

Cosanti sits on a small 5-acre property, in a quiet residential neighborhood where it is surrounded by extravagant homes on land worth millions of dollars. Cosanti’s land was purchased for a mere $12,000, and given to Soleri and his wife, Colly, as a wedding gift. Having this land, and the freedom to experiment with building innovative structures on it, allowed Soleri to concentrate on his architectural and scholarly pursuits.

Cosanti was the catalyst for beginning to create Arcosanti in 1970 which, with its focus on sustainable building, passive heating and cooling, integrated live-work spaces, and a sensibility about preserving the environment, was ahead of its time.

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The People Guiding the Mission

 The leadership of The Cosanti Foundation includes its Board of Directors and Executive Staff.

The Cosanti Foundation Board of Directors

Matteo Di Michele


Charlotte, NC

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Matteo DiMichele is originally from Milan, Italy, and has lived in the U.S. since 2002. He received his Juris Doctor Degree in Como, Italy, with a doctoral dissertation on the international protection of human rights.

After working in Milan as a contract law adviser with a large telecommunications company, Matteo moved to Arcosanti where he resided and worked for more than 10 years with a variety of responsibilities including human resources management, workshop coordination, operations management, and the development of strategic partnerships with cultural institutions and universities.

In 2012 Matteo received his MBA in Supply Chain and Operations Management at Arizona State University and relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lives with his wife Emily, and their two daughters.  Matteo currently works with Bank of America where he holds the position of Senior Vice President with the Global Corporate Services team.

Jeff Stein


Boston, MA

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Jeff Stein AIA is an award-winning architect, journalist, educator and long-distance motorcyclist; alumnus of Arcosanti’s workshop program, and past president of Cosanti Foundation. Mr. Stein taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, headed the school of architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology and was dean of the Boston Architectural College where he served as architect-of-record for the BAC/Tufts 2009 US Solar Decathlon entry.

Mr. Stein has lectured about the work of Cosanti Foundation/Arcosanti in numerous public arenas including DOCOMOMO, FORBES’ Techonomy Conferences, AIA Conferences, The Santa Fe Institute, Oregon’s HOPES conference; and throughout Europe and the Middle East. Jeff was a longtime board member of the Boston Society of Architects, The Frank Lloyd Wright School, Ecosa Institute, and EcoCity Builders. He has published widely, including “Visionary Architecture” in the AIA 150th Anniversary book, ARCHITECTURE: CELEBRATING THE PAST, DESIGNING THE FUTURE.

Stephen Ostwinkle


Phoenix, AZ

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Stephen Ostwinkle has worked as a Structures Operations Manager and Contracting Director for Hunter Contacting Co. since 1985. Stephen has worked in most phases of Heavy Civil Construction, with an emphasis on concrete structures  from headwalls and bridges to water/wastewater structures. He is also a member and Director of the Dons of Arizona, whose mission is to promote the Lore, Legend and History of Arizona and the Southwest.

Stephen became acquainted with The Cosanti Foundation in 2005 as a contractor selected to construct silt cast wall panels as art features for the Soleri Bridge Project. Paolo Soleri and Roger Tomalty were involved in the project as artist and artistic consultant respectively. The Architecture of Cosanti intrigues Stephen, and served as the catalyst to become more involved with the organization as a volunteer.

Jai Singh Khalsa

Cambridge, MA

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Jai Singh Khalsa has been practicing Architecture and Urban Design since 1978. His firm in Somerville, Massachusetts is more than 30 years old and primarily works on mixed use multi-family projects. They have also done adaptive re-use, office buildings, medical facilities and charter schools.

Khalsa Design currently averages around 150 jobs a year. Projects scale from three family to mixed-use projects of 500,000 square feet with hotel, retail, residential and parking components.

On the community side, Jai has been involved in the administration of many Sikh related nonprofits and business boards for more than 40 years. Jai is also an Arcosanti Alumnus – he spent 6 to 8 months living and working in the Urban Laboratory and says, “I often reflect on it as a foundational moment in my development as an architect.”

Sarah Marino

Phoenix, AZ

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Sarah Marino is a Phoenix-based start-up executive and ceramics artist.
As former Director of Team Experience at Tuft & Needle (, the company that disrupted the mattress industry and revolutionized the employee experience, Sarah nurtured the award-winning start-up culture by producing large scale team events and a best-in-class work environment that enabled breakthrough work and team execution. Tuft & Needle’s culture accolades include earning Entrepreneur’s 2017 Top Company Culture Award and being named one of Phoenix Business Journal’s Best Places to Work in 2017.

After her time in the start-up world, she transitioned to focus on ceramics, where she currently creates both functional and sculptural designs that feature high-contrast, familiar silhouettes, with an eye for the underrated every day.

In 2019, Sarah and her husband, JT, purchased Paolo Soleri’s only commissioned residential home to preserve and share its unique history.
As a board member, Sarah brings a passionate drive to help develop and progress Cosanti’s big vision with a fresh perspective from her experience operating high-performance teams and creatively supporting digitally native brands.

Kim Ruggiero

Scottsdale, AZ

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Kim Ruggiero has held a variety of leadership positions and has a rich history of serving and helping others. Kim’s philanthropic and corporate backgrounds perfectly complement each other and bring a unique perspective to the Cosanti Foundation.

Kim is Professor of Practice for the Professional Sales and Relationship Management Class and Chair of the Professional Sales Advisory Board for the Department of Marketing, W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University – consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 25 of undergraduate marketing disciplines.

Kim recently retired from leadership positions in the information technology field spanning 4 decades with Verizon Business Group; AT&T Business; Co-founder in a technology start up; and technology solution-provider firm.   As a global technology leader, Kim is recognized for her strategic and technical savvy, building high-performance teams, and intrapreneurial vision.

Kim’s philanthropic efforts include Chair of the ASU Professional Sales Advisory Board; co-chairing the 2019 Crozier Gala; member of the Diocesan Finance Council; Chair of the inaugural Forever Young (Steve Young) Foundation Sophie’s Place Event.

Kim’s passion is international travel, focusing on experiential adventure. Recent trips included Costa Rica eco-travel, Israel pilgrimage; Iceland hiking and wildlife photography; and Egypt to experience the rich history of the country. With 50 countries visited, Kim is excited about future locations and experiences.

Ivan Fritz

Hopewell, NJ

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Ivan Fritz is a technology leader and filmmaker with strong ties to the Cosanti Foundation and Arcosanti dating back to the 1980s.  Growing up at Arcosanti, followed by living and working on-site as the Foundation’s first network administrator has given him a unique perspective around Arcology and where it fits in our current society. His ties to the community both past and present and his commitment to creating a sustainable future help guide his thinking as a board member. He currently heads up the technology department at Music Together Worldwide, while also growing CreatorTools, Inc. as President.
Kelli Huth Arcosanti Leadership

Kelli Huth

New York, NY

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Kelli Huth is a community engagement professional with over 15 years of experience in higher education. She is currently the director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Binghamton University in Upstate New York, where she works with faculty, staff, students, and community organizations to increase participation in community-engaged teaching and research. She received a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Anderson University and a master of arts in executive development for public service from Ball State University. She has served as a director on multiple nonprofit boards related to sustainability, food systems, and community history.

Kelli was a resident at Arcosanti from 2002 to 2006, along with her husband, Jim, and twins (born in 2005). During that time, Kelli served for a year as the public relations coordinator and for three years as the workshop/internship coordinator. She was also a member of the Arcosanti Leadership Team, focusing on human resources procedures.

Youngsoo Kim photo

Youngsoo Kim

New York, NY

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Youngsoo Kim is landscape and urban designer based in New York City and alumnus of Arcosanti. He is currently practicing landscape architecture and urban design with James Corner Field Operations as associate and working on projects in various scale from the rooftop garden to the new university campus design in US and abroad.

He lived and worked in Arcosanti from 2009 to 2012 as a research and design expert for Arcosanti planning department. During his three and half years of residency his main focus was on strategizing and visualization of Arcology. In 2012, Youngsoo coauthored book Lean Linear City: Arterial Arcology with Paolo Soleri and other alumni. Also he helped curation of Paolo Soleri’s exhibition in China back in 2011. Youngsoo believes Arcology as vision and Arcosanti as community have unique place in the era of climate change.

Nathan Koren

London, UK

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Nathan Koren is an architect, transport planner, software entrepreneur, and Arcosanti Alumnus. He was an Arcosanti resident from 1992-1996, during which he established the Arcosanti website, guided the transition of the planning department from paper to CAD, and created graphics and animations for several major exhibits.
Since then, Nathan has worked as an architect focused on mixed-use transit-oriented infill development, and a transport planner focused on zero-emission demand-responsive autonomous vehicles. His work has taken him to more than a dozen countries, consulting on hundreds of developments. He has also co-founded several software companies, including Futurescaper — a collective-intelligence platform, co-founded with another Arcosanti Alumnus, which has been used to generate insight into everything from car-free urban futures in Stockholm to solving communal conflicts in Sudan; and Podaris — a platform for collaborative transport and development planning, enabling planners and engineers to co-create transport networks in a way never before possible. Nathan‘s long-term goal is to develop tools and processes needed to facilitate the creation of arcologies.
Nathan holds a BsD in Architecture from Arizona State University, and an MBA from the University of Oxford.

The Cosanti Foundation Executive Staff

John Walsh

Interim Executive Director

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John Retired from the fashion industry in 2015 after a 40-year career with a variety of companies in the retail sector of the business. Key positions that John held during that time were: President, COO of Calvin Klein Retail, President, COO of G.H. Bass & CO, Executive VP of Donna Karan International and Executive VP of Van Heusen Retail. Since retiring in 2015, John has primarily devoted his time to the nonprofit sector as a board member and board chair of the Cosanti Foundation.

John’s skill set is business development, strategic planning, brand positioning, team building and organization. Over the years, John has turned around failing businesses, started new businesses and established organic growth strategies with proven success. John believes in building strong leadership teams that aspire to top quartile performance. Teams that lead through example and take every opportunity to train and counsel new talent with an eye toward succession. Guiding thought; A team is only as strong as its weakest link.

Kate Bemesderfer

Kate Bemesderfer

Senior Director of Development & Communications

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Kate is a nonprofit education and development professional with more than 20 years of experience. Her passion is finding ways to take complex ideas and turn them into compelling stories, connecting great causes to people who care.

In 2012, she spent two life-changing years living at Arcosanti, where she was the PR & Development Coordinator as well as a member of Arcosanti Community Council. Her time with Cosanti Foundation was one of growth and transition, and her work included significant expansion of both digital engagement and Arcosanti’s live events, including the establishment of the multi-day FORM festival. She has since served on both the Strategic Plan Steering Committee and the Arcosanti Cooperative Board of Directors. She remains close with the current Arcosanti community and its extended alumni network, and active with the co-op in the planning and production of its annual Convergence festival.

Since 2014, Kate has resided in Portland, Oregon, where she is currently the Development Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, a statewide nonprofit that safeguards Oregon’s unique land use planning program. This program began in 1973 as a means of protecting Oregon’s vital farmland and environmental treasures from unchecked urban sprawl, while also ensuring the development of compact, highly-livable towns and cities inside of intentionally-set urban growth boundaries. For Kate, it’s a logic that resonates strongly with the principles of arcology upon which Cosanti Foundation and Arcosanti are founded. Perhaps that’s why there are so many Cosanti Originals windbells in Oregon!

Larry Bergholz

Larry Bergholz

Chief Operations Officer

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Larry Bergholz was born in Omaha, Nebraska and has worked in the financial field for over 30 years. Larry graduated from University of Nebraska Omaha with his Bachelor’s in Accounting. Previously serving as the Chief Financial and Operations Office at Gabriel’s Angels and Chief Financial Officer at Presbyterian Service Agency, Larry’s professional experience gives him a unique perspective in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Larry began working as the Chief Operations Officer in 2021. With a passion for nonprofits, Larry looks forward to responsibly overseeing the financial health of the agency and helping support the growth of the Cosanti mission.

Nikki Check

Nikki Check

Director of Experience & Operations

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Nikki Check is an Arizona native that has spent her life cultivating the local communities around her through agriculture, education, and public policy.

With a BA in Agroecology from Prescott College, she launched into developing the Arizona wine industry in 2008 as a vineyard manager for Merkin Vineyards and quickly began working with Yavapai College to teach courses on grape growing. She was the founding director of the Southwest Wine Center at Yavapai College and went on to help emerging vintners establish over 40 acres of new vineyards throughout the state as a vineyard consultant.

During that time she was elected Mayor of Jerome in 2012 which inspired a run for the state senate in 2016. Through public service, she developed an understanding of rural economies and community development in small towns. Nikki also has a strong interest and experience using sustainable building materials that are suitable for the chemically sensitive such as hempcrete and natural hydraulic lime plaster.

Nikki believes in the power of good food, beverages, and meeting places to create and cultivate community . Her skills in vision building, partnership, and strategic planning stand to further develop Arcosanti and Cosanti and as friendly, inspiring, and economical destination locations.

Norm Pratt

Director of Education

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Norm Pratt comes to the Cosanti Foundation with over 30 years of experience in education and the Arts. Norm’s extensive experience in education includes teaching as a Visual Arts teacher, moving into administration as Principal of Grayhawk Elementary School, and then to the district level as Director of Fine Arts for the Paradise Valley School District in Phoenix, AZ. Norm has also worked as an education consultant developing educational programs, community outreach and community workshops. He graduated from Arizona State University with a B.F.A. in Printmaking, a Post Baccalaureate in Visual Arts education, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.

As a life-long advocate of the arts as well as a current performing musician, Norm is an active member of the arts community in the Phoenix area. In addition to performing, his broad music career includes recording and producing artists as well as in 2002 starting an independent record label, Perfect Circle Records. Since visiting Arcosanti for the first time in 1976, Norm has been passionate about design and its impact on the environment.

Scott Riley

Director of Site Management


Vickie Mayer

General Manager of Cosanti Originals & Director of Retail

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Cosanti Originals General Manager and Director of Retail, Vickie Mayer assumed leadership of Cosanti Originals, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cosanti Foundation, in 2019. She is a retail veteran with over 30 years’ management and merchant experience; within Department Stores, Big Box retail and eCommerce platforms. Vickie forte as a strategic leader, along with her unwavering commitment to excellence, integrity, and quality, brings hands-on experience to the organization. She is leading Cosanti Originals with a focus on service excellence, product development, eCommerce growth and distribution channel expansion. A long-time resident of Arizona, Vickie is passionate about travel and enjoying her desert surroundings.

Our Financial Reports

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, The Cosanti Foundation is pleased to be able to share our annual IRS Form 990 with the public. Our Federal Tax ID Number is 86-0208931. Our fiscal year runs December 1st through November 30th.

Form 990 for FY 2019-2020Form 990 for FY 2018-2019Form 990 for FY 2017-2018


The #metoo movement has brought to light many abuses against women around the world that were not previously acknowledged and addressed. As a microcosm of the macrocosm, The Cosanti Foundation has had its own issues relating to abuse that we have chosen to address directly and proactively. Visit our #MeToo page to learn more.

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Black Lives Matter

For over two decades at Arcosanti, The Cosanti Foundation celebrated Juneteenth with performances, concerts, and programming to celebrate and draw attention to the historic and profound significance of this day. While we are not able to gather together publicly this year, we mark Juneteenth once again with a pledge to continue listening, learning, and identifying the steps we can take to continue our commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement and add our support and voice to a movement that has long moved us.

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