The Cosanti Foundation

About The Cosanti Foundation

Since its inception in 1965, the nonprofit Cosanti Foundation has sought to influence the way the built environment is created with little negative effect to the surrounding natural environment. Through tours of the experimental architecture and sustainability-minded programming offered at its two sites, Cosanti and Arcosanti, The Cosanti Foundation contributes to a larger conversation about the importance of balancing humankind’s needs with the planet’s natural resource capacity.

Cosanti, in Paradise Valley, is a designated site on Arizona’s Register of Historic Places and is home to the former design and architectural studios of Paolo Soleri and where the earliest examples of Soleri’s earth-cast structures, dwellings, and workspaces are found. Here, he established The Cosanti Foundation and began producing ceramic and bronze Windbells, large-scale sculptures, and silt-cast panels as a revenue stream through Cosanti Originals to support the important work of The Foundation. Today, skilled artisans continue to design and cast the world-renowned Cosanti Originals Windbells in the spirit of Soleri’s design aesthetic and tradition.

In 1969, Soleri established his groundbreaking theory of “arcology,” a portmanteau of “architecture” and “ecology” to describe his architectural philosophy that directly contrasted to what Soleri saw as sprawling suburbanization and the decline of America’s urban culture. Fifty years ago, in 1970, Soleri began experimenting with his theories on a larger scale at Arcosanti, a 25 acre “urban laboratory” on 860 acres in Yavapai County, high on a 4,000-foot mesa, just 70 miles north of Phoenix.

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

Core Values

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.

About Arcosanti

The People Guiding the Mission

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

Cosanti Foundation Board of Directors

Patrick McWhortor

President and CEO

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Patrick McWhortor is President & CEO of the Cosanti Foundation, and serves as an ex officio, non-voting member of the Board of Directors. He is also a consultant providing leadership, strategy, and team building services for businesses of all sizes. Patrick is a Certified Associate for Emergenetics, which includes the Emergenetics Selection Program (ESP), which helps employers find the right people to join their teams.

Patrick’s career in Arizona spans nearly 40 years. He was founder and CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits for 10 years and has spent most of his career in the nonprofit community. He is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, having taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels in philanthropy, nonprofit management and leadership, public policy and political science.

Patrick has also served on many nonprofit boards of directors locally and nationally, currently serving Arizona Town Hall, Herberger Theater and Chair of the Arizona Advocacy Network. He is a past Chair of the Board of the National Council of Nonprofits. He also has a background as a lobbyist at the Arizona state legislature for education and environmental causes.

Patrick is a 2011 Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy Fellow and a 2004 graduate of Valley Leadership. He earned both a B.A. in political science and M.P.A. in public administration from Arizona State University. He lives in Cave Creek with his wife, a public school teacher.

John Walsh

Board President – Retired Retail Executive

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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.

Matteo DiMichele

Bank of America

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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.

Jai Singh Khalsa

Khalsa Design Inc.

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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.”

Kathryn Joyce

Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU

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Kathryn’s experience spans 28 years in the development profession creating philanthropic resources through leadership roles that have helped sustain the mission and vision of academic institutions and non-profit arts and culture organizations including currently the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and formerly the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Vassar College, Dallas Museum of Art, and the University of North Texas where she was senior director over four colleges including the College of Visual Arts and Design.

Fostering significant philanthropic investments while providing strategic direction is central to her work that has brought forward pivotal collaborations and innovative relationships. She is adept at navigating complex environments and guiding dialogues on leadership, diversity, and culture around a global mindset. She also provides counsel to non-profit organizations through her private volunteer practice, Philanthropic Resources.

She has served on the boards of fine arts organizations, private schools, charter schools, and cultural institutions.

Stephen Ostwinkle

Board Treasurer – Hunter Contracting

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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.

Jeff Stein

Board Secretary, Architect, and Past Dean of the Boston Architectural College

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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.

Dan Shilling

Retired AZ Humanities Council Director

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After teaching high school in Pennsylvania, Dan moved to Arizona in 1980 and earned a PhD from Arizona State University. He worked at the Arizona Humanities Council from 1984 until 2003, the last 14 years as executive director. Dan has served on more than 50 boards and commissions and has given hundreds of public presentations. To acknowledge his service, ASU presented him with its most prestigious honor, the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Dan’s research on cultural tourism resulted in the book Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place (2007), which earned him the state’s highest tourism award. Since 2009 he has worked with ASU to direct summer institutes for college faculty who teach environmental policy. His most recent publication is Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Practices for Environmental Sustainability (Cambridge, 2018). An avid hiker, he lives in Phoenix and spends summers in the mountains of the West.

Sarah Marino

Board Member

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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 (TN.com), 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

Managing Partner for the Verizon Business Group

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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 compliment each other and bring a unique perspective to the Cosanti Foundation.

Kim is Managing Partner for the Verizon Business Group, a Fortune 16 company, focusing on the retail/hospitality industry. As a global technology leader, Kim is recognized for her strategic and technical savvy, building high-performance teams, and intrapreneurial vision. Kim is also ASU 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.

Some of Kim’s philanthropic efforts include co-chairing the 2019 Crozier Gala, chairing the inaugural Forever Young (Steve Young) Foundation Sophie’s Place Event, and serving as chair of the ASU Professional Sales Advisory Board.

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

Board Member

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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.
Kate Bemesderfer

Kate Bemesderfer

1000 Friends of Oregon

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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!

Cosanti Foundation Executive Staff

Patrick McWhortor

President and CEO

patrick@arcosanti.org

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Patrick McWhortor is President & CEO of the Cosanti Foundation, and serves as an ex officio, non-voting member of the Board of Directors. He is also a consultant providing leadership, strategy, and team building services for businesses of all sizes. Patrick is a Certified Associate for Emergenetics, which includes the Emergenetics Selection Program (ESP), which helps employers find the right people to join their teams.

Patrick’s career in Arizona spans nearly 40 years. He was founder and CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits for 10 years and has spent most of his career in the nonprofit community. He is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, having taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels in philanthropy, nonprofit management and leadership, public policy and political science.

Patrick has also served on many nonprofit boards of directors locally and nationally, currently serving Arizona Town Hall, Herberger Theater and Chair of the Arizona Advocacy Network. He is a past Chair of the Board of the National Council of Nonprofits. He also has a background as a lobbyist at the Arizona state legislature for education and environmental causes.

Patrick is a 2011 Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy Fellow and a 2004 graduate of Valley Leadership. He earned both a B.A. in political science and M.P.A. in public administration from Arizona State University. He lives in Cave Creek with his wife, a public school teacher.

Rob Jackson

Director of Talent Development

robj@arcosanti.org

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928.632.6233

As the Director of Talent Development, Rob Jackson oversees HR, talent recruitment, volunteer management, and residential policies at Arcosanti. A resident of Arcosanti since 2018, Rob had previously been involved in coordinating the workshop program before assuming the mantle of Director of Talent Development in July 2019. Also, in 2018, Rob was selected to participate in the inaugural cohort for Emerging Sustainability Leaders in the state of Arizona.

Before joining the Cosanti team, Rob worked as an HR Business Manager, martial arts coach and competitor, Project Coordinator, and as an independent coach and consultant.

Throughout his career, Rob has cultivated a passion for developing people, advancing culture, and improving workflows within organizations. Working with the Cosanti Foundation has allowed him to unite this with another passion of his: sustainability and environmental justice.

Tim Bell

Director of Community Engagement

tim@arcosanti.org

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Tim Bell is a native of the Southwest and currently serves as the Director of Community Engagement for the Cosanti Foundation and Arcosanti. He is also the Chief Cultural Officer for the Arcosanti Convergence, a conference festival hybrid event that seeks to build community in the Southwest and beyond through engaging in global thought and taking local action. His work with Arcosanti and the Cosanti Foundation began in the fall of 2017, and he has lived in residence at the Urban Laboratory since March 2018. Prior to this, he spent a decade working as an artist and community builder in both New York and Los Angeles where he discovered a passion for leveraging his privilege to build bridges between people and ideas in pursuit of a more equitable and collaborative world.

Kelly Bird

Director of Marketing & Communications

kelly@arcosanti.org

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Director of Marketing and Communications Kelly Bird is a professional with over 25 years’ experience, the majority of which have been working in the non-profit sector. With an emphasis on arts and culture, as well as higher education, Bird has developed an expertise in building brands, increasing visibility and awareness, directing creative and messaging, effective media relations, and targeting audiences through traditional and non-traditional marketing channels. She is the former Interim Executive Director of The Lit (formerly The Poets and Writers League of Greater Cleveland), Vice President of Marketing at The Cleveland Institute of Art, and Director of External Relations at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and has contributed her talents and skills to the Cleveland International Film Festival as a marketing advisor for several years. She is a graduate of Miami University.

Vickie Mayer

Cosanti Originals GM & Director of Retail

vickie@arcosanti.org

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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’s 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.

Norm Pratt

Director of Education

norm@arcosanti.org

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With over 30 years of experience in education, Norm Pratt joined the Cosanti Foundation in 2019 as Director of Education. Norm’s extensive experience in education includes teaching as a Visual Arts teacher, Principal of an elementary school, and Director of Fine Arts for the Paradise Valley School District in Phoenix, AZ. Norm has also worked as an education consultant for Scottsdale Arts developing educational outreach and workshops for Canal Convergence, a 10 day public arts event. 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 performing musician, Norm is an active member of the arts community in the Phoenix area.

Our Financial Reports

Optimizing our limited resources is an intrinsic part of lean operations and is a core principle of arcology design. The nonprofit Cosanti Foundation prides itself on its commitment to operating frugally and responsibly and is grateful for the contributed income of foundations, corporations, and individuals who support its mission and vision.

See below for links to recent 990 financial reports and the GuideStar profile for The Cosanti Foundation.

2018 990 Tax Returns2017 990 Tax Returns2016 990 Tax ReturnsGuidestar Login

#metoo

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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