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Inspiring Woman on a Mission: Vicki Burton-Taunton


Tomorrow is Independence Day in the United States. Our national holiday marks the day we declared ourselves free from a government our Founding Fathers felt was tyrannical. Perhaps more importantly, it’s the day we told the world that self-determination and self-reliance were key to the American heart and mind.

It’s a sentiment worthy of all the fireworks that will be launched tomorrow. Yes, indeed! 

Sadly, individual independence is not something everyone enjoys.

Whether it’s an environmental condition, sickness or self-imposed situation, there are people out there that are robbed of the independence their forefathers dreamed for them.

I know for many (if not all) of you are working to make the world a better place by serving others and empowering them so they can achieve independence. It’s the foundation upon which your nonprofit stands, whether it involves helping the homeless, feeding the hungry, teaching children, caring for the elderly or protecting the environment.

You are part of an elite group who begin the movements, start the nonprofits, and bring forth the greater good in our world.

Without you, we all would suffer.

For that reason, I feel compelled to bring greater awareness to the work of fellow “do-gooders.”

So starting this month, I’m launching what I’m calling “Women on a Mission.”

Each month we’ll feature a woman on a mission who is impacting the lives of others in such a powerful way that we want to be sure as many people as possible are aware of the amazing work they are doing.

We want to connect you to them not only because they are awesome, but because we believe their stories, marketing savvy, and sheer determination will inspire you in your mission. They might just spark an idea that would enhance or strengthen your outreach.

Hey, a little marketing love share from like-minded people is always a good thing!

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to a dear friend of mine, Vicki Burton-Taunton. She is the founder of The Shadows Foundation who provides services and financial assistance to individuals affected by life threatening disease.

Vicki works tirelessly (honestly, I think she has superhuman powers) and with such love and passion that I am in awe of her.

When she was younger, Vicki’s parents opened their home to her aunt, who was dying of cancer. Vicki and her Mom also had their own brushes with cancer (both are in remission), but the experiences made Vicki realize that her “soul passion” was to help those individuals and families facing such hardships.

The assistance Vicki and her team offer is wide-ranging, from providing transportation aid to those traveling for treatment, to deferring the costs of medicines, paying for utilities and offering professional services (from legal to household repairs) for free.

In 2012, Shadows Foundation achieved another milestone, the “Hearts Worth Saving” program that provides local first responders with advanced screening to detect heart conditions in this high-risk population. 

More recently, Shadows Foundation partnered with the Flagstaff police department to develop a compassionate solution to panhandling. The Better Bucks Program allows donors to purchase vouchers that can be given instead of cash and used for non-alcoholic and non-tobacco related goods. In recognition for her efforts and partnership in this program, Vicki was awarded the Flagstaff Police Departments Community Champion Award. This award is given to a person or entity that goes above and beyond in nurturing intra community relationships.

Vicki is famous in our community for her over-the-top events that definitely put the “fun” back in “fundraising.” There’s the “Big Sting (It’s a Country Thing)” music festival and one of the most creative raffles I’ve ever heard of (“Beth’s Ball Drop,” where 500 numbered golf balls are dropped from a helicopter and the one closest to the pin wins). Not to mention a celebrity golf tournament and the “Hearts of Hope” evening celebration that always feature innovative entertainment, such as aerial artists.

You can learn more about Vicki and The Shadows Foundation here.

Be sure to check out that Events page for some awesome ideas on fundraising.


Are you a Woman on a Mission? A #ChangeMaker working hard to make the world a kinder, brighter place for those in need? I'd love to share your story.

All you have to do is fill out this form and share with me your vision, your mission, your journey and the impact you're making through the work of your small nonprofit. I'd love to feature you as a Woman on a Mission AND bring a little more attention to your good work with a little marketing love!


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