For Scottsdale resident Liz Agboola, philanthropy is a family affair.
Agboola founded Senior Placement Services, an assistance program in Phoenix that prioritizes long-term, assisted living housing for vulnerable veterans, elderly, and the homeless with her parents and siblings in 2013.
And she recently rounded up her daughter and her siblings’ kids to deliver hundreds of bags of food and hygiene supplies to local veterans.
“They were so excited to help,” Agboola said of the kids. “They set everything up, they organized it, and we had this nice assembly line.”
From April to June, Senior Placement Services collected and donated 400 bags full of food and hygiene items to veterans at Horace Steele Commons and Victory Place.
“Through the donations of our wonderful community, we were able to donate and offer immediate resources to some of our most vulnerable veterans, giving each of them a month’s worth of supplies,” Agboola said.
The assistance program benefits those unable to live independently due to serious mental illness, traumatic brain injury and chronic medical conditions.
Specializing in assisting those applying for Arizona Long Term Care System, Senior Placement Services collaborates with homeless shelters and other care facilities throughout the Valley to ensure needs are met.
It also works with local hospitals to guarantee safe discharge for members requiring additional assistance following an inpatient stay.
“The relationship we’ve built with the VA over these past several years has certainly helped us understand the inner workings of a veteran’s hospital,” Agboola said. “And I think that really helped me understand my role on this board, too.”
In addition to president and CEO of Senior Placement Services, she also is CEO of Moses Behavioral Care, a group of community-based mental health facilities offering 24-hour long term care for the SMI population.
And she is a board member at Dignity Health and Valleywise Health Foundation, formerly known as Maricopa Health Foundation.
“I’m launching a program under Valleywise to help young adults. Millennials within their corporate environment come back into the field of philanthropy, understand the benefits of a board,” Agboola said.
The program is called Emerging Leaders and Agboola is currently soliciting the help of leaders from large organizations across the Valley to mentor these young adults.
“That’s one initiative that I’m working on that I’m really, really passionate about is bringing young people back into the fold of giving back,” Agboola said.
“I feel everything that I’ve done up to now has led me to bring the folks back that, when I was their age, I would have never thought, ‘Hey, I want to work with homeless population and find a way to make a living off of that.’ It’s just not a normal career path. So, that for me is a pretty big accomplishment.”
Agboola also hopes to do for her daughter what her parents did for her: instill in her a passion for philanthropy.
“Growing up with my parents and seeing what they did, by watching, it really made a bigger impact,” she said.
Agboola’s father was a pastor before retiring; and in her parents’ spare time they would volunteer at St. Luke’s.
“They’d see these folks that would discharge in the hospital and then they just sit outside and not really know where to go,” Agboola said. “We found that a lot of you guys were veterans and we thought, ‘Well, that’s not right.’”
“Now, we have another 34-bed facility specifically for the SMI population that should be finished in October,” Agboola said.
Moses Behavioral Care also has plans to build a 27-bed facility next door, in Phoenix.
She said Arizona has “a huge issue with our homeless” people who also suffer serious mental illness.
“They’re mingled in with the folks over at the shelters, and we have several shelters here that house them, but it’s not very conducive to their mental health. They’re required to take medication and so on, and you just can’t do that at a shelter — not effectively,” Agboola said.
She added that the goal is to continue to grow and meet the needs of our most vulnerable people.
“From my parents, I learned intentionality, understanding, ‘What is it that you’re really wanting to get out of this?’ And if it doesn’t serve you, you need to walk away. And if it doesn’t feel good, you probably shouldn’t be doing it,” Agboola said. “That’s really shaped a lot of the decisions that I’ve made.”