Priscilla S. “Prill” Kuhn has significantly contributed to the creation, development, and sustainability of the FMI. She was a very close friend of Frances McClelland for many years, and the two shared the same passion and dedication for improving the lives of children, youth and families in Arizona and beyond. Before Frances passed away she set up the Emerald Foundation as the primary means to distribute her financial legacy. Prill played a key role in the Emerald Foundation, and with her expertise and guidance over 19 million dollars were granted to agencies across Arizona through the foundation. As part of Frances’ legacy, the Frances McClelland Institute at the University of Arizona was created in her name with a large endowment that was shepherded by Priscilla Kuhn and the Emerald Foundation Board. Since the implementation of FMI at the University of Arizona, Prill has been a key advisor to the FMI and the directors, offering great insight into the vision that Frances wished to create through her endowment. She has remained an advocate for the Institute since 2009 and has been able to continue to find additional donor funds for the Institute, including a donation of $25,000 from the Emerald Foundation in 2016. The funds for FMI have gone to support research activities of faculty and students. In particular, the recent funds provide Family Studies and Human Development graduate students opportunities to travel to present their research at national conferences. The funds have also been key in providing a dissertation award for graduate students to complete their dissertation research. In the past year, two graduate students received this award. Melissa Flores graduated in May 2018 and she used the funds to cover costs of access to national datasets that are the foundation for her research. Additionally, Ana Fonseca received dissertation funds to recruit participants for original data collection in the Lang Observation Lab in the FMI. She graduated in May 2019. With her leadership and guidance, Prill continues to help make Frances’ legacy a reality by helping create opportunities for our graduate students to conduct important research relating to children, youth, and families. It cannot be understated how important these funds have been to support students' and faculty members' research projects that advance our understanding of parenting, health, relationships, and the development of children.
Prill is also currently serving on the FMI Family Advisory Council, which is comprised of over 30 individuals representing community leaders who have committed themselves to work with children, youth and families and who strive to make a substantial change in our Southern Arizona Community. The FMI Family Advisory Council meets on a quarterly basis, and it is both a joy and an honor to have Prill serve on this Council. She regularly attends meetings and shares her personal experiences working with Frances directly, as well as stories of their friendship. Her stories of Frances have been pivotal in bringing Frances’ story to life, and Prill’s knowledge of Frances’s aspirations brings her legacy upfront and present in each of our meetings. It helps to provide meaning and purpose to the work that we do daily. Additionally, her energy and drive are impressive at any age. She keeps the council on track and focused on our larger goals, especially as they relate to Frances’s legacy. In particular, in 2017, she pushed us to reinstate the Frances McClelland Vision Award Ceremony for FMI. Through her guidance, FMI redeveloped the Vision Award Ceremony at a larger scale. This was the first time that we held an event like this for the FMI. In addition to the Legacy Vision Award, under Prill’s insight, the FMI also expanded the Vision Awards to include two youth vision awards, a community practitioner award, and a community partnership award. We had over 80 people from across the community and university attend this event. It was a spectacular evening to celebrate the leaders in Tucson who are improving the lives of children, youth and families. It was also a lovely way to gain visibility for the Institute and also to connect with our Council members. It is instances like these that speak to the value that Prill brings not only to the FMI, but to the community as a whole.
Prill is a University of Arizona alumni who completed her master’s degree in Business Administration in 1981. She completed a degree in liberal arts from the University of Denver before coming to Tucson. She has a strong history and legacy of doing excellent work in the community, and she has substantially contributed to the success of Tucson through her leadership on a variety of businesses, including KenCon, Amalgamated Assisted Living Associates, and the Minerals Advisory Group. In addition to her entrepreneurial spirit, Prill has also served the University of Arizona and the Tucson community by serving on numerous boards, including the board of advisors for the Southwest Institute for Research on Women for several years. In the local community, she was a strong advocate for mental health through her work on the Board of Directors for the La Frontera Center. While she was on the board at La Frontera, Prill worked to solidify their financial base through their largest fundraising push ever. As a result of her work and leadership on that board, La Frontera has become a solid and reliable source of mental health treatment and prevention in Tucson for over 50 years.
Prill also served as the Executive Director for the YWCA in Tucson in 1972, where she first met Frances. They worked together for many years through YWCA, and, together, created a powerhouse team and friendship that has impacted the Southern Arizona community in an extraordinary way. Prill has created many opportunities for women, children, and families across Southern Arizona through the services and activities that she has provided through the numerous organizations she has worked with. It is evident that through her commitment to her community, Prill cares deeply about women, children, and families having fair access, equal treatment, and opportunities for fulfillment and success.