Mike and Cindy Watts to be honored as Philanthropists of the Year

Mike and Cindy Watts are being honored at Founders' Day for their generous civic involvement and investment, a passion that began with their west Phoenix neighborhood of Maryvale and now extends to the Arizona State University community.

Cindy and Mike Watts are being honored at Founders' Day for their generous civic involvement and investment, a passion that began with their west Phoenix neighborhood of Maryvale and now extends to the Arizona State University community.

The Watts are co-founders and co-owners of Sunstate Equipment, a highly successful equipment rental company that began in 1977 in Arizona and has expanded to eight other states. They both grew up in Maryvale, where they met during a high school graduation ceremony. At the time, Maryvale was a newly developed suburb. However, like many ‘inner-ring’ suburbs, Maryvale began experiencing urban decline in the 1980s and '90s. To reverse this, the Watts made leadership gifts to the Maryvale YMCA and endowed the Center for Violence and Community Safety, an initiative of the university’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions, commissioning a study of the Maryvale Community. More recently they have gifted a generous amount to the Jewish Family & Children’s Services’ new Catalina Health Center, in their ongoing commitment to the community they grew up in.

At ASU, the couple has been been engaged with the university since 1988 and are lifetime members of the ASU President's Club. In October 2015, they made a transformative investment to name the Watts Center for Academic Excellence and Championship Life, an initiative within Sun Devil Athletics dedicated to the success of the university’s student-athletes.

In addition to these ASU commitments, Cindy also has served as co-chair of the Women & Philanthropy program at the ASU Foundation for A New American University and currently serves as vice-chair of the Trustees of ASU, an advisory body for the university and ASU President Michael M. Crow.

The Watts are dedicated to using their resources, both financial and personal, to elevate the quality of life for all in our community and state.

Cindy & Mike Watts - Philanthropists of the Year from ASU Alumni Association on Vimeo.