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At the heart of STARS’ enduring legacy is its founder, Mary King, whose unwavering commitment and tireless efforts have propelled the organization to where it stands today. In the following collection of narratives, Mary graciously shares her personal journey, offering insights into the remarkable evolution of this nonprofit that has steadfastly served its community for half a century.

A Discussion With Mary King,

founder of our STARS

Among Mary King’s most priceless treasures is a ceramic magnet painted in vibrant colors commemorating one of STARS’s past events. And although it currently sits broken on her kitchen counter in pieces, she knows her husband “can fix anything.” At 91 years young, the visionary behind STARS knows there’s always hope behind every challenge—great or small. “Nobody should ever be in a place without hope,” King says. “There has to be somebody that will help.”

Born in Texas and raised in California, King was a high school teacher and debate coach after graduating from college in the 1950s. “I had wonderful students, and we went to national tournaments very frequently. It was great,” she exclaims.

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The Not So Secret,

Las Madrinas

Mary King’s world unexpectedly came to a crashing halt one Saturday as she attended a high school speech and debate competition. An advisor and high school teacher in California, she frequently attended these events and was prepared for another day buzzing with activity. Amid the throng of excited students and teachers, the STARS visionary caught the glance of a familiar face. It was her neighbor, who informed her that her young son Miles was involved in an accident. Her then husband was with him at the hospital.

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Feel the joy

of making a difference at STARS

Share joy through opportunity. Your thoughtful support creates smiles and changes lives. Each day, STARS works to improve the lives of individuals with I/DD. By joining our network of donors, you are partnering with our organizational efforts to continue creating quality opportunities for lifelong empowerment and success.

Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes. We are a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law.  To claim a donation as a deduction on your taxes, please keep your email donation receipt as your official record.

Your contribution may be tax deductible and/or qualify for the Arizona State Tax Credit.  QCO tax credit can be claimed on AZ Dept of Revenue Form 321. Please reference QCO Code 20117.  Please consult your tax professional.

Donor Portal

Your donations have been an incredible force driving our organization, and we’re grateful for the impact you’ve made. We invite you to visit the STARS Donor Portal. Here, you have the ability to manage your giving activities and contact details—all within a secure and user-friendly space.  Within the portal, you can:

  • Track your lifetime contributions
  • Make one-time or recurring donations
  • Conveniently update your contact and credit card details