The staff is overseen by a Board of Directors, which is equally committed to the mission and provides oversight to annual funding recommendations. Click on the links to learn more about our staff members.
After 50-plus years at the forefront of Arizona law (interrupted only by his Korean War service as First Lieutenant in the Air Force), Daniel Francis Cracchiolo could be enjoying his eighth decade in retirement. But this attorney and community leader, referred to by friends and family as a “force of nature,” remains actively engaged not only in the Steele Foundation, but also in the law firm he co-founded in 1970.
Dan was born in Detroit, Michigan, on January 9, 1929, the third of five children to Italian immigrant parents who later moved to Tucson, Arizona, just four blocks from the University of Arizona School of Law. Dan found his passion for the legal field in his new hometown, and graduated with his Juris Doctorate in 1952.
Dan was admitted to the Arizona State Bar that same year and began his career as a Maricopa County deputy attorney. After being admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1957, he pursued private practice—first as a trial lawyer and then as co-founder of Burch & Cracchiolo. The firm, which specializes in corporate litigation, high-profile family law, personal injury and real estate litigation employs 50 lawyers and remains a great source of pride for Cracchiolo.
Well-regarded as a “lawyer’s lawyer” and wise counselor to thousands of clients, Dan has received countless accolades for his role in developing Arizona’s law community. Both the University of Arizona’s law library and the ASU College of Law’s established Chair in Criminal and Civil Defense are named in his honor. The Maricopa County Bar Association inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2010 and several “best lawyer” lists continue to bear his name.
In 1980, Dan presented one of his longtime clients and close friend, Horace Steele, with the idea of establishing a charitable foundation. Upon Steele’s passing in 1985, the Foundation was endowed. Dan was appointed president and began shaping the Foundation’s mission and building its assets.
Today, as the Steele Foundation’s chairman, Dan continues to play a fundamental role in shaping Arizona’s philanthropic community and enhancing the quality of life in Arizona.
Born and raised in Arizona, Marianne struck out on her own after graduating from the University of Arizona’s School of Media Arts. Degree in hand, she pursued entertainment work in New York City. She started at the bottom in TV & film production until eventually landing a job as Jon Stewart’s assistant on MTV’s The Jon Stewart Show.
This experience helped to shape the rest of her career in TV. Working for Jon and observing the show’s writing staff in the creative process got her hooked. Marianne stayed with Jon until his show was cancelled in 1995, then moved to Los Angeles to work in the newly formed TV development arm of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment. Marianne knew that her passion lay in working with writers, especially funny ones. Over the course of seven years at Brillstein-Grey, Marianne worked on a wide range of programs, from The Steve Harvey Show and Politically Incorrect to The Sopranos.
In 2002, Marianne moved to Warner Brothers Television in prime time comedy development, eventually running the program as a senior vice president. By the time she had completed her contract at Warner Brothers in 2007, Marianne had helped develop hit shows like Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory. However, at the peak of her career, Marianne and her husband were also starting a family. The TV business was incredibly rewarding yet all consuming. After three years of deliberation, Marianne seized the opportunity to work with her father and help shape the future mission for the Steele Foundation.
“Moving back home to Phoenix and coming to work at Steele was a lifestyle choice for our family,” she says. “It was time for us to shift our careers so that we could focus on raising our children in the same town as our family.”
Marianne has found work in the philanthropic world to be incredibly rewarding. She applies the rigorous private-sector training she received at Warner Brothers to running the Steele Foundation on a daily basis, and looks to her three children as a constant source of inspiration as she shapes the Foundation’s future. “I learn so much from my kids and what’s working for them,” she says. “I see what you get back from a high-quality, early education, for example, or how important it is to have opportunities to experience the arts.”
Gail Flinn grew up in New Jersey and attended the University of Connecticut on a gymnastics scholarship. After getting her B.S. in Accounting at UConn in 1986, she begin her career working for Price Waterhouse in Hartford, CT and soon after moved to Tampa, FL to work for KPMG Peat Marwick.
After moving to Arizona to marry and begin a family, Gail held positions with KPMG Peat Marwick, Del Webb and Bank one. She joined the Steele Foundation in 2002 as Director of Finance, where she oversees all aspects of the Foundation’s financial and tax reporting. Now in her thirteenth year, Gail feels privileged to work at Steele where “we are really doing quality work and giving back to the community,” she says. Gail enjoys an active lifestyle including spinning, hiking and spending time with her three children.
An Ohio native, Heather Peattie graduated from Michigan State University in 2011. She joined the Steele Foundation in 2013 where she manages the administrative aspects of the Foundation and assists Marianne in the granting process. “Organization is my strong suit,” Heather says. “But my favorite part of the job is connecting with the nonprofit community and learning about each organization. It’s really made my move to Arizona more meaningful.”
Outside of work, Heather loves the fact that she can walk around her downtown Phoenix neighborhood with her two dogs and enjoy all the city has to offer, like music, restaurants and First Fridays. She doesn’t miss Michigan winters one bit.