Health First honors Larson couple as 2021 Philanthropists of the Year

sedona news

Health First Foundation is posthumously honoring Robert S. and Loretta Larson as its 2021 Philanthropists of the Year for their generous contribution to community health and well-being.

Long-time Sedona residents and founders of Larson Newspapers, the Larsons left a bequest valued at $3.2 million to Health First. Their gift was realized last year following the death of Loretta in 2020. Robert died in 2016.

“Robert and Loretta leave a lasting legacy, a gift that will positively impact the health and lives of thousands of people in northern Arizona,” said Deirdre Meldrum, chair of the Health First board of directors. “We are grateful for their altruism. Their giving spirit and devotion to their community will continue to inspire us.”

The Larsons began publishing the Red Rock News from their home in 1963. Today, Larson Newspapers is one of the nation’s few remaining family-run news operations and includes the Sedona Red Rock News, Cottonwood Journal Extra, and Camp Verde Journal.

Health First paid tribute to the couple with a dinner and presentation that included Larson family members and friends.

In recognition of the Larson gift, Health First has established a $50,000 matching gift challenge to help raise funds for a before- and after-school program at West Sedona School, a Title 1 elementary school that serves many students from low-income families. The Wildcat Extended Day program is free to parents and combines enhanced learning, socializing, healthy eating, exercise, and play.

Visit for additional information on the Wildcat matching gift challenge.

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