The Official Media Partner of The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

Arizona Gives Day 2016

By Giving Hope ArizonaFebruary 22, 2016

April 5, 2016 will mark the fourth year of Arizonans investing and rallying behind the nonprofit community for Arizona Gives Day, a day of statewide online giving. Any qualified Arizona nonprofit can register to participate and any person can find their cause to donate to at azgives.org. 

Each year, nonprofits compete for additional prize money based on ‘most dollars’ raised in various categories and structure their fundraising efforts around ‘power hours’ to receive the most donations above a set dollar amount within a 60 minute period. 

This is where every Arizonan and the power of collective giving comes into play. Any donation made, no matter what the amount, is truly an investment being made to our communities. 

At the end of the day these investments will total millions for the nonprofit sector to make our state a better place to live, work and play. We encourage every Arizonan to find your cause at azgives.org. (For your convenience, pre-scheduled donations can also be made.) 

An Inside Look at Last Year’s Prize Winners 

As we get closer to Arizona Gives Day 2016, it’s important to take a look back at what last year’s  prize winners have done with their donations to move their missions further along. 

You’ll notice that the list of prize winners is as diverse as the nonprofit pool you can donate to. Where are they now as they prepare for yet another Gives Day? Here are their stories. 

Seeds of Hope

We were ecstatic to learn we won $10,000 in prize money on Arizona Gives Day 2015! And there were a lot of ideas on how to get the most (bang for our buck)with that money, but in the end we settled on putting it toward retiring the debt on our community center. That might not sound very innovative or exciting, but that’s because you don’t know our story. 

Seeds of Hope began in 1993 as a local faith-based mission in Casa Grande feeding the homeless and offering an after-school program out of a small 1,200 square-foot home. Over the years, as new needs in the community arose, we considered starting new programs to meet those needs. Today we operate six programs under our mission to provide opportunities to improve lives through relationships and community development. 

As the number of our programs and participants grew, so did our need for more space. The dream of building a community center started with board president Mondo Anaya, a local plant manager for a national company. He was a champion for children’s causes and had a passion that couldn’t be squelched. He died unexpectedly in 2003, but his dream for Seeds of Hope did not.  In November 2012 we opened the Mondo Anaya Community Center in an at-risk and under-served area of our community. This 3,600 square-foot building is a place of activities for kids, youth, and adults. In our first month of opening the after-school program alone tripled in numbers of kids attending! 

Today the MACC houses the after-school program, grandparents raising grandchildren program and adult education programs. But in cooperation with other like-minded nonprofits, we offer our building free of charge to programs like United Way’s VITA, UofA’s Strengthening Families, a monthly wellness check by a local medical clinic, summer feeding site for our local school district, Arizona’s Children’s Association Foster Care Training classes, church youth group events and so much more. It’s a hub of activity five days a week. 

We’ve been told the MACC is a community treasure chest because of the opportunities for everyone there. Take Agnes for instance. She is a grandmother raising her five grandchildren. She comes to our community center and finds a monthly support group for other grandparents in similar circumstances. Her grandchildren participate in our after school program where they receive tutoring and see pro-social behavior modeled. Her daughter, recently released from prison, uses our computer lab to update her resume, apply for jobs online, and check her email for replies. Not only are we meeting the needs of Agnes’ entire family, we do it under one roof in a location she can walk to. 

The Arizona Gives Day prize money has allowed us to invest in the very building that lets us help so many different people with different needs. And we think that’s truly the biggest bang for our buck.

Support My Club

Support My Club has grown substantially each year since we launched in 2012, serving thousands of students in Maricopa County each year. However, our statewide expansion would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors and the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits. 

When students, club sponsors and coaches started reaching out from other parts of the state, we knew that we could make a difference in their schools, but we didn’t have the capacity and staff to implement programs. But on Arizona Gives Day 2015, our donors rallied together and we won our category and the prize money that came with it. 

This new funding allowed us to bring on Rachel, an AmeriCorps VISTA, to specifically focus on outreach and the onboarding of rural high schools. Since she began in the fall semester, Rachel has traveled all over the state from Yuma to the Fort Apache Reservation, Tucson to Flagstaff. 

Thirteen new schools have already registered, more than 25 clubs and teams have requests posted and nearly 1,000 new students are being served. 

Many new and impactful items have already been delivered to the clubs, including: a camera with video capability (to replace their outdated VHS camcorder), a robotic motor and wheels, leadership conference registration fees, matching shirts to show club membership and pride, sports equipment and athletic training tools. 

Once items are funded, the students show gratitude and community engagement by performing one hour of service for every $100 of item value received – thus completing the full cycle of philanthropy. 

With another six months left in Rachel’s position, our growth is anticipated to more than double in rural areas. 

Watershed Management Group

For Arizona Gives Day 2015, Watershed Management Group (WMG) unveiled our Restore Sabino Creek campaign and called on our supporters to help us raise $50,000. Restoring this verdant gem in the Sonoran Desert was so compelling that we raised more than $44,000. This upwelling of support took WMG to the top in the competition for Most Dollars Raised (mid-size nonprofits), adding an additional $15,000 in prize money from the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits—taking us $9,000 beyond our goal! 

WMG’s Restore Sabino Creek campaign is blazing a new path for one of Arizona’s most beloved creeks, taking the first step in changing the tragic story of our depleted and dying desert springs, creeks, and rivers to one of hope. 

In the past 60 years, the Tucson area has seen the loss of flow in the rivers that sustained human and wildlife populations for millennia. WMG is committed to reversing that trend through our 50 Year Program, and we began with Sabino Creek where once year-round flows have seriously diminished due to groundwater pumping and poor water management. 

With the money raised on Arizona Gives Day 2015, combined with other fundraising and small grants, WMG has accomplished our first-year goals for the Restore Sabino Creek campaign and the campaign is coming to life. In the last year: 

The WMG-led stakeholder advisory group made headway in creating a comprehensive watershed plan to restore Sabino Creek with input from residents, local leaders, hydrologists, and river restoration experts. 

Along with videos, social media, and online resources, WMG held a large public event at our Living Lab and Learning Center to highlight the campaign. More than 75 adults and children came out for Once Upon a Creek: the Sabino Story, to share memories and explore photos of the creek, experience a special “river revival” puppet show, and speak for the creek by contributing Sabino Creek memories to a national oral history project through StoryCorps™. 

We began planning a number of on-the-ground restoration projects that will install water-harvesting and stream restoration features on public and private lands along Sabino Creek to reduce outdoor use of potable water, improve soil health to prevent erosion, and increase infiltration to recharge the shallow groundwater that supports the creek. 

This vital campaign has captured the hearts and minds of our supporters and inspired many new individuals and partners to join us. In 2016 we are expanding our work to include Tanque Verde Creek, another vital riparian area that joins with Sabino Creek. 

Our 2016 Arizona Gives Day campaign will celebrate these successes and build on our momentum to raise even more money to support and expand this vital work. We look forward to another exciting day of giving in Arizona! 

Daring Adventures 

Two-and-a-half years ago, Daring Adventures was in dire straits. Along with a plethora of nonprofits feeling the effects of the recession, it was hit doubly hard by the fact that it was no longer a well-funded program of the Phoenix Parks & Recreation Department program. It’s mission today, as it was 24 years ago, is to improve the lives of people with disabilities through the power of outdoor recreation.  

In the midst of the economic  downturn, the city chose to close its adaptive recreation program. Fortunately, there already was a 501c3 in place to help it raise funds, but nothing to the degree necessary to run a full-time nonprofit.  

The board had the good sense to develop a strategic plan to map what they wanted to be and what they wanted to accomplish. This included hiring an interim CEO to develop the organizational infrastructure—board, fundraising and programs. With no database and no technology, Daring Adventures did not have any infrastructure to participate in the 2014 Arizona Gives Day, raising less than $1000. 

Last year we took a new approach. Partnering with a Valley Leadership Class 36 team, we asked for help to build our capacity. Through this amazing partnership, #TeamEverest was created, and we received over $70,000 in funds! We did this by holding our major fundraising event in conjunction with Arizona Gives Day, utilizing VL #TeamEverest’s knowledge and expertise in marketing, fundraising, social media, law, as well as spreading word of our program to hundreds, if not thousands of new possible donors.  

The result—Daring Adventures came in second place...nudged out at 11:59:59, raising more than $30,088 from 186 donors. With the funds raised Daring Adventures was able to move forward on its plans to hire a program director to help build a earned revenue stream, use technology to continue to communicate with donors and friends, hold its strategic plan update and so much more! 

2015 was a banner year for Daring Adventures, in many ways due to the new awareness through VL #TeamEverest connections to new friends and funders. It is pretty easy to raise funds for the organization once people see, hear and participate in an adaptive hike, cycling, kayaking, even sled hockey. It is so important that we are able to tell our story to new people to increase the breadth and depth of those we serve and support us.  

At this year’s Phoenix Summit Challenge, Daring Adventures had its largest turnout—22 participants who hiked both the four summit and adaptive summit hikes—including individuals with blindness, paralysis, Down syndrome and amputees. Our purpose is to help people discover their own abilities, sharing our motto, “It’s not about want you can’t do, but what you CAN DO!” 

In a nutshell, Daring Adventures achievement of its special event and Arizona  Gives Day was collaboration—finding a group of committed individuals who called upon their family, friends and co-workers to support Daring Adventures and share our message. VL #TeamEverest made all the difference in the world! 

Fast forward to 2016—Daring Adventures now has a three-year plan to build an earned income revenue stream to increase participation. We have hired our first program director and are in the midst of hiring our first permanent executive director.  

About the author: Alisa Chatinsky is completing her service as Interim CEO for Daring Adventures and runs a nonprofit consulting business specializing in strategic planning, organizational and fund development.  

Phoenix Rescue Mission  

A year ago, Michelle was living in her truck with her 7-year-old son.  They were evicted when Michelle’s addiction to prescription pain killers and methamphetamines consumed the family’s finances. News of the eviction reached the ears of her son’s teacher and soon, custody of her son was stripped from her as well.   

Michelle had been homeless before; she knew where this road led. But with custody of her son hanging in the balance, she lost the taste for the life she was leading. The Department of Child Servicers referred her to Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center.  

Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center is a place for homeless, addicted and hopeless women to begin again. The 12-month program is an intense blend of relapse prevention, counseling, trauma recovery and life-habilitation. Like Michelle, many of the women who come for help are young mothers. Many dropped out of high school and have never entered the workforce, or did so at entry level jobs.  

Thanks to the energy and excitement Phoenix Rescue Mission supporters shared during Arizona Gives Day, we have been able to make an investment in high school diploma obtainment, vocational development and workforce readiness. For the past three years, we have used our incentive prizes for receiving the most donations on Arizona Gives Day to sustain this powerful program. 

Michelle was in the first class of graduates from our Food Service Training Program. This 13-week course designed not only to give women the change to become ServSafe® certified in kitchen management, but to provide an in-depth knowledge about the inner workings of the restaurant business. It is a program designed to teach skill that will serve the women long after they leave the Mission. Michelle thrived and has accepted an offer to stay at the Changing Lives Center and help grow our Mission Possible catering business.  

 “On the streets, it was always clear where I was going. I was a drug addict. I was either going to die or end up in jail. Those were my options. That’s what my future looked like. But thanks to this place, the Changing Lives Center, I’m not only sober, I have custody of my son. Now, I have a way to move forward and support my family. For the first time, I have hope for the future!” said Michelle. 

Arizona Gives Day has energized our philanthropic community by showcasing the power of the individual giver.  Three years ago, Phoenix Rescue Mission wasn’t sure if participating in Arizona Gives Day was a good idea. The date fell around Easter and our Development Department wondered if this would cannibalize donations to our Easter campaign. We called our sister Mission in Denver and they told us we would be crazy not to participate.  We threw our hat into the ring and the risk has paid off tremendously.  We have used this spirited day to mobilize our volunteers and lapsed donors, as well as some of our faithful supporters. The impact of Arizona Gives Day has gone beyond the raising of dollars – Phoenix Rescue Mission feels more connected than ever to the non-profit community at-large.  

Humane Society of Southern Arizona

Since Arizona Gives Day in 2015, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) has grown by leaps and bounds in their ability to serve the communities and beloved animals of Tucson and southern Arizona. 

HSSA services continue to be focused on the organization’s three pillars of Shelter & Placement, Prevention, and Education & Outreach. In total, the organization serves more than 20,000 animals per year. The support of donors on Arizona Gives Day 2015 has allowed HSSA the freedom (and funding) to explore some exciting new programs, including: 

Jog-A-Dog, an initiative that pairs volunteers who like to run with a four-legged friend they can take out one or two days a week. This is especially beneficial to animals that benefit from additional exercise beyond the daily walks already provided to all dogs in HSSA’s care. Healthier and relaxed dogs are easier to adopt, and in its first two months of existence, ten Jog-A-Dog canine participants found new homes. 

The creation of a Cattery in our Park Place PAWSH retail location, giving cats a more feline-friendly place to call home while waiting to meet their new families. The Cattery offers both humans and cats a more natural setting in which to explore their friendship. Its addition has spurred both adoptions at PAWSH and window shopping by visitors to the mall. 

Pets And Their Heroes (P.A.T.H.), which provides a unique opportunity for military veterans to continue their tradition of service in collaboration with some of our extra-extraordinary dogs. Developed for veterans who may still be adjusting to civilian life, P.A.T.H. pairs them with shelter dogs in need of socialization and enrichment. By training, exercising and socializing adoptable dogs at HSSA, the veterans enable these dogs to find forever homes faster. The veterans benefit as well from seeing positive outcomes and through the creation of a therapeutic human-animal bond. 

Hand in Paw Youth Internships, a service program for older youth who have an interest in animals, animal welfare and compassion, and in role modeling behavior for younger children. The program provides practical volunteer experiences for youth between 12 and 18 who might have a career interest in working with animals or children. 

A new adoption partnership with Aloft Hotel, which places adoptable dogs at the hotel. Staff there are trained on animal care and are able to directly process the adoptions for guests at Aloft. The dogs serve as ambassadors to greet and comfort worn-out travelers, enhancing the overall hotel experience. It’s worked out pretty well for the dogs, too: HSSA is happy to report an average of one adoption per week at the hotel. The program even got recognized by animal advocate and legendary singer Emmylou Harris, who invited some of HSSA’s dogs and staffs to join her onstage during a concert at the Fox Tucson Theatre. 

The aforementioned programs, and many others created in the last year, give animals further hope and help support HSSA’s vision of a community in which all pets are cared for and loved. 2015 Arizona Gives Day donations made it possible; what will YOUR gift do in 2016?