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Giving More Back to Our Community in 2020
Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop Desert Financial’s mission to share success with our members, team and community across Arizona. See how we were able to give even more back in 2020 through grants and donations to local nonprofits, volunteering, COVID-19 relief and more!
The past year brought unforeseen challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of American families were faced with unemployment and food insecurity. Hospitals and medical centers lacked the supplies they needed to protect their staff. As the year went on, dwindling donations left local nonprofits struggling to help their communities.
At Desert Financial, we’re committed to sharing success with our community in good times and in challenging ones. So, in 2020, while other organizations needed to pull back on their giving programs, we were proud to double down on our support for communities throughout Arizona.
We challenged ourselves to turn obstacles into opportunities! Here’s a special look at our giving efforts in 2020, including some incredibly touching moments with the community organizations that we were able to help this year.
Total giving in 2020: $3.8 million
COVID-19 Relief: $1.1 million
Hours volunteered by our team: 7,015
Random Acts of Kindness performed: 9,176
When local nonprofits and community members were struggling as a result of the pandemic, Desert Financial stepped up to help those in need. From donations to help restock the empty pantries at local food banks to providing the supplies that healthcare workers needed to stay safe, we partnered with local organizations to ensure Arizona’s most vulnerable populations could weather the storm.
On June 26, 2020, members of our team visited Flagstaff Medical Center, one of the hardest hit facilities in Northern Arizona. During our visit, we presented a donation to support the staff and frontline workers tasked with caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients every day, including:
“Your heroic efforts have not gone unnoticed,” said Desert Financial’s Executive Vice President Ron Amstutz. “We know many of your teams have made significant sacrifices, worked long hours and stepped up to help in other areas. Your commitment and adaptability have helped save countless lives, including the lives of patients who need routine hospital care and treatment.” Watch the full video of the event below.
New Giving Programs
With many nonprofits struggling with cancelled fundraising events, fewer donations, and the inability to use in-person volunteers, we wanted to step up our efforts to support groups providing critical services in our community. We introduced two new giving programs during the holiday season to support local nonprofits:
- $130,000 in Season of Giving Donations to 13 local nonprofits
- $80,000 in employee-directed donations to nonprofits of their choice
In December of 2020, we mailed a special gift to 13 local nonprofits. Watch the video below to see reactions from some of the nonprofit staff members as they open their holiday surprises!
Fundraising & Donations
Through matching dollars and new opportunities, we helped our partners raise funds for critical services and programs. Thanks to the generosity of our members and team, we successfully raised funds online to support these amazing organizations and causes.
With many schools transitioning to digital learning platforms during the pandemic, students were expected to have the equipment they needed to attend virtual classes. Unfortunately, an estimated 17% of students nationwide don’t have access to a laptop or home computer1, and many more share a device with their siblings. To help bridge this digital divide, Desert Financial hosted a Student Laptop Drive before the start of the new school year, offering to match the first $20,000 donated.
On June 23, 2020 representatives from Desert Financial joined teachers and administrators from two schools in the Litchfield Elementary School District to present the first round of laptops to students.
Through our partnership with Laptops 4 Learning (L4L), we quickly delivered some of the donated funds to purchase 100 laptops for students in need in the district. Most of the students received their laptops through a drive-thru pick up process, with many of them sharing their homemade signs and posters of appreciation. “You could just see how excited the students were to receive these laptops,” said Emma Garcia, AVP of Community Relations at Desert Financial.
In addition to partnering with local schools, Laptops 4 Learning helps organizations like North Star Independent Living, a facility for children and young adults in foster care. At one of their facilities, more than 40 students were sharing a single laptop! We exceeded our fundraising goal by more than $27,000, allowing L4L to purchase over 350 laptops for local students in need.
Random Acts of Kindness, Teacher Appreciation and MORE!
Desert Financial was founded in 1939 by 15 Valley educators. We continue their legacy of support today through Teacher Appreciation events, our Random Acts of Kindness program and financial wellness classes that empower our members with knowledge.
- $539,190+ in Random Acts of Kindness
- 2,177 people participated in 56 free financial wellness webinars
- $173,000 in scholarships awarded to 100 local students
- $110,000 in Teacher Appreciation gifts
- Title sponsor of Arizona Educational Foundation’s Teacher of the Year and Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program
Desert Financial typically hosts in-person Teacher Appreciation events at schools throughout Arizona. This year, we were faced with the challenge of recognizing these deserving educators during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many schools had introduced virtual programs or instituted social distancing policies that don’t allow for group gatherings. We met the challenge by creating a new “Ding-Dong Drop-Off” program, where we delivered supplies to schools while socially distancing to keep everyone safe.
Check out the video to see our Ding-Dong Drop-Offs in action!
Looking Ahead to 2021
This year reminded us of the importance of sharing success with our members, community and team. While we can’t predict the road ahead, we know that we can overcome obstacles and transform them into opportunities to aid our community! We look forward to continuing our giving programs in the year ahead and to coming up with new and innovative ways to spread kindness throughout all of Arizona.