Our 2022 Community Impact Report
Helping communities rebound, rebuild and reinvent
Community is about belonging and making a difference together. We are stronger and better together and our impact goes beyond just volunteering and donating. It’s making sure everyone in our community knows they belong and feels like they matter. Arizona’s commitment to give, volunteer, rebuild and reinvent inspires us to grow our efforts and expand our reach.
Part of our mission as a credit union is to share success with our members, community and team. In 2022, we gave back over $4 million to our community.
I love how Desert Financial puts such an emphasis on giving back to the community! We have so many opportunities to volunteer here and it has been an incredible way to contribute to the community throughout my work week!” – Avalon, Desert Financial Team Member
Provided through corporate, foundation and employee giving
Raised for the 1 Darn Cool School at Phoenix Children’s
Awarded in Random Acts of Kindness
Giving Back to Our Community
Through partnerships and our own programs, we’re proud to support and invest in our community.
Grant Recipient Story: Tynkertopia
Tynkertopia provides STEM learning opportunities in the Flagstaff area. The $15,000 grant awarded by Desert Financial will help fund a part-time teacher and mentor to provide interdisciplinary programming for children who visit Tynkertopia, many of whom come from low-income families. “Building trust and becoming a member of the Tynkertopia family makes these children feel like they are a part of the community,” said Dr. Alice Christie, founder of Tynkertopia.
Grant Recipient Story: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley (BGCAZ) focuses on creating a true sense of belonging through sports, arts and help with homework. Programming for BGCAZ helps create equity for thousands of young people by supporting a safe club space where they can grow and thrive. Club members are guided by staff members like Bailey, a former student in the club himself now working toward earning a college degree.
Grant Recipient Story: Cory Nochta
Cory Nochta was a City of Goodyear firefighter whose world was changed when he was diagnosed with ALS. Desert Financial teamed up with the Arizona Cardinals and Sports360AZ to perform a Random Act of Kindness for Cory, who was greeted at his former Goodyear Fire Department Station by his firehouse family, Big Red, former Arizona Cardinals players and Cardinals cheerleaders. Cory was presented with a $15,000 donation from Desert Financial and a $10,000 donation from the Arizona Cardinals, for a total of $25,000 to help with ongoing medical expenses.
Grant Recipient Story: Northern Arizona Healthcare
Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH) serves the needs of communities over a 50,000 square-mile radius in Northern Arizona, including Native American reservations and the Grand Canyon. Desert Financial served as the title sponsor for the NAH’s inaugural Healthcare Scholarship and Awards program, helping to offer 13 scholarships and awards to NAH employees in both clinical and non-clinical roles. “Our entire scholarship and awards program is based on the outpouring of support from community members and internal leaders who see the value in lifting up NAH employees and giving them every opportunity to strengthen their skills,” said Maraka Oltrogge, Northern Arizona Healthcare vice president of philanthropy.
Committed to Education
As a credit union founded by teachers in 1939, we’re proud to continue our support for education through grants, donations, fundraising, corporate giving and volunteering.
Teacher Appreciation Story: W.F. Killip Elementary School
To show appreciation for the educators at W.F. Killip Elementary School in Flagstaff, our Flagstaff Mall branch team ordered lunch for the teachers from the local restaurant Jitters Lunchbox and bought drinks from Safeway. The teacher’s lounge did not have a coffee machine, so we also ordered one for the lounge, along with filters and the first batch of coffee.
Adopt-A-Teacher Story: Jamy Myrmel
Jamy Myrmel has been an Arizona teacher for 17 years. She loves making learning fun and engaging for her students at Humboldt Elementary School near Prescott by using hands-on projects. With the Adopt-A-Teacher program fulfilling her classroom supply wish list, Jamy plans to enrich her science lessons. “My hope is to get things like microscopes, owl pellets and other science-related activities,” Jamy says. “This amazing gift will be helping over 125 students … this has made me so excited for my 18th year of teaching!”
Impact Story: Live & Learn
Maricopa County nonprofit Live & Learn leads an annual back-to-school drive to provide underprivileged children with new backpacks and school supplies. By partnering with Live & Learn, Desert Financial can help provide students with the tools they need to succeed.
Impact Story: Back-to-School Supply Drive
For 25 years, Desert Financial has hosted a Back-to-School Supply Drive in our branches and back offices to benefit Title I schools around metropolitan Phoenix. Each branch chooses a school. “When I reached out to the principal of Moon Mountain Elementary, she said that she was going to play the lottery because that is how lucky she felt to have our branch pick them,” said Evan Pogue, manager of the Moon Valley branch. “These supplies go a long way and the teachers and staff really do appreciate it.”
Our Team’s Passion to Help
By supporting our community through volunteer service and monetary giving, our team demonstrated one of our core values throughout the year.
Volunteer of the Year: Diane Berdych
Diane Berdych, quality data analyst, put in more than 229 volunteer service hours and was Desert Financial's 2021 Volunteer of the Year. “Our compassion and kindness opens the heart and brightens the day for both those who receive and those who give,” Diane said. Thank you, Diane, for your commitment and hard work!
The partnership with Desert Financial Credit Union has allowed Native Americans for Community Action to provide more basic needs for everyday life to those who need it and has helped served 15,000 individuals. That is both incredible and generous but impactful in so many ways.” – Barbara Frakes, interim CFO, Native Americans for Community Action
The funding from Desert Financial helps ensure we never have to turn anyone away, and the decorated meal bags put a smile on the faces of our clients and bring so much joy to their lives.” – Bert Ijams, executive director, Prescott Meals on Wheels
Desert Financial Credit Union’s support has helped the American Heart Association fund life-saving research and equips the next generation of heart heroes with training in Hands-Only CPR." – Allie Routier, business development director, American Heart Association
Building Financial Wellness
One of the ways we give back to our community is through financial wellness programming and education. As many in our community are struggling to rebuild after job or income losses, we’re proud to provide information and tools to help.
Impact Story: Earn to Learn
Earn to Learn is a need-based program that provides financial aid to students through a matched-savings scholarship program. The organization plans to expand its programs to more fostered youth, indigenous populations and rural communities, and eventually, to reach students with learning disabilities. “Thanks to Desert Financial Credit Union, we have been able to build a more robust financial training program and development department,” said Devon Scheitrum, director of workforce development at Earn to Learn. “Our enrollment and graduation numbers have gone up over the last two years and we are expecting this upward trend to continue.”
My biggest takeaway (from the Financial Wellness webinar) was the spending method 50, 30, 20. This was something that I did not know about and that I will definitely be using!” – Earn to Learn webinar attendee
This webinar was very informative. I can’t wait to use the skills I learned in paying off and staying out of debt.” – webinar attendee
The main way that the financial wellness challenges have helped me is that it’s kept me focused on the goal my husband and I have of retiring by a specific date. Reading the articles, watching the videos and participating in the activities has helped keep our long-term goal more present in our day-to-day lives.” – Ann Herycyk, product development manager, Desert Financial
Desert Financial Foundation
Founded in 2015, Desert Financial Foundation gives back to our community through fundraising and education.
I greatly appreciate this scholarship. Once I graduate and receive my certification when I finish the HVACR Program, I will proudly say that Desert Financial [Foundation] and Yavapai College were there to help me along the way.” – Hector Zapata, Yavapai College, CTE Scholarship recipient
This is going to make such a difference for me and my family. Having that extra bit of help will help with all of my expenses as I pursue my educational degree.” – Remie Loudy, Adult Learners Scholarship Recipient
I feel double proud because normal kids have only one goal – school. For her, she has two goals: her health and her school. I’m so proud of her.” – Yanet, Yeira’s Mom
I always say that you only live life once. I am not going to be restrained by all my medication, all my pain. To not go out just because I’m not feeling well? That’s just a waste of life." – Yeira, Student at the 1 Darn Cool School
To learn more, review our full 2022 Community Impact Report.
Our Nonprofit Partners
If you are a nonprofit partner in need of support, please review our Community Giving Guidelines and FAQs.
Desert Financial Foundation
Founded in 2015, Desert Financial Foundation supports organizations and individuals in Arizona to strengthen financial capability through education and scholarships. Click here to learn more or donate.