BizTucson - United Way

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SPECIAL REPORT 2022

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

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A Century of Changing Lives in Southern Arizona By Loni Nannini Over the last 100 years, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona has been a change-maker, a communityconvener, a fundraiser, a problemsolver and an equity-distributor. This milestone offers the opportunity to reflect on an organization that has come to personify the unique people, power and infrastructure of community and philanthropy in the region. “Very few institutions in Southern Arizona have been able to mark a full centennial of service, but with the support of our amazing donors, investors, stakeholders, volunteers, board members and staff, we have been on the ground serving the community for 100 years,” said Tony Penn, president and CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. “Over the past century, we have touched the lives of millions of people throughout Tucson and Southern Arizona. In 2021 alone, we impacted more 132 BizTucson

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than 233,000 lives. And we know that every story of impact on a child or family or senior is more than a story: it is a positive life transformation for a person,” said Penn. United in Southern Arizona — 100 Years of Transformations

United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona began when 10 civic and charitable organizations in Tucson joined forces to launch the first Community Chest campaign in 1922. Hundreds of workers participated in the three-day campaign to “provide for civic betterment, and social and economic uplift.” Though it fell short of its ambitious $85,000 goal, a philanthropic movement was born. That movement vaulted forward in 1942 with the Tucson United Appeal, Inc.--the first Federated Campaign in conjunction with the Annual Workplace Campaign—which raised $70,910 and marked a turning point for business/government/philanthropic

partnerships in Tucson. Since then, the giving campaigns have been spearheaded by local business owners, entrepreneurs, politicians, philanthropists and influencers such as Evo DeConcini, Matt Mansfield, Arthur Pack, Katie Dusenberry, Bill Clements, Bobby Pennington, Humberto Lopez, and many more. In the 1970s, the campaign evolved into United Way-Greater Tucson and the organization began strategic planning to transition from a pass-through entity that raised funds for other agencies to a full-service United Way with direct-service programs. By 1982, with the recognition of donor choice as a key component of fundraising, the annual campaign raised $4.4 million and funneled money into 44 local agencies ranging from the Arthritis Foundation to the Boy Scouts of America to the The Salvation Army Tucson. www.BizTucson.com


Very few institutions in Southern Arizona have been able to mark a full centennial of service, but with the support of our amazing donors, investors, stakeholders, volunteers, board members and staff, we have been on the ground serving the community for 100 years.

The 1980s also resulted in expansion through affiliates in Santa Cruz and Cochise counties and the launch of the Tocqueville Society in 1984 to honor donors who contribute $10,000-plus annually. The millennium brought increased community engagement through Days of Caring, which has grown into the largest two days of volunteerism in Arizona. In 2019, almost 4,000 volunteers completed 135 projects. Other involvement evolved through affinity groups such as Women United, which supports early education and literacy; and Young Leaders United, which www.BizTucson.com

Tony Penn, President & CEO, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona raises funds for Opportunity Youth, a program to re-engage youth ages 16 to 24 with education and career opportunities. A new era began in 2010 with the arrival of Penn, who was tasked with rebuilding the organization after the 2008

economic downturn resulted in dwindling workplace giving and erosion of United Way reserve funds to assist local aid agencies. With 2020-21 Fiscal year revenues in excess of $24 million, Penn’s datadriven vision has centered on a strategic plan to address the underlying issues of community poverty through the three pillars of Education, Financial Wellness and Healthy Communities. United Pillars — Education, Financial Wellness, Healthy Communities

“Approximately 25% of people in Tucson and Southern Arizona live at or below the federal poverty rate,” said Penn. “That is unaccontinued on page 134 >>> Winter 2022

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PHOTOS COURTESY UNITED WAY


BizCHARITY continued from page 133 ceptable and your United Way is doing something about it by responding to community needs, transforming lives and focusing on underlying issues to bring long-lasting systemic change to the community. We know that addressing three tiers of Community Impact—Education, Financial Wellness and Healthy Communities—will facilitate our goal of helping every child and every adult to maximize their potential.” In Fiscal year 2020-21, with the help of community partnerships, contributions, grants and government funding, United Way funneled $12.2 million into Community Impact initiatives Education

PHOTOS COURTESY UNITED WAY

United Way’s efforts to advance equity and excellence in early education began in 1999 and was focused on low income neighborhoods with poor quality child care, as well as, parent outreach to encourage parents to seek higher quality care for their children. Programs and partnerships are diverse. Cradle to Career utilizes data to improve educational outcomes. The Family Support Alliance provides at-risk families with parenting resources. The Great Expectations Program offers free professional development to early childhood educators and My Summer Library provides free books to low-income Kinder and first graders in 9 different school districts to mitigate summer learning loss and improve reading proficiency. Financial Wellness

Myriad programs address the creation of financially stable households from career through retirement. Partnerships with Pima County, the City of Tucson and others connect low-wage earners with employment opportunities, promote financial literacy and position families

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to improve their quality of life. Among the most successful initiatives is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which provides free tax preparation by volunteer IRS-certified preparers for any household earning up to $66,000. VITA is now the largest tax preparer in the state. In 2020, it filed more than 14,000 tax returns for low-income families, resulting in a return of $26 million in federal funds to the community. Healthy Communities

United Way of Tucson pursues this imperative through unique collaborations such as the ELDER Alliance and the End of Life Care Partnership, which brings together nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, community partners and residents age 50-plus to maximize quality of life. In 2020, more than 11,100 seniors were served through various programs. Healthy Communities also works with community partners such as El Rio and Banner Health to improve access to healthcare for low-income, working families. “We know that a healthy community is a thriving community and we believe that all people should have access to health care and resources to maximize quality of life and dignity at every age,” said Penn. Ultimately, Penn said he views the continually-evolving strategic plan and creative collaborations as game changers in the effort to build strong, thriving, equitable communities—and economies—throughout Southern Arizona. “Your United Way serves as a connector between community and business, and that shared value strategy helps business to be focused on its most valuable asset, which are its people. Business needs community and community needs business,” said Penn.

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Tony Penn Leading United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona By Loni Nannini

Tony Penn is a master of the turnaround. His tenure as president and CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona proves it. Penn joined United Way in 2010 when the organization was faced with management problems and money woes. He immediately began rebuilding and re-engaging the public--an effort that has since led to 80-plus partnerships created with community service agencies and resulted with 2020-21 Fiscal year revenues in excess of $24 million. An impressive background in the forprofit and nonprofit sectors has buoyed Penn’s success. He credits his achievements to the discipline acquired as a cryptologic technician in the U.S. Air Force, combined with a skill set attained as a principal engineer and regional manager at Teradyne, a leading supplier of automatic test equipment used to test complex electronics used in consumer electronics. Those credentials were enhanced by nine years as VP and chief development officer of YMCA of Greater San Antonio. Indeed, he beat out 185 applicants to helm the United Way here. “In for-profit business, I learned to create shareholder value, meet quarterly metrics, manage multimillion dollar budgets and build relationships,” he said. “When I retired from that phase, I went to the next chapter with nonprofits, where I use all of those skills. I call that, ‘my transition from success to significance,’ and this phase has been the greatest work of my life.” When he came to Tucson, Penn was challenged with rebuilding an agency that was plagued by dwindling workplace giving and an erosion of United Way reserve funds to assist local chari138 BizTucson

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ties. A key building block was restoring trust with the community, he said. “We had experienced a bump in the road like all businesses do, particularly those that have been around for as long as the United Way,” Penn said. “We overcame that by being a community that highly valued United Way. We just needed to see trust and leadership restored, and all I did was bridge a gap and share with the community that United Way of Tucson is a valuable asset worthy of their trust.” Penn’s strategy for success included an emphasis on “The Four Ps”— People, Performance, Professionalism, and Passion—along with implementation and on-going analysis of data-driven metrics, a commitment to transparency and diversification of revenue streams. “Today, we have a complex revenue model inclusive of major gifts, grant

The great Muhammad Ali once said, ‘Doing something for others is the rent we pay for our stay here on earth.’ I couldn’t say it better.

– Tony Penn President & CEO United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

funding from local and national foundations, government contracts, the annual workplace campaign and endowments. That has helped us to strengthen our United Way together,” Penn said. Another benchmark of success is the institution’s “collective impact,” which is measured through the people served regionally each year. It has increased by more than 80 percent between 2015 and 2020. “That gives me a great deal of personal joy and satisfaction,” he said. Also, the fact that philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $10 million to the agency in 2020, after a rigorous review, also speaks volumes to the integrity of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. It’s the single largest donation received by the organization in its history. Penn’s philosophy about philanthropy is simple: We all have a responsibility to give back, whether through time, talent, money, or all three. “The great Muhammad Ali once said, ‘doing something for others is the rent we pay for our stay here on earth.’ I couldn’t say it better,” Penn said. Now, as United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona celebrates 100 years, one goal tops his bucket list-- sustainability in the next century. The agency is building toward a $25 million endowment to do just that. “A great institution that has made a difference to so many people over 100 years should not be starting over every year,” he said. “The $25 million Centennial Endowment Fund will create sustainability to take us into the next 100 years by covering annual operating costs to free up revenue for other critical needs designated by the board of directors,” Penn said.

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Tony Penn

President & CEO United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

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Penn’s “Four Ps” 1) It’s all about the people. “We are in the people business, and they are the most valuable asset United Way has on our team—or the team of any business. We must help people maximize their potential to provide the greatest opportunity for economic development and to build a thriving community together.” 2) Make performance part of the strategic plan. Penn believes that prioritizing high performance for staff, board of directors and other partners encourages excellence and accountability. “I have high expectations for Tony Penn every day that I head to work at United Way. Most days I do OK, and some days I don’t. If I don’t, I make up for it by working doubly hard the next day. Expectations of high performance for myself also allow me to have them for every team member and partner with United Way,” said Penn. 3) Professionalism is paramount. “My guarantee to every team member at United Way is that I will always treat them professionally and my expectation is that they will do likewise for each other in our organization. Professionalism helps create equity in our team, in our organization and in our service to the community.” 4) Passion is a priority. Penn said that love and respect for people across the board is imperative, without regard to race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, familial status or socio-economic status. “If you don’t love people, you are probably in the wrong place. We prove that love every day by making a positive impact on the lives of children, families and seniors.” Winter 2022

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Harnessing the Power of Community United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona Board of Directors

Lee Lambert

By Loni Nannini

Michelle Trindade

Edmund Marquez

Allison Duffy

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The board of directors of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is a reflection of diverse strengths and personalities that gift “Three Ts”—time, talent and treasure—to help the region thrive. “This board has a collective wisdom of lived and shared life experiences that we bring to bear to help create healthy communities and healthy families, and that is what United Way is centered around,” said Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert, the 2021-22 board chair. Lambert emphasized that “collective” is the operative word. “We bring together all facets of the community to solve pressing needs, so the future vision is about connecting all of these different dots to help make the community better for all Tucsonans. We can only do that with an organization that has a collective impact approach,” said Lambert. The philosophy hinges on people, according to 2021-22 Vice-Chair Michelle Trindade, who began gifting time as a young single mom serving meals to homebound seniors through an agency affiliated with the United Way in Lakeland, Fla. in 1997. Shortly thereafter, she began contributing small weekly donations through the Annual Workplace Campaign with GEICO. Her donations grew along with her career as she traveled the country, all the while exploring different United Ways. By 2018, she arrived in Tucson as regional VP of GEICO and joined the United Way board of directors. “This is a wise and fiscally responsible nonprofit with great reach and the way they rally resources is incredible,” Trindade said. “Not only through donations, but through volunteerism. Days of Caring is the largest volunteer event in the state. In 2021, my team had more than 100 volunteers working on 16 projects over two

days. That is harnessing the power of community. Impact happens through giving and through people too. You see that in a lot of organizations, but not like this.” Allison Duffy, a four-year board veteran and 2020-21 chair of the Annual Workplace Campaign, said United Way aligns with the level of efficiency and professionalism she demands from her own company. She is president and owner of Silverado Technologies, which provides nationwide IT services such as network management and strategic consulting. “As a working professional, my time is limited. Everything I do needs to be something that I have a passion for. It needs to be fulfilling,” said Duffy. “The United Way wins national and international awards for its professionalism as a nonprofit and a fundraising engine, with 11 straight years of clean audits and the ability to leverage $5 of impact from every dollar donated.” That level of efficiency combined with measurement of impact through data and metrics “is the secret sauce of the organization,” said Edmund Marquez, 2020-21 board chair and chair of the Tocqueville Society. Marquez, who owns the Edmund Marquez Allstate Agencies, likens United Way to an index fund worthy of investment because donors realize their time and money are used wisely. “I compare it to the S & P 500, which chooses the top 500 companies,” Marquez said. “If one company fails, the next in line steps in. That is what the United Way does with nonprofits. They choose the best, most efficient nonprofits to work with and if they do what they should, they continue to invest. If not, they choose another. There are 3,600 nonprofits in Tucson and we partner with the best and most impactful.” All board members realize that philanthropy is paramount and that everyone— www.BizTucson.com


1. United Way of Tucson board members 2. Helaine Levy presenting check from The Diamond Foundation 3. Tony Penn with Allan Norville 4. Hal and Debbie Ashton 5. Jim Click at a Tocqueville Society event 6. Margaret and George Larsen

at every age and life stage—has something to give. Many have also found that the journey of giving reaps unexpected rewards. “While it is heartwarming to be able to give of my treasure, it has been increasingly meaningful for me to give my time and talent, too,” said Howard Stewart, president and CEO of AGM Container Controls and chair of the United Way’s Centennial Endowment Campaign. “Frankly, I think that our Tucson United Way helped me to discover a part of myself that I didn’t know existed. You see, by gradually asking me to step forward at increasingly higher levels of the volunteer portion of their organization, I was effectively provided with the opportunity to break free of my lifelong inclination to be an introvert. In turn, it’s become easier for me to start asking my friends and other community members to step forward to help the people that United Way represents.” For those fortunate enough to have

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bring together all facets of “theWecommunity to solve pressing

needs, so the future vision is about connecting all of these different dots to help make the community better for all Tucsonans.

Lee Lambert, Chancellor Pima Community College

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the ability to gift treasure in addition to time or talent, Stewart has a special ask. “As each of us inevitably approaches our life’s end, those of us who have done well realize that we ‘can’t take it with us.’ As such, this is a terrific time when all of us need to open our eyes to find out how great it feels to make a big difference by giving back to effective nonprofits like the United Way,” he said.

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Amanda Stanley

Jeffrey and Sonia Schmitz

Stories of Success United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is about empowering people— those who want to help and those who find themselves in need of it. Amanda Stanley

Amanda Stanley has been both. A recipient of the Single Mom Scholars program from Interfaith Community Services, she found herself unable to pay her bills in December 2019. United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona provided assistance with utilities. “They really saved me. There were a few moments in the last couple months of school where I was going to quit because I couldn’t pay my utilities, and when you are two months from graduating, that is the last thing you want to do,” Stanley said. The support from United Way of Tucson allowed Stanley to complete her degree at Pima Medical Institute, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Stanley’s career took a new turn and she accepted a temporary position with Interfaith Community Services. Now a senior case manager, she has worked directly with United Way to distribute $18,000 in grant funds for rent and utilities assistance to families in need during the pandemic. 142 BizTucson

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“This has helped our clients tremendously,” Stanley said. “Most of them were unemployed or laid off due to the pandemic and some had to stay home with their children when schools closed. This money kept them in their homes and kept their kids in school, since homes were the schools.” Stanley said that the efficiency and ease with which United Way responds during times of need is a blessing for the entire community. “I definitely encourage people to support the United Way. It is an amazing organization with simple processes for helping people,” she said. Jeffrey and Sonia Schmitz

Jeffrey and Sonia Schmitz echo that sentiment. When Sonia moved to Tucson with Jeffrey from Rwanda four years ago and found they were expecting a child, she was concerned about being a new mom in a new country. Enter Healthy Families, a program sponsored in part by United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, which has provided free in-home assistance and parenting education for the growing family. “I was a new mom and had no family to help,” Sonia said. “Healthy Families came to our apartment and gave me in-

formation on what to expect for every trimester and techniques to help raise and play with the kids. United Way is important because it helps parents raise their kids in a safe and healthy way and helps keep families ‘United,’” United Way has proven to be an ongoing resource for the Schmitz family, stepping in to help coordinate a scholarship for free childcare through Quality First while Sonia works toward attaining her degree as an LPN at Pima Community College. “I gained a lot of support from United Way of Tucson—so much useful information for me and my family, but mostly now I have scholarships for my kids’ daycare,” she said. “Nursing school is intense, but I am happy my husband and I have daycare help so we won’t be worried about having to pay. I hope everyone will know about the many benefits we received from United Way and I hope they can receive help like we did. I would like to thank each and every person who is working hard for the best interests of our community. Thank you, United Way, for caring.”

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PHOTOS COURTESY UNITED WAY

By Loni Nannini


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Improving Lives from Beginning to End A Look at Cradle to Career, End of Life Care Partnerships Social transformation through creative cooperation. It can be witnessed in real time through United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona’s unique collaborations such as Cradle to Career (C2C) and End of Life Care Partnership. C2C brings together education and business leaders and other organizations dedicated to improving educational and life outcomes for every child through achieving key milestones along the pathway to adulthood. The partnership with seven school districts in Pima County now impacts 3,335 children, youth and young adults. With a budget of more than $1.2 million, it tracks seven developmental milestones, including kindergarten readiness for children birth to age 5, 3rd grade reading, 8th grade math, high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment and completion, and career attainment.

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This approach uses the data to continually set goals, plan interventions, act, reflect and adjust—all with the intent of achieving results. “We are looking at impacting those indicators of systems change, and to do that we bring people together who don’t necessarily work with each other on a daily basis. We work cross-schools, cross-school districts, cross-organizations and cross-businesses,” said Allison Titcomb, senior VP and Chief Impact Officer of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. The most recent results available show improvement in many of the benchmarks since C2C began in 2014: While less than half of third grade students are proficient on the Arizona assessment, proficiency rates were six points higher than at baseline. The percentage of students enrolled in high-quality early education programs rose by seven points.

Additionally, the percentage of 8th graders who met or exceeded state standards in math increased by 10 points. High school graduation rates were up slightly and career attainment improved by six points. C2C looks to continue this progress through its affiliation with StriveTogether Network, a national movement to help children succeed regardless of race, ethnicity, circumstance or zip code. “StriveTogether allows us to work and learn with and from other communities doing similar work around educational outcomes for children and youth,” said Titcomb. “That provides us with more resources to think about how we can do better and achieve continuous improvement. Systems change has to happen across the board on many different levels.” The End of Life Care Partnership continued on page 146 >>>

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By Loni Nannini


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continued from page 144 (EOLCP) is another impactful United Way program. Its mission is to “enhance the way we live by fundamentally changing the way we talk about death.” Anchored at United Way, the partnership formally began in 2017 with funding from the David and Lura Lovell Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. It’s now a national model that manages more than $3.9 million in grants with over 400 stakeholders, 30 investing partners and 19 grantee organizations including Catholic Community Services, El Rio Health, Interfaith Community Services, Pima Council on Aging, the Pima Juvenile Court System, Tucson Medical Center and University of Arizona Health Sciences. “Our work with older adults is a unique aspect of our United Way,” said Titcomb. “There are only a handful of United

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Ways in the country that work with older adults and this was identified as a key area of involvement by our community nearly 20 years ago. A critical component to this End of Life Care work, however, is that it affects everyone, not just older adults and that is a core principal of the partnership.” The services include endof-life care and support, training for healthcare professionals, education and advance care planning workshops, hospice services, bereavement and grief support for children and adults. “The EOLCP helps people to transition so they can live out their lives as they choose,” said Tony Penn, president and CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. “It also helps families so they don’t fall victim to the tragedy of losing a loved one at the end of life while facing the issue of not being prepared financially.”

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BizCHARITY Tony Penn and Edmund Marquez with MacKenzie Scott’s United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona donation

Doubling Those Served MacKenzie Scott’s Historic $10 Million Gift Already at Work

In a historic first for United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, the agency received its largest donation ever in December 2020--$10 million from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Though the gift was unrestricted, United Way President and CEO Tony Penn and team had a strategic plan in place to deliver the funds and essentially double the number of people the agency serves. That plan is right on track. “Our commitment at the end of 2020, when we received the $10 million gift, was to double our impact to 360,000 individuals served annually, using our current and expanded programming, by 2023,” said Melissa D’Auria, VP of communications and engagement, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. “A year later, we are at 65% of our doubling goal.” Scott, who helped build Amazon with then-husband Jeff Bezos, initiated a rigorous review of agencies to consider for receiving funds. “I asked a team of advisors to help me accelerate my 2020 giving through immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the (COVID-19) crisis,” she wrote on her website. “They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to 150 BizTucson

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those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.” It resulted in $4,158,500,000 in gifts by Scott to 384 organizations across 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.—her second of three rounds of funding. “These 384 carefully selected teams have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards and hotlines and frontlines of all types and sizes, day after day after day,” Scott wrote. United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona collaborates with more than 80 non-profit agencies, municipalities of three counties, dozens of local, regional and national foundations and coalitions and hundreds of business and educational entities. “Upon receiving this funding, our team deployed additional monetary support of $632,000 to bolster our United for Southern Arizona COVID-19 Campaign, which raised $886,000 bringing the total to $1,518,000. Our network and infrastructure enabled us to be the first local organization connecting resources and getting financial support into the hands of individuals

and families who needed it the most,” D’Auria said. In addition to supporting all of United Way’s existing programs and work, the money will help bolster more programs that address quality early childhood care and education, workforce development and asset building. Those include: Addressing the Early Childhood Education - Strategies to recruit, attract, retain, support, and develop a highly skilled, well-compensated Early Childhood Education (ECE) workforce in Pima County Accelerate Quality - Prepare ECE centers for a 3-star or higher Quality First rating, which opens them to additional funding to expand and increase the number of children in high quality early care and learning environments PimaFastTrack - A stacked credential program offering low-cost job training in high growth industries with sustainable wages. In-person and online platform programs are designed and available for adult learners The Direct Care Workforce Program - Recruiting, assisting, and supporting interested candidates to pursue caregiving jobs for seniors or people with disabilities. The program includes financial assistance, training and job placement assistance.

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By Loni Nannini


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COVID-19 Relief Fund

A Swift Plan to Respond, Recover and Rebuild By Loni Nannini When a global pandemic became a local economic and humanitarian crisis, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona responded with the United for Southern Arizona COVID-19 Relief Fund. To date, the unprecedented effort has raised more than $1.518 million and funneled funding to 35 partner agencies to fulfill critical needs requests from individuals and families reeling from the effects of the pandemic. “There are lots of things we can control, but the environment is not one of them,” said Tony Penn, president and CEO of the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. “The community needs a United Way that is agile and able to pivot. Our mission is to impact globally, but to serve locally. As a movement, United Way is one of the largest privately-funded social service agencies in the

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world with 1,200 United Ways around the globe. We are one of the best organizations at being nimble when things change, and certainly COVID was a dramatic change and challenge for all of us.” The organization shifted immediately into crisis mode with a three-pronged plan for response, recovery and rebuilding in spring of 2020.The first stage involved establishment of the COVID-19 Relief Fund with nonprofit partners, businesses, educational organizations and the media. “We had a small emergency fund that was used for different things over the years so we had a process in place to get money out the door quickly,” said Allison Titcomb, senior VP and Chief Impact Officer of the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. “Within weeks, we were able to do that so agencies could provide direct support to stabilize indi-

viduals and families with essential needs such as food and baby formula, diapers and health supplies, rental assistance, utilities, child care and other resources.” More than 150,000 families and individuals in Southern Arizona have been impacted by pandemic-related work and school closures, wage disruptions, housing issues and restricted access to basic needs. In fact, a survey from the National Food Access and COVID Research Team, conducted through the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, found that 32% of Arizona households experienced food insecurity (lack of money to buy food) within the first few months of the pandemic—a 28% increase from the year prior to the pandemic. Job disruption was a key factor, with Hispanic and low-income households

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impacted disproportionately. Nearly half of those with incomes of less than $25,000 lost their jobs. To date, the COVID-19 Relief Fund has provided assistance for more than 78,414 households. On average, $529 in support was provided per household and more than 14.6 million pounds of food have been distributed to date. People have received assistance with basic needs, with support facilitated through food banks, diaper banks, meal programs and other resources in conjunction with the United Way. Moving forward, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is focusing on recovery and rebuilding to help the most vulnerable members of the community continue to navigate food insecurity, employment instability, rising evictions and housing shortages. It recently pledged an additional $120,000 to the COVID-19 Relief Fund to aid community partners such as the YWCA, Interfaith Community Services, Our Family Services, Family Housing Resources, and Primavera Foundation. “Although your United Way moved quickly to meet the challenge, there is still much to do to help devastated families become whole again,” said Penn. “United, with our partners, we are coordinating efforts to help families not only recover, but rebuild.”

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The Way Forward

$25 Million Centennial Endowment Fund to Create Legacy of Help Stakeholders with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona have a vision for a sustainable future and an action plan to make that a reality: Raise $25 million to fund a living legacy through the Centennial Endowment Fund. “Legacy is being mindful of the fact that we live our legacy. By doing so, we not only share what we receive, but most importantly, what we give. That will be remembered far beyond our time on this earth,” said Tony Penn, president and CEO of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. The $25 million goal for the endowment is based on the premise that a 5% annual return will generate $1.25 million annually to cover operating expenses for United Way, creating selfsustainability for the organization. The remainder of funds raised through grants, government funding and donations can then be funneled into areas of greatest community need. To spearhead the ambitious effort, Penn tapped long-time supporter and former six-year member of the board of directors, Howard Stewart. He is president and CEO of AGM Container Controls, a Tucson manufacturer of products for the aerospace, defense and accessibility markets. AGM is a 50-year participant in United Way’s Annual Workplace Campaign.

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For the last 24, it has reached the “Gold Level,” raising $1,000 per employee annually with employer match. Stewart hopes to capitalize on that success for the Centennial Fund by heralding the proven fiscal efficiency and accountability of United Way. “One facet of particular interest is that on average, every dollar you give to United Way Community Impact Fund will secure more than $5 in local, state and federal grants and volunteer support: That is a 5 to 1 impact. In the area of education, United Way leverages that into an 11 to 1 impact for every dollar,” said Stewart. Stewart also emphasized the Centennial Endowment’s potential to free up funds for critical future needs that may be difficult to envision now. In the short-term, United Way’s board of directors has set a three-year goal to double the impact of the organization, which currently helps one in eight Tucsonans. “We know that if we go from a ratio of touching the lives of one in eight Tucsonans to touching one in four, we start to make a real impact on the genuine poverty rate,” Penn said. “When we get to one in four, we are really moving the needle on reducing poverty and creating equity in the community for all people, which is our goal.”

The Centennial Endowment Fund has raised $2.4 million to date. Additional opportunities to support the endowment include bequests through wills, retirement accounts or life insurance, and outright gifts of cash or stock. Additionally, the Annual Workplace Campaign supports all United Way goals designed to build thriving communities. More than 200 businesses of all sizes throughout the region now participate, representing a diverse cross-section of industry, nonprofits, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and more. Employees have the opportunity to give specifically to initiatives in Education, Financial Wellness and Healthy Communities. Alternatively, designations to the general Community Impact Fund will be directed to programs in greatest need. Penn emphasized that every donation, big and small, counts. “The Annual Campaign actually provides an opportunity for everyone to give back through automatic payroll deductions,” he said. “It is an easy way for everyone to participate in making a difference and gives people who are working the chance to be philanthropists. You give $5 a week and you are a philanthropist who is making a lasting impact in the community.”

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PHOTOS COURTESY UNITED WAY

By Loni Nannini


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2022

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