Category Archives: Charity

Help Us Save Lives at our Annual Blood Drive

Austin Chico

Austin Chico, Sr.

Come on out on Wednesday, March 7 for our 5th annual Bank of Tucson Blood Drive in honor of Austin Chico Sr. to benefit the American Red Cross. From 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., we’ll have a Red Cross Bloodmobile at 4400 E. Broadway.

Each unit of blood can save up to three lives, and some of our past drives have raised nearly 20 units of blood, meaning 60 lives potentially saved through just one of our blood drives.

Erin Chico, our VP Customer Service Manager, lost her husband, Austin, four years ago to Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). MDS is a diverse bone marrow disorder in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. Erin and her family are passionate about the American Red Cross, as they relied on blood donations to support Austin throughout his treatment.

Whether the need is for medical treatment or natural disaster relief, it is important for The American Red Cross to have blood of all types available and Bank of Tucson is proud to be help meet that need.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be in good general health and feeling well, be at least 17 years old in most states and weigh at least 110 pounds. To learn more about donating blood, you can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). If you can’t donate blood, or if you’re already a blood donor and want to do more, the American Red Cross is always recruiting volunteers.

A heartfelt thank you in advance to everyone who participates in our blood drive in honor of Austin Chico Sr.

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Investing in our community: Learning About Diabetes, Inc.

If you or a loved one was suddenly diagnosed with diabetes, where would you turn for information?

Fortunately, Tucsonian Paul Tracey, along with famous illustrator and co-founder of Push Pin Studios Seymour Chwast, created Learning About Diabetes, a non-profit charity that provides easy-to-understand information about diabetes care, in English and Spanish.

Paul, a retired advertising agency president who has found his next calling in life, has cleverly integrated Seymour’s art into his instructional materials to more universally communicate crucial information. While diabetes can be very effectively managed, combining the right information with a strong sense of vigilance can literally save someone’s life.

The Learning About Diabetes website is divided into information for consumers and information for healthcare providers. Each section offers important resources, as well as “stressbuster cartoons,” where Paul has relied on the graphic talents of visual art student Steve Yurko to provide some diabetes-themed whimsy to an otherwise serious topic.

Consumers and providers can download a plethora of instructional and informative materials about many facets of diabetes care, including blood sugar, diet, exercise, finances and more. The site also includes informative videos and public service announcements.

Current estimates suggest one in three Americans will get diabetes, which translates to one American developing diabetes every 23 seconds. How long has it taken you to read this article? How many more people developed diabetes while you were reading?

For communities throughout the nation, including ours, diabetes is a public health crisis we can’t afford to ignore. We learned that all funding for Learning About Diabetes comes from donations. To help support Paul’s important work, our president, Mike Hannley, presented a $2,500 donation to the organization.

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To learn more about how you can help, visit learningaboutdiabetes.org.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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Grandpoint Bank donates $10,000 to U.S. Vets

U.S. Vets intranetMembers of our Grandpoint Bank family, which includes Bank of Tucson, recently toured the Long Beach campus of U.S. Vets, an organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life by providing housing, counseling, career development and comprehensive support. Our visit included the presentation of a $10,000 donation to the organization.

According to U.S. Vets, about 50,000 vets in our nation are homeless – men and women who have served valiantly for our country and now find themselves sleeping on the streets.

“Beyond the essentials, what I saw during our visit is that U.S. Vets is giving veterans back their self-respect,” says Darlene Esquerra, Senior Vice President & Community Development Office of Grandpoint Bank. “Everyone is treated with kindness by staff members and volunteers, who, in many cases, have had the same experiences as the veterans.”

U.S. Vets is the largest organization of its kind addressing the needs of homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in the U.S. Their Long Beach facility is located on 25 acres of former Naval housing and offers a variety of permanent and transitional housing – including a building for women veterans with up to two children and housing for homeless vets — dining facilities, community center, clinic, classrooms, recreational facilities and even an urban forest where residents can pick fruits and vegetables.

“Grandpoint Bank’s support of our programs across Southern California makes it possible for us to fill the gaps and really meet the unique needs of each one of the veterans we serve,” said Laney Kapgan, Vice President of Development and Communications for U.S. Vets. “With more service men and women coming home than ever before, this investment will help us continue to expand not only housing but also key employment and mental health programs for our veterans.”

Grandpoint was introduced to U.S. Vets through our Executive Vice President and CCO Mark Phillips, who struck up a conversation with U.S. Vets National Director of Programs, Larry Williams, on an airplane. Mark was so impressed with the program, he referred the information for consideration as a Grandpoint Bank Community Reinvestment Act-qualified donation. The rest, as they say, is history.

You can find more information about U.S. Vets on their website usvetsinc.org.

We’re proud to salute U.S. Vets for helping so many vets and their families, and we thank all the members of our armed services, past and present, for their dedication and selflessness.

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Nonprofit Loan Fund of Tucson & Southern Arizona Earns Important Designation

BT Don JenksMany congrats to the Nonprofit Loan Fund (NPLF) of Tucson and Southern Arizona for being recognized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). This designation will give NPLF access to loan funds through various Department of Treasury programs.

We have profiled NPLF previously on our blog for the good work it does providing financing to promote economic and community development in distressed and underserved areas. Don Jenks, Executive Vice President and Regional Credit Administrator for Bank of Tucson, chairs the NPLF board.

As Don pointed out, “[The NPLF] system is a win-win. Investors make a return on their investment while also helping many wonderful nonprofit organizations make a difference in our community.”

NPLF has provided nearly $2 million in loans to local nonprofits to help strengthen operations, bridge cash-flow gaps, further their initiatives and make them financially sustainable. Investors receive 2% interest, while NPLF lends money out to local nonprofits at approximately 8% interest rate. Loans range from $10,000 to $200,000 for up to five years.

After receiving the CDFI designation, NPLF applied for and will receive operational funds in the first quarter of 2018 to help run its operations. This funding will allow NPLF to bring on an additional staff member and free up the executive director to market the loan services available through NPLF to local nonprofit organizations.

“Loan demand from local nonprofits has been very strong this past year,” said Don. “More nonprofits are recognizing how NPLF can help them, but we still need to do a lot more to educate the nonprofit community about how an NPLF loan is structured to work for an organization that may not qualify for a conventional loan.”

The NPLF board plans to apply for additional funds from the U.S. Department of Treasury next year as well, this time to fund capital rather than operations.

“In the meantime, being a CDFI will also qualify NPLF to apply for community reinvestment act (CRA) funds from banks,” said Don.

Arizona Daily Star wrote about the CDFI designation for NPLF, pointing out that “NPLF is the only local CDFI to target nonprofit organizations throughout Southern Arizona.”

Locally, beneficiaries of NPLF loans include Southwest Folklife Alliance, Esperanza en Escalante, International School of Tucson, True Concord, Tucson Botanical Gardens, YWCA of Southern Arizona and more.

Many of the organizations have provided testimonials for NPLF’s website, including:

“’The NPLF loan made it possible for Tucson Botanical Gardens to move forward with confidence on major financial commitments.’ An NPLF loan was bridge financing during the pledge phase of a capital campaign [and] ensured that they could complete the new Visitors Center in time for opening of a new exhibit.”

NPLF loans have helped nonprofit organizations in our community strengthen Tucson’s reputation as a destination, educate Tucson citizens, build affordable housing and much more. It is a model for the dynamic relationship private citizens, businesses and nonprofit organizations can build to transform their communities for the better. And now, NPLF adds a Federal government agency to that formula for success.

Bank of Tucson is proud to support the efforts of Don and NPLF to elevate our community.

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The Children’s Museum Tucson/Oro Valley – A Community Treasure

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From l to r: Hilary Van Alsburg, Michael Luria, Michael Hannley and Teresa Truelson

We love supporting great non-profit institutions that define our region and make Tucson a wonderful place to live and visit. We recently presented a $2,500 check to The Children’s Museum Tucson to help the organization continue its tremendous work in providing creative spaces for kids to play, imagine and learn.

The Children’s Museum Tucson, located in the historic Carnegie Library, was founded in 1986. The museum features 11 indoor exhibits and party rooms as well as an outdoor courtyard with three additional exhibits. Some of the attractions, which are regularly changed and upgraded, include Whistle Stop, Gravity, Investigation Station, Techtopia, Wee World and Public Safety.

Every third Saturday of the month, kids can participate in the museum’s MyTime Inclusion Program, which “serves families with unique needs and in collaboration with community service providers. MyTime is open to any family who feels they and their children can benefit from an inclusive, positive environment.”

The museum’s second location, The Children’s Museum Oro Valley, located on N. Oracle Road, is targeted to kids from infants to five years old and provides arts, literacy and science-based programs to cultivate school readiness. Exhibits include Farmers’ Market, Toddler Town, Literacy Corner, Peek-A-Boo Palace, Art Studio and Lullaby Lounge.

As the holidays near, look out for the popular Gingerbread Workshop, held at the Oro Valley location, where kids can be creative decorating their own, premade gingerbread house.

Combined, the two museums serve more than 200,000 visitors each year. In 2016, the organization offered 48 free or reduced-admission days, representing a reinvestment of nearly $270,000 back into the community.

Tucsonians can be proud of The Children’s Museum Tucson, but the biggest fans are likely our smallest citizens. We’re proud to support the museum’s efforts to engage, challenge and delight Tucson’s youngest generation. Visit their website at childrensmuseumtucson.org.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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Bank of Tucson Supports Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona

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For more than 76 years, Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona (JFCS), a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization, has provided responsive, quality, personalized behavioral healthcare and social services to children, families and adults without regard to race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion or income.

In support of their mission, Bank of Tucson recently made a $5,000 donation to JFCS for its First Responders Counseling Program, which provides confidential 24-hour therapeutic counseling to our community’s firefighters, police officers and other first-responders along with their families—at no cost to them.

According to JFCS, more than 700 first responders in Tucson respond to more than 80,000 calls every year. “First responders work long hours, face frequent danger and witness countless traumatizing events,” said Carlos Hernández, President & CEO of JFCS. “At JFCS, we recognize the urgency and need to provide confidential counseling with the goal of helping these brave men and women to cope and reduce personal and family stress.”

Bank of Tucson has actively supported many nonprofits in the Tucson community, including other emergency support services through the Tucson Police Foundation and Red Cross blood drives. We are also committed to perpetuating quality, accessible services to Tucson’s children and families.

“In light of recent incidents involving firefighters and their families, we want to do everything we can to help and hopefully prevent these tragic events from happening,” said Mike Hannley, President & CEO of Bank of Tucson.

In our community, we are fortunate to have many additional resources available to Tucson firefighters, including (compiled by the Tucson Fire Department):

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Nonprofit Loan Fund of Tucson & Southern Arizona – A Creative Financial Solution

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NPLF borrower True Concord recording GRAMMY winning album “Far in the Heavens”

We are proud to be a founding member (through our president, Mike Hannley) of the Nonprofit Loan Fundscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am (NPLF) of Tucson and Southern Arizona. Established in 2014, NPLF has made nearly $1.3 million in loans to local nonprofits to help strengthen operations, bridge cash-flow gaps, further their initiatives and make them overall financially sustainable.

Some of the many worthy recipients of NPLF loans include YWCA of Southern Arizona, Southwest Folklife Alliance, Esperanza En Escalante, Tucson Botanical Gardens and International Sonoran Desert Alliance. Loans range from $10,000 to $200,000 for up to five years.

NPLF’s liquidity is funded by a variety of investors which lend money to NPLF for a term of up to 10 years. Those investors include public agencies, nonprofits, individuals and several private foundations.

Investors receive two percent interest, while NPLF lends money out to local nonprofits at approximately eight percent. Since its inception, NPLF has grown its loan pool from $450,000 and three investors to nine investors and $850,000, with an additional $200,000 pending.

“This system is win-win,” says Don Jenks, Executive Vice President and Regional Credit Administrator for Bank of Tucson and NPLF board chair. “Investors make a return on their investment while also helping many wonderful nonprofit organizations make a difference in our community.”

Each loan recipient is thoroughly vetted, and the loan is structured to meet the unique needs of the recipient organization.

“With grant and donor funding, that capital is often restricted to certain uses,” said Jenks. “A NPLF loan gives the nonprofit the leeway to use the loan funds for general operations or other important priorities.”

For True Concord Voices & Orchestra,screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am it was a cash flow issue that brought them to NPLF. In the fall of 2015, True Concord made its New York debut at Lincoln Center, a performance that hit number five on the Billboard charts. The performance was swiftly followed by a Grammy nomination for a composition performed on the group’s first internationally released album “Far in the Heavens.”screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am While True Concord maintains a balanced budget, cash flow was not adequate to fund the travel requirements that arose from these honors. Fortunately, NPLF helped bridge the gap.

The NPLF board continues to recruit additional investors as well as collaborate with other lenders in Arizona to provide options for local nonprofits. Board members are also pursuing grants to expand the financial education programs NPLF offers to area nonprofits — education that will help them achieve long-term financial stability. Most recently, NPLF has applied for Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certification, which will provide access to federal funding and partnerships with local and national financial institutions. Our bank is proud to also provide some of the financial support for NPLF’s operations.

Launching NPLF was made possible through the joint efforts of the Community Foundation of Southern Arizonascreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am (CFSA), and Diamond Family Philanthropies.

For more information about NPLF, visit http://nonprofit-loans.org/screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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Showing Our Gratitude to Tucson Police Officers

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Community heroes don’t always get the accolades they deserve, including those men and women who risk their lives to help others. When Bank of Tucson staffers Karen Martin, who has law enforcement officers in her family, and Ken Krapf, who serves on the board of Tucson Police Foundation, teamed up to show support for our local police officers, the rest of our office was quick to lend them a hand.

Karen and Ken proposed “Survival Kits” for the officers with sweet treats that would represent the admirable traits and actions police officers are expected to have and so valiantly demonstrate. The duo quickly raised almost $400 from individual contributions throughout their office, which allowed them to purchase supplies for 990 kits.

Several employees volunteered their time to assemble the kits, which the staff then delivered to five police substations and the 911 Communications Center. Each kit contained candy and a card with the following message:

 Lifesaver
To remind you of the many times you’ve been one 

Smarties
To give you wisdom for those split-second decisions

 Gum
To help everyone stick together 

Tootsie Roll
You have to roll with the punches

Laffy Taffy
To remind you that laughter is a great stress reliever

Thank you for everything you do for Tucson!
From the Employees of the Bank of Tucson

“The looks on their faces when we delivered the kits were amazing,” said Karen. Ken added, “They were so excited that the employees of the bank would take the time to do such a project.”

We received a wonderful, hand-written note from the Assistant Chief thanking us for supporting the officers and staff. Needless to say, our contribution pales in comparison to what these professionals are willing to do every day to keep Tucson and its people safe. We’re so glad we could make this small gesture to recognize such wonderful community heroes.

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Bank of Tucson Blood Drive to Save Lives

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Bank of Tucson recently hosted our 3rd annual blood drive in honor of Austin Chico to benefit the American Red Cross.↗ We set a lofty goal of 17 units of blood donated, and we’re grateful to say that we met our goal!

Each unit of blood can save up to three lives, so our staff, customers and friends may save up to 51 lives through their contributions.

Erin Chico, our VP of Lockbox Operations, lost her husband two years ago to Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). MDS is a diverse bone marrow disorder in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. Erin and her family are passionate about the American Red Cross, as they relied on blood donations to support Austin throughout his treatment.

Whether the need is for medical treatment or natural disaster relief, it is important for The American Red Cross to have blood of all types available and Bank of Tucson was proud to be help meet that need.

To be eligible to donate blood, you must be in good general health and feeling well, not have any Zika virus risk exposures,↗ be at least 17 years old in most states and weigh at least 110 pounds. Remember one pint of blood can save up to three lives!

To learn more about donating blood, you can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

If you can’t donate blood, or if you’re already a blood donor and want to do more, the American Red Cross is always recruiting volunteers. To learn more, click here.↗

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in our blood drive in honor of Austin Chico.

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Changing Lives with Therapeutic Riding of Tucson

BOT horseAbout 18 years ago, our Vice President Paula Madden, learned about Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT↗), and, upon invitation, immediately joined the TROT board of directors. She served on the board for eight years, took a break for five years and then joined up again for five years and counting.

What would inspire her to make such a long-standing commitment? “It’s a beautiful, magical, peaceful place where autistic children have been moved to speak their first word and veterans with war injuries have discovered a new way to reclaim their mobility,” Paula said.

Founded in 1974, TROT enriches the lives of people with special needs using horse-assisted activities and therapies to improve physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.

TROT provides therapeutic riding instruction to adults and children with a wide range of physical and cognitive disabilities.  More than 85 percent of TROT’s clients are school aged children (K-12) with cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, hearing/vision impairments, autism or other needs.

Adults served include those in a special program called Heroes on Horses for U.S. military veterans with disabilities such as spinal cord injury, amputated limbs, traumatic brain injury and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The results can be life-changing, not only for the disabled but also for their families. TROT instructors set several different goals for the participant including physical goals to improve muscular strength and control, balance, posture, coordination and language/speech skills. Riders often experience an exciting degree of self-discovery, including the development of trust and confidence, willingness to try new things and improved interaction with family, friends and acquaintances. A well-trained and coordinated network of more than 200 volunteers assist weekly in programs and facility operations Monday through Saturday.

TROT is distinguished as a Premier Accredited Center by PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). Only 15 percent of PATH centers in North America have achieved this level of accreditation.

TROT is always looking for volunteers to either walk alongside the participants or help to tack, train and care for the horses. Another way to get involved is to attend the upcoming Hearts & Horses Gala↗ event on April 9 at Ventana Canyon, which will feature live and silent auctions and a presentation by a family whose life has been changed with help from TROT. The Horsin’ Around country hoedown event, also hosted by TROT, will be held later in the year.

Donations are appreciated at any time. TROT relies greatly on the generosity of its donors to support its riding programs, the care and feeding of horses and to provide scholarships for those who qualify. We welcome you to join Paula and our bank in supporting this wonderful organization.

Want to help us get the word out about TROT? Please feel free to link to this article. If you would like to make a gift or add your name to the TROT mailing list, call 520 749-2360 x600.

TROT is located on Tucson’s east side at 8920 East Woodland Road. Click at www.trotarizona.org.↗

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