At Local First Arizona Foundation, we are cultivating opportunity across Arizona and strengthening local economies across the state. Through programs targeting Latinx entrepreneurs in the Valley, small town and rural communities across the state, and Arizona farmers growing a healthy, and the local food ecosystem, we help create prosperity through business technical assistance and training, youth education, and providing access to capital.
On Giving Tuesday, make a tax-deductible contribution of $10, $25, or $50 to the Local First Arizona Foundation, and change the lives of individuals, entrepreneurs, and families, and build a more sustainable future for Arizona.
See how our work comes together for the main purpose of building opportunity in Arizona:
Powering Arizona’s Entrepreneurs
The Fuerza Local Business Accelerator program serves exclusively Latino micro-entrepreneurs living in low-income households with limited financial literacy. The six-month program teaches the entrepreneurs the ins and outs of owning a financially sound business. Additionally, the entrepreneurs save money in a lending pool by making payments into a system that builds their credit history for the first time in their lives.
Brandon Ornelas has had an entrepreneurial spirit since high school. With guidance from his Grandma, Breezy Pops was born. This natural popsicle business with cultural connections gained focus from the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator. Since 2015, Fuerza graduates have created 162 jobs in Phoenix and have collectively increased their revenue by 67%. Watch Brandon’s story:
Contributing $10, $25, or $50 will help us reach our goal in raising $2,000 on Giving Tuesday, which will cover the costs of sending one student through the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program.
Celebrating Arizona’s Homegrown Foods
The Healthy Local Foods Initiative works to improve health and increase community wealth by growing strong regional food networks. Local First Arizona Foundation supports farmers, food producers, and purveyors by providing tools, education, and systems capacity through hosting annual events, fostering interagency relationships, and aggregating resources in our online hub, Good Food Finder AZ.
Additionally, LFAF works to elevate the brand of Arizona-grown food products amongst the general public, and actively connects restaurants and retailers with the farming and food-producing community to build local supply chains.
One success story is Pam and Dave of Windswept Acres. Windswept Acres is a small, veteran-owned family farm producing pickled products and jellies such as asparagus, eggs, and prickly pear in Chino Valley.
When owners Pam Herndon and Dave Harris originally started their canning business, they were growing their own produce; but by the end of 2016, demand was so high that they just couldn’t keep up.
Both attended the Local First Arizona Foundation’s annual event, the Food & Farm Finance Forum. They participated in sessions on scaling their operations and were able to connect with other producers across the state and share ideas and best practices.
Over the last year, Windswept Acres has bloomed thanks to the resources and opportunities they received from the Local First Arizona Foundation. Their goods can now be found in numerous new retail outlets in Northern Arizona. Pam and Dave are also currently applying for funds to continue growing their farming and food operations.
Contributing $10, $25, or $50 will help us reach our goal in raising $2,000 on Giving Tuesday, which covers the costs of getting important resources to ten small Arizona farmers to help them grow and expand their businesses.
Growing Arizona’s Small Town Economies
The Local First Arizona Foundation works to provide rural Arizona communities with resources they need to build vibrant, sustainable, and resilient economies. Our rural programming works to support and enhance youth education and connection to place, intracommunity economic development and identity-building, and regional intrastate tourism by showcasing the beauty and history rural Arizona has to offer.
Local First Arizona Foundation’s program Science Happens Here is a game aimed at youth in third through eighth grades, where students collect trading cards with science information on them related to local businesses in their communities. This past year, the program served 2,000 – 3,000 students each semester in three Arizona communities: Thatcher, Pima, and Safford.
Children and their parents in these communities visit locally-owned businesses to collect science cards highlighting each business’ connection to science: a bakery and the science of yeast, a cafe and the science of sugar, a clothing store and the science of fabrics, and more. Each card, in turn, contains a unique ID, which kids enter on the SHH website to find science experiments, and receive credit at school for trying them at home.
The goal of this program is twofold: to further engage students in applying science that happens in their communities and connect to what they are learning in the classroom while getting the local business community involved in cultivating STEM education.
Contributing $10, $25, or $50 will help us reach our goal in raising $2,000 on Giving Tuesday, which covers the costs of bringing Science Happens Here to another rural community in Arizona.
Thank you for all that you do to build opportunity in Arizona!