Desert Schools Donates Largest Gift Ever to Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s 1 Darn Cool School Program

Desert Schools Federal Credit Union Jan. 13, 2017

Earlier this week, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union provided the largest donation ever to Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s formal school program, 1 Darn Cool School. Totaling just over $565,000, the donation and check presentation is an annual event for Desert Schools and PCH.

On hand to participate in the event were Desert Schools CEO Susan Frank, President Jeff Meshey, and Executive Vice President Ron Amstutz, who have always enjoyed being a part of the occasion.

“Enabling patients to continue to be students while they’re enduring one of the most challenging times of their lives is a wonderful thing we can do,” said Meshey. “To provide a sense of normalcy is incredibly key to healing, and we fully support PCH’s mission to heal the body through helping young patients build and sustain a strong mind. Being able to make this kind of donation to such an important program is incredibly rewarding for all of us at Desert Schools.”

1 Darn Cool School allows patients to experience a traditional classroom setting while in treatment. The accredited teaching staff works with more than 10,000 patients a year in the hospital classroom to help keep the children academically on track and alleviate any anxiety about falling behind. 1 Darn Cool School provides year-round individual instruction for all students grades K-12 and even offers various arts classes on Fridays known as “Fine Arts Fridays.”

Should patients not be able to leave their beds, teachers are able to visit patient rooms to provide academic assistance. Additionally, the teachers facilitate each patient’s transition back to their regular learning environment once they are ready to leave the hospital.

The funds donated by Desert Schools were raised from a variety of the credit union’s efforts, including an annual charity golf tournament and the Children’s Miracle Network Barbeque. These charitable initiatives have enabled Desert Schools to be the sole sponsor of the 1 Darn Cool School Program, which is entirely supported through philanthropic efforts. The sponsorship allows PCH to employ a full-time teaching staff, and gives PCH the distinction of being one of only a handful of hospitals in the country that provides schooling for patients. The funds will go toward teacher salaries, additional hiring requirements and purchasing school supplies.

Facilitated through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the contribution marks a total of more than $4.5 million donated to Phoenix Children’s Hospital by Desert Schools since 1997.

About Desert Schools Federal Credit Union

Celebrating its 77th year in Arizona, Desert Schools is Arizona’s largest credit union with $4 billion in assets, more than 300,000 members and branch locations across the Valley. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Schools prides itself on providing stellar service to its member-owners while actively taking a role in the community to improve lives through non-profit partnerships and financial literacy efforts in the Valley and beyond. Learn more at

About Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Phoenix Children’s Hospital is Arizona’s only children’s hospital that is ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals. Phoenix Children’s provides world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. As one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country, Phoenix Children’s provides care across more than 75 pediatric specialties. The Hospital is poised for continued growth in quality patient care, research and medical education. For more information about the hospital, visit


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