Feedback: Sept. 2015

by John DeWulf, Tina Marie Tentori, Ed Zito

Question: What was the most impactful event — whether a donation or an activity —
you have done recently?

John-DeWulfJohn DeWulf
Coppersmith Brockelman P.L.C.
Sector: Law

Social Venture Partners Arizona, through its partners’ collective skills, experience, connections and other resources, helps build the capacity and effectiveness of local nonprofits. Over the last few years, I have chaired SVP’s efforts to help public education.

A little over a year ago, Chad Gestson, Ph.D., was appointed director of school leadership for Phoenix Union High School District. SVP had begun working in 2009 with Dr. Gestson in his capacity as principal of Camelback High School. Under his leadership, Camelback improved in almost every way — lower drop-out rates, improved test scores, increased college scholarships, to name a few. We enthusiastically agreed to support Dr. Gestson in his new role. It has been a remarkable experience.

In addition to helping fund Dr. Gestson’s efforts, SVP partners are committing time and professional expertise to the district’s leadership training. SVP has gained valuable insights into the challenges facing public education. Correspondingly, the district has benefitted from our partners’ business experience and perspectives. We are excited about what our collaboration can achieve.

John DeWulf has extensive experience with complex commercial litigation, including handling numerous trials, hearings and other matters before state and federal courts in the areas of contracts, business torts, trade secrets, real estate, securities, intellectual property, partnership and products.


Tina-Marie-TentoriTina Marie Tentori
Executive Director
Arizona Public Service Company Foundation
Sector: Utilities

So many of our APS partners do meaningful work in the community that it would be impossible to single out the most impactful. I am very proud, however, of a grant we made in Yuma that made a significant difference.

APS supports food banks throughout Arizona, but we didn’t realize how dire the situation in Yuma was until we received an email from the executive director of the Yuma Community Food Bank, who shared that 40 percent of children living in Yuma go to bed hungry. The statistic shocked our team and we knew we had to act. While it’s unusual for us to receive a direct request, our team allocated $5,000 and made it a challenge grant, requesting that the community generate matching funds. Within four days, the goal was met — but it didn’t stop there. A lawyer issued his own challenge; after that, Fry’s Food store did the same; and others joined in. All told, Yuma Community Food Bank raised more than $70,000, bringing food security to the community for a time.

Tina Marie Tentori is executive director of the Arizona Public Service Company Foundation and director of Community Affairs. She is responsible for strategy development and implementation of the Corporate Giving, Corporate Foundation and Employee/Retiree Volunteer programs, and Community Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, and is an active volunteer with numerous community organizations. 


Ed-ZitoEd Zito
Alliance Bank of Arizona
Sector: Banking

Should philanthropy be personal or corporate-driven? Why not both? For the 12 years since Alliance Bank of Arizona commenced operations, we have consistently focused on supporting education opportunities for all throughout Arizona. We (individually and from a corporate perspective as the largest locally headquartered bank in Arizona) believe in pursuing this objective from years of experience in economic development, where a quality education for all is the cornerstone of a vibrant economy. Therefore, our “investing forward” philosophy resonates throughout our charitable grants, donations and sponsorships. Also, many clients in our “Community Alliance” program focus their mission on education. Therefore, the bank’s investment is magnified and leveraged by the personal passion that our bankers have in promoting education, from Junior Achievement to Social Venture Partners to the Helios Foundation to Teach for America to the Phoenix Children’s Museum. Engagement by our bankers is often more critical than financial support. Just ask Roadrunner Elementary School, where ABA has been engaged for years supporting students, their families and teachers. There is no single investment that stands out for impact; it is a collective and consistent investment of our time, talent and resources!

Ed Zito is a member of the bank’s Asset and Liability Management and Investment Committee as well as its Risk Management Committee. A well-recognized leader in Arizona’s commercial and investment banking, as well as public finance, sector for more than 30 years, he is also known for his extensive work on economic development and capital formation in Arizona. 

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