Arizona Federal Credit Union in the Community

by Tyler Butler

At its core, Arizona Federal Credit Union is a shepherd of responsibility and leadership. Founded in 1936, the credit union empowers members to take hold of their financial future through the delivery of leading-edge resources. As a $2.6-billion not-for-profit local cooperative providing financial services and expertise to more than 140,000 member-owners, it is an integral contributor to the Arizona community. 

Arizona Federal is dedicated to making a difference in the communities it serves by supporting local nonprofits across Arizona. The credit union assists a wide variety of worthy organizations. Its focus areas are education, equality and social inclusion, community services, children and youth, and sustainability. Additionally, it is the sponsor of the LiveNation Theatre venue and exclusive credit union partner of the Phoenix Rising FC. 

“We are firm believers that social impact comes organically when an organization is mindful of the community they live and work in, and so all of our corporate social responsibility efforts are anchored in the ‘local first’ mindset,” says Jason Paprocki, SVP and chief operating officer at Arizona Federal Credit Union. “We have seen first-hand how small, concerted efforts to support local nonprofits and organizations can make a lasting impact and create that ripple effect of positivity that strengthens our community. We are thankful to our employees and member-owners for embracing our vision and helping us identify more ways to support our community.”

Supporting the community and empowering its member-owners to take charge of their financial situations is the foundation for what it does. And giving back to the local communities supporting its members where they live and work while ensuring we all live in a thriving, vibrant community is its goal. Arizona Federal Credit Union’s debit card give-back programs have proven to be the most effective way to provide funding and monetary support to the nonprofits its member-owners feel a strong connection to. Since 2018, the credit union has donated more than $200,000 to community organizations through its debit card giveback programs.

Until recently, this program had focused on two cause partners: the 100 Club of Arizona debit card to support the families of fallen first responders and the Arizona Humane Society debit card to support animal welfare initiatives. In 2020, Arizona Federal Credit Union launched a new debit card give-back option called the Local Artist, Local Causes card. This program allows it to distribute funds to hyper-local nonprofits who apply through its program. The intention is to provide grants to multiple nonprofits around the Valley, giving out mico-grants to numerous nonprofits that meet criteria to support education, equality and social inclusion, community services, children and youth, and sustainability. 

Arizona Federal recently gave out its second round of funding, which is all generated through debit cards used by its members. Through these two distributions of grant money, the organization has given away grant funds totaling nearly $50,000 and benefitting 26 different nonprofits, all of which must have an operating budget of less than $2 million and provide support to community members within one of their key pillars. What’s more, many of the causes supported are great nonprofits that are definitely not household names.

This is a program that will continue with bi-annual distributions to hyper-local nonprofits and, from a business perspective, has been extremely well received by its member-owners as a simple way to give back by simply using their debit cards. Although small in monetary amount, these grants have filled very specific needs for the nonprofits to execute on their missions. Through these community partnerships, Arizona Federal Credit Union has been able to fundraise for local nonprofits and is looking forward to reopening in-person fundraising events as safety protocols permit. 

“To make a lasting impact, an organization must continue to grow and look for new ways to engage with the communities we call home,” says Rachel Galvez, marketing partnerships manager. “The Local Artist, Local Causes program is one we are proud of as it allows us to impact so many organizations with our monetary donation. But beyond that, we look forward to engaging with these local nonprofits through our employee resource groups and continue to foster relationships we hope last well beyond these grants.”  

Local Artist, Local Causes Debit Card Giveback Program

With Arizona Federal Credit Union’s Local Artist, Local Causes Visa® Debit Card, each time a cardholder makes a purchase with the card, the credit union will make a donation to a community fund that helps support nonprofits throughout Arizona.

Tyler ButlerTyler Butler is the head of Corporate Responsibility for Aventiv Technologies, where she leads programs that positively impact society. She is also founder and principal of 11Eleven Consulting and is often cited as a subject-matter expert by Forbes, SHRM, Entrepreneur, U.S. News and World Report and more. 

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