Partnership helps Chandler area nonprofits - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Partnership helps Chandler area nonprofits

February 4th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
Partnership helps Chandler area nonprofits

By Srianthi Perera

The list of area organizations helped by the Arizona Women’s Partnerships is extensive.

It includes the all-volunteer Pan de Vida Foundation of Queen Creek, which started in 2003 to assist needy children, seniors and families, and About Care, a nonprofit that provides free support services for the elderly and disabled homebound residents of Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek.

Organizations such as these are grateful to the partnership, which has raised $30,000 to award in the next grant cycle.

Among other recipients is the Mesa-based nonprofit Desert Sounds, which helps connect at-risk kids to the community by providing access to musical instruments.

The $2,000 grant is modest, but it goes a long way in the organization that is cash-strapped even without a pandemic.

“It doesn’t matter if we have one child here or 3,000 children, we still have to pay rent and utility bills, so it’s made it difficult,” said Desert Sounds President Jennifer Crews. “We have to cut back on what we offer because we can’t afford it.”

Founded by Paula Cullison of Phoenix in 2002, the all-volunteer Arizona Women’s Partnership helps grassroots charities that assist under-served women and children at-risk in Arizona. To date, it has awarded more than $500,000 in grants.

The recipients, in turn, assist more than 130,000 people annually, drawing from Hispanic, Black, Native American, Asian and refugee populations.

They address critical issues such as domestic violence, child abuse, adult literacy, youth at risk, English as a Second Language training, foster children, refugees, homelessness, health and hunger.

Cullison created two fundraisers to showcase women in the culinary field: Getting Our Just Desserts and Wine, Women & Jazz, which were the main source of donations for the first 13 years.

As the charity gained recognition for its philanthropic efforts, the founder base increased to include the Violet M. Johnson Family Foundation of Scottsdale, now a major donor.

“We gratefully acknowledge the very generous donations given in honor of their late maternal grandmother; this philanthropy continues to help tens of thousands of women and children in need,” Cullison said.

Asked why this work is important to the management executive, avid traveler and arts advocate, Cullison said:

“I am inspired by the generosity of our many donors and by the incredible results of our grant recipients who do phenomenal work on shoestring budgets. As an all-volunteer philanthropic non-profit, we rely on the kindness and generosity of many.”

At Desert Sounds, needy kids are given access to musical instruments so they can participate in a school band or orchestra and also provided with music lessons and opportunities to perform in the community.

It also runs a Mariachi program to share the Hispanic culture and an electronic orchestra program to play different types of music on electric instruments in the public.

The organization uses the grant funds to repair the instruments after use, and to replace used cases.

“We don’t spend on rent or insurance, but spend on kids directly,” Crews said.

The organization uses the help of eight people, some volunteers and others part-timers, whose help and expertise are needed, she added.

Crews “doesn’t count chickens before they’re hatched,” but with this grant, “I’m counting that as a chicken that I dearly need; it makes a huge difference in our bottom line,” she said. “Even $100 is a lot of money if you use it wisely.”

Pan de Vida Foundation has been receiving a grant of $2,000 for two years and used it to create a garden for children and senior citizens.

“We had been struggling to get the garden going, due to the lack of money,” founder Mary Gloria said. She had trouble with the paperwork because grants require a lot of it.

“I know that there is a reason for the grants to require so much paperwork, but most of the non-profits that I know were started by people with the desire of assisting children, senior citizens, adults or families,” she said.

“When I got the grant, I was so happy, that I cried. Since then, we have gotten a second grant, and at this time, I am preparing to ask for third time,” she added.

The charity was started in 2003 and is manned by volunteers. “Therefore, when we find a non-profit that helps assist our non-profit grow, we rejoice, and praise God,” she said.

About Care’s goal is to allow the elderly and disabled homebound individuals to meet their basic needs, reduce isolation and remain independent in their homes.

Its services include wellness checks, friendly calls, friendly visits, respite for caregivers, shopping and errands, minor home repairs, transportation and information and referrals.

About Care has partnered with The Arizona Women’s Partnership for the past seven years and use the funding primarily for volunteer recruitment, background checks and training.

“We feel very blessed to be a partner of The Arizona Women’s Partnership,” said AnnMarie McArthur. “The fact they are donating money to help women, is very satisfying.  About 84 percent of About Care’s clients are low-income, elderly women.”

With her involvement in the non-profit community, Cullison knew that the smaller charities have the most difficulty in raising needed funds.

“They fill many gaps in providing critical social services,” she said.