Desert Schools Federal Credit Union is in the midst of a celebration of its 75th year and has launched a contest where people can pick one of six charities to receive $30,000. Desert Schools, which has branches in Chandler, Mesa, Tempe and Ahwatukee, has started its Shine On campaign that has six charities in the running to win a $30,000 grand prize. The six groups — Assistance League of Phoenix, Kitchen on the Street, Anti-Defamation League, MentorKids USA, Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona and HALO Animal Rescue — have already received $7,500 a piece for making it to this point.
Cathy Graham, Desert Schools vice president of marketing, said the finalists made it to the last round by competing against other organizations in their same category — HALO Animal Rescue, for example, made it to the final six by besting other animal-based organizations. The other categories encompassed fine arts, neighborhood beautification, youth development, health and education.
Every group also submitted a specific project they would use the funds for, and Graham said even that step was a bit tricky for the groups.
“To fill out the applications is a pretty involved process,” she said.
The final decision on who receives the $30,000 is now in the hands of area residents, who can visit shineonaz.org and cast their vote. The site includes a description of the project each group submitted and a short video.
Graham said taking one of the benefits of using the voting system for locals is that it offers an avenue to contribute to a community project.
“We want to be a central place for people to go to see how they can benefit the community,” she said.
The benefits extend beyond good feelings, as Desert Schools also has a monthly drawing for prizes that vary from a trip to Disneyland and a night on the town to tickets to Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Coyotes games. The final drawing, which is in December, features a new Chevy Camaro and $5,000 in cash. The vote on the winner is decided in October, although voting for prizes continues into December.
Graham said the end result for Desert Schools is the commemoration of its long history in the state in a manner that’s a win-win for the charitable groups and residents.
“What better way to celebrate our history in the Valley by giving back.”
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