The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Phoenix East Stake, has donated hundreds of cases of diapers, baby formula and baby wipes to Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS).  

Hometown Heroes: LDS, Piper Trust, Arizona credit unions

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donates diapers, formula to JFCS

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Phoenix East Stake, has donated hundreds of cases of diapers, baby formula and baby wipes to Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) 

Paul Rockower, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix, upon learning that the Church had baby products, immediately connected the two organizations.

“The COVID-19 crisis is something that affects all communities in the Valley of the Sun, and only by all of our communities working together will we get through these difficult times,” said Rockower. “The JCRC was pleased to help connect Jewish Family and Children’s Service with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to facilitate this much-needed donation for JFCS.” 

Items received included diapers, wipes, formula and baby cereal.  The items were delivered to the JFCS administrative offices to be inventoried and then volunteers will distribute them to the organization’s East Valley Healthcare Center, West Valley Healthcare Center and the Michael R. Zent Healthcare Center for distribution to the centers’ clients.  In addition, JFCS’ Shelter Without Walls, Real World Job Development and Homebased Services participants will benefit from this donation. 

“JFCS is thrilled to be the recipient of this generous donation from the Church,” said Gail Baer, vice president of philanthropic services. “Baby products are always in high-demand and have been even more difficult to obtain during this pandemic.  We are grateful for their kindness and know the families that receive these items will be so appreciative.” 

Stake President C.W. Ross, in acknowledging the great work that JFCS provides to the community, said “we are honored to partner with JFCS in fulfilling our shared religious mission to care for the poor and needy. It is inspiring to see religious and community groups working together to meet critical needs in our community. We are all God’s children and ‘all are alike unto God.’”

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust awards $750,000 to support Banner Health

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has awarded an unrestricted grant of $750,000 to the Banner Health Foundation. Banner leadership has chosen to allocate these funds to the Supporting Our Staff (SOS) Fund to help its health care workforce during this challenging time.

Established in 2011, the SOS Fund provides financial assistance to qualifying employees facing a temporary financial hardship. Through Banner Health’s annual employee giving campaign, Banner’s own employees have collectively contributed more than $1 million to the SOS Fund over the past nine years to assist their co-workers in times of need. Some 2,000 employees have received financial assistance from the SOS Fund during that time.

In light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employees, Banner leaders recently expanded the SOS program to provide more support and to assist employees specifically with child care expenses in addition to hardships such as evicition, foreclosure, imminent shut-off of vital utilities, and more. Over the past month, applications for assistance have grown from an average of a dozen per month to more than 450.

“So many of our health care providers and hospital team members are on the front lines every day, without the option of staying home with young children needing care. Life goes on even during a pandemic, meaning the usual factors that can create a hardship for employees still exist and may even be amplified,” said Naomi Cramer, Chief Human Resources Officer for Banner Health. “We understand the demands our team members are facing at work and at home, and we are proud to be able to offer this financial assistance to help ease the burden.”

“We are so grateful to the Piper Trust for this generous investment in the well-being of our employees, who are our community’s true superheroes during this pandemic,” said Andy Kramer Petersen, President & CEO of the Banner Health Foundation. “Because of this support, so many more members of our valued workforce will be able to access funds to help them through this challenging time.”

As a show of support for employees, the entire senior leadership team and the entire board of directors for Banner Health also made personal gifts to the SOS Fund in recent weeks. Community members have made donations large and small, including the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation with a $50,000 donation and CopperPoint Insurance Companies with a $10,000 donation.

Those interested in making a tax-deductible donation can do so online at

Arizona credit unions donate $25,000 to St. Mary’s Food Bank

Arizona’s credit unions, in partnership with the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, have made a $25,000 donation to St. Mary’s Food Bank which serves central Arizona. St. Mary’s Food Bank serves to alleviate hunger through the gathering and distribution of food while encouraging self-sufficiency, collaboration, advocacy and education.

St. Mary’s Food Bank is a community-based organization, utilizing individual donors, corporate donors, and private grants help feed hungry individuals and families in nine of Arizona’s 15 counties. St. Mary’s gives food to more than 600 nonprofit organizations throughout Arizona so they can give it to their clients in need. 

“This is truly an unprecedented situation we are facing in all of our communities,” said Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation. “The Foundation felt that it was imperative that we find a way to assist those organizations on the front lines serving their communities. Much like credit unions are financial first responders, these organizations are the first responders in their respective areas. St. Mary’s Food Bank is a tremendous community partner, stepping in to fill a great need at this time.” 

“St. Mary’s Food Bank is grateful for this generous gift from Mountain West Credit Union Foundation which will allow us to distribute enough food to provide 175,000 meals to those in need throughout Arizona,” St. Mary’s President and CEO Tom Kertis said. “In these difficult and challenging times we couldn’t say ‘Yes’ to all seeking help without friends and partners like Mountain West stepping up for their community. We thank you for making a difference for so many Arizonans.” 

This donation is part of a total of $250,000 in donations that was made to assist COVID-19 impacted communities in the three of the states served by Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. The donations will be used to focus on community relief concentrated in three key areas: food insecurity, community stabilization, and mental health services.  “On behalf of credit unions in AZ, CO, and WY, the Board of Directors of Mountain West Credit Union Foundation stand ready to assist our communities in this time of need, and are working to ensure a better way back for many of those suffering as a result of this pandemic,” said Dr. Santangelo. The Foundation Board Chair, Todd Pearson, Regional President of Alaska USA, has appointed three statewide committees to direct and deliver these funds to: 

• St. Mary’s Food Bank serving central Arizona with a donation of $25,000

• Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona with a donation of $25,000

• Valley of the Sun United Way with a donation of $25,000

• United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona with a donation of $25,000

• Food Bank of the Rockies servicing Colorado with a donation of $50,000

• Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners providing mental health services and resources to Colorado citizens with a donation of $50,000

• Wyoming Hunger Initiative developed by First Lady of Wyoming Gordon with a donation of $15,000

Matching grants for Wyoming Communities of up to $2,500 each with a total amount available of $35,000


AZ Big Media is looking to spotlight those individuals and businesses that have stepped up in the face of the current crisis we are all living through and made a difference in the communities in which we live, work and play. Do you know someone or an organization we should spotlight? Send the details to