Annual Report

Once again, the last twelve months saw us focus on two major programs. Child, Family & Kinship includes furtherance of The Preschool Promise in support of high quality early childhood education and support to the Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors & Kinship Caregivers. And our work on Consumer Protections is frequently posted on the website for the Arizonans for Responsible Lending coalition.

Letter from the President

Dear CEI friends,

CEI has worked for an economically equitable community since our inception. This year, despite the pandemic, was no different: we have again achieved significant policy gains for workers, consumers, children, and families, though there’s a long road till we really do live in an equitable state. Stimulus funds and contributions from our supporters helped us weather the storm.  We adapted to video board meetings and with elected officials. (In some cases, such as preschool, Covid changed the economic and political landscape enough to make positive policy change feasible.)  Successful adaptation aside, though, it was wonderful this spring for the Board to meet in person. My admiration for my fellow board members and CEI staff is at an all-time high.  

Our staff--though mighty--is small, so the board, as well as doing the ordinary work of establishing organizational policy, monitoring the budget, and raising money, unusually among nonprofits, does a lot of CEI’s substantive advocacy work. Board members have testified and submitted comments on State and Federal fair lending legislation and regulations. We have provided leadership to the Grandparent Ambassadors as they advocate for custodial kinship families. We have led the coalition that achieved our many-year goal of creating scholarships for high-quality early education in Pima County (PEEPS). Board members attend conferences, live and virtual meetings of Tucson City Council, Pima County Board of Supervisors, Arizona State Legislature, and Congress learning, speaking out, and providing background expertise to colleagues and elected decision makers. 

Our super power is that we cross-fertilize. We learn from each other and all mobilize our own networks to support CEI’s central mission—policy change to end generation to generation poverty. Working with Kelly, Rob, the CEI board, and with you, our loyal advocacy community, is a privilege that I am proud to claim. Thank you for sticking with and supporting the Center for Economic Integrity.

Stay well,
Penelope Jacks

The Preschool Promise

We are on track with $13 million in funds for early childhood education from County, City, Oro Valley, Marana, Businesses, Nonprofits, and Individuals contributing to the Pima County Early Education Program Scholarships (PEEPS).

On May 4, 2021, the Pima County Board Of Supervisors (BOS) approved a recommended Year 1 plan for the Pima Early Education Program (PEEP) and directed staff to plan for a multi-year program. On May 18 and June 22, the Board approved agreements with First Things First (FTF) to fund additional scholarships to preschools in their Quality First system, agreements with seven school districts to offer new free high quality preschool classes, and a contract with Child-Parent Centers to offer extended day Head Start preschool programming at several locations. 
The table above** shows the 171 participating preschools by type (home-based programs, centers, and school district preschools), offering a total of 1,157 PEEP scholarships, free preschool slots or extended day Head Start to low income preschool age children as of July 1, 2021.
**Ref: Memorandum dated August 13, 2021 from the County Administrator to Pima County BOS 

Kinship Caregivers

The Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors & Kinship Caregivers successfully navigated a year of pandemic lock-down and hosted it first ever annual Summit in a virtual environment.  They also successfully lobbied legislators using video conferencing technology continuing to advocate for more financial support for their families.

AZGA Summit 2021

Register here for the Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors and Kinship Families' free, virtual 2021 Summit on Saturday, September 11.

AZGA Meetings 

Attend an AZGA event - monthly Kinship Cafés, monthly statewide meetings, and special events - to find out about helpful resources and learn how you can get involved as an AZGA member.

Consumer Protections

Working with coalition members, we successfully mitigated the potential harm to AZ Consumers by opposing amendments to a large omnibus bill (SB 1463) related to small consumer lending.

We wrote to Governor Ducey to advocate for emergency executive orders needed to stop car title loan repossessions and federal stimulus payment garnishments, and joined national consumer groups in asking Congress for consumer protections in COVID-related legislation. 

During the year, we wrote repeatedly to the Arizona Attorney General, the Governor, and the Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions regarding improper "Rent-A-Bank" partnerships between out-of-state banks and car title and payday lenders to circumvent small loan rate caps.

We submitted comments to proposed rules by the FDIC and OCC, met with Senator Kelly's staff and other federal legislators to secure key votes from Arizona on this issue, and joined national partners in advocating for an ultimately successful repeal of the OCC's "Fake Lender" rule. This was an "all hands on deck" moment and the Center led the way!
Executive Director
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