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Annual Report

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

Letter from the President

Dear friends of CEI,

How to describe 2020? Uncharted, challenging, uncertain, wearying, difficult, tragic? Despite these adjectives, troubling and true, the Center for Economic Integrity, with Kelly Griffith’s incomparable leadership, continues to find new ways to serve the needs of workers, consumers, children and families. While some of our policy work is on hold because policy makers are recessed or focused on Covid-19, CEI, with our stalwart partners, are keeping our eye on the prize, interrupting generation to generation poverty. 

Ordinarily CEI does not do service work for individual clients, but this spring we pivoted, temporarily, toward helping childcare businesses--centers and family homes—receive federal PPP loans/grants. Using experience gained from our own successful application process, we were able help twelve local businesses, many owned by monolingual Spanish speakers, keep their doors open. Preserving the early childhood education infrastructure is vital for kids, for working families and for economic recovery. CEI turned the lessons learned from this work into policy recommendations for how to make the emergency programs of the City, County, State, and federal government more accessible and effective, in a Zoom call with Congressman Raul Grijalva.

Sometimes I wish CEI were a great big, rich organization. But we aren’t, and that has true advantages today as the world changes. Not an ocean liner, we are a nimble little kayak in rushing water, able to maneuver around rocks and ford the rapids. We are grateful for all your help in keeping our boat afloat as we head to our destination, building an economically strong community for all. Thank you.

Stay healthy, stay the course, and stay home when you can,
Penelope Jacks.
 

Volunteer Spotlight - Liz Rabago

Liz Rabago has been volunteering with the Center over the summer assisting preschool providers apply for the Small Business Administration Payroll Protection Program loan funds. Liz has graciously given countless hours of her time answering questions, helping providers navigate (along with Rob Stansfield, CEI Director of Communications) the complex application process. 
Many of the Preschool Providers are monolingual (Spanish speakers) and Liz has been a tremendous asset in helping these providers weather the uncertain economic times we are in due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Liz and Rob make a great team!  They have been able to help 12 providers obtain loan funds and are now in the process of working with these same providers on the loan forgiveness application process. 
Liz Rabago is founder and CEO of LR Bilingual Services, LLC, a home-based business since 2004. Liz has held various positions in Administration, Program Development and Management in Non-for-Profit and Corporate sectors.  Liz is passionate and committed to helping immigrants take the next steps to economic self-sufficiency.  

Liz has expertise in coaching and facilitating financial literacy programs. She established a microfinance pilot program for local business leaders to take their next steps in business growth. In 2016, Liz was awarded the first ever Laura Penny Community Impact Award by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona in recognition for significant efforts to improve women’s well-being.
Special thanks to our collaborating partner, Pio Decimo Center for giving this program a permanent home and helping these small business owners continue to develop the necessary business and finance skills in order to help sustain our community’s capacity to provide high quality childcare into the future.

Conference Call with Representative Grijalva

About 120 people attended a Zoom call in July with Congressman Raul Grijalva to brief him on the Tucson early childhood community, our needs and what we are experiencing, as well as to hear an update on what's happening at the federal level that relates to early childhood.

In Memory of Kenney Hegland

Kenney Hegland was a long-time board member at the Center.  Sadly, Kenney passed away at the end of May this year.  Kenney was generous with his time and committed to fairness and equity.  He was fearless in challenging assumptions and was the driving force behind the Center’s work with public sector employers to offer affordable small loan alternatives as a market-centered intervention strategy to counter-balance predatory payday lending.  Kenney’s contributions to the Center are too many to name. Our hearts go out to Kenney’s family and to the broader community family in which Kenney was a vibrant member.   

–Kelly

Executive Director
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