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Angel Charity's trio of events aims to raise $1.4M for local nonprofits
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Angel Charity's trio of events aims to raise $1.4M for local nonprofits

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Local angels are polishing their haloes and preparing for a challenge as they gear up for fall fundraising.

A trio of in-person events are back, just in time to support the largest fundraising goal in the 39-year history of Angel Charity for Children.

First up is the sold-out annual Big Deal Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament on Sept. 10, followed by Drop In at the Dropout at the Culinary Dropout on Nov. 7 and the annual Angel Ball on Dec. 11 at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa.

“We have a goal of awarding $1,414,403 to 12 beneficiaries for 2020-2021. This is a very big goal in the most challenging time we have ever faced in our lifetimes, but after the pandemic hit, we realized many nonprofits would be facing long-term challenges, and they needed us more than ever, so Bear Down!” said Adriana Rincon, the 2021 general chair for Angel Charity for Children.

Before the pandemic, Angel Charity had committed to fundraising $700,000 for Intermountain Centers and $265,000 for the Reid Park Zoo, along with an additional $195,020 in smaller grants for Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels, Boys to Men, Jewish Family & Children’s Services, Literacy Connects and Make Way for Books.

The economic and physical impact of the pandemic propelled the organization to commit to a second funding round of $254,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, Interfaith Community Services, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona, Tu Nidito Children & Family Services and Tucson Refugee Ministry.

“Most of these small grants focused on responding to challenges of the pandemic and trying to meet the needs of the children that each serve. It felt really good signing those checks and delivering them; it was very emotional for the staff members of these nonprofits. They said they couldn’t have come at a better time, and it generates such a sense of goodwill for them to know we are there to support them,” said Rincon.

Rincon emphasized that the 250 members of Angel Charity worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic — in spite of the inability to meet in-person and other pandemic-related limitations — and have already raised 80 percent of the funds they have committed. Many members have also taken the option to personally purchase gift cards from local restaurants and businesses that traditionally donate to Angel Charity fundraisers.

“Every year we solicit local retailers and restaurants for gift cards for our fundraisers, and they were heavily impacted last year, so if members were in a position to do so, they could purchase gift cards from the vendors to support the local economy and then donate them to our events. It is another way for us to give back,” said Rincon.

Beneficiaries are grateful for the generosity of the Angels during this unprecedented time, according to Paul O’Rourke, vice president for development and communications for the Intermountain Foundation.

“The grant from Angel Charity means a great deal as we move forward and recover from the pandemic. It has been a stressful time for everyone. We are seeing an increase in the people we are caring for across the board at all locations and in all services. We have seen a 25% increase in those seeking behavioral health services and had a huge increase in the number of people who are suffering from opioid addiction during this pandemic,” said O’Rourke.

Intermountain Centers seeks to meet that need with a Medication Assisted Treatment Clinic for Opioid Addiction and a continuum of home-based and out-of-home support for emotionally and behaviorally challenged children and adults with a diagnosis of serious mental illness. Additionally, the nonprofit serves individuals with developmental disabilities; children and youth with specialized educational needs; and children involved in the foster care system.

Other services include Intermountain Academy, a K-12 school tailored to children on the autism spectrum; the Intermountain Sensory Park, which is under construction; the “The Little Cubs Clinic,” which provides integrated intensive therapy services for children ages 18 months to 12 years; a Transition to Work program for young adults with autism and those aging out of foster care.

Looking to the future, Rincon said Angel Charity has been grateful for the generosity of Tucsonans as they work toward the goal of more than $1.4 million for nonprofits.

She emphasized that Angels will continue to support the overall health and well-being of the entire community.

“When the pandemic started, we tried to be mindful of physical well-being, and then we recognized the financial repercussions of having to shut everything down, and now we are seeing the emotional and mental toll, so we are really thoughtful about how the community is impacted on all three of these levels when we select beneficiaries and plan fundraising events,” Rincon said.

Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at ninch2@comcast.net

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