Contribute to Downtown’s Best On Arizona Gives Day, April 9th

April 8, 2014

Children's Museum Tucson, at 200 S. 6th Avenue, provides a year-round slate of fantastic exhibits and events designed to unlock the curiosity and imagination of the little ones.

Children’s Museum Tucson, at 200 S. 6th Avenue, provides a year-round slate of fantastic exhibits and events designed to unlock the curiosity and imagination of the little ones.

by James J. Jefferies

If you stop for just a second, and think about the quality of our lives here in Southern Arizona, and that which might not be provided if it weren’t for the fantastic efforts of an entire galaxy of nonprofit organizations, it really is a staggering thought to think about what life might be like without them. It is far beyond the reach of this article to even begin to do justice to all of them putting in work here in Tucson alone.

Over the weekend, a small boy in a black T-shirt and blue bike helmet emerged from the Children’s Museum Tucson with his family, giddily jumping up and down as they prepared to get back on their bikes and ride right back into the mix of things during Cyclovia. It was a moment that would not have been possible with the never-ending effort of nonprofit organizations, doing valuable work that the private sector doesn’t or can’t provide, or that government institutions aren’t able to address in a time of tightened fiscal realities.

KXCI is Tucson's Community Radio station on 91.3 FM, giving volunteer music junkies a chance to spin a lot of great (and often local!) music that might otherwise go unheard in a Katy Perry world.

KXCI is Tucson’s Community Radio station on 91.3 FM, giving volunteer music junkies a chance to spin a lot of great (and often local!) music that might otherwise go unheard in a Katy Perry world.

Community radio, such as Tucson’s own beloved station KXCI, which specializes in playing all kinds of wonderful, offbeat, unexposed acts, many of which are local, that might otherwise not have a snowball’s chance in Sonora of being played, just couldn’t happen without your help.

“Without the support of the public, KXCI simply wouldn’t exist,” said Randy Peterson, General Manager of KXCI. “That’s true of virtually every charity that’s participating in Arizona Gives Day, and there’s more than 150 of them right here in Pima County, including many of our fellow downtown non-profits like the Children’s Museum of Tucson and Ben’s Bells.”

KXCI remains a key partner for the other nonprofits in the area, with a focus on doing good work right here in Tucson. “Supporting our community is a big part of KXCI’s mission, and one of the best things about being supported by our listeners and members is that we can do far more public service announcements than your typical radio station,” said Peterson.

Another powerful example is the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, which offers a wealth of services, all aimed either at educational programs designed to halt the spread of the disease, or at providing absolutely critical financial, emotional, medical, and nutritional assistance to those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the area. It’s a population that would literally face dire circumstances without the kind of direct, compassionate assistance SAAF provides regularly.

Cyclovia, thrown twice yearly by Living Streets Alliance, has become a wildly popular spring and fall outing, with more than 20,000 Tucsonans taking to the streets to simply enjoy the beauty of the Old Pueblo, as seen from behind a pair of handlebars. LSA also engages the community year-round with a variety of programs designed to encourage bike safety and a different attitude about our roadways.

Cyclovia, thrown twice yearly by Living Streets Alliance, has become a wildly popular spring and fall outing, with more than 20,000 Tucsonans taking to the streets to simply enjoy the beauty of the Old Pueblo, as seen from behind a pair of handlebars. LSA also engages the community with a variety of programs designed to encourage bike safety and a different attitude about our roadways.

The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation assists more than 1,700 fire service employees and their families in Southern Arizona. The Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, El Rio, Tucson Pima Arts Council, Big Brothers, Big Sisters Tucson – the list is endless. All of these great entities do truly critical work, making our community a better place to live, and fulfilling needs that would quite likely go unmet were it not for them. It’s a worthwhile thing to stop and recognize what these dedicated people do for us, and it’s an even better thing to consider a much-appreciated gift, especially around the time you may be anticipating a tax refund.

Ultimately, what all of these organizations have in common is that they live or die based on your support, and they all happen to be taking part in the massive collective fundraising drive known as Arizona Gives Day, taking place on April 9th. It’s a coordinated campaign, a day in which you can search through a massive array of nonprofit groups listed on the Arizona Gives Day website, and find one or more causes close to your heart.

Not only can you support a worthy cause, but it also gives Tucsonans a chance to do one of our favorite things: beating Phoenix at any kind of competitive endeavor. “Last year Tucson raised only a few thousand dollars less than Phoenix total, despite their much larger population, and two of our non-profits, Ben’s Bells (most gifts) and Watershed Management Group (most money) took home large cash prizes for winning their categories,” said Peterson.

For more information on how you can get involved in supporting some of Downtown’s best organizations, please check out the Arizona Gives Day website here.

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