Over the last year 3,219 Scottsdale souls sought help to keep the lights on, put food on the table and provide for loved ones many say are largely taken for granted by those who have, compared to those who have not.
Those seeking help are often touched by an umbrella of outreach efforts at the city of Scottsdale called “Scottsdale Cares,” which serves as a funding mechanism for myriad human service programs doing good in the local community.
Scottsdale Cares is a product of the generosity of everyday residents who give to the community a few dollars at a time, city officials say.
“The Scottsdale Cares program is needed as part of the municipality of Scottsdale to fund programs that provide services for severely disabled adults, suicide hotlines, emergency crisis support and home-delivered meals for the elderly,” said Justin Boyd, Scottsdale’s housing coordinator.
Initiated in May 1995, Scottsdale Cares has received over $1 million from Scottsdale residents, which are donated one dollar at a time, city officials say.
Mr. Boyd points out Scottsdale Cares is a voluntary donation program supporting specific nonprofit agencies that:
- Promote the positive development of youth, adults and seniors;
- Strengthen the capability of families and the self-sufficiency of adults; and
- Assist Scottsdale citizens of all ages in addressing crisis needs.
About 8 percent of Scottsdale’s population — 226,918 — lives beneath the federal poverty line, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. A gross annual income less than $23,350 for a family of four is the median poverty line in the 48 contiguous states, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Residents can support the program by adding $1 to their monthly water bill,” Mr. Boyd explained.
“By simply paying the grand total, $1 will be automatically donated to the program. 100 percent of the donations for Scottsdale Cares goes to our neighbors in need and is completely tax deductible. If Scottsdale residents want to donate more than $1 per month to Scottsdale Cares, they can submit a check, in any amount, and made out to ‘Scottsdale Cares’ to the Community Assistance Office.”
The amount of need continues to rise in “The West’s Most Western Town,” Mr. Boyd explains.
“In fiscal year 2016-17, Scottsdale Cares received applications from 28 agencies requesting $446,002 in funding to provide services in Scottsdale,” he said of agencies in pursuit of Cares dollars. “Scottsdale Cares had $100,000 to allocate and awarded these funds to nine agencies. The Scottsdale Cares funds were leveraged with resources received by the nonprofit agencies to provide these much needed services in the community.”
The Charro Connection
For 56 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.
Scottsdale Cares and the Scottsdale Charros are two efforts with striking parallels.
“The city of Scottsdale is a primary partner with the Scottsdale Charros,” said Scottsdale Charros Executive Director Dennis Robbins. “Our history and mission has been closely connected to the city during our 56 years of service. When the city of Scottsdale asked us to help fund Scottsdale Cares, we were happy to help. Giving to Scottsdale Cares allowed us to expand our reach to help even more people in our community.”
In fiscal year 2016-17, The Charro Foundation, the group’s granting entity, provided Scottsdale Cares with a $10,000 grant meant to aid outreach efforts throughout the city of Scottsdale.
“The purpose of the grant application to the Scottsdale Charros Foundation was to leverage Scottsdale Cares funding so that additional agencies and services could be allocated funding,” Mr. Boyd said. “The Charro Foundation grant amount of $10,000 was disbursed first, and then remaining funding balances were reimbursed through Scottsdale Cares.”
Mr. Robbins, a former member of Scottsdale City Council and a Charro, says a community is a place where people look out for each other.
“To help those in need strengthens relationships and allows people to be more committed and invested in Scottsdale,” he said. “Our mission is to give back to our community. This is what we do and why we support those in Scottsdale.”
Mr. Robbins says the Cares effort and the Charros often are aiding the same organizations with dollars to the city often helping to embolden existing Charro grants.
“Many of the recipients that Scottsdale Cares help are the same organizations that the Charros help,” he said.
“We follow up with all of the charities we support and make sure that our donations are helpful and used appropriately. If we give to a program and it is not helpful or effective then we redirect our support to other charities that are more impactful.”
Go to scottsdaleaz.gov/shares/scottsdale-cares
–By Terrance Thornton