AEA Federal Credit Union partners with FHLBank San Francisco to Award 2023 AHEAD grants to Campesinos Sin Fronteras and Arizona Western College’s Small Business Development Center

YUMA, AZ (October 4, 2023) — The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBank San Francisco) has announced that Campesinos Sin Fronteras and Arizona Western College’s Small Business Development Center (AWC SBDC) are recipients of 2023 AHEAD economic development grants, each receiving $50,000.

AHEAD Grants are delivered through FHLBank San Francisco’s ( member financial institutions to local community organizations for projects and programs that offer benefits to lower-income and underserved communities. As an FHLBank San Francisco member, AEA Federal Credit Union worked with Campesinos Sin Fronteras and AWC’s SBDC to apply for the grant.

 “We are blessed to live in a community that cares so deeply about helping each other,” said Adele Sandberg, President and CEO of AEA Federal Credit Union. “This year’s grant recipients do that every day by supporting and nurturing entrepreneurs in our community and by advocating for and educating seasonal and migrant farmworkers and their families.”

 Campesinos Sin Fronteras ( began in 1999 as a non-profit organization dedicated to educating members of the low-income, migrant, agriculture community in Yuma County. Through the AHEAD Program, Campesinos Sin Fronteras will assist low-income residents of South Yuma County with vital emergency home repairs. They believe that home is a safe space and sanctuary. When a home needs emergency repairs, it can be very unsettling and can result in financial hardship for low-income, underserved South Yuma County residents who might not otherwise afford to repair their homes.

 “I am honored that our longstanding community partner, AEA Federal Credit Union in partnership with FHLBank San Francisco has awarded Campesinos Sin Fronteras the AHEAD grant,” stated Emma Torres, Chief Executive Officer of Campesinos Sin Fronteras. “I commend AEA Federal Credit Union for supporting its members and community organizations to promote economic development and housing initiatives. I am confident that we will see a high return on investment that will contribute toward the financial stability and overall well-being of our community.”

 The AWC SBDC is part of the Arizona Small Business Development Center (AZSBDC) Network which works to help launch, grow, and sustain small businesses in Arizona ( The AHEAD grant will support their efforts to expand in-person small business services for underserved minority rural low to moderate-income communities. The program provides entrepreneurs the education, guidance, and tools to establish a clear path to empowerment and continued economic and community prosperity. “We are grateful to AEA Federal Credit Union and FHLBank San Francisco for this generous grant,” said Crystal Mendoza, Director of AWC SBDC. This grant will allow us to retain staff, pay for travel expenses to rural areas to conduct counseling sessions, cover marketing and advertisement, supplies, and materials for the program.”

 “The AWC SBDC is a critical component to Yuma’s vibrant economy,” said Dr. Daniel Corr, President of Arizona Western College. Reetika Dhawan, CEO of Entrepreneurial College and Vice President of Workforce and Healthcare AWC, stated, “Crystal Mendoza (AWC SBDC) embodies dedication and unwavering commitment. Her relentless pursuit of excellence has not only earned our deepest admiration but also secured vital funds worth $50,000 for our local SBDC. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to AEA for their invaluable support in propelling our community’s entrepreneurial dreams to new heights.”

 AHEAD grants are awarded annually and delivered through the FHLBank San Francisco’s member financial institutions to local community organizations for projects and programs that benefit lower-income and underserved communities. Since the program inception in 2004, FHLBank San Francisco has awarded more than $25 million in AHEAD grants to over 800 economic development projects in Arizona, California, and Nevada. In 2023, the Bank’s board of director’s allocated $4 million to the AHEAD program, more than doubling the funding in prior years, and awarded grants to 75 projects.

“We are proud to support our member AEA Federal Credit Union’s partnerships with Campesinos Sin Fronteras and Arizona Western College’s Small Business Development Center. Each year we are inspired by the wide range of impactful programs that are brought to us by our member institutions using the AHEAD program,” said Eric Cicourel, senior vice president and community investment officer at FHLBank San Francisco. “The community organizations that AEA is supporting this year are no exception, as they are both addressing critical needs in Yuma in innovative ways.”

 For those interested in applying for the AHEAD Program in 2024, please contact AEA Federal Credit Union or visit the FHLBank San Francisco website to learn more.

(Left to Right) Mayte Magdaleno Muñiz, AWC SBDC Administrative Assistant I; Mary Carmen Lopez, AWC SBDC Business Counselor; Mayra Franquez, AWC SBDC Business Counselor; Crystal Mendoza, Director of the Small Business Development Center; Leticia Williams, AWC SBDC Business Counselor; Adele Sandberg, AEA President/CEO; Emma Torres, Executive Director of Campesinos Sin Fronteras; Chris Bolin, AEA SD/Community Impact Officer; and Nancy Blitz, Campesinos Sin Fronteras Board Vice President.

About AEA Federal Credit Union

Avenir Financial Federal Credit Union, based in Yuma, Arizona, is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that has been locally owned and operated by its member owners since 1942. Avenir has over $385 million in assets and more than 33,000 members with four branches serving Yuma and La Paz Counties in Arizona. For more information, visit (before 1/16/24) or (starting 1/16/24.)

About Federal Home Lan Bank of San Francisco

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco is a member-driven cooperative helping local lenders in Arizona, California, and Nevada build strong communities, create opportunity, and change lives for the better. The tools and resources we provide to our member financial institutions-commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions-foster homeownership, expand access to quality housing, seed or sustain small businesses, and revitalize whole neighborhoods. Together with our members and other partners, we are making the communities we serve more vibrant, equitable, and resilient.


Miriam Limon
Senior Director of Marketing
928.373.5408 |

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