Desert Financial announces Changemakers NIL program for Arizona student-athletes
Five Arizona State University athletes are first to join Changemakers
PHOENIX, AZ (February 13, 2024) — Desert Financial Credit Union announces a new name, image and likeness (NIL) program, called Changemakers, with a focus on college athletes who excel in sports and community involvement. Desert Financial recruited five Arizona State University® (ASU®) student-athletes to serve as the first Changemakers.
The inaugural roster of Changemakers includes:
- Frankie Collins, ASU Men’s Basketball
- Kate Fitzgerald, ASU Women’s Beach Volleyball
- Jada Mangahas, ASU Women’s Gymnastics
- Jamiya Neal, ASU Men’s Basketball
- Jaddan Simmons, ASU Women’s Basketball
“Desert Financial is recognizing some of the most involved, community-minded student athletes at ASU to help promote positive change in our community,” said Desert Financial Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Nelson. “Changemakers is a partnership with rising leaders who are as passionate about making an impact in the community as we are.”
Changemakers will participate in Desert Financial community outreach efforts, including Random Acts of Kindness, teacher appreciation and financial well-being events, and will receive complimentary financial education from Desert Financial.
In addition, Arizona’s largest credit union will help elevate each Changemaker’s brand through the Desert Financial sphere of influence, as well as be an important resource in helping talented athletes and students meet their financial goals sooner.
The first to join the Desert Financial Changemakers is Kate Fitzgerald, an ASU beach volleyball player and entrepreneur.
“Kate stands out as a shining example of what a Changemaker is — a young leader poised to make a lasting impact,” said Nelson. “We are delighted to welcome her as our principal Changemaker, embodying the spirit of our cause marketing NIL initiative.”
In addition to playing varsity beach volleyball and pursuing a biomedical science degree, Fitzgerald owns and operates VBAmerica, a lifestyle volleyball clothing brand. She also serves as president of ASU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), working to provide necessary resources to student-athletes and regularly volunteering with Phoenix Children’s. In 2023, she was named one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s AZ Inno Under 25.
“I always try to lead by example and be a resource to the people around me,” said Fitzgerald. “That’s why I want to be a nurse, and that’s why becoming a Changemaker with Desert Financial makes sense. I hope through this partnership that I can be a source of inspiration for more people, and I hope to do even more for our community.”
Following Fitzgerald in the Changemakers program, ASU senior and all-around gymnast Jada Mangahas also serves on ASU’s SAAC as vice president of the mental health committee. Mangahas additionally serves on the executive board for IfYoureReadingThis.org, which is a mental health support network for university students.
“I try to be someone that my peers feel comfortable going to if they are struggling or just need someone to talk to,” said Mangahas.
The third Changemaker is ASU women’s basketball point guard Jaddan Simmons. Simmons, a senior majoring in sports business, volunteers for Feed My Starving Children and food banks on the ASU campus. Simmons also mentors a young girls’ basketball team, offering advice and impressing upon them the importance of education.
Communications major Frankie Collins was next to join Changemakers. The ASU junior plays guard on the men’s basketball team. Collins looks forward to leveraging the Changemakers partnership to reach a wider audience to promote health and wellness habits.
“I am focused on using my platform as a student athlete at Arizona State to promote positivity among people by encouraging a healthy lifestyle involving physical and mental wellness,” said Collins.
Jamiya Neal, a junior guard for ASU men’s basketball and liberal studies major, is the latest addition to the Changemakers program. He hopes to reach aspiring young athletes both in Arizona and in his hometown of Toledo, OH.
Neal says, “Making a change in the community starts at home for me. Without my mom and aunts, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I love giving back to kids in the community. I want to be somebody that they can look up to and generally be a positive light in their life.”
To learn more about the Changemakers program, visit desertfinancial.com/changemakers.
About Desert Financial Credit Union
Celebrating 85 years in Arizona, Desert Financial is the state's most trusted local credit union with over $8 billion in assets, 400,000+ members and 48 branches. Membership eligibility is open across Arizona with contactless solutions making it easy to click, call or come in. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Financial takes pride in sharing success. In 2023, members received $16 million in dividends via the Member Giveback Bonus, and the credit union became the official retail banking partner of Arizona State University®. Federally insured by NCUA. Learn more at desertfinancial.com.