Desert Schools, Valley of the Sun United Way Pledge Support for Education, Community With $150,000 Grant

Three-year educational grant to support the Balsz Promise Neighborhood project 

Phoenix, AZ – Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, the largest not-for-profit membership-based financial institution in the state of Arizona, recently announced its partnership to support the Balsz Promise Neighborhood (BPN) project, a comprehensive effort to support education from cradle to college in the Valley. With Valley of the Sun United Way, the Balsz Elementary School District (BESD) and other community partners in the education, non-profit and government sectors, the credit union has pledged its support with a $150,000, three-year educational grant for the project to promote long term education in the community.

“Desert Schools believes that being a good corporate citizen in the local community is more than a mantra; it’s truly at the heart of everything we do. We are committed to building strong, resilient communities, and that starts with great partnerships with organizations that share our vision,” said Susan Frank, CEO of Desert Schools Federal Credit Union.

The Balsz community is defined by the boundaries of the Balsz Elementary School District (BESD), which is located in the eastern portion of Phoenix, Arizona. The area has a high percentage of residents living below the poverty level, a high percentage of residents receiving Medicare, extreme housing instability, and the largest family homeless shelter in the state.

To transform lives and a community, United Way convened partners to develop a long-term plan to advance family and community engagement around student academic success from cradle to career in the BESD area.  The efforts will ensure children are prepared to succeed in Kindergarten through High School, and transition to college and/or the workforce.  By building a pathway to success, the entire community will benefit.

Key program elements include:

  • Community engagement through Balsz Advisory and Youth Councils to create community dialogue and solutions to enhance school readiness and increase the likelihood of college completion amongst local youth.
  • Integration of United Way’s Destination Graduation Program for the integration of a technology-based early warning system to provide added support for students who are at risk of dropping out of high school.
  • Community Scan Implementation, used to identify needs of families and students throughout the community and communicate the plan’s goals for improved student success.

Frank added, “We believe that collectively we can lay the groundwork and create a strong foundation for long-term prosperity in the Valley community.”

About Valley of the Sun United Way
Valley of the Sun United Way is working to advance the common good by ensuring children and youth succeed, ending hunger and homelessness and increasing financial stability for individuals and families in Maricopa County. Visit to learn more. Balsz Promise Neighborhood partners include the BESD, City of Phoenix, Communities in Schools, Camelback High School, GateWay Early College High School, UMOM, Arizona State University, Educare Arizona, Lindon Park Neighborhood Association and Greater Orangedale Neighborhood Association.

About Desert Schools Federal Credit Union
Desert Schools is Arizona’s largest credit union with $3 billion in assets, 370,000 members and more than 50 locations. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Schools has been serving members for more than 70 years with stellar service, innovative products, community outreach and education. Learn more at

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