Random act of kindness helps animals displaced by Arizona wildfires

Desert Financial Credit Union makes $10,000 donation to help Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

PHOENIX, AZ (August 27, 2020) — Wildfires in Arizona don’t just impact humans, but Arizona’s precious wildlife, too.

The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) has seen an uptick in displaced wildlife in the wake of brushfires in the northern and adjacent regions of the state. Desert Financial Credit Union’s Random Acts of Kindness program team members visited the center in Scottsdale to connect with the animals and made a $10,000 donation.

Wildfires across the state push many animals out of their natural habitats, and often into residential areas. For 25 years SWCC, the Southwest’s largest wildlife animal sanctuary has offered wildlife rescue, recovery and rehabilitation. Visitors are welcome at the sanctuary, which is open for tours with special precautions for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many people in the Valley know about our Random Acts of Kindness program,” said Jeff Meshey, President and CEO at Desert Financial Credit Union. “When we learned about the important work this quiet sanctuary has been doing for so long, we knew now was the time to make this gift. Our staff also had a wonderful time touring the center and connecting with the animals, and the very special people that care for them.”

SWCC is the only sanctuary in Arizona capable of caring for large mammals such as black bears, mountain lions and Mexican gray wolves, but sees a broad variety of wildlife including foxes, bobcats, beavers, coyotes, skunks, raccoons and other animals making a home in the desert.

Animals in need of help under any circumstances find their way to the SWCC by way of referrals from the local police or Arizona Game and Fish. They are often reported by residents of neighborhood spaces into which the animals flee to avoid smoke. After providing refuge and rehabilitation, SWCC’s goal is to return these animals to their natural habitat when they can successfully make the transition. Animals unable to survive in the wild can spend the remainder of their days at the sanctuary, where a small staff and many volunteers deliver care 24/7.

“We often say that it takes the support of a ‘village’ to accomplish the work of Southwest Wildlife,” said SWCC Executive Director Linda Searles. “We are grateful that Desert Financial has become part of our village during these unusual times and made it possible for us to continue to fulfill our mission of saving wildlife, one life at a time.”

SWCC features 10 acres of land and typically cares for up to 150 animals at a time. Numbers today have increased closer to 300. The center recently signed an agreement with Maricopa County to build a cooperative facility in McDowell Mountain Park on 100 acres of land over the next five years. For more information on tours and education or to make a donation, visit:

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


Keller Perry
Public Relations Specialist 

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