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Higher Ground Needs Your Help

$3,065 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 30 people in 26 days
Our Mission: Reaching individuals, transforming families, and elevating the community one life at a time by showing love and building character.

Since 2007, Higher Ground has been dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families in the Tucson community, empowering them to overcome the challenges imposed by poverty and trauma, helping them to reach their personal and educational goals and become successful, thriving members of our community.

Even as our organization has grown, we have not lost our relational approach, ensuring that each child is treated as an individual and knows that we growing with them and learning together. As a result, we have had seen tremendous results in the youth we serve, with improved grades, increased school attendance, reduction in recidivism, and increased self-control and grit in the over 1,500 students we worked with just last school year. 

This work requires passionate, well-trained, and dedicated staff. We operate with 30 paid staff, all of whom were previous volunteers, and a regular volunteer force of approximately 50 people. Every single staff member has had more than 100 hours of training each year to ensure that they fully embrace the mission, values, and methodology of Higher Ground. It is thanks to these people that we are able to transform the lives of so many Tucson youth. 

On October 1, 2018, there was a significant change in the way the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) disburses funds... which has put our mission, and that of other organizations like us, at serious risk. 

For the last three years, more than 60% of our income has come from AHCCCS funding, which has allowed us to grow and serve more youth than we could have otherwise. However, on October 1 this system changed and we now have to bill through four different health insurance companies, which required that we renegotiate rates with each of them in a long, drawn-out process. As a result, we did not receive any funds for approximately 90 days. Additionally, we are losing  40% of our income due to these lower rates from insurance companies... for the same amount of services we had been providing. To date, we have only received 45% of our payment for our services, and we are projecting a total loss of more than $300,000 from this transition.

As many of our fellow organizations have been forced to layoff employees, we have fought to keep ours working and paid, because not only do we rely on our staff for the high-quality, life-changing services that we provide... but they are family to us. Of the 30 paid staff members we have, 14 have been with us for the last 6 to 11 years. Despite the quality of work our staff provides, the majority of us are paid minimal salaries. Compared to market value, all of us are making at least 25% less than the position, experience, and qualifications would demand.

However, we recently had to furlough many of our employees for a few days to be able to continue services.  As this situation continues to unfold, we are now at risk of either massive layoffs... or shutting down. 

We are asking for $150,000 to help us cover payroll for the next 5 months, as it is not certain when this delay in health insurance payouts will continue. 

We have already been working hard to diversify our funding sources and ensure that, during our next fiscal year (July 2019 - June 2021), we are no longer dependent on behavioral health funds. Based on the contracts and grants we have secured, we are projecting that behavioral health funds will only account for 30% or less of our total income beginning in July.
 
Until then, we need your help to continue operating as we have been, without having to lose any of our committed and passionate staff. We have exhausted our reserves and every other recourse, and we now rely on the generosity of the community and private donors to survive this storm.

Read the Arizona Daily Star article about this situation . 
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Last week, our CEO and co-founder Jansen Azarias was invited to speak before the Arizona State Senate Education Committee to testify in support of a bill regarding community schools!

SB 1264 requires the AZ Department of Education to establish a 3-year Community School Pilot Program and award grants to three schools, ideally one in Pima, one in Maricopa, and one in a rural area. Jansen spoke before the committee about how the Community School model is a nationally-proven model with tremendous outcomes in today's educational environment, and that many other states in the U.S. are already funding the model as their primary turn-around strategy. He also spoke about Higher Ground's already incredible results using the model in Tucson's high-needs neighborhoods, despite our heavy reliance on AmeriCorps members. Hopefully our results will enable us to provide fully-trained, permanent staff at each of our community school sites!

The committee UNANIMOUSLY voted for the bill!

Read it here: https://legiscan.com/AZ/text/SB1264/id/1879001
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Another incredibly generous donor has made a recurring contribution to Higher Ground!

Through her work's corporate giving site, she has made a $25 monthly contribution, which will be matched by Cardinal Health, for a total contribution of $1,300! Thank you Barbara!!

See if your work has a similar corporate giving opportunity, and help support an amazing organization that seeks to make a life-long positive impact on the youth of Tucson!
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BIG NEWS!

One of our generous donors has agreed to MATCH up to $5,000 in donations from our GoFundMe campaign!

Please spread the word and support Higher Ground through these tough times!
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"My name is Ricardo Chavez-Araujo and I am writing this in behalf of Jansen Azarias, founder and CEO/President of Higher Ground a Resource Center. For the last 11 years, he has done an amazing job creating hope, opportunities, and life changing programs to help teenager's make better decisions for themselves and to become young leaders like himself. He has served the community of Tucson with several programs. Including an after school program. I first met Jansen Azarias back in 2008, I was in 8th grade looking for guidance in life and what to expect from the real world. Thanks to the great advice I got from Mr. Jansen I stayed out of trouble. I graduated high school and became a young independent business man. I am proud to say I own my own company with my brothers, Southwest Cactus LLC, where we specialize in moving large native saguaro cactus and other desert plants to help better our community. Just like Jansen Azarias is doing. It was not easy to start my own company with my brothers, but having this great leader Jansen on our side really helped us to get our business started. One of my favorite quotes from Jansen was, "never give up, hard work pays off". That quote has always stayed in my head and always will be and i’ll be telling that quote to my kids. Now I see what he meant by that. We need more leaders like Jansen Azarias to step up and help direct young smart kids to grow and become young leaders. To help make our future and community a much better and a safer place for everyone. These young kids need support, advice, love, care, and education. A great leader like Jansen Azarias will definitely help you stay on track and become more than you ever thought you could be. Sometimes our parents are really busy and are overwhelmed with work. That they don't have time to help their kids with their homework or have a babysitter till they get off work. Jansen has created a place for parents to feel safe and know that their kids are well taken care of. They even provide them with snacks so they won't get hungry while they are participating in there amazing activities they have at Higher Ground. The best part is they will be getting the right help for their homework and the right education they need at Higher Ground. You will notice your kid doing better in school. I am very thankful to have met Jansen Azarias in my life and everything he has does for me. He is a true hero and will definitely help change your life in a good way. I am very proud of what he has done for our community the last 11 years, I ‘ve seen him go through many struggles but he never gives up. You know what they say, "where there is a will, there is a way". Please help support Higher Ground to keep changing lives like they did with mine. I am very grateful especially since it’s a nonprofit organization.

Sincerely,
Ricardo Chavez-Araujo”
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Read a Previous Update

$3,065 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 30 people in 26 days
Funds raised will benefit:
Higher Ground A Resource Center
Certified Charity
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Tucson, AZ
EIN: 273585869
How it Works
  1. You make a donation using a PayPal account or a credit/debit card to PayPal Giving Fund (a 501(c)(3) charitable organization).
  2. After the deduction of payment processing fees, PayPal Giving Fund delivers the funds it receives to the chosen charity on a monthly basis.*
* If, after reasonable efforts, PayPal Giving Fund cannot deliver donations to this charity, the funds may be donated to another charity per PayPal Giving Fund’s policies.
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