Copper Cactus Awards

Tucson Electric Power helped highlight our community’s most successful nonprofit groups at the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Copper Cactus Awards.

On Oct. 12, the chamber presented awards to four local charities in the Tucson Electric Power Charitable Non-Profit Business category.

TEP supports the category because of the vital role that nonprofit groups play in the community. A 2016 report found that the nonprofit sector generates $10.4 billion in revenue and is responsible for more than 300,000 jobs statewide. Pima County is home to more than 3,700 nonprofit organizations, which create more than 63,000 jobs and generate $3.2 billion in wages and salaries, according to the report.

“We should reward nonprofit organizations because they are significant contributors to our economy, like other businesses,” said Larry Lucero, the chamber’s Past Chair and TEP Senior Director of Government and External Affairs. “We realized that we should recognize their achievements.”

The nominees were judged on their exceptional leadership, culture, innovation and growth.

Frank Marino, TEP’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, presented four awards in categories based on the organizations’ annual revenue:

  • Junior Achievement of Arizona – Southern District, $50,000–$500,000
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona, $500,001–$2 million
  • Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation, $2 million–$5 million
  • Humane Society of Southern Arizona, $5 million–$15 million

TEP’s sponsorship of the award is just part of more than $1.5 million that the company contributes annually to local charities. TEP employees also volunteer thousands of hours each year for the charitable causes closest to their hearts.

“Nonprofits function just like businesses,” said Wendy Erica Werden, TEP Manager of Community Investment and Philanthropy and a Copper Cactus judge. “The economic ripple they create is significant. They provide jobs, need services, lease office space and have many other interactions that keep our community strong, in addition to the services that they provide.”

TEP also supports other local chambers of commerce by participating in their events and promoting programs at business expos. “It’s been a good pathway to connect with small businesses,” Lucero said.