Nonprofits range from helping youth in Uganda, to parachuting enthusiasts

Nobody’s Perfect thrift shop supports choices of people with development disabilities. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Queen Creek is the base of a nonprofit that educates the neediest youth in Uganda and Gold Canyon is the home of an organization that teaches the proper use and safety of parachuting.

Those unusual organizations and eight others that may not be well known in the East Valley – or only to a niche audience – were contacted recently by e-mail to seek general information and to report on their efforts.

10 nonprofits

The Independent on July 4 e-mailed 10 nonprofit organizations in Apache Junction and Queen Creek, seeking answers to the following questions: Please provide a short description of your organization; what is your website and contact information; what did members accomplish in the past two years; did membership increase in the last two years and why or why not; what is your goal for the next year; and what needs does the group have for the next year?

The Independent chose the 10 locals organizations that may be unfamiliar to readers. Information provided here is not meant to serve as an endorsement of any of the organizations; all information was submitted by officials from the organizations.

Those e-mailed were the Evangelical Press Association, Apache Junction Horse Rescue, E3 Africa, Maricopa Audubon Society, Friends of the Library of Apache Junction, Save Animals From Euthanasia, Parachute Industry Association, Nobody’s Perfect, Arizona Gang Investigators Association and AZ Center for Animal Rescue and Education.

Six of the 10 nonprofits responded to the newspaper’s request for information.

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual, according to the Internal Revenue Service website at irs.gov.

Organizations described in section 501(c)3 are commonly referred to as charitable organizations and are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

Additional information on nonprofit organizations and charities can be found at www.guidestar.org, a national website compiling information on nonprofits.

The Arizona Secretary of State’s office collects data and provides information on veterans organizations soliciting funds or other services. Visit www.azsos.gov.

Evangelical Press Association

First to respond was Lamar Keener, executive director of the Evangelical Press Association, which lists P.O. Box 1787, Queen Creek, AZ 85142, as its local address. Websites are evangelicalpress.com and epaconvention.com.

“The Evangelical Press Association is an international professional membership organization for Christian print and digital publications: magazines, newspapers, newsletters and content-rich websites,” Mr. Keener said in the e-mailed response to questions.

“Membership – between 315 to 330 – has remained constant in recent years. While we attract about 10 percent new members annually, we lose an equal amount to attrition primarily due to budgetary reasons or publications going out of business,” he said.

Goals for next year include adding regional day-long conferences to go with the organization’s annual national convention and providing travel and tuition scholarships to foreign magazine editors to attend the national convention, Mr. Keener said.

The next annual convention will be held April 7-9, 2019, in Oklahoma City. Regional conferences will be held this fall in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Nashville. Journalism scholarships are awarded annually through a journalism contest, he said.

Apache Junction Horse Rescue

(Submitted Photo)

James Moyle is the director of Apache Junction Horse Rescue. The 501(c)3 non-profit organization was established in 2007, according to its website at ajhorserescue.org.

Its local address is 4896 N. Vista Road, Apache Junction, AZ 85119.

“At this time I have been busy working (outside job) and upgrading the property on the weekends,” Mr. Moyle wrote in an e-mail.

“We are still active but not like we were eight or 10 years ago. Both of us are getting older and will stay active but at a slower rate. We do reach out to help horses and people as we find the need,” he said.

“At this time we wish not to be included in your article as we do not wish to mislead anyone,” Mr. Moyle said.

E3 Africa

Anthony Ventriere, executive director of E3 Africa, lists 18521 E. Queen Creek Road Suite 105-273, Queen Creek, AZ 85142, as the faith-based nonprofit’s local address. The website is E3Africa.org.

“With God’s help, E3 Africa strives to positively impact the nation of Uganda by providing their neediest youth with an education that underscores the life-changing effects of a personal relationship with God,” he said.

“We also advocate for peaceful conflict resolution, free-market economics, as well as individual liberty and equality for all, so that they may grow into industrial, cultural and social leaders that champion the tremendous collective value that is achieved when individuals are empowered to lead and encouraged to prosper,” he said.

E3 Africa is sponsoring more than 190 students who are getting a high-quality education in Uganda, he said.

“We are currently building the dormitories and a chapel for the St. Thomas Aquinas College in Erepi, Uganda,” Mr. Ventriere said.

“At the beginning of 2018, E3 Africa completed the building of the Dr. Susan G. Menking Multipurpose Hall, functional bathroom stalls for both men and women, two classroom blocks as well as installed solar-powered panels and water tank. We are working closely with the construction crew and engineers in Uganda to continue building the next phase of build-out,” he said.

Each year the nonprofit adds more students to its sponsorship program while at the same time it has students who are graduating.

“We roughly sponsor 30-50 new students each year. This year our board of directors grew with four new talented and diverse individuals to help further the mission and vision of E3 Africa,” Mr. Ventriere said.

E3 Africa’s goal is to open the school in 2019 and to continue to complete the school and campus of St. Thomas Aquinas College to serve more than 800 students in the future, most of whom are orphaned or from disadvantaged families, he said.

“The school just recently finished its first phase of construction. St. Thomas Aquinas College will supplement a traditional curriculum with vocational training, peace and conflict resolution and moral and spiritual formation. It will nurture the faith in the lives of the students and faculty through prayer and worship at the school chapel,” he said.

St. Thomas Aquinas College will also serve the community in the following ways: through culture and arts programs in the multi-purpose hall; through the operation of a farm to provide fruits and vegetables for the students, families and surrounding villages; through teaching valuable business and farming skills; and by access to water from the school well to local villages, he said.

The phases of construction outlined in E3 Africa’s development plan can be reviewed at E3Africa.org.

Maricopa Audubon Society

Mark W. Larson is president of the Maricopa Audubon Society, which lists 6262 W. Quail Trail in Queen Creek as its address. Its website is maricopaaudubon.org and the Facebook page is facebook.com/MaricopaAudubonSociety.

“The Maricopa Audubon Society is all-volunteer chapter of the National Audubon Society, a more than 100-year old organization based in New York City,” Mr. Larson said.

There are eight chapters in Arizona, three of which are in the Phoenix metropolitan area, he said.

The Maricopa Audubon Society was begun in Phoenix in late 1953 and early 1954.

“Many chapters around the U.S. are essentially bird clubs and there is nothing wrong with that. We, too, organize and lead numerous field trips to see and learn about birds, but the Maricopa Audubon Society is also, and more importantly, an environmental conservation and environmental education organization. We are about helping people connect with and learn about the natural world,” Mr. Larson said.

“We believe that there will always be threats to the natural treasures with which Arizona has been so blessed. And, because we wish to have these features persist intact for future generations, MAS has been forced to take the enemies of the natural world to court on many occasions,” he said.

The Maricopa Audubon Society sponsors one of the more than 40 Christmas bird counts in Arizona. The counts are done throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as in several locations in Mexico and Central America, he said.

“The MAS-sponsored count is the Salt-Verde Christmas bird count, which is done within a 15-mile diameter circle centered in Fountain Hills. Data from this and all the other CBCs are submitted to the National Audubon Society and this trove of information about winter bird populations is used by researchers to assess the health of avian life over time,” he said.

The membership of the Maricopa Audubon Society has remained relatively stable over the past several years.

Its goal for next year is to increase membership numbers by reaching out to groups in the Phoenix area that have been heretofore underrepresented in its ranks, such as minorities and young adults, he said.

“That’s because we believe that we have something to offer in this increasingly technical age, when so many young people are almost wedded to their screens and lack a connection with nature,” Mr. Larson said.

Every quarter the group produces a full-color, 24-page magazine for its members called “The Cactus Wren-dition.”

“For each season, upcoming field trips are described and contact information for the leaders is provided. There are also informative articles about birds and almost any other aspect of the natural world, from dragonflies to bats,” he said.

“Each issue also includes a description of all the upcoming programs at our monthly meetings and the contact information for all of our board members is shown on the back page,” he said.

“In the past, we have also sponsored what I call far-flung field trips to places such as the Rio Grande Valley of Texas during spring migration and to Costa Rica and Panama,” Mr. Larson said

Parachute Industry Association

The Parachute Industry Association is open to anyone involved in any aspect of the business of parachuting, according to its website, pia.com.

Its local address is 10661 E. Cordova St., Gold Canyon, AZ 85118

“We are an international non-profit organization made-up of individuals and companies involved in the parachuting industry,” PIA administrator Mary Thompson said in an e-mail.

“We never meet in Gold Canyon but have semi-annual meetings at different sites throughout the world. The reason we are currently registered in Gold Canyon is because I am the administrator and I live here. The organization itself has no local involvement,” she said.

Nobody’s Perfect

The nonprofit Nobody’s Perfect lists a local address of 18911 E. San Tan Blvd. Suite No. 101, Queen Creek, AZ 85142.

Nobody’s Perfect thrift shop supports choices of people with development disabilities. (Independent Newsmedia/

Nobody’s Perfect was established to support the choices of people with developmental disabilities and their families, according to its website at nobodysperfectinc.org.

“Nobody’s Perfect was founded in January 2006 with the mission of providing employment opportunities to people with developmental disabilities, such as autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and what is now referred to as cognitive disabilities instead of Down Syndrome,” Executive Director Philip M. Pajak said.

“Since then we have developed various projects like our ink-toner recycling program. It is a contract with the state of Arizona through the Set Aside Program. We have a crew that travels about Maricopa County picking up empty ink-toner cartridges and we sell them to companies that remanufacture them,” he said.

“We also operate snack shops set into a few businesses selling chips and sodas, ice cream and various other delights. Our most successful venture has been our thrift stores and day program located in Queen Creek established in fall 2010,” he said.

“Our biggest accomplishment was in 2016 when were able to purchase property at Power Road and Main street in Mesa. It houses our 5,500-square-foot ‘Barry’s Bargains Thrift Store’ named in memory of Barry, our first Day Program member,” Mr. Pajak said.

Nobody’s Perfect has grown every year and now serves 53 persons with developmental disabilities, 50 getting a paycheck for the work that they do, he said.

“We are also considered to be at our maximum capacity for members. Because of recent changes in the minimum wage in Arizona and other new regulations with the Department of Labor we are at point where we will spend the next year or two, hopefully at least at current levels, until we see how much these regulatory changes affect our programs in the longer term,” he said.

“We have a small administration of myself and D. Williamson, our chief operating officer, and together with a wonderful staff of 25 trained instructors we keep this organization delivering good results,” Mr. Pajak said.

The organization has a vocational/community-based day program that provides access to art, sports and outings in the community designed to integrate people with developmental disabilities into independent jobs and community activities, he said.

“We are a small organization and there are several others that are much larger doing what we do but we believe our size gives us an advantage to providing a better quality of service,” Mr. Pajak said.

A need for this coming year is for people to patronize the organization’s thrift stores by purchasing and donating items, he said.

“We are always looking for potential board members, too. Most other information can be found on our website at www.nobodysperfectinc.org. Many take advantage of the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit where an individual can donate up to $400 and a couple up to $800 and receive a state tax credit. This can be done through Pay Pal on the giving page of our website,” he said.

The following four organizations did not respond to the Independent‘s request for information:

Arizona Gang Investigators Association

The nonprofit Arizona Gang Investigators Association was established in 2007 by law enforcement professionals from around Arizona dedicated to working toward eradicating the negative impact gangs have on communities, according to its website, arizonagia.com. Its local address is 22424 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek, AZ 85142.

AZ Center for Animal Rescue and Education

The non-profit all breed dog and cat rescue, AZ Center for Animal Rescue and Education lists its address as P.O. Box 1783, Queen Creek, AZ 85142. Its website is azcarerescue.org.

Friends of the Library of Apache Junction

Friends of the Library of Apache Junction was organized in 1982 to assist the public library in serving the people of Apache Junction, according to ajpl.org/friends-of-the-library.

The nonprofit’s local address is P.O. Box 1054, Apache Junction, AZ 85217-1054.

Save Animals From Euthanasia

The nonprofit SAFE has a local address of 4286 S. Strong Box Road, Gold Canyon, AZ, 85118. Safe Animals From Euthanasia is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless and abandoned animals, according to its website, azsafedogs.org.

Editor Richard Dyer can be contacted via e-mail at rdyer@newszap.com or at twitter.com/rhdyer or facebook.com/RichardDyerJournalist

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