Greg Periera accepts a check worth $15,000 on behalf of the Central Arizona Shelter Services during an distribution event of monies raised through Glendale’s “From the Heart” program at Foothills Library on Thursday. At left is Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs.

Dave Martinez/Daily News-Sun

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs and Baptist Hospitals and Health Systems Legacy Foundation Chief Executive Officer Jerry Wissink handed out $183,915 in grants Thursday courtesy of Glendale’s From the Heart Foundation.

Started in 1997, From the Heart is a Glendale program wherein residents and businesses are given the option to donate $1 on top of their utility bills. BHHS Legacy Foundation, as the city’s partner, has been contributing 50 cents for every dollar donated for nine years. Non-profit organizations can apply for grants through From the Heart, with that money used for everything from domestic violence shelters to assisted living for the elderly.

“So far this program has raised $2.25 million for Glendale residents in need,” Scruggs said. “Without a doubt, if this program was not in place, a lot of help would not have been available to those who needed it most.”

In the past nine years, BHHS Legacy Foundation has donated a total of $586,010, a number of which Wissink said his organization is very proud.

“It’s been a real pleasure being partners with Glendale these past nine years,” he said. “We’ve always treasured our activities in Glendale. It’s a very special community.”

BHHS Legacy Foundation will no longer be partnering with Glendale for the From the Heart Foundation, due, Wissink said, to the board of directors’ desire to branch out into something new. Though Scruggs said the city will miss the Legacy Foundation’s help, she used Thursday’s grant presentation to announce a new partnership going forward, this time with the Gila River Indian Community.

That new partnership will see the Gila River Indian Community donating $75,000 annually, $225,000 in all, over the next three years.

Tom Ambrose, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, was on hand to accept a grant for $4,000. He said his organization matched 88 Glendale children ages 6-18 with adult mentors.

“We are able to help them from at-risk status to a better place in their lives,” he said. “And we are so pleased From the Heart is able to support us.”

Greg Pereira, of Central Arizona Shelter Services, said his organization is providing beds for 1,000 homeless people on any given night. Last year, hundreds of those were from Glendale. On Thursday, he accepted a grant for $15,000.

“The fastest rising groups of homeless, unfortunately, are young people and veterans,” he said. “It’s a tragedy, but programs like this are a huge help.”

Scruggs said she is glad From the Heart is able to help these groups provide for the community.

“The wonderful work all of you do deserves praise beyond any words that I have. Thank you.”

Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or


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