ASU Lodestar Center


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Public Allies Arizona launches inaugural class of Allies in Tucson, expanding the ASU Lodestar Center's work in Southern Arizona

Members of Public Allies Arizona's first Tucson class stand in front of a gate outside.

Public Allies Arizona's first Tucson class includes (from left): Nahelia Jimenez, Deandra Binder, Allison Castro Bazurto, Halima Shiwoko, Gabrielle Kelley, Alvaro Diaz, Marsha Brogden, Terrence Telford and Jacqueline Santamaria (not pictured).

Feb. 11, 2020 (Tucson, Ariz.) – The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation is excited to announce the inaugural class of Public Allies Arizona - Tucson, expanding the Center’s footprint in Southern Arizona. The first class of Allies in Tucson includes nine emerging young leaders who were selected to advance the program’s mission of creating a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it.

Housed within the ASU Lodestar Center, Public Allies Arizona is an AmeriCorps program that places dedicated, service-minded young individuals in 10-month apprenticeships at local nonprofit Partner Organizations. Along with their work at a nonprofit, these diverse and passionate individuals transform their leadership and professional skills through training curriculum, service days and retreats with their cohort.

Class 1 of Public Allies Arizona - Tucson includes:

  • Deandra Binder, Pima Community College
  • Marsha Brogden, David and Lura Lovell Foundation
  • Allison Castro Bazurto, Tucson Clean & Beautiful
  • Alvaro Diaz, Greater Tucson Leadership
  • Nahelia Jimenez, Pima Community College
  • Gabrielle Kelley, Boys & Girls Club of Tucson
  • Jacqueline Santamaria, Pima Community College
  • Halima Shiwoko, El Rio Health
  • Terrence Telford, City of Tucson

The Allies were inducted into the program on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at the YWCA Southern Arizona’s Frances McClelland Community Center. Former Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who helped the ASU Lodestar Center bring Public Allies to his city after reading about it in Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, led them in reciting the AmeriCorps member pledge.

“Public Allies offers a proven model for engaging diverse young leaders to advance community priorities in strategic partnership with area nonprofits,” said Dr. Robert Ashcraft, executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center and Saguaro Professor of Civic Enterprise. “It is encouraging how the Greater Tucson community has embraced our efforts in realizing our mutual goals to advance community well-being.”

Public Allies was founded in Washington, D.C., in 1992, by Vanessa Kirsch and Katrina Browne, two young women who mobilized a diverse network of young leaders and experienced mentors. Confronting myths of young people as uncaring, apathetic or worse, Public Allies began with the belief that the untapped energy and idealism of young people can be a powerful force to transform communities.

The founders created a program that links diverse young Americans who want to make a difference with nonprofit organizations in their communities who need them. In the process, Public Allies shows young leaders how to turn their passion for making a difference into a viable career path. This unique approach has led Public Allies to grow nationally, in 26 communities across the country, while developing a respected, replicable model.

Public Allies Arizona launched in Phoenix in 2006 and now has more than 400 alumni.

“Having witnessed first-hand the evolution of Public Allies Arizona during my involvement over the past nine years, our expansion into Tucson is one of the program’s proudest accomplishments,” said Jake Teskey, interim director of Public Allies Arizona and previously a two-time Public Ally. “With a home in Tucson, we are able to continue to develop emerging leaders as they work to strengthen their organizations’ impact. I have no doubt that in these next 10 months of service and beyond that the successes for our Allies, our Partner Organizations and community stakeholders will be abundant.”

The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation was founded in 1999 to educate, empower and connect nonprofit leaders so they can accelerate social impact. The Center is part of ASU’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and its School of Community Resources and Development.

The Tucson launch is part of the ASU Lodestar Center’s expanding work in Southern Arizona. The Center has long hosted a forum in Tucson each year and regularly surveys area nonprofit organizations in Pima County for its Compensation and Benefits Report. Tucson nonprofit professionals also regularly attend the Center's Nonprofit Management Institute programs and American Express Leadership Academy.

For additional information regarding any of the ASU Lodestar Center’s programs, visit For media inquiries, please contact Phil Bencomo at (602) 496-0500 or