Valley of the Sun United Way Announces $2M Challenge Gift

John & Kathleen Graham and Phil & Nita Francis have each committed $1 million to the Mighty Change 2026 Community Plan

Valley of the Sun United Way announced a $2 million challenge to incentivize additional philanthropic gifts in support of the Mighty Change 2026 initiative.

The match was made possible by two new $1 million commitments from Phil and Nita Francis and John and Kathleen Graham. They are inviting other major donors and corporations to join them as Million Dollar Roundtable Members to fund the Mighty Change 2026 effort.

Mighty Change 2026 is a 5-year plan to create positive, lasting change in Maricopa County, created from direct insights from the community. Valley of the Sun United Way gathered information over a 15-month period through surveys, virtual town halls and focus groups. The insights led the organization to adopt seven community goals under the pillars of health, housing/homelessness, education and workforce development.

“The Mighty Change 2026 coalitions will build a Maricopa County where every child, family, and individual is healthy, has a safe place to live and every opportunity to succeed in school, life, and work,” said John Graham, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Mighty Change 2026 Cabinet.

“No other organization has the scope and scale to move the needle in Maricopa County like VSUW does,” said Phil and Nita Francis in a statement. 

In addition to challenging other Million Dollar Roundtable members, the Francises and Grahams will work to generate corporate lead gifts of $100,000 through a corporate challenge, created through a recent CEO Advisory Circle meeting where more than 30 Phoenix business leaders were in attendance.

Arizona Public Service was the first to make a 5-year partnership commitment to Mighty Change 2026, and PNC Bank also committed to a $100,000 lead investment in the initiative.

Valley of the Sun United Way will further recognize area philanthropists, including individuals and corporations that set the example for giving at the upcoming “We Are United” event for commitments made by April 15 and at the Annual Scorecard Event for commitments made by September 15.

“We cannot accomplish this bold vision alone,” said Carla Vargas Jasa, President and CEO of Valley of the Sun United Way. “It is only through the power of partnership and our donors’ support that we will be able to change Maricopa County. We believe it is possible and invite others to join us.” 

To learn more about the $2 million challenge and corresponding giving opportunities, contact Laura Kaiser, Chief Corporate Relations and Brand Officer at or via phone at 602-631-4802.

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