a new leaf

Nonprofit of the Month: A New Leaf

Since it was founded in Mesa over 50 years ago, A New Leaf has provided assistance to those most in need in the community to overcome the challenges they face, including homelessness and domestic violence. Tanner Swanson, communications manager, discusses the nonprofit’s growth over the past few decades and how readers can give to A New Leaf’s vital cause.

What is the mission of A New Leaf? A New Leaf’s mission is helping families, changing lives. We believe in helping our neighbors overcome homelessness, domestic violence and other heart-breaking challenges. Together, we are making an impact in the lives of tens of thousands of people across the Valley.

What prompted the start of the nonprofit? A New Leaf started in 1971 as a small behavioral health nonprofit, working to help children in crisis across the Mesa community. Over the past 50 years, the organization has expanded to work in many other areas, including homelessness, domestic violence, foster care and more. This happened naturally, as it became apparent that the children A New Leaf was serving needed more help than a one-a-week therapy appointment. Issues such as housing and abuse quickly became obvious obstacles to a child’s well-being, and of the overall family. A New Leaf decided to step in and help fill these gaps in services, first in the City of Mesa, and now across Maricopa and Pinal counties. We are dedicated to ensuring that every household is able to achieve stability and happiness.

What is the greatest reward in being involved with A New Leaf? When families come to A New Leaf, they have been through tragic and traumatic challenges. They may have been homeless while living out of their car for several months. Perhaps they were fleeing from an abuser while fearing for their safety. These are not easy experiences to overcome. When our staff see these same families start to relax, to love again, and even to thrive – well that is the greatest reward. Parents are able to find work, get their own housing and feel good about themselves again. It is especially beautiful to see children start to do well in school, make friends and be carefree again. No child chooses to be homeless or abused, and to see them recover is just remarkable.

What is the biggest challenge the nonprofit faces? A New Leaf’s biggest challenge is meeting the need in our community right now. So many families and low-income households are struggling from paycheck to paycheck. Rising rents, costly groceries and inflation have all made everyday bills overwhelming. The smallest crisis like a blown tire or an unexpected medical bill can put these folks into a situation where they are unable to pay their rent or have their electricity shut off. A New Leaf counts on generous community members to keep our doors open for these neighbors in need. Without the help of the community, A New Leaf wouldn’t be able to serve families experiencing homelessness, domestic violence or any other potential crisis. We encourage everyone to get involved in making their community a better place to live.

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What are your goals for the remainder of the year? A New Leaf is planning to put an end to family homelessness across the Valley, and that starts with some big projects. With the help of our community, we have opened new homeless shelters in Mesa, Phoenix, Surprise and even Avondale. A New Leaf also recently acquired Homeward Bound, a large housing and shelter campus in Phoenix that serves hundreds of families every year. We are dedicated to partnering with and acquiring smaller nonprofit organizations that can benefit from our size and administrative support. By doing this, we can help these programs lower the cost it takes to operate their shelters, while expanding their impact. Lastly, we believe shelters aren’t just about providing a place to sleep, but a place for residents to work towards independence and sustainability. In 2024, A New Leaf is dedicated to changing lives in our shelter, not just providing a bed to sleep in

How can readers help?A New Leaf has amazing volunteer opportunities such as serving meals in shelters, painting murals at community centers and so much more. We welcome local churches, civic groups, corporate partners and government entities to organize a group volunteer project at one of our programs. Individuals are also welcome to volunteer. Readers can host donation drives to support shelters across the Valley. Donors may bring in household essentials, food, clothing and even electronic items. (Please note that all donations must be new and unopened.) All items go directly to shelters and are then given out to community members who need it most. Donations are also accepted on our website and are the most direct way to make an impact. We also encourage every Arizona resident to use their Arizona Charitable Tax Credit that allows households to make a donation of up to $938, which they can then get back dollar-for-dollar when they file their taxes. A New Leaf’s QCO code is 20075. Finally gifts can come in the form of a will or trust fund, stock, real estate, life insurance, IRA funds, and even from a donor advised funds (DAFs). With A New Leaf, it is easy to give back to the thousands of people experiencing homelessness and domestic violence across the Valley. We provide options for anyone and everyone to give back if they choose to.

Does the nonprofit have any events or fundraisers on the horizon? A New Leaf hosts a breakfast fundraiser in October called “With One Voice” to raise support for survivors of domestic violence. This is a free event that allows all members of the community to attend, but a donation is requested at the event. This is a great way to get involved in helping survivors of abuse. Registration will open in June 2024.

A New Leaf will also host our annual Camaraderie Gala in March 2025 to support homeless shelters across the Valley. This event brings nearly 500 generous community members together to raise nearly $800,000 for our neighbors in need. Tickets go on sale in August 2024.

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