Our Successes

Grandparent and Kinship Families

Huge progress was made from 2017 to 2018 with regards to increasing the number of eligible families who applied for, and received the grandparent raising grandchildren stipend ($75.00 per month), by working with the Governor’s office and state agency administrators (Department of Children and Families – DCS). Expansion of eligibility and administrative outreach by DCS is a direct result of AZGA advocacy efforts and a significant public policy victory.

A direct result of discussions at the 2018 Grandparent’s Summit where the Assistant Director of the Office of Community Engagement (OCE at DES) spoke, was an internal review at DES which identified incorrect application of the policy for “TANF Child Only Kinship” resulting in a total of $19,928 issued in 2019 on 113 past cases that were reviewed and re-opened!

Payday Lending Reform

CEI won a first and only victory banning payday lenders in Arizona and now helps communities across the country combat similar 400% interest rates nonprofits in developing new products and services, like pre-paid debit cards, to take the place of payday loans.

Reform of Labor Brokers

CEI pushed through legislation holding for-profit day labor companies accountable in Arizona and New Mexico. CEI has helped three nonprofits in the Gulf Coast region launch nonprofit labor brokering enterprises to better meet the needs of workers and employers.

Money Back Into Laborers’ Pockets
  • For-profit day labor brokers charge workers for everything from work gloves and boots to cashing their paychecks. CEI documented those abuses and mobilized laborers, construction companies and high-road staffing companies to clean up the industry with legislation in AZ and NM.
  • Labor Ready was forced to refund over $150,000 in check cashing fees to its Arizona workers as a result of our work. Now the many fees that this corporation and other brokers used to take from workers stay in those workers’ pockets. That means literally millions of dollars back into the hands of hard-working laborers in the southwest region.
  • Nationwide, CEI has helped to develop nonprofit brokers based on Primavera Works in Tucson, AZ. This gives workers and employers an alternative to unfair labor brokers.

Our Awards

The Center for Economic Integrity has been honored for our unique and effective approach to economic justice.


2024: Awarded to Penelope Jacks, Vice-President of the Board

“This award recognizes the work of a person currently or previously active in community/state/national child advocacy through any of the following: Legislation, Volunteer Hours, A Voice for Children, Agency Impact, Health / Safety issues, Children’s Rights, Childcare Issues​”


“Each year Child and Family Resources, Inc. recognizes local Champions for Children and Families. The 2023 Lifetime achievement award is being given to Penelope Jacks, in recognition and appreciation of her many decades of work advocating for better policies, laws, funds, and services for children. Through her various roles as attorney, advocate, board member, and community leader, Penelope clearly embodies the mission of CFR and intent of the award: to help make children’s lives better.”

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA COLLEGE OF EDUCATION’S ERASMUS CIRCLE ACHIEVEMENT IN EDUCATION AWARD 2023: Awarded to Barbara & Russ Miller. Russ Miller currently serves as the Secretary to the board of directors of the Center for Economic Integrity.

“The Erasmus Circle, named for the Renaissance scholar whose work in education changed humanity, is a society that provides crucial support for the College of Education to invest in scholarships for students and faculty support. Each year the Erasmus Circle presents an achievement award to an individual, a family or an association who have clearly demonstrated their dedication, leadership and commitment to Tucson’s education community.”

“The Millers were honored in 2018 by Child and Family Resources Tucson with the Martha K. Rothman Lifetime Achievement Award. They also were the recipients of the 2021 Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year award, by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Tucson Chapter.”

THE INAUGURAL RICHARD ELIAS LEGACY AWARD 2020: Awarded to Kelly Griffith, Executive Director

“The Richard Elías Legacy Award is given to honor an individual who works with the Southern Arizona community to build resilience, work for justice, and honor the beauty and heritage for our community and for its members. This individual is a champion of our unique Sonoran desert and its people, and exemplifies many of the admirable qualities of Richard Elías: a person who is dedicated and willing to take risks, who is approachable and open to everyone in the community, and who promotes equity and opportunity.”

THE FRANCES MCCLELLAND INSTITUTE FOR CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES (FMI) 2019: The Frances McClelland Organizational Spirit Award            

“This award is given to honor local 501(c)3 nonprofit community organizations that are working towards improving the well-being of children, youth, families, and community.”

AZ COMMUNITY ACTION 2010: Margie Frost Champions Against Poverty Award

“This is a highly prestigious award for an individual or organization that has become involved in the community or has demonstrated statewide efforts and has unselfishly made personal sacrifices to help others. This award will be given to an individual or organization whose life or mission reflects a dedication to fighting or eliminating poverty in his/her community or within the state of Arizona, and is truly an inspiration and role model in advocating against poverty.”

SONORAN INSTITUTE 2007: Builders of Vibrant Economies Award

U.N. INT’L LABOR ORGANIZATION: 2002 Delegate to Geneva, Switzerland

National Media Coverage

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, Marketplace Morning Report, July 1, 2010

“Hundreds of stores in Arizona will no longer be able to charge triple-digit interest rates. Consumer groups hail the new protections for Arizona borrowers… [The] Center for Economic Integrity has organized volunteers who will spy on lenders and report abuses to state officials.”


The writers and photographers of a tiny book titled People Around Us are Arizona and New Mexico low wage earners: Wal-Mart cashiers, day laborers, servers… Published by [the] Center for Economic Integrity, People Around Us was designed as a way to ‘amplify the voices of low wage earners in an undiluted, unmediated form.’


“In Arizona, new laws prohibit common practices used in other states, such as charging fees that reduce hourly pay rates to levels below the minimum wage. ‘It’s a matter of ensuring the homeless won’t be getting exploited for the sake of the company’s profits.’ according to [the] Center for Economic Integrity.”

MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE, March/April 2002 Issue

“‘If day labor were reframed to be transitional work, then it could be a valuable thing,’ says [the] Center for Economic Integrity. ‘Ultimately, it’s got to lead to something better.’”


“For years, advocates…have been pushing for federal action that would quash such predatory practices [as rapid tax refund anticipation loans]. Finally, momentum is on their side… [The Center for Economic Integrity]and other advocates urge families to get their taxes done free at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or AARP Tax-Aide sites… all money goes to the taxpayer.”

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