WHO WE ARE
Local First Arizona is building prosperous local economies within vibrant and sustainable communities that we're all proud to call home. We do this through supporting, promoting and advocating for a strong local business community and by raising public awareness of the economic and cultural benefits provided by strong local economies.
Every program, initiative, and project from Local First Arizona is working towards a resilient Arizona economy that is rich in opportunities for all types of businesses, enterprises, and individuals. Here's how we do it:
We help consumers and businesses keep dollars circulating in the local economy to build community wealth.
We all have to eat, and when we support local restaurants, agriculture, and food production, our economy is better for it.
Investing in local banks and credit unions means there is more local control of financing options for individuals and businesses.
The built environment plays a critical role in the local economy, and we're making sure it is sustainable and inclusive for all.
Policy & Advocacy
We continuously advocate for policies that level the playing field for local businesses and spur local economic opportunity.
Community & Economic Development
Our many events and programs bring the community together and build connections among local enterprises.
Business Training & Entrepreneurship
We provide training and consulting to local businesses to give them the tools they need to succeed, create jobs, and grow the economy.
A Look Back at 2016: By the Numbers
2016 was a year of growth and progress as we established ourselves as Arizona's leading advocate for local and independent businesses. Take a glance at some of the highlights from this past year.
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Our Local Business Coalition
Giving local businesses a powerful voice
At Local First Arizona, our primary goal is to make Arizona a better place by supporting locally owned businesses and building vibrant communities that residents are proud to call home. One of the main ways we work to achieve this goal is direct support of local businesses through our local business coalition.
Now 3,000 members strong, the coalition offers members a forum to come together to collaborate on common goals, as well as a platform to promote themselves to a wider audience, and a variety of opportunities and programs to gain important skills and resources to better operate their businesses.
Total statewide membership of the Local First Arizona business coalition, making us the largest local business coalition in the country.
Total number of employees that Local First Arizona members employ and represent.
Local First Arizona hosted more than 60 networking events and mixers across the state this past year, connecting local business owners and representatives in meaningful ways.
Additional revenue spent in businesses participating in this year’s Independents Week campaign, our weeklong summer campaign to spread the Buy Local message and lend support to local, independent businesses across the state.
Rate of growth for our Fuerza Local membership in 2016, the Spanish-speaking arm of our business coalition.
Harnessing the power of individual Arizonans to create change
The Localist program is Local First Arizona’s individual membership program, a way for individuals to hold a stake in the Buy Local movement and have fun while supporting local businesses. By connecting Localist members to other individuals and local businesses in their communities, they will experience a more defined sense of place.
The Localist program works to create prosperity throughout Arizona by inspiring individuals to be proud to call Arizona home, to put down roots here, and to increase their civic engagement in building their community. Great places are built by people who love their place.
Total number of Localist members in Tucson, Flagstaff, and the Phoenix Metro.
Localists across Arizona were treated to more than 20 specially curated and exclusive events throughout the year.
Of the 2016 Localist events that had capped attendance, 91% of them were sold out events.
Economic and Business Development
Giving businesses the resources they need to succeed
Encouraging consumers to frequent local businesses is not enough to build strong local economies. We must ensure that local businesses themselves have the tools and resources they need to operate sustainable and prosperous businesses. Local First Arizona hosts events, conferences, and webinars, and consults individually with local businesses to do just that.
Local First Arizona hosted nearly a dozen seminars, webinars, and educational opportunities for business members throughout the state.
Number panelists and speakers at the first annual SOCENT (Social Entrepreneurship) Summit, highlighting businesses committed to social entrepreneurship.
Number of people who attended the inaugural Arizona Living Economies Forum in Tucson that brought over 100 individuals together to discuss Tucson’s local economy and how to take action to create prosperity for all.
We partnered with 17 community banks and credit unions to promote the importance of community banking.
Attendees at the 6 panel discussions held in 2016 for the newly launched For(u)m program advocating for thoughtful, sustainable, and walkable urban development.
Total pounds of recyclable and organic materials that we diverted from landfills through direct efforts at our events and offices. We also worked with five local businesses to advice them on implementing sustainable practices.
Our Work in the Community
Bringing people together to celebrate Arizona
Local First Arizona hosts many key events and campaigns throughout the year to engage the public by showcasing Arizona’s local businesses. These events are designed to make connections and build meaningful relationships, as well as redirect dollars into the local community through strategic campaigning.
Studies show that when citizens feel more connected to their community, home, and place, those communities see higher incidents of civic engagement and social philanthropy. Our events are one way Local First Arizona is helping Arizonans feel more connected to this state and inspiring them to be proud to call Arizona home.
Attendance at the 12th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival, held this year at Hance Park in Phoenix with more than 200 local business participants.
Number of immigrant and refugee vendors Local First Arizona hosted at the two World Bazaar and Phoenix Community Market events with the International Rescue Committee in 2016. The event was inspired to bring together Phoenix’s immigrant and refugee communities and showcase the rich culture that is abundant in Phoenix.
Total number of Arizona businesses who participated in Buy Local Month, offering discounts and specials to Localists.
Number of new Small Wonders maps that were printed and distributed into the hands of locals and visitors throughout Arizona to direct them to nearby local businesses and experiences.
Connecting People to Community Through Food
Every time that we eat is an opportunity to invest in our local economy. We work to encourage individuals to choose local at the farmers market and grocery store, and in turn help restaurants and businesses find local food and beverage sources.
Number of guests at this year’s sold out Savor Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival, Tucson’s preeminent food event.
Number of restaurant members of the Devour Phoenix Restaurant Coalition, an elite group of restaurants committed to the community and to sourcing locally.
Total 2016 sales for the Devour Phoenix eGift Card, redeemable at 30+ of the best restaurants around the Valley.
Number of years in a row that the Devour Culinary Classic, the region’s premier culinary event showcasing the best food and beverage that Phoenix has to offer, has sold out.
Number of partnerships Local First Arizona has formed with like-minded organizations to advocate for local foods, including Flagstaff Food Link, City of Tucson Commission for Food Security, Heritage and Economics, Maricopa County Food System Coalition, and others.
THAT'S NOT ALL.
Our sister organization, the Local First Arizona Foundation, is focused on community and economic development throughout the state in order to build self-sufficient, healthy and prosperous communities.
The LFA Foundation's work is specifically centered on empowering and creating opportunities for rural communities, increasing access to healthy local foods, and giving underserved micro-entrepreneurs the resources they need to build successful businesses.
WANT TO BUILD A BETTER ARIZONA IN 2017 AND BEYOND?
Thanks to our Sustaining Members
Our Sustaining Members go above and beyond to support our important work in creating a prosperous Arizona that we're all proud to call home.