Our commitment to supporting our firefighter community never ends. Their dedication to serving our community with heroism and honor deserves our enduring support. In 2011, inspired by the vision of Patty Vallance, the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation established a perpetual endowment at the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona to help us care for our firefighters both now and long into the future.
Our donors are committed and motivated visionaries, many of whom have been personally impacted by firefighters’ and EMS response. They are volunteers, family members, community members, and firefighters themselves. They value the vital role of our firefighter community and understand the critical importance of ensuring their well-being. Your contribution to the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation Endowment is part of your legacy to honor those firefighters serving all of us now and those that protected us in the past.
The endowment is consciously building a financial bedrock for the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation. You can be assured that our Endowment is expertly managed and carefully stewarded to preserve the fund’s principal while creating a source of annual income in perpetuity.
Making a difference forever is easy. You can make a contribution to the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation Endowment during your lifetime and/or as part of your estate. Or, you may choose to establish your own endowment at the Jewish Community Foundation and name us as a beneficiary.
There are many ways to give your gift. The Legacy Development team at the Jewish Commnunity Foundation can work with your legal and financial advisors to help determine the type of assets and the vehicles that are the best option for you to reach your philanthropic goals.
Your philanthropic goals are important to us. By including the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation as a beneficiary of your own endowment, our gift can support the overall mission of the Fire Foundation or can be directed to support a specific program.
The Jewish Community Foundation (JCF) has a staff of highly skilled professionals to help you reach your philanthropic goals and achieve your greatest impact.
Your gift to the GTFF Endowment is unrestricted to support our programs and most current needs:
You may also create your own endowment naming GTFF as a beneficiary and desigate specific programs to support.
You can donate gifts of any size during your lifetime, through your estate, or both.
Vehicles for Contributing
Donations directly to the endowment fund at the JCF are subject to JCF’s gift acceptance policies.
Learn more about the many ways you can support the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation by contacting our partners at the Jewish Community Foundation for additional information.
If you want to make a donation, click on the button below.
Member of the Board of Trustees for the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation.
Esther was a Trustee and Matriarch to the Board and Shepard for Firefighters Beyond Borders.
Founding member of the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation.
Patty was the moving force behind her beloved Greater Tucson Fire Foundation and its’ Endowment Fund— which she assisted in seeding by providing the funding through her estate. Numerous programs were established as a result of her foresight and generosity. She left behind a lasting tribute honoring her everyday heroes!
Janice held firefighters near and dear to her heart and remembered them in her estate plans.
– Nelson Henderson
Patty Vallance was the heart and soul of the Fire Foundation. When we lost her in June of this year, her passion for its mission was underscored by her generous bequest pledged long before her passing.
Patty was a beloved “Eschet Chayil,” a woman of valor.
Rabbi Billy Lewkowicz
The mission of the Fire Foundation has remained immutable since its founding. Patty’s vision was always for a sustainable source of funding for firefighter health and wellness. Cardiac, cancer and mental health issues are the three main killers of firefighters. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the industry, it will take a great deal to change that.
Mike McKendrick, Chair
Greater Tucson Fire Foundation
It is said that none of us is irreplaceable and mostly I believe that to be true. But there will never be another Patty and our world is so blessed for her presence to have been on this planet for the time she was here.
Stuart Mellan, Former President & CEO
The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation has united Southern Arizona firefighters while addressing their unmet health and safety needs. The Tucson Fire Foundation supports all those that care for us every day. Let’s make sure we support the Tucson Fire Foundation and our firefighters.
Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS
17th Surgeon General of the United States
First, I want to say that the resources I was able to access through the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation have saved my marriage. I say that with no doubt in my mind. Keeping my family together, making sure my three children have a stable family life, is the most important thing I can do for them. Knowing that all is well at home also allows me to leave home for 24 hours and stay focused on my job. For that I am grateful.
To the general public, the value of the GTFF may not be obvious. The fire department is a close-knit group and when I was having marital problems, I didn’t want things spreading beyond my inner circle of friends. Many of my marital issues stemmed from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and up until recently that was an issue that was viewed as a sign of weakness within our career. It was something I wasn’t comfortable bringing up with co-workers or supervisors. By going through channels outside of my employer, I have been able to access counseling services without having to compromise my privacy or career image.
Many people don’t really understand what we see and do. And that is probably a good thing. But…it can also keep us from seeking help and talking to people. The counselors who I was referred to had experience working with first responders and knew the issues we face on a daily basis. When you feel you can’t open up to your co-workers, your family, and the general public, counselors who understand what you see and do are invaluable.
While I make a fair wage, co-pays for multiple counseling sessions per month tend to add up. As a father of three, this is money that I instinctually want to spend on other things. I am grateful for the financial assistance with my counseling co-pays that I have received through the GTFF. It is one less hurdle for me to clear, giving me one less excuse to not seek help.
I know that there are many others like me who are receiving help through the GTFF. A lot of it happens behind the scenes, and it has to. Because of the positive impact these services have had on my family and career, I have steered many of my co- workers towards their services. And, I can tell you that their lives and careers have been positively influenced too. As far as resources that are available to myself and others, t’s not just mental health and counseling. The GTFF does so many other things in the health and wellness arena, including work in areas such as cancer screens and studies, physical fitness and personal training, and cardiac issues.
Again, I can’t appropriately express my appreciation to the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation for the work they do. I don’t know where my family and my career would be without the access to the services they provide. Thank you.
Brian, Firefighter/EMT Tucson AZ 14 years
The Foundation saves lives. A firefighter death leaves children without a mother or father, our community without a guardian angel.
“The counselor (paid by the Foundation) saved my life,” said the firefighter with a tear in his eye.
“That skin cancer scanner (paid by the Foundation) found my melanoma cancer before it spread.” Tucson has the highest rate of melanoma skin cancer in the U.S.
“The heart scan (paid by the Foundation) saved my son’s life,” said the grateful mom.
If the Foundation saved only one young firefighter’s life, would all of its work be worth it? If your answer is yes – multiply that “yes” by the 28 firefighter lives saved by the Foundation.
Right now, there is a local firefighter with an undetected, untreated, life-threatening condition that needs help. Help this guardian angel who helps us every day. Donate your time and resources so every firefighter stays safe and well.
Wayne Peate MD
The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation has been much like proud grandparents to the fire agencies in our region. Local departments often struggle to maintain budget and at the same time, manage safe and professional departments, much like parents work to maintain good households and take care of the family. Like grandparents, the GTFF steps in when needed to provide that little bit of extra safety and security that we all need. For Rincon Valley Fire District, this has come in the form of extra tools (cutters) to possibly use in case of entrapment in a hostile environment. It has also come in the form of funding to purchase needed fitness equipment and classes to certify and maintain Peer Fitness Trainers. GTFF has also provided for the facilitation of emotional and mental well-being, not only for our first responders, but for our families as well. Rincon Valley Fire District could not be more grateful.
Eddie Cornejo, Rincon Valley Fire District
The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation has partnered with fire districts over the years to provide training and equipment to teach firefighters how to “rescue themselves” when they become entrapped. It has conducted studies and purchased equipment to help fire districts minimize firefighter cancers, heart attacks and strokes. The exercise equipment that the GTFF purchased for the Avra Valley Fire District could not have been purchased without the GTFFs financial assistance. All of these noble causes, however, cannot hold a candle to the benefits that the GTFF provides to firefighters who are suffering from mental health issues.
Incidence of first responder suicide is now our greatest concern. The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance recently reported that 103 firefighters, EMTs and paramedics died by suicide in 2018. The National Fire Protection Association identified 82 that same year who had died from all other on-duty causes. More first responders are perishing from suicide than in fires, vehicle accidents, training accidents, and on-duty heart attacks combined. Avra Valley Fire District diligently sought mental health providers who had experience with issues common to first responders; Issues such as PTSD or relationship issues associated with our peculiar work schedules and the things we deal with every shift. Simply stated, there are no qualified providers in southern Arizona other than those the GTFF provides. Even if there were, our fire district would not be able to absorb the financial costs of providing these essential services for our firefighters without the assistance of the GTFF. I can’t thank you all enough for the services you provide.
Brian Delfs, Fire Chief
Avra Valley Fire District
I have had the honor of serving as a chief officer in 2 fire departments in the area and have seen the benefits of GTFF’s health and fitness initiative first hand. The GTFF routinely provides financial support for Peer Fitness Training certification. Each of the departments I have worked for have only been able to get this education due to the GTFF’s support. The knowledge our firefighters gained through this certification was put to use almost immediately and returned several firefighters to shift who had been placed on leave due to not meeting fitness standards. The Foundation has also provided financial assistance for fitness equipment. In these uncertain times, budgets are being reduced and we would not have been able to purchase workout equipment for two of our fire stations without their help. The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation is steadily improving the health and fitness levels or our region’s firefighters.
Heath Evans, Assistant Fire Chief (Ret.)
Rural Metro Fire Department
The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation has broken down many barriers that firefighters and other first responders face in getting healthy after an injury or illness. I am a licensed mental health provider in Tucson and have met with many first responders and their family members who needed help after on-the-job psychological injuries.
Without the GTFF covering their copays and reducing the stigma of getting mental health treatment, many of these heroic first responders might not be with us. The GTFF intervenes in the most respectful way to save the lives of those who help all of us. I am honored and privileged to work with this organization.
Julie Miller, MC, LPC, LISAC
The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation is an amazing organization that helps Fire Fighters and their families with health and wellness. As a therapist working with local fire fighters and their families, I have utilized the GTFF to assist in covering co-pays and deductibles so that these folks could receive mental health support without worrying how they will be able to afford the services. I have also encouraged some of my retired fire fighters to volunteer at the GTFF Safe Shift Thrift Store. Sometimes when Fire Fighters retire, they need a safe/familiar place to connect to others. This organization is invaluable to the Tucson Fire Fighters and their families.
Libby Timmons, M.Ed., LISAC, CEAP, SAP
Firefighters are expected to respond to emergencies at a moment’s notice. Their intense job responsibilities can result in compromising health impacts for firefighters and their families. Along with higher risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, physiological issues due to work injuries, and sleep dysfunction, firefighters can also endure psychological stress as a result of repeated exposure to trauma. Trauma and its impact on a firefighter can have lasting implications and negative effects, but it is an issue that is not often addressed because of the stigma associated with receiving mental health services. The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation understood this hardship and then developed programming to help shatter the potential barriers to obtaining mental health support. They were passionate that firefighters did not need to suffer from the compromising impacts of PTSD, anxiety, depression, addiction on their own and therefore, they formulated multidimensional support programs for fire personnel.
The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation’s partnership with Sequoia Springs Trauma Healing Center, Inc. is one example of this type of support; Sequoia Springs provides firefighters with comprehensive and specialized trauma treatment at low to no cost. Because of this alliance, firefighters and their families are offered the necessary therapy services for meaningful healing and recovery. The partnership with Sequoia Springs demonstrates the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation’s commitment to all aspects of a firefighters’ health and of their ability to help build strong bridges to powerful health and wellness.
Andrea Siemens, LCSW
Sequoia Springs Trauma Healing Center
Since its’ inception, the GTFF has sought input from our agency on how to best meet the needs of our workforce. Our personnel are exposed to death, grief, injury, pain and loss on a daily basis, often placing them in the position to offer emotional and physical support to victims and survivors. But sometimes, the stress of managing these difficult calls takes its toll. The idea of heroes needing help was once foreign to those in our profession – angst and stress were kept quiet. The GTFF helped change that rhetoric by allowing and providing a trusted mental-health resource for our folks, independent of the workplace. I have seen men and woman who have given their all to this profession, some who were approaching the brink of disaster, reform their lives and regain their peace thanks, in large part, to the help of the GTFF and their behavioral health offerings.
One of the more taxing incident types that our folks respond to is the all-too-common “frequent flier.” Some of our most vulnerable community members over-rely on 911 resources to meet their basic and often multi-faceted needs simply because they don’t know who else to call, and with limited resources to offer, crew frustrations were mounting. In response, (under the guidance of SAM? lol!) TFD implemented the TC-3 program, a program designed to navigate the frequent user population to the community resources best suited to meet their needs. When the TC3 team found themselves in a particularly difficult situation with a large family, newly-homed, and in need, we reached out to the GTFF for help. The GTFF provided furniture for the home and later, under the watchful eye and generous heart of Ms. Patty Vallance, provided a beautiful Christmas to the 9 children and 3 adults residing there.
Sharon McDonough, Chief Officer
Tucson Fire Department
The purpose of this letter is to formally and publicly commend the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation for the excellent service provided to Tucson Airport Authority throughout the years. The level of service the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation extended to our Department was far beyond our expectations and illustrates the strong relationship our two entities have.
What particularly impressed me is commitment to assisting TAA in its health and wellness program by awarding a grant to purchase firefighter fitness equipment. The GTTF has supported the department with firefighter safety equipment, free training seminars, and funded training opportunities all over the world. The GTTF afforded me the opportunity to become member of Southern Arizona fire fighters to travel to Israel. The mission of the trip was to learn from our Israeli counterparts. The seeds planted on this trip sprouted into lifelong friendships and training opportunities. Without the dedication, spirit, and vision of the GTFF, this opportunity would have never come to fruition.
In closing, I believe that Greater Tucson Fire Foundation deserves to be congratulated and acknowledged for providing the customer service and support to our agency well beyond expectations. The GTFF efforts have truly made our firefighters safer and improved our community’s preparedness.
Thomas E. Tucker, Fire Chief
Tucson Airport Authority
The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation was formed in 2010 and serves active duty and retired firefighters throughout Southern Arizona. Our federal tax ID number is 273155431.
8987 E Tanque Verde Rd. Ste 309, PMB 263
Tucson AZ 85749