Local businesses fuel Arizona’s economic engine, create well-paying jobs and support the overall well-being of society. So, when the opportunity arose to laud an Arizona business leader who has helped thousands of local businesses thrive, Alliance Bank of Arizona seized it by nominating Kimber Lanning, CEO of Local First Arizona, for the 2021 AZ Business Angels Awards.
Selected as one of five Nonprofit Executives of the Year, Kimber’s steady leadership combined with her genuine commitment to helping local businesses succeed, especially in the face of adversity brought on by the pandemic, has helped countless businesses access resources and tools necessary to not just survive, but thrive.
“This honor is well deserved. Kimber is a strategic leader, relentless problem solver and a tireless advocate for Arizona’s local business community,” said Kate Hickman, senior vice president, commercial banking, for Alliance Bank of Arizona. “Under her guidance, Local First Arizona brought vital business support resources to local small businesses navigating through uncertain times.”
Bringing together partners, donors, sponsors, beneficiaries and businesses, LFA distributed more than $11 million in direct small business grants deep within communities in the state. These funds provided a lifeline to more than 5,000 business owners in 104 cities and towns across all 15 counties in Arizona. She and her team rallied to raise and distribute $1.2 million to businesses in need, which helped ease the burden for businesses that had one month or less in operating capital on hand.
As well, her advocacy ensured that the $1.2 million earmarked by the City of Phoenix to feed COVID-impacted families stayed local. By drawing on 14 Phoenix-based farms, which supplied 45 Phoenix-based restaurants that made meals in otherwise pandemic-idled kitchens, LFA delivered nearly 55,000 meals and 3,500 fresh produce bags to those experiencing food insecurity.
The pandemic-specific efforts were on top of already-robust day-to-day business support services, which include providing a gateway to entrepreneurial development; supporting rural community development to build a sustainable, resilient and diverse rural economy; working towards environmental sustainability and increasing access to healthy food and localizing the food supply through jobs and related opportunities.
Alliance Bank of Arizona, a division of Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, delivers relationship banking that puts clients at the center of everything. Founded in 2003, Alliance Bank of Arizona offers a full spectrum of tailored business banking solutions and outstanding service, with offices in Greater Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff. Alliance Bank of Arizona was named 2021 Lender Firm of the Year by NAIOP Arizona, among many other awards and recognitions. As part of $65 billion Western Alliance Bancorporation — ranked #1 top-performing large bank with assets greater than $50 billion in 2021 by both American Banker and Bank Director — Alliance Bank of Arizona has the reach, resources and local market expertise that make a difference for customers.