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, helps business clients realize their ambitions. Founded in 2003, Alliance Bank of Arizona offers a full spectrum of loan, deposit and treasury management capabilities, plus superior service. With nine offices in Greater Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, along with Western Alliance Bank’s powerful array of specialized financial services, the banking division is a valued resource for Arizona’s business, real estate, professional, municipal and nonprofit communities. Alliance Bank’s wide-ranging commitment to giving back to its communities has earned the prestigious Corporate Philanthropy Award from the Phoenix Business Journal. Western Alliance Bank is the primary subsidiary of Phoenix-based Western Alliance Bancorporation, with more than $50 billion in assets. Western Alliance is again #1 best-performing of the 50 largest public U.S. banks in the S&P Global Market Intelligence listing for 2020 and ranks high on the Forbes “Best Banks in America” list year after year.