About Us

Growth Partners Arizona is mission-driven Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that iscommitted to building an inclusive economy for local nonprofits and small businesses. We believe that closing the racial wealth gap is achieved by ensuring underserved communities have access to wealth generating opportunities and resources. As a local CDFI we are committed to removing barriers that inhibit access to capital, eliminate predatory lending, and contribute to a thriving economy that works for all.

When traditional lenders and big banks say no, Growth Partners Arizona is here to help you meet your financial goals. Our goal is to meet you where you are and help you get to where you want to be.

Our Mission

Provide accessible, fair, and responsible loans and support to Arizona nonprofits and economically underserved small businesses outside the economic mainstream.

Our Vision

Achieve economic justice through forward-thinking, collaborative, and inclusive approaches to capital access in Arizona.

Our Values

Respect | Innovation | Partnership Experience | Trust | Relationships

Meet the Growth Partners Arizona Team!

Connecting local nonprofits and small businesses across the state to resources, opportunities, and capital our team is here to serve you through all phases of your journey as a nonprofit leader or small business owner. We believe that the best experiences are people centric, impact driven, and collaborative.


Executive Director

Andre T. Whittington is an award-winning executive and organizational strategist with over 14 years of experience in public and non-profit sectors. He is an Army Veteran who served both domestically and internationally. Prior to joining Growth Partners Arizona, Andre served as the Associate Director for Our Village United, Inc. in Atlanta, GA. During his tenure he assisted in building national small business programs that ensured BIPOC business owners received the necessary training to help scale their business and ensure they were capital ready. He also spent over 10 years working for a Fortune 50 where he was responsible for leading national learning & development teams, developing performance management strategies, and implementing organizational development initiatives that directly impacted a workforce of over 30K employees.


Loan Program Manager

Jackie McGuire is GPAz’s Loan Program Manager. She has worked with GPAz since 2019. She has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Jackie spent 11 years as a bank credit analyst and commercial loan officer before taking some time to be a full-time mom to active twin boys.  

Jackie is a Tucson native and loves all that Tucson has to offer. She spends most of her free time with her husband attending their kids' sporting events including lacrosse, baseball, cross country, track, and wrestling. On a rare sports free Saturday, the McGuire family can be found hiking around Catalina State Park or riding bikes on the Loop.  


Kiva Capital Access Manager & Business Advisory Services Manager

Alexa’s role at GPAz is to grow the Kiva Tucson hub, bringing together community partner organizations to expand the reach of Kiva in southern Arizona communities and to help entrepreneurs gain access to Kiva’s global network of crowdfunding microlenders.

Alexa has experience in business counseling at an SBA Women’s Business Center, as well as event planning, social media management and creative content creation, including website and graphic design. She has a bachelor’s degree in management and minors in global business and Spanish history and translation from universities in Brazil and Mexico. Alexa is also an entrepreneur, owning her own e-retail business selling Mexican clothing and accessories. Alexa is also bi-cultural and bilingual (English, Spanish).

Board of Directors


Evelyn Casuga

Certified Economic Developer


Gary Molenda

President Arizona Capital Source


Peggy Hutchison

Community Volunteer

Board Members

Judie Scalise

Founder & Principal ESI Corporation

Mike Hammond

Founder Cushman & Wakefield/PICOR Commercial Real Estate Services

Magdalena Verdugo

CEO YWCA Southern Arizona

Roxanne Veliz

Partner Snell & Wilmer

Community Members

In addition to our board members, we have dedicated community members who serve on some of the organization’s committees and provide great insight and perspective on the work we do. We appreciate their dedication.

Loan Committee

Jason Grabosch

Senior Vice President, The Foothills Bank (Tucson)

Ray Lancaster

CEO, Pyramid Federal Credit Union (Tucson)

Sean Murray

SVP, Commercial Loan Officer (Tucson)

Elizabeth Slater

CEO, Youth On Their Own (Tucson)

Finance Committee

Don Jenks

Executive Vice President, Canyon Community Bank (Tucson)

Ray Lancaster

CEO, Pyramid Federal Credit Union (Tucson)

Community Technical Assistance Committee

Edgar Olivo

Chief Learning Officer, Compass CBS (Phoenix)

Valerie Pullara

Executive Director, AGR Foundation, Inc.-Sol Dog Lodge and Training Center (Tucson)

Keneshia Raymond

Program Director, Startup Tucson (Tucson)

Roberto Valdez-Beltran

Customer Experience Manager, Community Reinvestment Fund (Phoenix)