Philanthropist Alyssa Flores’ commitment to making a difference with the launch of the Alyssa James Foundation
BY BRITTANY MARONEY PHOTOS BY CLAUDIA JOHNSTONE SHOT AT HYATT REGENCY SCOTTSDALE RESORT & SPA AT GAINEY RANCH
Those who know Alyssa Flores call her sassy, hardworking and laser-focused. They say she has endless energy and drive. At work, she has a mind for numbers and in her free time, she’s busy fundraising for charities across the Valley. The wife, entrepreneur and philanthropist is, most recently, the founder of the Alyssa James Foundation, a nonprofit focused on delivering assistance to charitable organizations across the Valley. And her passion for giving back runs deep.
“I was raised in Fresno, California, in a family full of farmers. Growing up in agriculture taught me to appreciate the hard work and the dedication it takes to produce a healthy and successful crop, but it also taught me what to do when resources are plentiful,” says Flores, noting that some of her earliest memories are of her family dropping off spare produce at the Fresno Rescue Mission. “My free time was spent volunteering in local shelters or spending time with elders at our local retirement community.” Pioneering much of this desire to help others was Flores’ grandmother. She not only embodied the ideal of a good Catholic altruism, she also taught her granddaughter about the joys of compassion. “My grandmother inspired me every day,” Flores says. “When she was around, no stomach went hungry and there was always a cool drink in your hand. She would have given you the shirt off her back. I will spend the rest of my life continuing her incredible work.” This exposure at such a young age made its mark, giving Flores confidence in herself and enhancing her innate drive. She launched a career in manufacturing but soon started brokering her own entrepreneurial deals within banking. Now, as the owner of World Wide Financial Solutions, she is at the helm of a business solutions firm that helps companies reduce costs and increase revenue with services such as microlending, unique lending, and ACH processing, as well as payroll and benefit programs. Beyond her job, Flores is a natural networker. “I love being part of a vibrant community and helping entrepreneurs succeed,” Flores says. “There’s nothing more inspiring than sharing my story and hearing others’ in return. People love to connect in fundamental ways, and I’ve found that those who have the same entrepreneurial spirit as me also have similar philanthropic goals. I started realizing this could be my path to help others.”
The Goodwill Bug In the last few years, Flores has become increasingly more involved with various charities. She fostered fundraising efforts for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Arizona as one of the candidates for the nonprofit’s 2016 Woman of the Year campaign, collecting clothing for Teen Challenge, a women’s shelter in Casa Grande. She has also personally sponsored dental assistance for local military veterans in need of surgical reparations. Most recently, she launched Talk Derby to Me, a Kentucky Derby-themed fundraising event with proceeds supporting veterans. It’s this involvement in so many charities that helped Flores realize her passion and talent for fundraising. Flores says it only made sense to take it to the next step and create the Alyssa James Foundation. While the vision of her foundation is to help as many people in the community as possible, Flores’ greater vision was born out of personal experience. “The ultimate vision is to work with youth who are, or desire to be, emancipated. I was an emancipated minor and was blessed to have a community of people and extended family that supported my journey. “I’d love to focus my work on providing resources, education and direction to children who are faced with the decision to become a legal adult prior to 18 years of age,” Flores says. “But I also want to continue to provide services for disease prevention and help our military families.” Of course, balancing a busy work life, an active social agenda and building a nonprofit foundation doesn’t always come easy. Flores admits that mangaging it all has its challenges. “All the moving parts, including the behind-the-scenes paperwork, working on the website, and attempting to connect with those special people who truly have the vision to give is quite challenging.” Yet, Flores handles those challenges through graceful action. “I am a doer, and I’m not afraid to put in the time to find other doers to make it all come together. There are too many people who need my assistance, and they deserve everything I have to give.” Those who know Flores say she’s steadfast when it comes to planning an event or networking with potential sponsors. She welcomes any opportunity to talk about her passions or listen to other entrepreneurs share their philanthropic experiences. In fact, she believes she’s living in one of the most generous and charitable cities in America, often calling Scottsdale “a community of opportunity.” “Giving back to this amazing community is central to who I am, and I believe in paving that path with integrity,” Flores says. “I love telling the stories of the people I am raising funds for and hopefully others enjoy being part of an amazing event, silent auction or party. So many of them will give, knowing that they helped someone special, and hopefully they walk away with the same ‘goodwill bug’ I was inspired by as a child. It truly is a win-win for everyone involved.”
To learn more about the Alyssa James Foundation, visit www.facebook.com/alyssajamesfoundation.