Tell us who you are!
Hi, everyone! My name is Ali. I moved to Arizona in 2011 from Washington state, where I grew up and went to college. I have a wonderful, fun and silly 11-year-old son, Parker, and an amazing boyfriend, Gregory. I also have a feisty cat named Butch and the cutest golden retriever, Bentley. I love the outdoors, traveling, sports and the beach!
What is your role here at APESF?
I am the Advancement and Corporate Partnerships Director. I work with our corporate partners on their company tax credit and keep up relationships with schools. I also lead the charge in raising funds for our SEED (Student Experiential and Extracurricular Development) Grants.
How did you end up working at APESF?
I first sat down with Jenny, APESF’s Operations Director, three years ago to learn more about the program and how I could afford a private education for my son. A mutual friend of ours knew I was looking for a change in career and told me about a job opening at APESF. I went to lunch with Jenny at the end of February to discuss what I was looking for in a new job and the role APESF was looking to fill. We knew right away it was a perfect fit and were just waiting on timing. I began my new role with APESF on May 1st.
Why have you stayed?
I am such a people person and love working with the APESF staff, schools, parents and students. To work closely with dedicated people who want to do what is best for the youth in our community…I feel blessed to be a part of it. Advocating for students and families when they don’t know what to do is a wonderful feeling.
What gets you really excited/passionate in a day’s work here?
I have such a passion for youth, and I understand that they are not meant to fit into a box. They are all unique, and to help place someone in a school that understands him or her as an individual is a gift! It’s such an honor to help parents place their students in schools that encourage and grow their passions! Seeing how parents sacrifice so much for their children and their specific needs and abilities is inspiring to me.
What’s your least favorite part of this job?
I would have to say that my least favorite part is that we can’t help everyone. There are certain limits and rules set forth that we have to follow, so to not be able to help every student and family is a shame. My dad calls me a rescuer — I just want to help whenever I hear of a person in need!
If there was one thing you could have everyone understand about the tax credit program, what would it be?
It is tax dollars that everyone owes! Many people feel like they are asking for a handout when, in reality, people are already paying this tax! This is just a wonderful program that allows them to decide WHERE their tax dollars are going. It never hurts to ask your family, friends, neighbors or co-workers because you never know who might say yes. And, yes, this program is too good to be true.
Give me one surprising fact about yourself.
I am a sports enthusiast! I actually have a degree in Sports Management, and I have worked in athletics or for an athletic team for over seven years. I play on a co-ed softball team, The Pigeons, and I’m proud to say that I am the first female General Manager of a semi-pro, recreational team. I also pretend to play golf. I love watching baseball, football (college and NFL), hockey, basketball and anything my son plays!
What the team is saying…
“We are honored to welcome our newest member of the APESF family, Ali Smith. One of the best descriptions of Ali is high energy with a huge heart! She embodies all of the skills, talents and experience required to support our mission, but even more, she has a fresh and creative view that will open new and amazing doors for the future of APESF. Welcome to the family, Ali!” – Mark, APESF Executive Director
“APESF is honored to have Ali as a part of our team. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge in the nonprofit space that has already benefited the families we serve. Most importantly, though, she is a single mother with a child in private school and understands parents and their desire to choose the best school option for their children. Welcome to the APESF team, Ali, and we look forward to learning from you.” – Jenny, APESF Operations Director
“Ali is an incredibly strong, smart, outgoing, likable individual. She works hard and always goes above and beyond the call of duty. It is a joy to work with her and watch her bless the organization and its constituents in so many ways.” – Alexia, APESF Systems & Scholarship Processing Director
“Ali has a heart for people, and it’s evident in all her interactions with our families and schools, whether in person or on the phone. In just the short amount of time she’s been with our APESF team, she’s built strong connections with families, schools and corporate partners. She’s a huge asset to this team, and I am so blessed to call her a colleague and friend.” – Robin, APESF Community Outreach Director