Latino activist supports St. Jude for a big reason

David Carrizosa believes when people give to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, it changes the world for the better.

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  •  3 min

Claire's uncle Zach and his son

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There’s a reason David Carrizosa gives to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and it’s a big one.

“I think to me, just very simply, this world would be a much better place if we were just to give,” David said. If not money, then time. Ideally, money and time.

It’s why he participates in the St. Jude Walk/Run, leading the charge in an effort to recruit 100 Latino team members to participate with him in Scottsdale, Arizona, on September 24. 

At David’s first St. Jude Walk/Run in 2019, he marveled at the crowd.

“It was amazing to see so many people who care. The energy was fantastic,” David said. “When you see the magic at the St. Jude Walk/Run, it is transformational.”

David asks people to join his team and make a $100 donation. One phone call, one text, one email and one donation at a time. No one has turned him down.

It’s how Danny Thomas raised the money to open St. Jude in 1962, connecting with one person at a time. Given the opportunity, David said, people want to help.

St. Jude Council

“If you ask, they say yes,” he said. “I literally have people saying, ‘David, shut up and take my money,” and “Please, amigo, send me the link to sign up. I don’t want to miss this opportunity.”

People are eager to connect. To be a part of something. To do something good.

People doing good is something David is very familiar with. He immigrated to the United States when he was just 5. A lot of people, many of them strangers, assisted his family.

“I know what it is like to be helped,” David said. “It’s a gift I want to give to others.”

David is a respected activist and entrepreneur who volunteers to help Latinos grow their businesses, from hot dog cart to restaurant, one store to a chain, and helping aspiring entrepreneurs to get started.

He and his family also own a chain of retail cellular phone stores in Mesa, Arizona. He understands the struggles of the Hispanic community and the barriers they face.

David believes the success of communities depends on the strength and growth of each individual – and with good fortune comes an obligation.

About 10 years ago, after learning about corporate philanthropy at the Hispanic Leadership Institute, David started raising money at his family’s stores for a local food bank, asking customers to round up and donate their change.

It created goodwill with customers and pride among employees. For David, “I fell in love with that feeling of giving.”

So he kept doing it – and more.

His partner, Imelda Ojeda, works in the Phoenix office for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude.

St. Jude Council

Ojeda had noticed people that attended fundraisers in Phoenix weren’t as diverse as the patients St. Jude treats, almost half of whom are people of color. Especially in Phoenix where the population is almost 43 percent Hispanic.

Imelda knew from her work as a community activist that Latinos could be counted on to rally around important causes. They understand how important it is that patient families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.

David came up with the idea of starting the St. Jude Arizona Latino Council. He recruited 12 members, all active in the Latino community. An artist. A teacher. Attorneys. Entrepreneurs. Someone in banking.

The council met for the first time in March 2021, and monthly since, planning fundraisers with a distinctively Latino flair. Noche de Lotería, or Mexican bingo nights. Council members host fundraisers with food from local Mexican restaurants. They volunteer at St. Jude events and recruit coworkers, family, and friends to help.

David knows good things come out of efforts like this.

A month before the event, the team roster for St. Jude Walk/Run is at 50 – business owners, teachers, doctors, even elected officials - raising more than $6,500 so far.

He’s planning a mixer before the event so team members can meet, join the council, and learn about St. Jude. Later, he’ll invite them to a workshop on how to fundraise for nonprofits at their businesses.

But first, David wants them to experience the St. Jude Walk/Run, wearing “Amigos de St. Jude” T-shirts donated by a Latino immigration attorney and a Latino-owned graphics firm. He believes it will transform their lives, too.

He’s a father of two boys, ages 16 and 17, and can’t imagine ever hearing the words: Your child has cancer. But he can imagine the money he helps raise saving the lives of children who will get to grow up. Children who will make the world a better place.


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