Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy


Promoting Ethical Profits and Responsible Commerce

aka Center for Economic Integrity

Tucson, AZ


The mission of the Southwest Center for Economic Integrity is to build economic strength by reinforcing fairness, understanding and community action. The primary purposes are to promote corporate and industry accountability, cultivate community-based enterprises, and foster greater understanding of economic policies and practices.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Kelly Griffith

Main Address

509 E Radburn Street

Tucson, AZ 85704 USA


economics,research,advocacy,corporate accountability,ethical commerce,responsible lending,corporate accountability,informal economy,predatory lending,day labor, payday lending, financial literacy,





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (J05)

Citizen Participation (W24)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

The extreme economic divide in our country, and the public policies that encourage it, will not change unless and until we challenge head on those policies and the powerful industries that profit excessively on the backs of workers, consumers, children and families.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

High Cost Small Loans

Maintain Arizona's Small Loan Law

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

To create substantive changes within our society that will eliminate the causes and conditions that allow poverty to continue to exist in our communities. CEI creates change from the ground up. Sustainable systemic change goals, strategies and tactics must be defined by people directly impacted, and outcomes must be achieved through diverse community coalitions that share a stake in success. CEI’s goals coalesce around its initiatives. These initiatives are driven by our overarching vision and mission to build economically strong communities for all and oppose unfair corporate practices.

CEI identifies egregious corporate practices and public polices that allow those practices to thrive: negatively impacting workers, consumers, children and families. We work as a facilitator for systemic economic change through partnerships with existing nonprofits, military and political entities, faith-based and business organizations in the following ways: • Community Organizing • Community Based Research & Education • Public Policy and Corporate Reforms • Social Enterprise Development

Since CEI’s founding in late 2001, our capacity has been dependent upon our unique partnership approach. As a facilitator for change, CEI brings together individuals and organizations around initiatives with wide-ranging impacts. This range allows CEI to engage with diverse interests and ideologies around a common cause. The projects that arise as a result of our community based research and coalition building give depth and longevity to our work. We remain since our inception, a small nimble organization with minimal operational overhead, even as we continue to evolve to take advantage of emerging technologies that enhance our overall effectiveness and efficiency. CEI capabilities are directly correlated to our capacity. The diversity and richness of the coalitions and partners CEI engages in this work results in a tremendous amount of collective expertise, skill, energy, compassion and wisdom.

Each initiative, and the projects that arise as a result, offer up opportunities for incremental success that builds over longer periods of time. These successes are celebrated and offered up to the community and to coalition members as a mechanism for sustaining the incredible amounts of effort needed to make progress toward achieving our overarching mission. Indications of success include but are not limited to: • Public Policy changes (legislative and administrative; local, regional, national) • Positive Economic changes (individual work, family & children; local, regional, national economies)

Grandparent and Kinship Families Huge progress was made from 2017 to 2018 in increasing the number of eligible families who applied for, and received the grandparent raising grandchildren stipend ($75/m), by working with the Governor’s office and state agency administrators (Dept. of Children and Families – DCS). Expansion of eligibility and outreach by DCS is a direct result of AZGA advocacy efforts and a significant public policy victory. Payday Lending Reform CEI won a first and only victory banning payday lenders in AZ saving vulnerable consumers 35 million dollars per year in usurious interest rates and fees. CEI now helps communities across the country combat similar 400% interest rate payday loans. Reform of Labor Brokers CEI pushed through legislation holding for-profit day labor companies accountable in AZ and NM and helped three nonprofits in the Gulf Coast region launch nonprofit labor brokering enterprises to better meet the needs of workers and employers.

External Reviews


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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

We do not display sexual orientation information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
SCEI’s Board of Director’s composition is as diverse as the communities we serve. Our members have a unique combination of skills and experiences (including a former payday lending borrower who was caught in an unending cycle of debt). Women, women head of household, older retired, Latina are represented on our Board of Directors. SCEI Board membership composition also reflects areas of expertise including elder, civil and consumer law, community organizing, activism, public service and education. CEI board membership is reflective of the geographic focus area of our work with members residing in either Arizona or New Mexico.