Meet The First Nonprofit Staff: Cruz Mendez

April 22, 2014

Meet The First Nonprofit Staff: Cruz Mendez

Cruz Mendez moved to Chicago from Mexico when she was six years old and has called the city and surrounding area home ever since. Cruz attended DePaul University in Chicago, where she majored in marketing. Currently the assistant director of sales and marketing at First Nonprofit Group, she developed a relationship with the company before she even attended DePaul.

“I had a friend from church who worked at First Nonprofit Group and was looking for a summer intern,” Cruz said. “I did that and then a couple of years as a customer service representative while I decided what I wanted to do in college.”

After deciding to major in marketing, Cruz started to do more work related to her studies at First Nonprofit Group, and after graduating, she took on her current role. She has enjoyed her time with the company and the chance to work in the nonprofit sector.

“I considered looking at other companies when I graduated but I was pretty passionate about what I was doing at that point,” she said. “I was achieving my career goals but also felt like I was making a difference in my community.”

Cruz assists every sales person at the company and handles a number of different marketing tasks, allowing her to work with First Nonprofit Group’s partners, various state agencies and the company’s sales team. The opportunity to meet so many new people from different backgrounds is Cruz’s favorite aspect of her position at First Nonprofit Group.

Outside of work, Cruz has many hobbies. She began running a couple of years ago and is taking it to the next level as she trains with other First Nonprofit co-workers for a Tough Mudder competition in May. Marshall Whittey, regional sales director at First Nonprofit, formed the team and Cruz is excited to participate.

In addition to running, Cruz and her 5-year-old son, Gael, enjoy exploring the city, especially the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Field Museum. While she lives in Lansing, close to the Indiana/Illinois border, Cruz said she is usually back in the city at least once during the weekend.

Cruz is also a comic book fan, and she and her brother are currently working on writing and illustrating their own book. She is more the writer and her brother the illustrator, but she does some drawing as well.


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Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

First Nonprofit has been easy to work with and makes the administrative process easier and smoother. We enjoy working with you.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.

Ensight Skills Center, Inc, Fort Collins, CO