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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Working with Marshal Whittey at First Nonprofit has been a great experience. He handles our request as a priority and goes above and beyond to resolve any issues we have in a timely manner. Marshall follows through to the end and ensures our needs are met. He has been a great resource for LSC and our “go to” for any tax questions we may have. With LSC transitioning several facilities into one federal tax identification number, First Nonprofit was able to assist and provide guidance with best practices resolving claims to each entity. Additionally First Nonprofit provided knowledge (information materials) and one on one training to HRS group with best practices to handle claims state adjudicated, fraudulent claims, and appeals. And processing information in the First Nonprofit [unemployment claims] system allows for timely information can be collected.

Lutheran Services Carolinas, Salisbury, NC

My experience with FNP has been wonderful. Unemployment in general is quite confusing and FNP has simplified the process for us. Everyone we have reached out to or worked with has been very helpful and follows up to be sure we understand the information. I am so happy we made the switch to FNP!

Stone Valley Community Charter School, Huntingdon, PA

First Nonprofit smoothed the unemployment perils for our organization during Covid. Without the ability to cap our UI exposure, we would not have been able to weather the storm. The program worked perfectly and we have come out of the pandemic ready to forge on. Thanks FNP!

Jewish Silicon Valley, Los Gatos, CA

My experience with the FNP has been fantastic. The idea of setting funds aside for the unemployment tax liability is a bedrock for nonprofit organizations like mine, namely ASHBA; what is even more advantageous is having the FNP as a custodian of those funds. 100% recommended!

American Saddlebred Horse & Breeders Association, Inc., Lexington, KY

I would like to comment on my experience with FNP….to date our District has saved $1,000’s of dollars by being enrolled in the First Nonprofit program. My only regret is that we did not know about this method of paying unemployment tax years ago….as I had figured about five years

ago, had we enrolled 15-20 years ago, we could have saved our small school district upwards of $500,000 in payments to IDES. Also we would have had a pretty hefty sum of money in our Reserve Account. Thankfully I attended a workshop hosted by First Nonprofit back in 2015 which got the ball rolling!

Beardstown Community Unit School District 15, Beardstown, IL

I have worked with the First Non-Profit Team for many years, and I appreciate the quick response and care that Cecilia and the team provides anytime I have questions. While there are other providers that may provide like services, First Nonprofit will always be my first choice! I appreciate you!

Innovative Services, Inc., Green Bay, WI

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

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