Behind every great act of generosity is an inspirational tale of heroes versus villains. The Frontera Fund story is no different. Really, it all started back in the early 70s when Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin dropped out of Arizona State University to co-found Phoenix New Times.
For years, Phoenix New Times was a local paper that battled the ultra-conservative viewpoints of the local media. It’s easy that Arizona is a conservative state with a lot of backward thinking people, but Lacey and Larkin wanted to expose those people to what’s really happening in their state; inevitable changing the opinions of millions.
As for the Frontera Fund, it’s a charitable fund Lacey and Larkin started after their court case against Maricopa County ended. They were awarded over $3 million and used the money to start the Frontera Fund. Since the teenage years, they’ve been supporters of migrant rights.
The Frontera Fund is their way of supporting groups operating along the Mexican border that fight for civil, human, and migrant rights. The fund also supports Arizona-based organizations that protect freedom of speech and civic participation. The inspirational story behind the Frontera Fund involves Lacey and Larkin’s battle with a corrupt law enforcement officer. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
The self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” was, in reality, a bigot. Most Arizona-natives wrote him off as just another guy doing his job, but Phoenix New Times had proof that Arpaio was a horrible person. As sheriff, he supported and participating in countless anti-Mexican fear-mongering rallies and events.
If that wasn’t bad enough, New Times continued to discover all sorts of red flags. During their investigation, they discovered numerous financial irregularities and rampant mismanagement of the sheriff office. On top of all of that, Arpaio also mismanagement several jails, where substandard health conditions led to the deaths of some jail inmates.
The story that pissed Arpaio off the most was the story about him using fake subpoenas to force critics to hand over any and all evidence they had proving his guilt. At that point, Arpaio decided to shut Lacey and Larkin up for good.
On October 18, 2007, he had them arrested in the middle of the night and taken to separate jails. Once there, he tried to force them into giving the personal information of their editors, writers, and readers. He even wanted the names of anyone who had access to the stories about him.