Desert Springs Church, with locations in Chandler and Gilbert, announced it canceled $4.9 million in medical debt for 849 families in the two communities.
Each year the nondenominational church focuses on giving back to local charities and ministries in the Phoenix metropolitan area and around the world. Last year, it partnered with RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based charity.
“When we looked at the statistics of how many American adults struggled to pay their medical bills, and the top stressor reported in our communities was finances, partnering with RIP Medical Debt Relieve just made sense,” said the Rev. Brad Davis, a lead pastor at the church.
RIP Medical Debt takes donations – like the giving from Desert Springs Church – to purchase debt at pennies on the dollar.
The debt is then paid off forever, with no adverse consequences to those who are helped.
Every $100 donated forgives $10,000 in medical debt, according to RIP, which dissolved over $1 billion in debt to date.
According to the organization, 66 percent of all bankruptcies and 25 percent of all credit card debt in the United States are due to medical debt issues.
Tina Dickison with Desert Springs, said the families’ identities are kept confidential from the church and each person’s account it paid off received a letter from RIP earlier this month explaining what happened.
“Our gift has canceled $4.9 million in debt,” she said. “It affected 849 families, 387 of those families live in Gilbert.”
Dickison said the average household debt abolished was $5,782.56 between Chandler and Gilbert and the Gilbert average amount abolished was $6,121.74.
Davis and his wife, Becky, also a lead pastor, planted the church in Chandler over 20 years ago after they moved from Bloomington, Minnesota. The church celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018.