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Media Release – Principal of Carstens Family Funds Elected to College Success Arizona Board

August 21st, 2015

Date:  August 21, 2015

Contact:  Loreal Scott, Executive Assistant at (602) 636-1850 /

Deb Carstens Reduced for ETPhoenix, Arizona – College Success Arizona, an organization leading the way in increasing college graduation rates among Arizona students, welcomes their newest Board Member,   Deborah Carstens, the Principal of Carstens Family Funds, and long-time Arizona philanthropist.

A strong supporter of higher education in Arizona, Carstens was the first in her family to graduate from college.  A significant highlight in Carstens’ life occurred in 2004 when she was named Distinguished Alumni of the Year by the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University (SDSU). The ceremony featured a video clip stating women’s studies classes and strong women in her family were prime factors in developing her outlook on life.  Carstens’ favorite classes at SDSU were literature and Women’s Studies.

Carstens’ professional career and love of real estate began in San Diego, and in 1989 led her to Telluride, Colorado. There, she and husband Bill partnered to develop a successful land development company. Upon retirement in 2000, they moved to Arizona, where she became politically & philanthropically engaged. Within a year she was identified by Phoenix Business Journal as a ‘person who makes things happen.’ Upon her husband’s death in 2006, she became Principal of Carstens Family Funds, established in 2001 and now active in 3 western states: Arizona, California and Colorado.

Being a self-described political junkie, in 2007 Carstens purchased a home in an historic district of Washington DC. There she serves as a board member at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Marine Corp Scholarship Foundation, DC Police Foundation and is a member of Capital Speakers Club.

A world-traveler, Carstens has visited all 7 continents and lived for 3 years in Geneva, Switzerland. She credits her Portuguese heritage and her father’s stories upon returning home from his travels, as giving her a life-long passion to see the world.

Carstens’ Arizona honors include:

  • AWEE Jeanne Linn Herberger award
  • Arizona Girl Scouts ‘Women of Distinction’ Courage award
  • Arizona Foundation for Women Marilyn Seymann award
  • YWCA Tribute to Women Business winner
  • Camelback Magazine selection as ‘one of the area’s 25 Most Influential citizens’
  • Maricopa Community Colleges – Rio Salado Hero of Education
  • Arizona Foundation for Women Rising Phoenix Award

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Deb to the Board,” said Rich Nickel, President and CEO of College Success Arizona.  “She has been a strong supporter of our mission for years, and has provided funds for scholarships and mentoring services for several College Success Arizona scholars since our organization started.”

Carstens joins other College Success Arizona Board Members Rich Nickel, Vince Roig, Paul Koehler, Chevy Humphrey, Stephen Nehring, John Fees, Jennifer Carrick, Gonzalo de le Melena, Steven Seleznow, and Charlie Trammell.

For further information contact Loreal Scott, Executive Assistant at (602) 636-1850 or


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