News Article

ACF distributes nearly $14.4 million in third-quarter grants, scholarships, prizes, and loans

The Arizona Community Foundation is pleased to announce the distribution of grants, scholarships, prizes, and loans for the third quarter of its fiscal year.

Between October 1 and December 31, 2016, a total of $12,957,196 was awarded from discretionary and advised funds of the Arizona Community Foundation and its six statewide Affiliates in Cochise, Flagstaff, the Gila Valley, Sedona, Yavapai County and Yuma.

Grants are awarded in the Foundation’s five strategic priority areas: Health Innovations, Community Improvement & Development, Arts & Culture, Quality Education, and Environment & Sustainability.



A New Leaf helps bring hope and new beginnings to victims of domestic violence and their children. The grant from the Raquel Piekarski Fund will support completion of the Faith House Domestic Violence Shelter and Transitional Home in the West Valley. Through shelters, advocacy and the shelter over-flow program, the organization helps victims break the cycle of abuse with emergency help and life-changing programs. Their successes include employment, healthier lifestyles, high school diplomas and GEDs, college degrees, life skills, and proud self-sufficiency. A recognized leader in crisis and family services, A New Leaf has 25 program sites in the Valley, providing comprehensive services from foster care and children's behavioral health services to financial literacy instruction.  



Health Innovations: A total of $3,717,325 was awarded to 540 organizations and programs in the areas of health, health care, medical research and a variety of human services. Select grant recipients include Feeding Matters; Arizona Lions Vision Center for equipment and instruments for a new mobile medical unit; Circle the City for the Hole in One with a Nun event and in support of patient programs; HonorHealth Foundation in support of the Desert Mission Food Bank and Xenex Robot; Hospice of the Valley for the Susan Levine Fund for Charity Care, the Sherman Home on the Mayo Clinic Hospital campus, and general support; Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus-Pine Council for its Girls in AZ Campaign; Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation for children's rheumatoid arthritis and in support of special events for extremely ill children; the Thunderbirds Charities for the 2017 Dream Day event at the Waste Management Phoenix Open; Mentally Ill Kids In Distress for peer support groups for youth and family, and general support; and St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance for the Thanksgiving holiday, Super Saturday sponsorship, and general support.



  A grant from the Pakis Family Foundation awarded to Local First will benefit participants in its Fuerza Local program. Fuerza Local is a six-month business education series for Latino micro-business owners. Participants learn business skills in financial management, customer service, marketing, and other areas that contribute to launching a successful enterprise. Among other advantages, graduates can apply for a line of credit at favorable rates. With a focus on corporate social responsibility, the Pakis Family Foundation has a particular interest in supporting innovative business incubators. The grant of nearly $30,000 provides the funding needed to expand Fuerza Local into Mesa and the cost for 12 businesses to complete this business accelerator program.



Community Improvement & Development: A total of $1,098,744 was awarded to 112 programs in this category, which includes housing, community and neighborhood development, financial literacy training, legal assistance and crime prevention programs. Select recipients include Promise Arizona for its South Phoenix Education and Human Development effort; and ResilientMe and the Boys to Men Mentoring Network, each of which received grants for general operating support.

Arts & Culture:A total of $707,866 was awarded to 127 artistic and cultural organizations across Arizona. Select grantees include the Act One Foundation for performing arts school field trip transportation; Childsplay for its Society for Imagination and Wonder, theatrical education, and school touring performances in Yuma County; and the Heard Museum for the educational element of the upcoming Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Exhibition.

The James A. Unruh Family Foundation approved a grant in the amount of $30,000 to AZFirst, an organization whose mentor-based programs build science, engineering, and technology skills that inspire innovation and foster well-rounded life capabilities for self-confidence, communication, and leadership. Together with other supporters, the Unruh family is helping AZFirst develop new robotics programs in schools and community organizations across Arizona. Through a team-driven approach, students participate in a robot-building project that culminates in a fast-paced robotics competition.



Quality Education: This quarter, a total of $3,658,683 was awarded in scholarships and education-related grants

College scholarships account for $1,118,821 of this total and were awarded for the benefit of 341 students pursuing higher education. College scholarships are awarded to Arizona students to attend a wide range of colleges, universities and technical schools in Arizona and across the United States.

Private K-12 school scholarships for low-income, displaced and disabled students awarded from ACF’s School Tuition Organization accounted for $484,148 of the $3.7 million total, and supported 194 students.

ACF voluntarily retains only half of the allowable fee from its STO donations to cover basic administrative costs, devoting the other half to supplemental support that assists each STO scholar with non-tuition needs, including books, uniforms, tutoring, activity fees, field trips, transportation and more. Supplemental support grants for STO scholars during this quarter totaled $51,000.



  The Colorado Plateau Foundation was established in 2011 to serve Colorado Plateau Tribal communities in response to the urgent threats to environments and cultures on the Plateau and the challenges faced in serving multiple tribal cultures, great distances between communities, and the rapid and evolving needs of community-based organizations. Last quarter, the Colorado Plateau awarded $265,000 to organizations led by Native American people with long-term experience in the Plateau area to address these threats.

The Advancing Communities Foundation received funding for capacity building training for Hopi aquifer restoration. The Black Mesa Trust will use their grant for workshops, seminars, and a messaging campaign about corporate influence on the Hopi reservation. The Ramah Navajo School Board received support for the Ramah Navajo Family Gardens Training Initiative. Tolani Lake Enterprises received funding for capacity building for a 12,000-acre farm in Manyfarms and the purchase of farm equipment and new technology. Native Movement received a grant for the Black Mesa Water Coalition Organizing Fellowship program. The Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute, Mesa Media, Utah Diné Bikeyah, Pueblo of Acoma, and the White Mountain Apache Tribe Environmental Protection Office received grants related to personal growth including leadership skills development, training for staff and board members, professional development, and curriculum development.



Select education-focused grants went to Support My Club for the Bioscience High School College Prep Club, Collaborative Flash Funding, and core support for the organization; St. Thomas the Apostle School in support of the school’s building fund; and Earn to Learn for capacity building to develop long-term sustainability for this organization whose mission is to empower low-to-moderate income students to successfully complete college by providing personal finance training, college readiness training and ongoing support. The program rewards students who are committed to saving money to attend Arizona’s public universities with matching scholarship funding.

Environment & Sustainability: A total of $1,084,334 was awarded to 114 organizations and programs in the areas of environmental education, renewable resources, conservation, and animal welfare. Select grantees include Horse'n Around Rescue Ranch and Foundation for construction of a pole barn to store feed, create shade, protect the fodder box, collect rainwater, protect the historic adobe hay shed, and provide a shaded workspace; and the Phoenix Conservation Center of the Arizona Nature Conservancy, which received grants for general operating support.

Additional distribution details

In addition to these grants, 19 nonprofit organizations with agency endowments managed by the Arizona Community Foundation received their annual distributions, accounting for the remaining $2,690,244 distributed during the quarter.

The nearly $13 million awarded across all categories represents 1,854 grants and scholarships. All grants are approved or ratified by the Arizona Community Foundation Philanthropic Services Committee, whose members are ACF Board representatives and community leaders. 

Among the third-quarter grants were distributions related to The New Arizona Prize: Water Innovation Challenge, including $250,000 awarded to the Southwest Water Campus for their prize-winning solution for effluent-to-potable reuse technology, a statewide mobile public engagement campaign, and a local craft beer competition. This team also won the $2,500 Audience Choice award. Other finalists in the Challenge received $5,000 to pursue their solutions. Find out more about The New Arizona Prize and the first two prize challenges.

Community impact loans

ACF Board Member Denise Resnik, Founder and CEO of First Place is joined by her son Matt Resnik and Matt’s dad Rob Resnik, in breaking ground for First Place-Phoenix.

Through its Community Impact Loan Fund, the Arizona Community Foundation invested an additional $1.4 million in the work of nonprofit organizations, completing two loans last quarter, one to First Place AZ for up to $950,000 with participation of two external funding partners and the other to Desert Stages Theatre for $450,000.

The Community Impact Loan Fund is an innovative philanthropic tool that supports nonprofit access to capital using low-cost funding from donors and other lenders. The capital is re-loaned to nonprofits and governmental agencies at low interest rates, creating targeted, magnified social outcomes. Impact loans are made for innovative projects that align with one or more of the Arizona Community Foundation’s strategic priorities.

First Place AZ recently began construction on a housing facility for adults with autism and other special abilities designed to be home for individuals who live there, an inspiring and enriching environment for those who work and learn there, and peace of mind for family and friends who come and go. The loan from the Community Impact Loan Fund will give First Place unencumbered ownership of the land and fund, in part, the nonprofit’s equity contribution for the project.

When rennovations are complete, Desert Stages Theatre's new home will have enough theater space to produce 15 shows per season.

Desert Stages Theatre offers a safe, affordable place to learn the craft of performing arts for hundreds of youth ages 3 to 19. Desert Stages Theatre is moving to the cinema space previously occupied by Harkins Cinema in the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall. The loan from the Community Impact Loan Fund, along with resources already allocated by Desert Stages Theatre, will be used to complete the renovation process. Desert Stages Theatre’s new facility will have an 80-seat black-box theater and a 245-seat theater in the round, giving the organization the capacity to produce 15 shows a season, a new production every five weeks.

Back to Top