Mission, Values & History

Our Mission

Hands forming a heart.

Lead, serve, and collaborate to mobilize enduring philanthropy for a better Arizona.

Our Values

Exceptional Service

We serve and amaze our clients, nurturing lifelong relationships that span the generations.


We safeguard donor intent in perpetuity, ensuring the resources entrusted to us are protected and invested in positive, sustainable outcomes for our communities.


We work to deserve the trust of those we serve by operating ethically and transparently, honoring our commitments, and showing courtesy and respect in all aspects of our work.


We demonstrate and welcome creativity, resourcefulness and ingenuity. We invite and encourage new ideas, pioneering practices, and inventive methods for achieving community good.


We are flexible, responsive, open to creative strategies and able to take prompt action.


Our strength is found in our differences. We believe diverse voices, engagement and participation are essential to building and sustaining thriving communities.


We believe in the transformative power of partnerships around shared passions and objectives. We encourage and celebrate teamwork, pooling of resources, open communication and trust.

Our History



1977 was the right time, and Arizona was the right place to extend the westward push of a movement that had begun 65 years earlier in Cleveland. ACF's beginning was encouraged by the foresight and dedication of a number of civic leaders. Bert Getz brought both the tradition of philanthropy and the idea of a community foundation from his family home in Chicago. Longtime civic activist and philanthropic pioneer Newton Rosenzweig picked up on it immediately. In Tucson, members of the DeConcini family gave the idea statewide currency. And in Phoenix, Valley National Bank Chairman Roger Lyon put the weight of the banking industry behind a feasibility study to see whether a community foundation would work in Arizona.

Joined by noted estate attorney Richard Whitney and Valley National Bank's corporate social responsibility officer, Sharon Liese, research was conducted to show the way to establish a community foundation in Arizona. A steering committee reviewed organizational options and recommended the nominating method of the Oregon Community Foundation. The committee included Lyon, Liese and Whitney, Tom McFarland, chief of the trust department of Valley National Bank, Lee Jacquette, chief financial officer of Arizona Bank, and Bud Peabody, Great Western Bank.


ACF was established as a statewide institution by a consortium of local banks: Valley National Bank of Arizona, First National Bank of Arizona, Arizona Bank, Great Western Bank and Trust Company, and Guaranty Bank. Articles of Incorporation were filed Aug. 3, 1978, registering ACF with the State of Arizona.

The first ACF Board included President Guy Neely (managing partner of Price Waterhouse), Newt Rosenzweig, Bert Getz, Treasurer Joan Nastro (president of the Junior League of Phoenix), Secretary Ted Liese (a rancher from Prescott), Donald Soldwedel (newspaper publisher from Yuma), Walter Craig (Chief Judge of the U. S. District Court), Linda Alvarez (local TV commentator) and Vice President Jane Loew Shelton of Tucson. Allen Rosenberg was executive director.

Whitney was the legal architect of the Community Foundation while Rosenberg, a retired banker and well-known community leader, became the first executive director of ACF in November. Today's agreements are changed little from the first agreement Whitney crafted for the original funds.

From the beginning, funds were intended to support education, arts and culture, youth development, healthcare, and social and civic needs. First funds were established by Evo and Ora DeConcini for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Newton and Harry Rosenzweig in memory of their sister Anna, and Bert Getz for the National Historic Fire Foundation (Hall of Flame). These first funds were valued at $300,000.

When the above donors wanted to make their gifts before year-end and the 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS was needed to complete the process, Dick Whitney flew to Los Angeles Friday, Dec. 29, and called back to Arizona from the IRS exempt organization office that he had the official paperwork in his hand. This was the only way to ensure the charitable deduction in those days--before faxes or FedEx or e-mails or cell phones.


ACF opened its offices at 34 West Monroe, Suite 901, in Phoenix. Guy Neely was president of the board and Rosenberg was executive director.

An advisory board, consisting of one resident from each of the 13 Arizona counties, was appointed by the board of directors, with three advisory board members from Maricopa County representing the western, central and eastern portions of the county. Advisory Board members and the counties they represented included Wilfred Shumway, St. Johns, Apache County; Martin F. Ryan, Douglas, Cochise County; Paul Babbitt, Flagstaff, Coconino County; Thomas E. Anderson, Globe, Gila County; Elizabeth A. Smith, Safford, Graham County; Edith Baker, Clifton, Greenlee County; Robert Scott, Sun City-Youngtown area representative, Sun City, Maricopa County; Samuel Mardian, metropolitan Phoenix area representative, Phoenix, Maricopa County; Phoenix; Warren Langfitt, tri-city area representative, Mesa, Maricopa County; F. Roy Dunton, Kingman, Mohave County; Arthur C. Whiting, Holbrook, Navajo County; Evo DeConcini,Tucson, Pima County; Norman Bingham, Casa Grande, Pinal County; Charlie Fowler, Nogales, Santa Cruz County; Richard G. Markham, Prescott, Yavapai County; and Betty Naquin, Roll, Yuma County. The board formed an important connection between ACF and its constituencies around the state, including both potential grantees and possible donors.

The first discretionary fund was established when the Phoenix Welfare Foundation, started by philanthropist and civic leader Walker McCune as a private foundation, was transferred to ACF. This brought $110,000 to the Community Foundation.

Grants were made in the first months of the Community Foundation to Girls Ranch Inc., Arizona Cactus Pine Girl Scout Council, All Saints Episcopal Day School and the National Historical Fire Foundation.

ACF agreed to send Rosenberg to the 30th Annual Conference of the Council on Foundations in May in Seattle.

A financial report covering the period from Nov. 1, 1978, through Jan. 22, 1979, showed the ACF savings account at $26,279. In looking to potential donors to increase ACF's assets, the board noted the advantages of bringing as many small private foundations under the ACF umbrella as possible. Regularly scheduled board meetings were set for the first Tuesday of every third month, beginning Jan. 23. Executive Committee meetings were the first Tuesday of each month (prior to the regular board meeting on the board meeting days).

By the end of the year, ACF had $73,725 in unrestricted assets and $307,212 in restricted assets.



January 24, 1980, Allen Rosenberg stepped down; and July 15, 1980, Bruce J. MacDonald became executive director, leaving a position at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. Bert Getz became board president. Donors included prominent Arizonans such as Bob Herberger and Bob Kieckhefer. Newton Rosenzweig established a second fund, the Betty and Newton Resenzweig Charitable Fund. Luther Dilatush of Carefree started an advised fund. Grants totaled $4,360.

Cultivation of deferred gifts, broadening the base of operating support to include other local corporations, the addition of agency endowments, and the publication of the first annual report highlighted a period of steady growth.

Tucson broke away to form a separate community foundation.


Bert Getz was board president, and J. Lester Shaffer, retired insurance executive, joined the Community Foundation as part-time executive director. The endowment had grown to $840,000.


Bert Getz continued as board chair (title change from president) with J. Lester Shaffer as president and executive director (title change adding president), with a by-law change reflecting the difference for both. The endowment passed a major milestone, reaching $1.5 million.


Both Roger Lyon, who helped found ACF, and president/executive director Les Shaffer passed away within a month, resulting in a significant loss of leadership. It was time to hire the first full-time professional executive director for the Community Foundation. Stephen D. Mittenthal, formerly with the Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation, joined ACF as president and executive director. He was most interested in the unrestricted endowment to help ACF grow.

Sparked by the additional leadership of board chairman Bert Getz, a business and civic leader who leveraged his experience with the Chicago Community Trust, ACF moved aggressively to increase its asset base. ACF had an endowment of $2.7 million, and 20 grants totaling more than $100,000 were made.


ACF's endowment had grown to $4.5 million, including 40 funds. The board, led by Bert Getz, approved 55 grants totaling $508,450.

The board of directors made a historic commitment to a $5 million capital campaign to raise charitable gifts for permanent unrestricted endowment. Gifts created a firm asset base for future growth and enlarged ACF's grantmaking capabilities.

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation funded technical assistance with one of seven national grants awarded to support developing neighborhood organizations in low-income communities. The Mott grant, along with matching funds from the City of Phoenix and Maricopa County, was used to make mini-grants to the Wesley Community Center, BHA Corporation and Hopeville Community for Progress Association.


The endowment continued to grow, reaching $5.5 million in 1985. This was a year of many firsts for ACF:

  • The first Cornerstone newsletter, ACF's initial communications piece, was published and sent to more than 3,500 donors, estate planners, agency directors and community leaders.
  • Valley National Bank Fund, created by the state's largest financial institution, was the first corporate fund.
  • Three new nonprofit endowments included Sojourner Center, Interfaith Foundation and the Sun City Symphony Orchestra Association. Donor Alan Weinberg established a designated fund for the Desert Botanical Garden.

The 1985 annual report honored Newton Rosenzweig, who had served as vice president of ACF from the beginning in 1978 and was retiring from the board of directors. At the same time, 15 new board members were added, bringing the total to 27.

The year marked success for the Neighborhood Small Grants Program, a pioneer effort for ACF in a whole new area of grantmaking and technical assistance, as well as the Community Foundation's quick response to a public and private appeal for aid to the homeless in Phoenix.


As a big push began to increase assets, capital campaign goals were met in 18 months. Based on community foundation expert Eugene Struckhoff's "take-off" strategy, ACF raised the $5 million goal in unrestricted assets with several lead gifts. A $500,000 challenge grant from the Flinn Foundation, the first unrestricted money to come to the Foundation, initiated the strategy. Bert Getz made a lead gift of $1 million for an administrative endowment, and the American Greyhound Racing Corporation contributed a $100,000 match.

Dissolution of several large charitable remainder trusts and the creation of a lead trust, through the assistance of attorney board members Hal Wales and Bob Norris, made the Community Foundation the beneficiary of nearly $2.5 million in field of interest funds.

This year began the long-standing relationship between ACF and the Ford Foundation. (ACF has participated in a number of Ford grant initiatives since then.)

Late in the year, ACF was ready to take advantage of the Ford Foundation's Leadership Development Program, competing for and winning one of the first of Ford's highly coveted $500,000 challenge grants designed to build the internal and external capacity of select community foundations over a five-year period. ACF made the $1 million match in 15 months with more than 50 contributions from a variety of corporations, foundations and individual donors.

A succession of outside grants from the Gannett Foundation, Aetna Life and Casualty Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation allowed ACF to develop a communications program, computerize its administrative operations and secure operating funds. This greatly improved organizational capacity, grantmaking effectiveness and community leadership.

Participating in the Mott Foundation's Neighborhood Small Grants Program gave ACF its first opportunity to venture into non-traditional programming. Grants to grassroots Hispanic and Black organizations were a first for the Community Foundation.

Bert Getz continued as board chair, and the 1986 endowment grew to $12.2 with $1,079,336 granted.

Outreach was extended to other segments of the community. Estate planners were educated about ACF, and other nonprofit agencies were invited to participate in ACF's new pooled income fund.

Corporations were contacted about the Community Foundation's grants review services.

Private foundations were informed about the cost-effective alternative of creating component funds under the community foundation umbrella.

ACF contributed to a collective effort sponsored by St. Mary's Food Bank which helped 136 low-income families in Phoenix cut food costs by as much as $600 a year. For a $5 annual fee, a family could obtain a 20' x 15' plot, seeds, fertilizer, water, tools and training in proper gardening. (The fee was deferred if a client could not pay.) Gardens for homebound senior citizens were manned by volunteers. St. Mary's also had an endowment fund at ACF to supplement resources at the nation's oldest food bank.


ACF's assets doubled in a single year to more than $15.5 million and the total number of funds approached 100 as the Community Foundation looked ahead to its 10th anniversary.

The Ford Foundation gave ACF $500,000 as one of eight nationwide leadership development awards for community foundations. The goal of the grant (a milestone for ACF) was to create the nation's first statewide endowment fund for children - the Arizona Children's Trust Fund. It included ACF's most ambitious grants initiative: a $300,000 multi-year program for prevention/early intervention in children's mental health and a community education effort focusing on children's mental health issues

ACF was gradually extending its grantmaking to rural communities and recruiting committee members from new geographic areas statewide. Area funds such as the Prescott Fund, the Flagstaff Fund and the Yuma Fund extended ACF's multi-community outreach.

Northern Trust Bank was hired as ACF's custodian bank. The Community Foundation's fiscal year was changed to match the calendar year, with an ending date of Dec. 31, and the by-laws were amended to authorize the change. The board agreed on a minimum of $20,000 to establish a named fund and $5,000 for a 501(c)(3) organization. A six-month grace period was allowed to attain the full amount.


ACF celebrated its 10th anniversary with an annual report dedicated to Bert Getz for his vision and leadership in helping the fledgling foundation get up and running.

The $19.5 million endowment included a gift from the estate of anti-smoking pioneer Betty Carnes of $1.4 million, ACF's first bequest. After 10 years, there were 117 funds with Bert Getz continuing as chair and Stephen D. Mittenthal as executive director.

The Holbrook-Pyle Foundation, a private foundation, folded into ACF as a donor advised fund and added $1.5 million in assets. The Arizona Children's Trust Fund raised $1 million to match the original Ford challenge grant.

Eight new discretionary and field of interest funds were valued at $275,000.

Grantmaking continued, extending to the rural communities as "area funds" grew in Prescott, Flagstaff and Yuma. These planted the seeds for the creation of what would later become ACF's statewide affiliate system.

Grants included nearly $1 million to 160 nonprofit organizations around the state. By category: 36 percent went to human services, 22 percent to civic and other projects, 20 percent to healthcare, 14 percent to arts, culture and humanities, 5 percent to education, and 3 percent to community development.

The Arizona Children's Trust Fund - the Community Foundation's Ford initiative - distributed its first "request for proposal" to more than 150 agencies, soliciting projects aimed at demonstrating prevention and early intervention strategies among children "at risk" of mental illness with grants to be awarded in 1989.

The Community Foundation demonstrated community leadership with public hearings in Tucson and Mesa to educate the public on the plight of Arizona's mentally ill children.

A Prescott conference on children's mental health, partially underwritten by ACF, produced an agenda on children's needs as well as a child advocate award to the Community Foundation from Child-Safe for outstanding national and state leadership in philanthropy for children.

By the 10th anniversary of the Community Foundation, names of Arizona philanthropists such as Brock-Nelson, Libby/Waddell, Pickrell, Wilson, Morris, Weinberg, Calligaro, Glezen, Lazarus, Sains, Stuart, Hall, Collins, Jacquette, Craig, DuBois, Bean, Manhoff, Klaus, Foley, Francis, Garretson, Huger, Majetich, Polk, Pickard, Jardine, Power, Carnes, Pallack, Geddes, Friedman, Grossman and others were being added to ACF's growing donor roster.

Corporate-supported permanent endowment funds came from Valley National Bank, Arizona Bank, First Interstate Bank, MeraBank, Western Savings, McKesson, American Greyhound Racing, Arizona Public Service, and Bell Atlantic Leasing. Other corporations made sizable contributions including Phoenix Newspapers, Salt River Project, Honeywell, Greyhound, Motorola, Chase Bank, Citibank, United Bank, Pima Savings & Loan, Aetna, Gannett and ARCO.

Nonprofit organizations with established endowment funds included Arizona Museum, Arizona Museum of Science and Technology, St. Mary's Food Bank, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Arizona Parks and Recreation Association, Sun Cities Symphony Orchestra, Sun City Art Museum among others.

ACF celebrated its first decade at the Hyatt in Scottsdale Nov. 3 with 250 board and committee members, staff, donors, grantees and friends joined by Jim Joseph, president of the Council on Foundations, and Susan Beresford, vice president of the Ford Foundation.


Dick Whitney provided leadership as the incoming board chair. The endowment was $23 million, and there were 130 funds. Grants for the year were $2 million.

Thanks to underwriting by ACF, Arizona Opera mounted a special production of Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco, a rarely performed work and the first concert opera ever staged in Arizona.

A grant helped take Kids Voting, a pilot program simulating an election, statewide. It provided curriculum materials for 35,000 teachers, coordinated support and printed ballots for the children.

The Border Ecology Project benefited from an ACF grant to create a bi-national solution to reduce high particulate levels that exceeded federal health standards from sources such as copper smelter pollution.

ACF was the first Arizona foundation to contribute to the development of Kartchner Caverns. A grant helped formulate a plan to develop this environmental wonder and to educate the public about the need to preserve it in its natural state.

The Arizona Children's Trust Fund, launched by the Ford Foundation grant, was growing. Its first grants made in 1989 were focused on demonstrating new methods of prevention and early intervention of mental illness in children.

In 1989, the Herberger Theater Center, noted as the cultural flagship of a revitalized downtown Phoenix, opened. Early challenge grant funding by former trustee G. Robert and Kax Herberger through the Arizona Community Foundation, with additional help from the City of Phoenix and other private donations, made this facility a reality.



In the closing months of 1990, ACF received the largest private gift received by the Community Foundation since its inception. This $10 million gift to benefit science education in Arizona was made by a Scottsdale couple who requested anonymity. The gift funded an endowment of $2.3 million to be used immediately for science education grants with the remainder available through a pair of charitable unitrusts.

The role of the Community Foundation as an advocate for children, youth and families was well defined and sorely needed. In 1990, one in five Arizona children lived in poverty, the state ranked 48th nationally in high school graduation rates, and second in adolescent suicides. Arizona had one of the highest child and sexual abuse rates in the country.

A total of 216 grants were made totaling $2.4 million. Richard Whitney continued as board chair, and Stephen D. Mittenthal as executive director.

Through the $1.5 million Naomi Craig Fund, ACF began ongoing work to eliminate social, educational and economic barriers for the hearing impaired. Eleanor Libby, daughter of philanthropist Donald Ware Waddell, made a $400,000 gift to the Phoenix Zoo (through the fund she created in her father's name) to facilitate extensive remodeling and expansion so exhibits are accessible to the physically-impaired. The first meal was delivered to a homebound resident in the North Scottsdale area thanks to a grant from the Betty Carnes Fund. The Community Foundation made a grant to the Nature Conservancy through the Alan and Irene Weinberg Fund and the Arizona Parklands Fund to help preserve natural treasures. A grant of $3,000 provided needed repairs to the delivery truck for Waste Not, an organization which picks up normally-discarded meals form resorts, restaurants, food brokers and caterers and delivers them to homeless shelters, rehabilitation clinics, halfway houses and centers for battered women.

The Betty H. & Jean E. Fairfax Fund was created to support projects focusing on social equity in education, housing, healthcare or employment. The two sisters adopted a sixth grade class at Bethune Elementary School in Central Phoenix and guaranteed each student a college scholarship if that student enrolled in a four-year institution after high school graduation.

ACF was housing agency endowments for the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Museum, Ronald McDonald House, Valley of the Sun United Way, Arizona Museum of Science and Technology, Sun Cities Symphony Orchestra, Sun Cities Art Museum and the Sedona Arts Center.

The first money managers were hired, initially with four local and national firms.


In 1991, the Arizona Community Foundation ranked among the top 50 community foundations in the country.

Local area funds developed outside of metro Phoenix were gaining momentum and beginning to serve charitable needs in Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, Yuma, Tempe and the East Valley. Local advisory boards were developed to make grant distributions from these funds, thereby realizing ACF's goal of decentralized grantmaking.

The endowment was at $32,944,987 million, and 197 grants were made. Equity holdings were managed by Valley National Bank, First Interstate Bank, Stein Roe Farnham and several mutual funds including more than $10 million in stocks. These money managers reported to Northern Trust Bank as custodian of Community Foundation assets. The standard portfolio mix was 50 percent equities, 45 percent bonds and 5 percent cash.

By the end of the five-year Ford grant in 1991, key management systems were in place, and grantmaking had climbed to $1.7 million annually. Focus areas had been defined, and a community leadership role had emerged in the area of child advocacy.

Another Ford grant of $486,000 initiated a partnership with the Governor's office, the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona in Tucson, and Children's Action Alliance to redesign the state's system of services for "at risk" children and families. This coalition of public and private agencies created a blueprint for a comprehensive and integrated system of health and human services to respond to the needs of the child and the family holistically.

In promoting organized philanthropy throughout the state, ACF took on a highly visible role in organizing ArizonaGIVES, a collaboration initiated in 1991 by ACF in collaboration with other local grantmakers and civic leaders. Designed to encourage volunteerism and charitable giving, ArizonaGIVES became one of the outstanding models of broad-based, civic action in philanthropy in the country. The program was administratively housed at ACF, which was the site of most of the 20-person steering committee meetings chaired by civic activist and former utility executive Jack Pfister.

A new Valley nonprofit called Christmas in April, housed at ACF, mobilized volunteers to do major home repairs for the elderly, handicapped and low-income home owners. Garfield residents, the first neighborhood to benefit from this volunteer labor, witnessed not only the tangible results of grassroots improvements, but also the volunteer spirit that improves communities from within.

An ACF grant of $15,000 to the Hopi Foundation provided three Hopi communities with technical assistance on solar energy conversion to help Hopi families change from inefficient kerosene or gas-generated power services. Use of converted sunlight is more culturally congenial to the Hopi people than using energy sources produced by fossil fuels.

ACF demonstrated leadership in exploring a newly emerging affiliate movement, designed to avoid the prohibitive cost of several independent foundations serving different parts of a state. ACF began to examine the potential for "mini community foundations" to be developed around existing funds in Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, Yuma, Scottsdale and the burgeoning East Valley.

Mike and Janet Valder opened the Arizona Social Change Fund which invited others to meet for a reception and brunch at their home on the four or five months each year that have a "fifth Sunday." Contributions of any size were welcome and any person or couple who made a significant contribution to this donor advised fund was invited to make suggestions for future grants.


Richard Whitney continued as board chair, and the endowment flirted with $40 million at $39.6 million by year's end. There were 140 funds, and 189 Grants totaled $1.7 million.

ACF was the first major Arizona philanthropy to address AIDS. We became involved with the HIV-AIDS issue through a series of $100,000 challenge grants from the National Community AIDS Partnership (now National AIDS Fund). We led an unprecedented coalition of public and private agencies, private grantmakers and individual advocates entitled the Maricopa County Community AIDS Partnership (MC-CAP), which became a support foundation at ACF. MC-CAP was recognized nationally for its unique consolidation of public and private funds dedicated to coordinate community-based treatment and prevention of HIV-AIDS. The support foundation has been closed since 1997, but its efforts resulted in an unprecedented expansion of the private sector into the HIV/AIDS arena and was a boost to the county's service system for HIV/AIDS patients.

ACF funded its first three-year grant ever with $25,000 to the Valley Center of the Deaf. Educational and service facilities throughout Arizona were brought in as partners, and these funds were particularly crucial in the state's response to the newly-enacted Americans with Disabilities Act requiring equal access to all facilities, regardless of a person's functional abilities.

The Silverman Family Foundation was established as the first support foundation at ACF.


Results from three years of ArizonaGIVES showed that statewide volunteerism had increased by 22 percent and giving by 15 percent as a result of the initiative which brought the Community Foundation unprecedented visibility as a philanthropic leader in the community.

ArizonaGives ended, but the campaign's legacy continued on with such programs as the Youth in Philanthropy Project, the KAET-TV/Channel 8 "volunteerathon" and Youth Service Day. Also remaining was a toll-free volunteer hotline, a statewide network for volunteer referrals, educational programs for nonprofit organizations, a corporate volunteer booklet and a mailing list of nonprofit organizations throughout the state.

An innovative course curriculum for the Youth in Philanthropy Project was written by Debbi Bertolet, M.Ed. and Barbara Jacquette, Ph.D. to teach young people the history and process of philanthropy, volunteerism and grant writing as well as group decision-making. Through a $10,000 fund donated by ACF, each participating class was awarded a $500 grant on behalf of their adopted organization. Students then spent the spring semester implementing their projects.

The first development director, Deborah Whitehurst, was hired, signaling an aggressive new effort to increase the Community Foundation's size beyond the current $43 million in assets. Emphasis was placed on discretionary and field of interest funds. ACF had nine charitable remainder trusts valued at nearly $12 million. Overall, there were 154 funds, and $2.1 million was granted.


In 1994, ACF found itself at a crossroads. The major emphasis for the previous 16 years was on building a robust endowment. While endowment-building remained important, the Community Foundation began to look at expanding its role as a community builder, playing a critical part in the civic life of the communities it serves.

This was the year that ACF received the largest outright gift in its history and broke the $50 million threshold in assets. Through the generosity of this $6 million unrestricted bequest left to ACF by Florita Evans, the affiliate system was initiated with $2.3 million set aside as a series of challenge grants for new unrestricted and field of interest gifts contributed in key communities across the state. ACF leveraged this gift by setting up a match of 50 cents on the dollar, up to $200,000, to be used for unrestricted gifts raised by the affiliates in their communities. This was the true initiation of ACF's statewide network of 13 affiliates managed by four regional offices outside of metro Phoenix. The affiliates benefit from the participation, input and engagement of local advisory boards.

ACF also received its first gift annuity as well as proceeds from several major testamentary gifts. The Young Science Scholars Award to promote scientific interests and skills among junior and senior high school students initiated a signature scholarship program.

Children, youth and families; hearing impaired; neighborhood and community economic development, science education and social justice were the funding focuses in 1994.

Along with 19 other community foundations, ACF was awarded a two-year grant (subsequently extended to four years) from the Ford Foundation for the "Changing Communities Diverse Needs Initiative." The grant was to enhance the Community Foundation's understanding of Arizona's changing demography and its capacity to promote inclusiveness among the state's diverse racial and ethnic groups.

Six prominent civic leaders joined the Board including Robert Delgado, Bennett Dorrance, Russell Jones, Steven Stallings, Bob Williams and Louis A. "Chip" Weil. Board chairmanship transferred from Dick Whitney to Neal Kurn. The endowment was $50.5 million, and there were 214 funds. ACF made 256 Grants totaling $3.1 million.

A new computer system was installed to combine accounting, grantmaking and donor tracking functions. Meanwhile, the endowment was benefiting from the bull market of the 1990s, plus the fact that more and more people were hearing about the benefits of giving through the Community Foundation.


Neal Kurn continued to chair the board, and Stephen D. Mittenthal was president and CEO. The endowment was $74.1 million, and there were 241 funds. Support organizations had grown to nine, and 358 grants totaled $2.2 million. Affiliate assets approached $709,000, and affiliate grants increased to $13,246.

ACF's 1995 strategic plan began with, "Our product is community service. We distribute the product by community leadership and grantmaking to individual agencies. Our customers are present and prospective donors. Our uniqueness is flexibility plus size and permanence." The endowment was in excess of $74 million with millions of additional dollars in the pipeline in the form of charitable remainder trusts and grants. The strategic plan spelled out a determination to encourage donors to give discretionary funds to allow greater flexibility in responding to the changing needs of Arizona. The plan supported ACF's mandate to improve the quality of life here and to increase the vitality and health of our communities.

The Arts Scholars Program was established with $2 million from the sale of farmland given as a bequest by Max and Clara Springer. It was the largest endowment ever created at ACF for a scholarship fund.

A number of sizable community endowment funds grew to become the Flagstaff Community Foundation, the Scottsdale Community Endowment, the Yavapai County Community Foundation, the Greater Sedona Community Foundation, the Tempe Community Foundation, and the Yuma Community Foundation.

Encouraged by a $100,000 matching grant from the Ford Foundation (one of 20 granted nationally), ACF began to address cultural diversity issues. The Community Foundation encouraged the addition of minority employees and board members to better reflect Arizona's diverse population. A special effort was initiated to reach out to minority donors as well as minority nonprofits. ACF trustee and donor Jean Fairfax pioneered the establishment of a broad-based social justice fund which included $50,000 of discretionary capital funded by the Community Foundation. A major demographic study was launched to capture a portrait of Arizona's changing ethnic/racial communities.


Richard Snell became board chair, and the endowment soared over the $103 million with 243 funds. A total of $4.35 million was granted to 243 organizations. Affiliate assets had grown to $984,846, with $572,985 in grants.

ACF was one of four community foundations nationwide that the Ford Foundation selected for a $500,000 grant that was used for the Rural Arizona Project. It focused on improving the economic security of rural families by enhancing the vitality of the state's rural communities. The initiative involved grantmaking, technical assistance, civic capacity building and endowment creation. The Ford grant created the Graham County Community Foundation, the Cochise Community Foundation and the Page/Lake Powell Regional Community Foundation. Funds also benefited the already-established Yuma and Yavapai County community foundations. As a result of activities funded by the Ford Foundation, The Hopi Foundation became ACF's first affiliate partner, an independent nonprofit foundation aligned with ACF for endowment development.

The $2.5 million ACF challenge grant, made possible by the Florita Evans bequest, provided 50 cents (up to a maximum of $200,000 per community) for each dollar brought into an affiliate fund for unrestricted or broadly-defined field of interest gifts. The Tempe Community Foundation became an affiliate.

The Community Foundation was a key partner in developing private sector endowment funds for Arizona ArtShare, a coalition initiated as a statewide arts endowment.

We also served as an incubator and funder for an emerging organization called The Alliance Linking Poverty and Homeless Agencies. ACF provided a $35,000 startup grant and served as the fiscal agent, helping to build a coalition of organizations to address key issues related to coordination and communication among some 60 agencies serving the homeless Valley-wide.

ACF developed a relationship with Merrill Lynch to create charitable remainder trusts and charitable gift annuities at ACF, most of which are then managed by Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch, in turn, markets ACF as an additional service to their clients.


By 1997, the endowment was at $139.6 million and 80 funds. ACF made 700 Grants totaling $5.5 million bringing year-to-date grants to more than $28 million. Richard Snell continued as board chair and Stephen D. Mittenthal as president and executive director.

Ten affiliates were growing throughout Arizona including the Cochise Community Foundation, the Flagstaff Community Foundation, the Graham County Community Foundation, the Greater Sedona Community Foundation, The Hopi Foundation Endowment, the Page/Lake Powell Community Foundation, the Scottsdale Community Endowment, the Tempe Community Foundation, the Yuma Community Foundation and the Yavapai County Community Foundation. Affiliate assets came to $3.2 million with $802,393 granted, and the Affiliate Council was developed. The ACF Affiliate system began to draw national attention. The Hopi Foundation Endowment, created to preserve the Hopi culture, stimulate economic development and provide social services, represented the first Native American affiliate.

Lead gifts made by corporate sponsors helped ACF meet the Ford Foundation's challenge for the Rural Arizona Project to raise $1 million for rural community and economic development. Corporate sponsors were Arizona Public Service Company, Bank of America, Bank One Arizona, Navajo Generating Station, Norwest Bank AZ, Phelps Dodge Mining Company and Salt River Project.

A three-year demographic study of Arizona's racial/ethnic minorities funded by the Ford Diversity Program was completed, and Arizona State University was contracted to conduct research within the state's racial and minority communities. The published report, The Challenge of Diversity... A Demographic Profile of Arizona's Ethnic and Racial Minorities, was distributed to more than 1,500 Arizona community leaders.

Arizona ArtShare, the initiative to stimulate public and private giving to arts endowments was closer to becoming a reality. At the Governor's Arts Awards Dinner, Governor Jane Hull announced the first $1 million of corporate and foundation contributions. Lead gifts were made by 10 corporations and organizations including Arizona Public Service Company, Bank of America, Bank One Arizona FINOVA, Flinn Foundation, Kieckhefer Foundation, Phelps Dodge Corporation, Salt River Project, The Arizona Republic and the Whiteman Foundation.


Bennett Dorrance took over as board chair, and Stephen D. Mittenthal continued as president and CEO. ACF celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1998, having grown to nearly 500 funds and support foundations representing nearly $197.5 million in assets. This included $16.2 million in Affiliate assets. ACF made 948 grants totaling $8.17 million.

Breaking from an historic pattern of largely reactive grantmaking, the Community Foundation began to lay the groundwork for restructuring its funding activities and charting its own programmatic destiny. The Community Foundation was preparing to launch a set of program initiatives in education, infant and child development, hearing impairment, rural community and economic development and the arts and was looking to public/private partnerships to help support these priorities.

The complimentary Planned Giving Design Center, an up-to-the-minute, interactive Web site designed to advise and help professional advisors, became a value-added resource for the professional community.

The affiliate system grew with the addition of the Patagonia Regional Community Foundation, the Green Valley Area Community Foundation, the Buckeye Valley Community Foundation and the Tuba City Regional Community Foundation. All affiliates enjoy the comprehensive advantages of centralized financial management and administrative resources. Each regional and Affiliate manager and Affiliate board brings localized personal knowledge and experience to help meet local community needs.

ACF staff was added in marketing, advancement, programs and financial administration to better serve the organization's many constituencies.


ACF looked to the next millennium with new ideas and resources. The endowment continued to grow, reaching $283.5 million with 400 funds, including $23.6 million in Affiliate funds. Grants totaled $11.5 million.

The Rodel Foundation was established to support long-term, systemic change with $25 million, the largest single gift ever made to ACF. Social Venture Partners Arizona, modeled after an organization started two years earlier in Seattle, was launched in Phoenix. SVPAZ is a pooled philanthropic fund that "invests" money and volunteer time in emerging nonprofit organizations much as a venture capital fund invests in emerging businesses.

Other support foundations included the Stardust Charitable Fund, the Pakis Family Foundation, Lodestar and the Armstrong Family Foundation.

ACF had six equity managers (Norwest, Vanguard, S.E. Rulabaugh, Harris, TIFF and American Funds) and one fixed-income manager (Northern Trust) managing a diversified pooled portfolio of $130 million. Approximately $125 million or 44 percent of assets were included in the 33 funds and 26 support foundations overseen by outside money managers. A new relationship with American Funds transferred a substantial portion of pooled income funds to them.

Acknowledging a historic "low profile," ACF's board approved a $250,000 advertising campaign, focusing on print and electronic media in select target markets.

Proactive grantmaking developed requests for proposals in most priority areas including education, infant and child development, school violence prevention, ethnic arts and hearing impairment. As Arizona struggled to escape from the bottom rung of national rankings on education spending and other social ills among its young populations, ACF's program staff found many opportunities to support community needs.



By the end of 2000, Florita Evans' gift had added more than $3 million to ACF Affiliate endowments, bringing total Affiliate assets to $29.6 million with the original nine funds created in 1994 growing to 120. The combined ACF endowment was $320 million held in 450 funds. ACF made 695 grants totaling $17.5 million, bringing year-to-date grant totals to $64 million.

The Learning Communities initiative brought schools and low-income parents together, encouraging parents to stay involved in their children's education, especially during the elementary and middle school years. This initiative involved 12 school districts and 16 schools across the state.

Parents as First Teacher looked at the critical period from birth to five years and the long-term effects of those years on a child's ability to learn and interact socially. This multi-year program trained 50 teachers in 20 schools statewide, who in turn would teach parents and other teachers to work effectively with pre-school children to help improve their educational achievement and life prospects.

Arizona's Children Association asked ACF to partner with them in a foster care pilot project. The result was Families for Kids, a five-year initiative funded by the Kellogg Foundation to look at system reform from the child's perspective for the 7,000 foster children in Arizona.

Our rapidly growing scholarship program awarded $1,019,000 to almost 400 students. The program, which increased 63 percent from the previous year, helped a variety of students from pre-school through post-graduate work. Some scholarships targeted broad student populations while others had very specific qualification requirements.

ACF and key partners were committed to advancing the idea of arts as fundamental to the educational process and an integral part of children's learning through Arts in the Communities, Arts in the Schools. Working partnerships of arts and after-school organizations, schools, and artists came together to promote and encourage interest in art education throughout the state.

A two-year grant from the Coalition of Community Foundations for Youth focused on out-of-school-time programs and youth civic engagement. The goal was to build better communities by getting youth involved in meaningful civic activities in the hours outside of school time. ACF partnered with local and state organizations working with youth in core activities such as youth mapping, e-journalism and philanthropy. Four pilot sites included South Phoenix, Sierra Vista, Yuma and Window Rock.

The Small Diameter Timber Project linked restoration and stewardship of public lands with cultural and economic revitalization of local communities. This ground-breaking experiment built Hogan-shaped affordable housing from small-diameter trees that are by-products of forest restoration. Navajo elders and architects collaborated to develop working designs, and a series of prototypes were built to refine their ideas.

Social capital was the theme of a partnership established with three dozen other community foundations to conduct the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey. This largest-ever study of civic engagement in America polled nearly 30,000 people, including 501 in Maricopa County. Arizona was found to be slightly lower in overall social trust, volunteer work, participation in grassroots politics and involvement in civic organizations when compared to the national average. In the "schmoozing with friends and neighbors" category, however, Arizona was somewhat higher.

ACF partnered with a statewide program called Libraries for the Future, intent on providing low-income families with children 0-5 years of age with a place to access a complete set of parenting and child development materials as well as the help of community resource people.

Marketing was centralized, and a new statewide logo was introduced with appropriate variations for each affiliate.

Strategic planning targets called for ACF to double current assets to $500 million by 2005, with 1,000 funds and $25 million in annual grants. The stated mission was to build a legacy of community philanthropy by connecting donor interests with community needs.


Robert Delgado became the seventh board chair, and Stephen D. Mittenthal continued as President and CEO.

Sept. 11, 2001 marked the day of destruction of the twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York City by terrorists. It also marked an unprecedented display of patriotic, humanitarian and philanthropic fervor. As a result of the emotional impact of this event, ACF re-examined its entire discretionary grantmaking program to ensure its relevance to community needs and priorities. To help make informed decisions, a series of dialogues with nonprofit organizations was convened throughout the state to determine how best to respond to current funding demands. September 11 Community Conversations organized in partnership with Libraries for the Future, the Arizona Humanities Council and Arizona State Libraries, helped bring communities together following the terrorist attack in New York to discuss common concerns.

ACF launched dot.che, a new proprietary software that powers ACF's Web site, valuable both as a tool to streamline the grant process and to connect donors' interests with community needs electronically.

The Programs Department's work continued with early childhood development partners, including early brain development. ACF began to wind down support of Parents as First Teacher, shifting emphasis to Communities for Kids. Learning Community Schools moved into its third year of encouraging parents to stay involved in their children's education.

Through increasing partnerships with higher education, public and private sector agencies and community-based organizations, ACF helped rebuild isolated and often neglected rural communities throughout Arizona. The ACF Fellowship Program, created through this integrated Rural Community Development Initiative, provided technical assistance to rural communities as well as a learning environment for graduate students to share field experiences and to learn through a multi-disciplinary approach to community development.

ACF emphasized youth and community building through out-of-school activities and youth and civic engagement in partnership with Libraries for the Future. Gifts from the Rodel Foundation and the Ellis Funds strategically encouraged comprehensive education reform.

In 2001, ACF awarded 508 scholarships totaling more than $1.2 million. Ninety-five percent were need-based; five percent were merit-based.

We provided seed money and administrative support to the Leave A Legacy Arizona initiative, which encouraged people to include charitable gifts in their wills and trusts, and which grew to more than 300 partners statewide.

ACF maintained a reasonable financial picture with a positive return in a negative market, emphasizing the value of an endowment in both good and bad times. The 2001 endowment was $323 million, including $32 million in Affiliate assets.

A network of 12 Affiliates served regional community foundations in the communities and the surrounding rural areas of Yavapai County, Flagstaff, Sedona, Yuma, Scottsdale, Page/Lake Powell, the Hopi Nation, Tuba City, Green Valley, Patagonia, Cochise County and Graham County.

The Green Valley Area Community Foundation and the Greater Green Valley Community Fund merged to become the Greater Green Valley Community Foundation.

The Affiliate Council implemented a benchmarking process to promote sustainable growth of individual Affiliates. As a result, the Tempe Community Foundation and the Buckeye Community Foundation again became community funds. Encouraged by challenge grants, Affiliate assets had grown from $8,300,000 in 1996 to more than $30,000,000 in 2001. The original nine individual Affiliate funds increased to 120.

The West Valley of metropolitan Phoenix created a cluster of funds that were larger than some existing Affiliates. As Valley demographics shifted, more high net worth individuals were living in West Valley ZIP codes. It was anticipated that this migration would increase as residents look for larger square footage and more natural surroundings for homes.


The endowment was $315 million including more than 700 funds and $31 million in Affiliate assets. ACF granted $19.1 million to 929 nonprofit organizations, bringing grants awarded since 1978 to $101.4 million. This included 600 scholarship awards from 78 scholarship funds providing almost $1.6 million to students. ACF was ranked the 27th largest of 658 community foundations in the country. Robert Delgado was board chair, and Stephen D. Mittenthal was president and chief executive officer.

We received a $300,000 Ford Foundation grant to be a partner in the Border Philanthropy Initiative, working with local leaders, border community foundations, and regional and national donors in the U.S. and Mexico to find solutions for border issues. The Yuma and Cochise County affiliates played pivotal roles.

We joined other funders to support T-Gen, the Translational Genomics Research Institute, a biomedical consortium for medical and scientific research and treatment of diseases. Our $500,000 grant was the largest ever made by ACF to support a single cause.

ACF became the temporary repository for an initial $20 million plus a permanent $3 million endowment to support the Human Services Campus being built near downtown Phoenix to improve services for homeless and at-risk people.

We funded the third year of Parents as First Teacher, an initiative established in partnership with New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development to educate parents about the importance of infant brain development.


This year marked ACF's 25th anniversary with assets at $355 million in 725 funds, including $32 million in Affiliate area assets. Donors contributed $27 million creating 49 new funds and gave millions more to existing funds. Our $141 million investment pool had a strategic asset allocation of 70% equities and 30% fixed income. Performance for 2003 was 21.3%. We awarded 2,220 grants totaling almost $19 million to more than 1,129 grantees, bringing grants awarded since 1978 to $120.4 million.

Following a request for proposals, we provided capacity building support through special grants designed for organizations that are already successful, but which need help in moving up to the next level of service. ACF also awarded 700 individual scholarships from 78 scholarship funds providing $1,571,412 to youth and adults who are continuing or enriching their education.

We brought family members, foundation staff and professional advisors together for the first Arizona Family Foundation Conference, Getting to the Heart of Philanthropy, to discuss issues common to family grantmaking.

A Campaign for Working Families was a pilot program to increase family assets and community investment through Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) and Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) as tools to help low-income families escape poverty. Working primarily in the communities of Douglas, Nogales, Yuma, and South Tucson, ACF supplemented its support for this public/private partnership with quality childcare and other family support efforts.

We joined the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, which stretched form Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego. It was managed by the Synergos Institute in New York City, bringing together a collaboration of nine national and international funders to support the work of 21 community foundations on both sides of the boarder. Its mission is to improve the quality of life in both countries. The Yuma Community Foundation and the Cochise Community Foundation played major roles.

We supported Artrain USA, America's only traveling art museum on a train, which made a stop in Tempe on its 100-community tour. Native Views: Influences of Modern Culture, exhibited 71 contemporary artworks by 54 living Native American artists.

Giving Counsel, the bi-monthly newsletter for professional advisors, went online. A new electronic donor newsletter, Donor Exchange, also provided ACF donors with news, resources and local charitable current events.

Hispanics in Partnership was a new program with national affiliation that was working with other funders and leaders of the Latino community to research and create an agenda aligned with the interests of the philanthropic community, both locally and nationally.

We provided seed money and technical support for N-Power (Nonprofit Technology Assistance Program) Arizona, one of only 12 programs funded nationally with financial and technical assistance by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This collaborative provides statewide technology infrastructure for the nonprofit community.

ACF completed year three of a four-year, $865,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant made to a partnership including the Yavapai County Community Foundation, which provides mental health services to unemployed and under-employed residents of Yavapai County.

We helped create two new nonprofit resource centers in Yuma and Flagstaff to help nonprofit organizations increase their visibility as well as their abilities to serve local communities more effectively and efficiently.

With five other community foundations, ACF participated in a national donor advised fund survey to identify what kinds of services donors find most useful.


Endowment assets passed the $400 million mark, and the investment pool generated a 10% annual return. ACF granted more than $24.8 to other nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies. Jerry Bisgrove followed Bob Delgado as board chair.

ACF partnered with Mesa United Way to create the Mesa Community Foundation, the latest addition to the statewide Affiliate system.

More than 900 scholarships were awarded from more than 80 scholarship funds totaling $1,640,600, making ACF the largest private scholarship grantor in Arizona.

Arizona Hispanics in Partnership, an outgrowth of the Hispanics in Philanthropy relationship, continued to grow both in financial and volunteer support. AZHIP serves as a catalyst for securing resources for Latino nonprofits as well as increasing Latino participation in leadership and philanthropy. The original idea germinated from a forum in 2003 to study issues and a survey prioritizing issues in the Latino community.

ACF partnered with Governor Janet Napolitano to establish the Arizona Early Education Funds to support a comprehensive early education system for Arizona's children.

We provided seed money for the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, a new organization that supports and promotes Arizona's nonprofits, advances a public policy agenda; and creates economical group purchasing opportunities, such as health insurance, for groups statewide.

The Community for All Ages project brings together diverse community leaders, youth and seniors to develop plans of action that address common concerns, such as lifelong learning, transportation, health care and housing.

Communities for Kids builds on many of the early brain development ideas in our earlier Parents as First Teacher program. It extends this work to a community-wide partnership of public schools, public libraries, health care and child care centers in Tucson and Prescott.

A bequest valued at $20 million, which included several pieces of real estate, added to the Wellik Foundation to benefit organizations, schools and agencies serving the town of Wickenburg. Viola and George Wellik were generous donors during their lifetimes who were interested in preserving Wickenburg's ranching and mining heritage.

Christie's Pixie Dust Foundation was created with $1 million from two sisters in Winslow, Arizona, who won the Arizona State Lottery.

We teamed up with Cox Communications to raise awareness of ACF. They produced two commercials which ran in two different advertising flights on the Cox channels and they hosted ACF donors and board members at the FBR Open golf tournament at a special event in their corporate tent.


Stephen D. Mittenthal retired at the end of 2005 after 22 years, and Robert L. King was named to lead ACF as President and CEO beginning February 1, 2006. Jerry Bisgrove continued as board chair, and the endowment was nearing $500 million.

A bequest from John Ellis plus previous charitable gifts from he and his late wife, Delys, added up to $52 million, the largest donation to ACF ever. The bequest created a permanent endowment known as the Ellis Center for Educational Excellence to benefit public education in Arizona. Stephen D. Mittenthal was named Executive Director of the Ellis Center. Nadine Basha was president of the board; Paul Koehler, vice president; and John Lischer, secretary/treasurer.

More than $1 million has been added since 2003 to funds established through the program with Merrill Lynch.

The Arizona Community Foundation was one of the first 60 of 700 community foundations nationwide to be recognized for having organizational and financial practices that meet the Council on Foundations' new National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.


2006 brought many changes to ACF, including a leadership change after 22 years, with a new President & CEO, Robert L. King.

The Board of Directors adopted its first Board Initiative, focusing on improving Arizona's public education system to create the kind of educated workforce needed to meet the needs of a global economy now and well into the future.

ACF commissioned and released the results of Arizona Philanthropy Indicators, which looks at both the ability and propensity to give in every ZIP code in Arizona. The Index is designed to help nonprofits and government agencies target their development efforts to capitalize on the largest transfer of wealth in United States history, occurring between 2005 and 2055. The study illustrates the truly staggering impact for community philanthropy if every Arizonan bequested, in their will or a trust, just 5 percent of their assets to charity over the next 50 years: nonprofits would receive nearly $30 billion to improve the quality of life for the state.

2006 also brought the passage of the Pension Protection Act, legislation with significant impact on charitable giving - most significantly donor advised and scholarship funds. ACF staff worked diligently to interpret the provisions of this law, auditing funds and working with donors to recharacterize fund types and make adjustments to bring their funds into compliance.

ACF broke its own grantmaking record in 2006, awarding more than $30 million to nonprofit organizations.


The ACF Board of Directors elected Richard H. Silverman, general manager of Salt River Project, chairman of the board. Co-vice chairmanship was awarded to Marilyn Harris and William Hodges. Mike Cohn became secretary, while Tony Astorga was named treasurer.

ACF was a partner in the launch of the Arizona Indicators project, an online repository for community data on our shared quality of life in Arizona.

ACF issues scholarship awards totaling more than $4.4 million to 1,200+ student recipients enrolled in colleges and universities, representing the largest annual scholarship award total in Foundation history. The first annual Dorrance Scholarship Program Entrepreneur Experience is held at the University of Arizona McGuire Center. This program connects scholars with their own innovative talents, helping them move their own social or commercial ideas to reality.

In partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, ACF launches the Fund for Affordable Housing, a recoverable grant fund that makes zero-interest loans to nonprofit housing developers to assist in the creation of affordable housing. By the end of the Fiscal Year, the fund balance would reach $755,000.

The Arizona Community Foundation awards the largest single grant in its history: $25 million paid from the Stardust Charitable Fund, a supporting organization of ACF, to Science Foundation Arizona. ACF also pays another large grant, $5 million, from one of its supporting organizations, the Lodestar Foundation, to Arizona State University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management. The Center is renamed The Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation in honor of the gift.

Arizona Community Foundation is recognized, along with a few other charitable foundations, as “Person of the Year” in the Dec. 31, 2007 edition of The Arizona Republic.

ACF also changed its fiscal year-end to March 31, requiring the annual financial audit to cover a 15-month period, from Jan. 1, 2006 through March 31, 2007. The 15-month period closed with more than $556 million in assets and 885 component funds, including 30 supporting organizations and more than 80 scholarship funds. In fiscal year 2006/2007, donors contributed $53 million to existing funds and 70 new funds.


In partnership with The Ellis Center for Educational Excellence, ACF released two reports on the state of public education in Arizona, Educating Arizona: Assessing Our Education System, Birth–Grade 12, and Building Our Foundation: Assessing Early Care and Education in Arizona. The reports became the subject of significant press coverage and were cited by policy makers as the basis for enacting change in our public education system.

In partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, ACF launched the Fund for Affordable Housing, a recoverable grant fund that makes zero-interest loans to nonprofit housing developers to assist in the creation of affordable housing. By the end of the Fiscal Year, the fund balance reached $755,000 toward the $1.5 million goal.

The Arizona Community Foundation awarded the largest single grant in its history: $25 million paid from the Stardust Charitable Fund, a supporting organization of ACF, to Science Foundation Arizona.

ACF also paid a $5 million grant from one of its supporting organizations, the Lodestar Foundation, to Arizona State University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management. The Center was renamed The Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation in honor of the gift.

The community of Douglas in southeastern Arizona completed a challenge to raise $50,000, which was matched by the Cochise Community Foundation and ACF. The Douglas Area Community Fund now has a dedicated local endowment of $100,000 to address local needs.

ACF’s Strengthening Rural Arizona campaign to build regional endowments for rural Arizona reached $851,556 in funds raised, and another nearly $150,000 in pledged gifts. Funds are matched 50 cents on the dollar by the Stardust Foundation.

ACF kicked off its first organized African-American Philanthropy effort with an opening reception and established internships at Arizona State University to focus on the next State of Black Arizona report, which will include a section on philanthropy.

The 2008 fiscal year ended (March 31, 2008) with $511,573,423 in assets (more than 11 percent in affiliate funds), and a record-breaking $72.4 million in grants and scholarship distributions.

In December 2008, Bob King resigned as President & CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation. He relocated to Kentucky to head up the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Fifteen-year ACF veteran Deborah Whitehurst was named interim Chief Executive Officer.


The Arizona Community Foundation elected its first female chairman, Marilyn Harris.

In the spring of 2009, the Board of Directors commenced a nationwide search for ACF’s next president and chief executive officer. The process was led by the Board’s vice chairman, Bill Hodges, and a 12-member Search Committee. The search yielded some 170 candidates, at least three-quarters of them highly qualified to lead the Foundation.

Due to the unprecedented volatility in the stock market, ACF’s assets have declined in value to $420 million as of February 2009. The Board of Directors unanimously agrees to increase ACF’s exposure in opportunistic investments in order to position itself for stronger returns and capitalize fully from the market’s eventual rebound.

The Board of Directors unanimously agreed to support the Investment Committee’s request to increase ACF’s exposure in opportunistic investments in order to position itself for stronger returns and capitalize fully from the market’s eventual rebound.

Despite the economic slowdown, Fiscal Year 2009 ended on March 31, 2009, with $43 million in gifts, $33.7 million in grants and scholarships awarded and 58 new funds.

ACF, in partnership with Meridian Bank and Mesa Can, launched the first Individual Development Accounts for children enrolled with the nonprofit AZ Quest for Kids. A combined total of $100,000 was used to create matched savings accounts to help children save for tuition, books and school supplies while they attend any state university or community college.

In partnership with Helios Education Foundation, ACF launched the Accio Education Fund to provide two $450,000 grants for statewide, systemic education reform—one for a program already underway in Arizona, and one for a program looking to expand to Arizona from another state. The grants are to be paid over a three-year period to Beat the Odds, a program of the Center for the Future of Arizona, and Stand for Children.

By the end of the 2009 calendar year, the market had made a significant recovery. ACF’s asset value returns to about $450 million by Dec. 31, 2009, with gains of 30 percent or more in some investment areas.



2010 began with a major announcement of the hiring of ACF’s new President & CEO, Steven G. Seleznow. With a 30-year history in education as a school teacher, principal and superintendent, Mr. Seleznow came to the Foundation most recently from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he served as deputy director of the U.S. Program in Education.

With a $300,000 gift from Howard Sims, renowned architect, African-American community leader and past trustee of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, ACF establishes the African-American Leadership Development Fund in collaboration with the Gamma mu Boulé of the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity. The fund will support success for african-american boys and young men.

Artists from Portland’s Northwest Dance Project and New York-based American Place Theatre and American Ballet Theatre’s ABTII live, work and perform at the Flying E Dude Ranch in Wickenburg, owned by the Wellik Foundation, an ACF Supporting Organization, between October 2009 and January 2010. Curated and produced by the Del E. Webb Center for the performing

Arts, the artist residency program welcomes arts groups to the ranch for a working retreat to gather, research and develop their work without distraction.

Target EdVentures in partnership with the Arizona Community Foundation awards $80,000 for field trips to 160 title i classrooms throughout Maricopa County. About 4,800 students will take field trips during the 2010-2011 school year to the Arizona Science Center, Children’s Museum of Phoenix and Phoenix Zoo.

ACF participates in the Expect More Arizona public-private partnership to create a statewide movement of Arizonans who value education as the top priority and who are actively engaged in supporting and improving education.

The “Choose to Help” Funders Collaborative, consisting of 11 Arizona foundations and funders, including ACF, pools resources to distribute a total of $2.6 million for basic needs throughout Arizona. Two distributions, in April 2009 and March 2010, go to food banks, shelters, emergency service providers and other nonprofits providing for basic human needs throughout the state. The collaboration receives the Arizona Community Action Association’s 2010 Margie Frost Champion Against Poverty Award.


The year started with the Board of Directors approving a new business plan that would guide ACF and its affiliates for the next five years. Staff worked diligently on the plan for nearly a year and involved more than 200 stakeholders and community members across Arizona in defining the organization's future. The mission statement: "Lead, serve and collaborate to mobilize enduring philanthropy for a better Arizona" was adopted as the mission statement.

As the economy continued its slow recovery, momentum around charitable giving began to pick up. Several new programs and services were offered to donors and nonprofits. ACF redesigned its quarterly fund activity statements for donors, making the document easier to read and adding helpful information about the financial markets, the performance of ACF's investment pools and upcoming events and donor programs. ACF began offering a free training course for nonprofits called Planned Giving Basics to help nonprofits build a planned giving program and an organizational endowment.

Early in the year, ACF affiliate the Yavapai County Community Foundation realized $7 million in bequests from the estates of donors Wanda McCall and Geri Smith. The gifts would establish several different funds designated to support specific nonprofit organizations selected by the donors.

Marilyn Harris' term as Chairman came to an end in March. William J. Hodges was elected Chairman of the Board, Jack Davis was named Vice Chair, Tony Astorga continued as Treasurer and Ellen Steele Allare became Secretary. Longtime members Jerry Bisgrove and Dick Silverman retired the Board, while Julia Rosen, James W. Ryan, Barbara Poley, Gene D'Adamo and David Connell were elected to the Board of Directors.

After 12 years of service, Carla Roberts left her post as vice president for Affiliates to become president and CEO of the Fremont Area Community Foundation in Michigan.

In the spring, ACF announced a staff reorganization, including a new executive team under the leadership of president and CEO Steve Seleznow: Jacky Alling, Chief Philanthropic Services Officer; Megan Brownell, Chief Communications Officer; Jim Pitofsky, Chief Strategy Officer; and Paul Velaski, Chief Financial Officer.

The year ended with $473 million in assets held in 1,062 funds.



Arizona Community Foundation defined its philanthropic agenda—a set of strategic priorities where donor interest is strong, financial resources are available, and community needs are significant. ACF committed to leverage its resources in tandem with donors to achieve measurable impact in the following areas: Quality Education, Health Innovations, Arts & Culture, Community Improvement & Development and Environment & Sustainability.

The Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy was established with the support of local entrepreneur and ACF Board member Frederick M. Pakis. Through the Pakis Center, ACF offers customized, cost-effective strategies to engage companies of all sizes in advancing their charitable priorities in the communities where they do business. The community foundation re-assumed responsibility for the management of the Arizona Endowment Building Institute, providing nonprofits with the tools, education and mentorship they need to build an organizational endowment and a planned giving program.

The Arizona Community Foundation and its affiliated Cochise Community Foundation worked together to provide a strong response to the Monument Fire, which displaced 12,000 people and destroyed nearly 100 structures, together distributing nearly $40,000. Cochise Community Foundation created a field of interest fund to serve the needs of local veterans, and the county benefitted from two major grants meant to spur local stewardship of the local water resources and antelope population.

The ACF Black Philanthropy Initiative introduced the ‘Feed Your Soul’ Lecture Series, providing regular opportunities for community members to convene and focus on issues relevant to Arizona’s African-American community.


The Community Foundation expanded its investment pool options for donors with the addition of the Socially Responsible Investment Pool designed to integrate social and environmental concerns into an investment strategy with a parallel focus on asset diversity and long-term growth.

William Hodges and Jack Davis continued their terms as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. Ellen Steele Allare and Tony Astorga continued in their positions as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Gene D’Adamo of Republic Media, Steven O. Evans, and Herbert Kaufman, Professor Emeritus of Finance at ASU, all joined the Board of Directors.

The year closed with strong asset growth, thanks to both an improving market and contributions on the part of donors. Donors created 89 new funds totaling $38 million in assets, and nonprofits added an additional $2.9 million, bringing ACF’s assets to a total of $463 million at fiscal year-end. ACF distributed just over $36 million in grants and scholarships, and affiliates granted over $2.5 million to local nonprofits across the state.



The Arizona Community Foundation celebrated 35 years since its inception with a gala celebration held at the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix on Oct. 23, with 375 people in attendance. Bank of Oklahoma chairman George Kaiser, the largest donor to a community foundation in U.S. history—his $4 billion gift established the Tulsa Community Foundation—served as the keynote speaker. Neal Kurn was honored for his dedication to growing the assets of the Arizona Community Foundation.

People within the state of Arizona and far beyond joined together to support the small town of Yarnell in the wake of the Yarnell Hill Fire and the tragic loss of 19 firefighters, part of an elite squad known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots. All told, more than $1.2 million was contributed to funds supporting recovery and community rebuilding and scholarships for the children of the fallen firefighters.

ACF launched its Community Impact Loan Fund, which in its first year allowed the Phoenix Collegiate Academy to break ground on an expansion for its campus and supported a project to tap the adjacent SRP canal to access water for the plants of the Desert Botanical Garden—providing a better source of water for the plant specimens and saving the organization thousands of dollars in City water costs.

ACF was approved by the Arizona Department of Revenue as a School Tuition Organization, allowing the Foundation to support high-need students with tuition to attend preK-12 private schools while affording individual and corporate donors a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for their donations.

The Education Innovation Event Series was launched to highlight and recognize grant recipients of the Accio Education Fund, which provides financial support for projects with new ideas to enhance education, and allow recipients to share their accomplishments, plans, and lessons learned.

The QU Scholarship Fund was established, turning what was a simple birthday celebration into a source of enduring financial support for LBGTQ youth in Arizona for achievement and continued education.

ACF distributed nearly $39 million in grants and scholarships, and affiliate community foundations around the state distributed an additional $3.5 million, an increase of nearly $1 million from the year before, with the guidance of local advisory boards.

Ellen Steel Allare continued as Secretary. Leezie Kim, Lisa Urias, Jodi Padgett and Robbin Coulon joined the Board as members.

Donors grew ACF’s assets by $60.4 million, creating 135 new funds, and nonprofits entrusted an additional $5.9 million to the Foundation to steward on their behalf, bringing total Foundation assets to $502 million at year-end. Of that total, $75.6 million are organized under ACF regional affiliates throughout the state, which all together grew their assets by $6 million.


The Arizona Community Foundation launched its Jerry Colangelo Center for Sports Philanthropy, a suite of foundation management and grants administration services designed for athletes and professional sports teams interested in giving back to their communities.

The Greater Phoenix region received one of four Best Intergenerational Communities Awards from Generations United and MetLife Foundation. The region was chosen thanks to the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Age-Friendly Network, which facilitates age-intentional interactions among older and younger adults, and thanks to ACF’s leadership through its Communities for All Ages initiative which has been in place since 2003.

Three exemplary leaders who have given their time, talent, and treasure to benefit the Latino community in Arizona were honored during ACF’s Celebrating Philanthropy in the Latino Community event. The leaders included ACF Board Member Tony Astorga, first-generation college student Aracely Delgado, and the late Eddie Basha who was honored posthumously for his lifelong advocacy for children and education.

ACF’s Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy continued to grow with the addition of five new corporate clients dedicated to giving back to the communities where they do business.

ACF distributed nearly $41.5 million in grants and scholarships including almost $5 million from its regional affiliates around the state, an increase of around $1 million for the second year in a row, with the guidance of local advisory boards.

Jack Davis continued his term as Chair, Ron Butler was named Vice Chair, Ellen Steele Allare continued her term as Secretary, and John Gogolak continued as Treasurer. Gwen Calhoun, Sue Clark-Johnson, Charley Freericks, and Neil H. Hiller, Esq. joined the Board as members.

Donors grew ACF’s assets by $71.4 million, creating 133 new funds, and nonprofits entrusted an additional $15.1 million to the Foundation to steward on their behalf, bringing total Foundation assets to $577 million at fiscal year-end. Of that total, $92.2 million are organized under ACF affiliates throughout the state which altogether grew their assets by $16.5 million.


In partnership with Republic Media and Morrison Institute for Public Policy, ACF launched The New Arizona Prize--its first philanthropic prize competition--to inspire innovative approaches to solving complex problems in Arizona. Beyond the Mirage, a collaborative team led by ecologist and videographer Cody Sheehy of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the UA Water Resources Research Center and Arizona Public Media, was announced the winner of the Water Consciousness Challenge and received a $100,000 purse to launch their digital campaign.

Super Bowl XLIX was held at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale and ACF was proud to be the charitable partner of the Arizona Super Bowl XLIX Host Committee and the NFL Foundation in awarding $2 million in Super Bowl Legacy Grants benefiting 27 community projects.

Arizona Community Fund of Flagstaff and its collaborators broke their grantmaking record, awarding more than $1 million in competitive grants to some 100 Flagstaff-area nonprofits.

President and CEO Steve Seleznow was one of three finalists nationwide for the Council on Foundations’ Distinguished Service Award. Called philanthropy’s highest honor, the award celebrates a visionary leader who inspires and embodies the qualities that define excellence in philanthropy including commitment, courage, entrepreneurship and impact.

ACF distributed nearly $46 million in grants and scholarships to more than 3,623 organizations and students, bringing awarded grants since ACF’s inception in 1978 to $551 million.

Ron Butler was named Chairman of ACF’s Board of Directors, Shelley Cohn was named Vice Chair, David Connell was named Secretary, and John Gogolak continued as Treasurer. Six longtime board members’ terms expired including Ellen Steele Allare, Betsey Bayless, Carol Parry Fox, Bill Hodges, Michael Kelly, and Marj McClanahan.

Donors grew ACF’s assets by $64.7 million, creating 128 new funds, and nonprofits entrusted an additional $8.2 million to the Foundation to steward on their behalf, bringing total Foundation assets to $609.8 million at fiscal year-end. Of that total, $96 million are organized under ACF affiliates throughout the state which altogether grew their assets by almost $4 million.


The Arizona Community Foundation invested in multiple collaborative efforts to improve Arizona’s foster care system. These efforts included expanding The Arizona Republic’s capacity to conduct in-depth reporting on Arizona’s child welfare system and supporting research by ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy. ACF and other community partners also engaged in dialogue with the Governor’s Office about the potential of the FosterEd: Arizona program to succeed statewide, leading to state legislation establishing the Foster Youth Education Success Fund.

In partnership with Republic Media and ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, ACF announced in the second challenge presented under The New Arizona Prize. The Water Innovation Challenge offered $250,000 to a collaborative team in Arizona that developed the most innovative solution to advance the sustainability of its water future. After receiving 23 submissions, the judges awarded the prize to the Southwest Water Campus for its Pure Water Brew Challenge.

The Foundation’s Jerry Colangelo Center for Sports Philanthropy gained momentum in its efforts to unite professional athletes, sports teams, fans and community leaders in charitable giving. ACF became the proud charitable partner of Phoenix Suns Charities, Arizona Coyotes Charities and Fiesta Bowl Charities.

During its first year awarding grants, ACF’s Center for LGBTQ Philanthropy invested nearly $32,000 in seven organizations with programs serving LGBTQ youth in Arizona.

In total, ACF distributed nearly $56.3 million in grants and scholarships to 3,972 organizations and students, bringing awarded grants since ACF’s inception in 1978 to $597 million.

Ron Butler continued his term as Chair, Shelley Cohn continued as Vice Chair, David Connell continued as Secretary, and Tony Astorga was named Treasurer. Dr. Javier Cárdenas, Tammy McLeod, and Marian Rhodes joined the board as members. 

Donors grew ACF’s assets $122.1 million, creating 114 new funds, and nonprofits entrusted an additional $12.8 million to the Foundation to steward on their behalf, bringing total Foundation assets to $746.6 million at fiscal year-end. Of that total, $91.8 million are organized under ACF affiliates throughout the state.


The Arizona Community Foundation’s Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy awarded $40,000 BOOST! Prize awards to build corporate philanthropy programs at two mid-size Arizona businesses: Fann Contracting and Goodmans Interior Structures.

ACF’s Black Philanthropy Initiative and the Center for LGBTQ Philanthropy worked with 11 other community collaborators to host the Because We Care Community Forum and Resource Fair, which was designed to educate and address HIV in the black community. As part of this effort, a new ACF fund was created to support the nonprofit organizations that fill gaps in care and provide education in the African American community.

The Foundation’s Jerry Colangelo Center for Sports Philanthropy worked with Ability360 to honor Arizona athletes who have overcome significant challenges at the Return From Rio Breakfast. The celebration’s guest of honor was Allysa Seely, one of 4,000 athletes from 176 countries who competed in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

ACF distributed more than $55 million in grants and scholarships to 4,648 organizations and students, bringing awarded grants since ACF’s inception in 1978 to $649 million.

Shelley Cohn was named Chairman of ACF’s Board of Directors, Stephen O. Evans was named Vice Chair, Charley Freericks was named Secretary, and Rufus Glasper was named Treasurer. Benito Almanza, Tony Bolazina, Heidi Jannenga, Mark Bohn, and Lon Babby joined the board as members.

Donors grew ACF’s assets by $63.7 million, creating 142 new funds, and nonprofits entrusted an additional $13 million to the Foundation to steward on their behalf, bringing total Foundation assets to $830.6 million at fiscal year-end. Of that total, $100 million are organized under ACF affiliates throughout the state.


The Arizona Community Foundation celebrated 40 years of mobilizing philanthropy across Arizona. ACF achieved its corporate goal of implementing the next strategic plan, launching a complete assessment of the competitive environment and formulating a plan for a sustainable and impactful future. ACF also conducted a donor impact assessment to determine how donors define the value proposition when working with ACF in relation to their philanthropic needs.

ACF partnered with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Rodel Foundation of Arizona, Ellis Center for Educational Excellence, and JPMorgan Chase Foundation to announce a $1.24 million investment in Arizona Pathways to Prosperity, a program building opportunities for young people to pursue post-secondary education in high-growth industries.

Catholic Charities Community Services leveraged a $1.5 million loan from ACF’s Community Impact Loan Fund to open a new facility for its transitional living program MANA House, which supports veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The loan was deployed in partnership with Dignity Health, Phoenix IDA, and the Phoenix Community Development & Investment Corporation.

ACF distributed more than $66 million in grants, scholarships and loans to 4,524 organizations and students, bringing total awards since inception to $719 million.

Shelley Cohn continued her term as Chair of ACF’s Board of Directors, Stephen O. Evans continued as Vice Chair, Charley Freericks continued as Secretary, and Rufus Glasper continued as Treasurer. Jim Ameduri, Noreen Bishop, Mark Bonsall, and Mi-Ai Parrish joined the board as members.

Donors grew ACF’s assets by $108.7 million, creating 152 new funds, and nonprofits entrusted an additional $13.5 million to the Foundation to steward on their behalf, bringing total Foundation assets to $938.6 million at fiscal year-end. Of that total, $113.5 million are organized under ACF affiliates throughout the state.


The Arizona Community Foundation debuted a new, refreshed logo at its 40th anniversary celebration. 

To honor the contributions of the late ACF founder and past chair Richard Whitney, the community grantmaking fund was renamed the Richard H. Whitney Fund for the Common Good. 

The Affordable Housing Loan Fund, a partnership with the Phoenix chapter of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), celebrates the successful renovation of the historic Coffelt-Lamoreaux Apartment Homes in south Phoenix. Through collaboration with many local organizations and contributors, the fund has now provided interest-free pre-development loans to support 49 housing projects led by nonprofits and community development corporations.

Stephen O. Evans was named Chair of ACF’s Board of Directors, Robbin M. Coulon was named Vice Chair, Leezie Kim was named Secretary, and Rufus Glasper continued as Treasurer. Danny Bryant, Marianne Cracchiolo Mago, Patricia Garcia Duarte, and Don Opatrny joined the board as members.

Donors grew ACF’s assets by $68.6 million, creating 151 new funds, and nonprofits entrusted an additional $11.5 million to the Foundation to steward on their behalf, bringing total Foundation assets to $961 million at fiscal year-end. Of that total, $117.5 million are organized under ACF affiliates throughout the state.



The Arizona Community Foundation renamed its Center for LGBTQ Philanthropy in honor of Richard Tollefson and Marc Kellenberger to recognize their transformative legacy gift and invaluable leadership in the community. This represented the largest naming gift for an ACF Center to date.

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed day-to-day life beginning in mid-March. ACF temporarily shifted to remote work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of its staff, donors, and communities across the state. 

Within days of this closure, ACF and local philanthropy partners launched the Arizona COVID-19 Community Response Fund to support nonprofits on the front lines helping those most vulnerable to the economic and health-related impacts of the pandemic. The flexible nature of the fund allowed grants to be issued on a rolling basis throughout the first five months of the pandemic. In total, the fund granted $8,918,452 to over 900 nonprofits.

In addition to contributing to ACF community response funds, ACF fundholders doubled their giving in 2020 over the same five months in 2019. This included over $2 million across 150 grants to nonprofit organizations specifically addressing COVID-19.

ACF also partnered with eight local governments to distribute grants to small businesses and nonprofits hit hard by the pandemic. These programs awarded nearly $75 million in grants, which helped struggling businesses deal with unexpected closures, keep staff on payroll, and stay afloat.

In response to nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, ACF’s leadership team made a pledge to join with donors in eliminating inequality and racism and invest in nonprofit organizations who can bring our communities, our public institutions, and our fellow citizens together to heal. ACF seeded the Black Philanthropy Initiative’s Social Justice Fund with a $25,000 gift.

The Black Philanthropy Initiative launched the virtual series Foresight 20/20: Eyes on Social Justice during Black Philanthropy Month. They succeeded in inspiring and engaging ACF donors, partners, and other allies to the social justice movement, while also informing them about the historical inequities that gave rise to the racial reckoning.

In addition to generous gifts from individuals, many ACF fundholders gave critical support to the fund after participating in the Foresight 20/20: Eyes on Social Justice series. Businesses and nonprofits across the Valley also stepped up to give to the fund, with many implementing creative ways to engage their patrons in regular giving by dedicating a percentage of sales each week to the BPI Social Justice Fund.

Stephen O. Evans continued his term as Chair of ACF’s Board of Directors, Robbin M. Coulon continued as Vice Chair, Leezie Kim continued as Secretary, and Rufus Glasper continued as Treasurer. Leonardo Loo and Xavier A. Gutierrez joined the board as members.

138 new funds were created and donors contributed a total of $78.5 million to new and existing funds. An additional $7.8 million was entrusted to ACF by nonprofits to steward on their behalf, bringing the total assets received to $86.3 million. By mid-March, two weeks before the end of the fiscal year, ACF’s assets under management had reached $1.05 billion. During those two weeks, assets dropped to $903 million due to market fluctuations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. By October 2020, the assets under management rebounded to over $1 billion.


The Arizona Community Foundation continued to support the community through the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. In collaboration with our donors and partners, ACF distributed a historic $196 million across Arizona. Staff met this challenge of scale, distributing nearly 16,000 grants and scholarships—more than double the typical annual volume—while working remotely in alignment with COVID-19 safety protocols.

ACF donors propelled a 100% increase in grantmaking over the previous year and contributed $9.8 million to our COVID-19 response funds that rapidly distributed grants to communities across the state. Additionally, nearly $100 million in small business relief from local government partners was quickly distributed by ACF to thousands of small Arizona businesses, helping to sustain them through unprecedented economic conditions and better position them to power our post-pandemic recovery.

The virtual Donor Education Series launched in February 2021, providing an opportunity for donors to stay informed as we work toward collaborative solutions in the areas of affordable housing, education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In partnership with Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University and The Arizona Republic, ACF launched the Housing Security Challenge as the fourth prize offered under the New Arizona Prize banner. Designed to inspire collaborative, cross-sector ideas that address the lack of affordable housing, the challenge solicited innovative proposals centered on

supportive services. In May 2021, five finalist teams pitched their projects to a selection

committee composed of industry leaders. The winning team, The East Valley Senior Home Sharing Program, received $250,000 to launch their proposal, which will match older adults at risk of homelessness with roommates to share housing costs, companionship, and responsibilities.

During the summer, ACF’s Disaster Relief Fund was activated to support recovery efforts related to the Telegraph and Mescal fires in eastern Arizona and the historic levels of rainfall and resulting flash floods in Flagstaff. The fund distributed $79,996 to Gila County, United Fund of Globe-Miami, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Gila House, Inc., and Legends of Superior Trails for wildfire recovery and fire and flood relief. The fund also provided $62,624 to Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona to aid residents suffering financial losses due to the flood damage done to their homes in Flagstaff.

In October, Christy and Daryl Burton made historic charitable gift to ACF. The long-time Arizona philanthropists and founders of the Burton Family Foundation contributed real estate assets totaling $129 million, making it the largest charitable gift to the foundation over its 43-year history. The Burton Family Foundation funding priorities include college and career readiness programs, STEM education, mentorship programs and leadership development training, each with an emphasis on programs providing resources to historically underserved youth.

Robbin M. Coulon was named Chair of ACF’s Board of Directors, Leezie Kim was named Vice Chair, Heidi Jannenga was named Secretary, and Rufus Glasper continued as Treasurer. Armando G. Roman joined the board as a member.

135 new funds were created and donors contributed a total of $72.9 million to new and existing funds. An additional $118.7 million was entrusted to ACF by nonprofits and community partners to steward on their behalf, bringing the total assets received to $191.6 million. By March 31, 2021, ACF’s assets under management reached $1.155 billion. Of that total, $159.4 million are organized under ACF affiliates throughout the state.

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