News Article

ACF team grows to better serve the community

The Arizona Community Foundation is constantly adapting to a changing marketplace, the needs of its growing donor base, and emerging needs in communities across the state. Following organizational restructuring and the addition of new senior leadership announced earlier this year, ACF has continued to grow its internal capacity to achieve the goals defined by ACF’s current strategic business plan.

The Finance & Administrative Services team has welcomed many new key players over the last few months, as well as leadership changes to guide the team in tackling high processing volumes and methods for strong stewardship of nearly $1.2 billion in assets. Heidi North has been promoted to Senior Director, Accounting and will lead the team in its daily operations. Callie Blanton received the new title of Senior Director, Financial Reporting & Compliance, positioning her to oversee ACF’s audit, tax, and other reporting across the foundation. Stephanie Harrer has been hired as ACF’s new Senior Director, Financial Controls & Quality Assurance. In addition to these changes, Sara Figueroa has been promoted to Manager, Fund Oversight and Special Projects, Shanna Murphy has been hired as Senior Accountant, and Fortuna Godofai has been hired as Accountant.

After being restructured under the leadership of Kimberly Kur earlier this year, the Development & Donor Engagement team saw additional growth in leadership and new faces to serve our donors. Lynn Umphres and Lisa Stratton have both been promoted to Senior Philanthropic Advisor and will help lead development activities across the organization. Erica Balderas was also promoted to Philanthropic Advisor. Jill McIlroy joined the team as a new Philanthropic Advisor and Brittany Bell was hired as a Philanthropic Coordinator.

The Community Investment team—which focuses on the foundation’s efforts in education, scholarships, and grantmaking—has expanded to meet our donors’ generosity and additional community needs. Ashley Acton was promoted to Director, Grants Management to lead efforts to enhance grantmaking processes and help increase accessibility for ACF’s various funding opportunities. Leticia Antillon was also promoted to a new role and now serves as Grants Manager. Sally Jane Kerschen-Sheppard joined the team as Education & Scholarships Advisor alongside Abigail Castillo, Grants Coordinator, and Gregorio Montes de Oca, Community Investment Coordinator.

As the needs of Arizona communities have continued to grow and change, the Program & Community Engagement team at ACF has also been evolving. Gwen Groth was promoted to Regional Philanthropic Advisor in our Flagstaff affiliate office. Additionally, Adam Lopez Falk joined ACF as Community Program Officer and Debbie Nez Manuel was engaged as the consulting Community Projects Manager for the team’s emerging BIPOC and Rural Engagement Process.

On the Brand & Impact team, Michael Ponzio has been promoted to Senior Director, Events & Organizational Culture, and Allan Villanueva joined the team to serve as Senior Meeting & Events Coordinator.

Curtis Cohen also joined ACF’s Investment team in the new role of Investment Operations Analyst.

“The foundation continues to grow in fund development, assets under management, and impact to the community. As a result, we needed to strengthen our capacity to match the growing complexity of the organization and continue to prioritize exceptional service to our donors,“ said ACF President & CEO Steve Seleznow.

These staffing changes and promotions are critical to ensuring the foundation has the necessary support to serve our donors, partners, and community members.

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