News Article

ACF distributes $65 million in fiscal year 2019

The Arizona Community Foundation and its donors are pleased to announce grant, scholarship, and loan distributions for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2019. A total of $64,869,934 was awarded from funds of the Arizona Community Foundation and its six statewide Affiliates in Cochise, Flagstaff, the Gila Valley, Sedona, Yavapai County, and Yuma.

Funds totaling $63,413,934 in both discretionary and advised grants and scholarships were awarded in five strategic priority areas:  

  • In the area of Quality Education, the Arizona Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling nearly $20 million during the year, including $3.8 million in college scholarships for the benefit of 1,416 Arizona students. The Arizona Community Foundation is the state’s largest private provider of college scholarships. 
  • At $22.5 million, grants in the area of Health Innovations received the largest share of distributions, which were awarded to 2,565 organizations and programs in the areas of health, health care, medical research, and a variety of human services. 
  • Nearly $6.5 million went to 642 programs in the category of Community Improvement & Development, which includes economic development, law, justice, public safety, housing, and neighborhood programs.
  • A total of $3.1 million went to 471 organizations and programs in the areas of Environment & Sustainability, including environmental education, renewable resources, conservation, and animal welfare.
  • Nearly $3.4 million was awarded to 498 Arts & Culture organizations across Arizona, including artists, music, and cultural institutions. 

The total distributed across all categories represents over 7,000 individual grants and scholarships.

In addition to these grants, 102 nonprofit organizations with dedicated agency endowments managed by the Arizona Community Foundation received their annual distributions, accounting for the remaining $8,228,856 distributed during the year.

ACF has emerged as a national leader in impact investing with its Community Impact Loan Fund, through which the Arizona Community Foundation and partners invested an additional $1,456,000 in below market loan funding to two organizations in fiscal year 2019. These loans were comprised of $1,050,000 to the Phoenix Art Museum to fund upgrades and expansion for the museums vault and storage capabilities and $406,000 to the Torah Day School to expand capacity and reach more students at their current location.

This charitable vehicle works alongside traditional grantmaking accomplishing two important goals: producing measurable social impact; and building resources for future investing. Working together with a variety of capital partners, grantmakers, and nonprofit leaders, the $23 million Community Impact Loan Fund produces capital solutions that are more robust than grants alone.

$14.3 million in grants and scholarships awarded during fourth quarter

Right Start is a two-week Kindergarten Summer Camp program that provides early literacy training to low-income school districts in Graham and Greenlee Counties. Parents participate in the program to learn about the importance of and practice acting as a teacher at home. All participants receive a parent kit with materials to teach their children at home before they start kindergarten. Right Start also provides early childhood literature and media in the Duncan, Bylas, Pima, and Solomon elementary school libraries. This quarter’s grant of $25,000 from the Ellis Center for Educational Excellence supports the Right Start program for incoming Graham/Greenlee kindergartners during the summer of 2019.  



During the fourth quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, the Arizona Community Foundation distributed $14,259,700 in grants and scholarships. These dollars were awarded between January 1 and March 31, 2019 in five strategic priority areas: Quality Education, Health Innovations, Community Improvement & Development, Environment & Sustainability, and Arts & Culture.

Quality Education:

During this quarter, a total of $3,244,529 was awarded in scholarships and education-related grants. College scholarships account for $155,384 of this total and were awarded for the benefit of 72 students pursuing higher education. College scholarships are awarded to Arizona students to attend a wide range of colleges, universities and technical schools in Arizona and across the United States.

Several education-related grants were also made during this quarter, including: $25,000 from the Ellis Center for Educational Excellence to the Graham County School Superintendent for the Right Start 3 program; $20,000 from the Nicola and Mark Johnston Fund to the Arizona Science Center for Potentiostat equipment; and a $20,000 grant from the Arizona Horse Lover’s Foundation to support the University of Arizona Equine Student Scholarships Project.

Health Innovations: 

A total of $7,394,026 was awarded to 777 organizations and programs in the areas of health, health care, medical research and a variety of human services. Among the distributions in this group were: $250,021 from the Hickey Family Foundation Anti-Human Trafficking Support Fund to the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network for FBO Training and Resources United to Stop Trafficking; $29,724 from the Minnie M. Ross Fund to the Cochise County Health and Human Services to provide tuberculosis screening in a border community where cases of TB are prevalent; and $30,000 from the Phoenix IDA Collaborative Fund to Neighborhood Ministries, Inc. to support Neighbors at Work: Building Pathways to Economic Mobility.

Community Improvement & Development: 

A total of $2,046,125 was awarded to 205 programs in this category, which includes housing, community and neighborhood development, financial literacy training, legal assistance and crime prevention programs. Among the grants awarded this quarter were: $31,306 from the Kitchell employee relief fund to support victims of the California wildfires and $14,246 from Carstens Family Funds to Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services to maintain staff for the ALWAYS Salary Increase Investment Program.



  Arizona Opera Company’s The Copper Queen was created by composer Clint Borzoni and librettist John de los Santos. The Copper Queen, inspired by real places and legends at the hotel of the same name, tells the 1910 story of Julia Lowell, a "lady of the evening," who uses Room 315 of The Copper Queen Hotel in the famed mining town of Bisbee, Arizona, to serve her clients. The $25,000 grant from Ann and Matt Melsheimer will help bring the opera to life for the first time. The Melsheimers have been part of the process of creating this opera through their membership in the unique Spark Commissioning Club, and were actively engaged in selecting this opera from a group of competing concepts.



Environment & Sustainability:

A total of $529,088 was awarded to 122 organizations and programs in the areas of environmental education, renewable resources, conservation, and animal welfare. Among the distributions this quarter were: $40,000 from the Peter H. Paulsen Foundation providing general support to the Cause4Paws Pet Food Bank; $7,190 from the Two Pups Wellness Fund to support a new dental machine for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control’s East Valley Shelter; and $22,911 from The Charlotte Foukal Fund to support the Phoenix Zoo’s elephant habitat expansion.

Arts & Culture: 

A total of $439,301 was awarded to 109 artistic and cultural organizations across Arizona. Among the grants were: $25,000 from the Ann and Matt Melsheimer Fund to the Arizona Opera Company to underwrite the costs of The Copper Queen opera and $6,500 from the Naomi Craig Fund to support a system upgrade for the Arizona Theatre Company.

Additional distribution details

In addition to these grants, 10 nonprofit organizations with agency endowments managed by the Arizona Community Foundation received their annual distributions during the fourth quarter of ACF’s fiscal year, accounting for the remaining $606,630 distributed during the quarter.

The $14,259,700 awarded across all categories in the fourth quarter represents 1,540 grants and scholarships. Some grants are awarded at the discretion of the Arizona Community Foundation with input from board committees and diverse community panels, while others are awarded through donor funds. All grants are approved or ratified by ACF’s Philanthropic Services Committee whose members include ACF board representatives and other community leaders.

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