News Article

ACF and Valley of the Sun United Way collaborate to grant $74,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona

The Arizona Community Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way are proud to announce the first collaborative COVID-19 response grant of $74,000 has been awarded to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSAZ). 

The Arizona Community Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way have put an emphasis on working together to ensure funding within Maricopa County is deployed in a coordinated, efficient, and effective manner. Requests are shared between the two entities and funding decisions are being made collaboratively.

“The collaboration between these two large grantmakers through this historical time has been important for the nonprofit community,” said ACF Board Chair and United Way Board Member Steve Evans. “As we work together through this crisis, we are building a strong foundation for the future working together to support our community.”

The two leading philanthropic organizations joined together in a coordinated effort to help nonprofits that are providing direct support services during the pandemic and BBBSAZ was an ideal candidate for joint relief funding.

In their grant application, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona highlighted their need for immediate relief funding to support increased costs related to the immediate and unanticipated change in their mentoring program model. The foundation of this 60-year old program is relationship-building between a mentor and youth through personal, face-to-face interactions. The majority of youth who participate in the program live in poverty and often face unstable home and family situations. 

With physical distancing measures in place, the mentorship model was forced to rapidly pivot to virtual meetings so the youth participants continue to have a stable, reliable mentor who can support them during this uncertain time. In Maricopa County, this impacts over 1,000 youth-mentor pairs who rely on the program to provide support through conversation, friendship, homework help, and sharing thoughts and fears. BBBSAZ staff have been working around the clock to secure computers and equipment and ensure the transition to virtual was taking place. 

 

The Big Brothers Big Sisters mentorship model pivoted to virtual meetings between youth participants and mentors who can support them during this uncertain time.

“When the pandemic hit, we saw our revenue drop quickly and substantially and if it were not for the amazing partnership between Valley of the Sun United Way and the Arizona Community Foundation, we would definitely have had to shrink our program and potentially close some of our matches,” said BBBSAZ President & CEO Laura Capello. “Seeing how quickly these two funders came together to support us and so many other nonprofit agencies truly made the difference in continuing our work.”

ACF and Valley of the Sun United Way have collectively distributed over $6.9 million in grants to nonprofits since March 31. To-date more than 580 grants have been awarded to nonprofit organizations providing immediate relief.

To learn more about ACF’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund, or to make a contribution, visit azfoundation.org/covid19

To learn more about Valley of the Sun United Way’s United for the Valley COVID-19 Fund, or to make a contribution, visit vsuw.org/covid19fund or text Unitedfund to 51-555.

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