Stories of Impact

Each year, the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff invites area nonprofits, schools and tribes to apply for grant funding to support projects that change lives.

These are a few of the projects that have changed lives for the better in our communities.

With support through ACF of Flagstaff...

Catholic Charities of Arizona

Catholic CharitiesThe PATH outreach team searches everywhere homeless individuals may camp or frequent -- streets, alleys, dumpsters, caves, river beds, forests, deserts, shelters, soup kitchens, highways, and social service venues -- in order to locate new clients. In the course of their activities, the team distributes life-sustaining supplies like tents, sleeping bags, hats, gloves, food and water and they provide materials about resources available to homeless individuals and local camping rules and regulations. When necessary, clients are transported to centers for detox, medical treatment, and psychiatric care.

Impact in our community

In the Flagstaff-area, PATH Homeless Outreach routinely provides these services after hours and during inclement or dangerous weather events, a practice that has saved many lives. In the last year, this Catholic Charities Community Services program served more than 1,200 individuals and distributed 1,500 supplies.


Coconino Community College Nursing Program

CCC Nursing ProgramTara Swanson thinks of her two years in the Coconino Community College Nursing Program as one really long job interview. Throughout her nursing training, she worked at Flagstaff Medical Center in various departments and now, Tara is a charge nurse in Flagstaff Medical Center’s Step Down unit where patients recover following open-heart surgeries. Programs such as CCC’s are crucial to keeping the area's applicant pool filled with highly-trained nurses who are familiar with the area and want to continue living here.

Impact in our community

The Coconino Community College Nursing Program started about a decade ago at the request of the community and Northern Arizona Healthcare. Funding support from the Flagstaff Medical Center Foundation and the Flagstaff Community Foundation have been an important part of the reason students no longer need to leave the area to obtain a nursing degree. CCC now graduates 40 students per year and has received full accreditation by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.


Flagstaff Community Band

Flagstaff Community BandThe Flagstaff Community Band improves quality of life in the community through music and provides a venue for musicians to enjoy their skills. For more than two decades, the band has provided free concerts and supported a variety of community and Veterans’ events. The concert band and small group ensembles perform at Riordan Mansion Historic Site, during Flagstaff Pioneer Days and the Memorial Day Ceremony, and for the Armed Forces Day parade and ceremony.

Grants from the Flagstaff Community Foundation have made it possible for the band to rehearse in an inclusive and welcoming setting at a local school.

Impact in our community

Members as young as 6th-graders play alongside musicians who are far into retirement. This environment creates cross-generational communication and collaboration, as well as general community networking.

Hozhoni Foundation, Inc.

Hozhoni FoundationWhen Ed came to the Hozhoni Foundation, he suffered from extensive tooth decay, in so much pain that it hurt to smile. Years of dental neglect due to poor oral hygiene, lack of dental care, lack of insurance, and no funding for necessary services left him in need of extensive sedated dental work including fillings, crowns, and significant debriding due to broken teeth and neglected cavities.

Through the Hozhoni Foundation’s Clients’ Unfunded Medical, Dental, Therapeutic, and Adaptive Equipment Program, Ed received nearly $14,000 in dental work. This has changed his life and Ed now readily shares his smile. He has become a recognized artist in the community of Flagstaff and was chosen to display at the National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institute) in Washington, D.C., Sophie’s Gallery in San Diego, and the Community Art Gallery at Northern Arizona University.

Impact in our community

The Hozhoni Foundation serves adults with disabilities. Our Clients’ Unfunded Medical, Dental, Therapeutic, and Adaptive Equipment Program helps fill insurance and subsidy gaps by providing additional financial support for the clients we serve to receive vital medical, dental, and therapeutic assistance and adaptive equipment that would otherwise not be available to them. Funding from FCF and their collaborators allows Hozhoni to serve over 55 individuals annually.

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In 2012, 53% of the children who entered kindergarten in Coconino County did not have the language and social skills they needed to successfully begin their academic journey. Many of these children had little or no preschool experience.

KinderCamp™ in FlagstaffThe Killip KinderCamp™ Summer Transition Program, a 20-day intervention program developed by United Way of Northern Arizona, is equalizing the playing field. The program targets children entering kindergarten who need extra help to be ready for school. Many KinderCamp teachers and parents think the children’s social-emotional skill development may be the greatest benefit of the program.

“All of the social behaviors -- like sitting and listening, controlling their bodies, and feeling comfortable being at school -- need to be there or you lose the academic preparedness," stated one KinderCamp teacher. "If a kid can’t sit and listen or they are talking to a friend, they miss what the teacher is saying and that will affect them academically. It sounds like something simple but it is so important for kids to learn in order to be ready."

Since 2005, KinderCamp programs have been offered at schools in the Flagstaff Unified School District and more recently, in school districts located in Page, Winslow, Williams and Fredonia. Key elements of the model include a curriculum that strengthens children’s early language and literacy skills, low student-teacher ratios, classrooms co-taught by certified kindergarten teachers and Head Start teachers or practitioners, home visits to students’ families by teachers who bring literacy kits with writing materials and developmentally-appropriate books, and “bridging over” ceremonies that celebrate graduation from KinderCamp and transition into formal kindergarten.

Impact in our community

In addition to measurable change in children’s academic and social skills, KinderCamp helps families become more comfortable with a formal school setting, its teachers, staff and routines; and gives parents confidence in their abilities to navigate the school system in the future.


The Literacy Center

The Literacy CenterIn Coconino County, one in nine adults is functionally illiterate and three out of every 10 students drop out of high school. It’s difficult to shop, use banking services, access public transportation, drive, or manage medications without the ability to read labels and signs. Without basic reading and communication skills, teens and adults are at risk for failure in the workplace, as parents, as consumers, and as participants in our community. In fact, low literacy rates put the entire community at risk.

Services from Literacy Volunteers of Coconino County are delivered by professionally trained volunteers in the community and at The Literacy Center to increase the basic English language and literacy skills of teens and adults.

Impact in our community

The Literacy Volunteers of Coconino County program operates on a four-point model, utilizing one-to-one tutoring, drop-in tutoring, center and community classes, and a jail/juvenile detention program known as the Partnership for Literacy Rehabilitation to deliver instruction to our learners. More than 270 Flagstaff residents, both native English speakers and English language learners are currently being served.


Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald HouseMatt is an optimist. He always keeps a positive attitude and laughs things off easily. This unparalleled positivity is admirable in anyone, but in this case, it is especially remarkable considering what Matt and his family have been through. In September of 2009, Matt was playing in a hockey game as the goalie for Northern Arizona University’s hockey team. He was hit and fell backwards, hitting the back of his head on the goal posts. Instead of taking time to recover, Matt got right back up and continued playing.

As a precaution, Matt later visited a doctor and was told that he simply had a minor concussion and would be fine. As time went on Matt began passing out and twitching in a seizure-like fashion. It wasn’t until a sinus surgery triggered a seizure and Matt’s mobility ceased that the surgeon realized his spinal cord had sustained significant damage from his hockey injury.

In February of 2010, months after his accident, Matt was taken from Flagstaff to Banner Good Samaritan in Phoenix where he was treated for severe brain and spinal cord trauma. Coming from California, Matt’s family had nowhere to stay until they discovered the Ronald McDonald House. Matt and his family were at the Ronald McDonald House until June and in that time, they made many unbreakable friendships with other families and the staff of the House. Today, Matt is not only walking without a cane, he is helping to manage the Northern Arizona University’s hockey team.


The Transformative Learning Center

TLCThe fact that 90% of the human brain is developed by age five validates the home as the most powerful environment for learning. Parenting College is a comprehensive course at the Transformative Learning Center that empowers parents with knowledge that begins with prenatal brain development and finishes with kindergarten readiness, a significant indicator in life outcomes. The Transformative Learning Center puts P-12 education as the cornerstone of economic and civic development, poverty elimination, and grassroots community collaboration.

Impact in our community

In 2013, Flagstaff Community Foundation acted on knowledge that investments in early childhood pay very high societal dividends, including increased income earnings, reduced incarcerations, and reduced special education services, by funding scholarships to four recent Parenting College graduates. This provided young children the opportunity to engage in a quality preschool experience at Flagstaff Cooperative Preschools and gave parents the opportunity to pursue personal education endeavors.


Victim Witness Services

Victim Witness Services provides outreach, advocacy and support services for victims, witnesses and survivors of crimes and crisis in Coconino County. Crisis intervention services are provided immediately after a crime or traumatic incident. This initial intervention can happen on-scene, at the hospital, police station, in person, or over the phone.

Even when a call is received in the middle of the night, someone from Victim Witness Services arrives within 25 minutes to help a victim or witness of crime or crisis through their first most difficult hours. Getting back to normal can take time and Victim Witness Services helps with long-term needs of the individuals they serve.

Victim Witness Services can provide emergency financial assistance for clients. The team can help a woman fleeing a domestic violence situation, for example, find a warm bed for the night and a good meal. And if she has a four-legged friend, the VWS Pets Too! program can do the same for her pet.

Impact in our community

Volunteers assist law enforcement with death notifications and provide families in crisis with resources and referrals. Although the majority of incidents involve domestic violence, Victim Witness Services also responds to sexual assaults, assaults, homicides, child abuse, robbery and DUI crimes.



ACESEvery morning, mothers staying at the Hope Cottage women’s shelter stream into the childcare center located within the facility to drop their children off on their way out the door to look for work. Knowing their children are safe and secure in an enriching environment, the women staying at Hope Cottage have opportunities to find employment and begin new lives of independence and self-sufficiency.

Since there are limited high-quality, affordable programs for low and middle income families, parents often look to relatives, friends and neighbors for this type of support. With the award of a Quality Improvement Mini-Grant overseen by the Alliance for Children’s Early Success (ACES), Hope Cottage was able to license, certify and finish the creation of its childcare center.

Impact in our community

In 2013, 12 mini-grants were awarded to child care providers through an application process for expenses such as CPR/First Aid certification, liability insurance, books, playground equipment, classroom supplies and physical improvement of their facilities. Each grantee receives coaching from a child development professional on additional ways they can improve the quality of care and foster children’s early learning and language development.


Northland Free Tax Assistance

Northland Free Tax Assistance was founded in 2013 by an experienced group of Flagstaff VITA volunteers who decided to create an organization with the sole mission of providing free, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance services in Flagstaff, Arizona in a respectful and friendly atmosphere. NFTA is entirely staffed by volunteers who contribute over 2,500 hours through the tax season.

Impact in our community

In 2016, Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff funds were used to help cover costs incurred to provide accurate income tax preparation and filing, maximizing eligible tax credits, to return $750,000 to over 475 low-to-moderate income taxpayers in Flagstaff.