Community Connections

The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona highlights stories and information that showcase the impact made by our donors, nonprofits, and partners. 

The following stories are from our eNewsletters highlighting the many partners we work with throughout Sedona and the Verde Valley.

Meet our Philanthropist Next Door, Spring 2021

The Marr Family

Chuck Marr met his beloved wife Pat (pictured to the left) during their time at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and married in 1964. Chuck had a successful career in the Nebraska hospital system and Pat enjoyed a career as a travel agent, all while raising two daughters.

After 40 years of marriage, they decided to retire to Sedona. Both quickly became involved community members, lending volunteer time and board service to many local organizations. Sadly, Pat passed away in 2009 after a five-year battle with cancer. In her memory, Chuck and his daughters established the Pat Marr Memorial Vocational Scholarship Fund with ACF of Sedona.

Pat felt a great appreciation for the specialized training certificate that enabled her to build her business and travel the world. During her life, she sought ways to bring similar career training opportunities to others.

“Before she passed, Pat and I talked about the purpose and plan for her focused vocational scholarship,” said Chuck. “We selected ACF to handle the details of the scholarship because of their impressive investment program and ability to handle the details of promoting the scholarship in our region and its system of vetting the applicants. Today, ACF consults with my daughters annually to help select scholarship recipients. We receive many wonderful notes from previous scholarship recipients.”

Not only does the Pat Marr Memorial Vocational Scholarship Fund honor the life of a wonderful woman, it also meets a real need in our community. Career and technical education is a fraction of the cost of a traditional university education, and certificate holders can significantly increase earnings. Yet few scholarship resources exist to fund this type of education.

Thanks in part to the success of his family’s private scholarship fund with ACF, Chuck Marr has been part of a community-wide effort to increase local funding for vocational education. In 2018, with Chuck’s help, ACF of Sedona opened the Pathway to Careers Scholarship Fund, which pools and endows the donations of many community members to ensure ongoing scholarship opportunities for both returning adults and students who have just graduated from high school.

To learn more about the options for setting up a scholarship fund with ACF or to get involved with the Pathway to Careers Scholarship Fund, contact Regional Director Jennifer Perry at JPerry@azfoundation.org or call 928.399.7218.

Money Raised to Fund Local Grantmaking

Additional $68,000 Raised to Fund Local Grantmaking

A big thank you to all who contributed to our Sedona/Verde Valley Community Fund, which provides grants to local nonprofit organizations through an annual, competitive proposal process.

A few months ago, an anonymous donor contacted ACF of Sedona and said she wanted to issue a challenge to other philanthropists. This donor knew that nonprofits continue to struggle in these difficult times and wanted to inspire the community to respond with extra generosity.

You did! We not only met our $25,000 match challenge, but we exceeded it, raising $68,000 total. We are now on track to reach our goal of disbursing $200,000 in this year’s grant cycle.

This successful match challenge is indicative of a trend toward increased philanthropy. In 2020, ACF of Sedona was able to infuse over $1 million into our community, both through grantmaking, scholarships, and contributions from Donor Advised Funds. This is nearly double the amount we usually disburse and shows our local philanthropists’ responsiveness to community needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our community’s open-hearted generosity has been a bright light in these difficult times. We thank you for partnering with us to strengthen our community through giving.

The Importance of Planned Giving

Planned Giving: The Time is Now!

A special message from Regional Director Jennifer Perry

Many organizations, especially those without dedicated development staff, routinely push planned giving onto the back burner. This is especially true recently with the pandemic forcing many of us to focus exclusively on annual and emergency funding.

However, both at ACF and across the country, as reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, we are seeing an uptick in individuals thinking about the legacies they would like to leave. At ACF of Sedona, we have welcomed a surprising number of new Legacy Donors, and I believe your organizations could benefit from this increased interest as well if you move planned giving back onto your radar.

On the flip side, ACF has witnessed an unprecedented amount of nonprofit endowment and reserve fund disbursements this year. These funds have kept the lights on at many essential community organizations through this terribly difficult year. The effort put into establishing these funds has paid off, and endowed funds are proving their worth every day. 

Now is the time to resurrect your planned giving program. 

With fundraising events canceled for the foreseeable future, I urge you to redirect those resources into a planned giving and endowment building campaign to ensure the future sustainability of your organization. Call your repeat donors and connect with them on a personal level. Get board members involved and make them feel appreciated. Get the professional training you need to be successful. 

We are here to help you succeed. ACF offers planned giving training programs for development and executive staff. Our Arizona Endowment Building Institute is also an incredible resource.

I also want to point out that by establishing a fund with ACF, we can serve as your planned giving expert, facilitating and processing estate and other planned gifts for you, training your board of directors, and consulting on your overall program and individual prospects, thereby offsetting development expenses. 

If you are worried that talking about planned giving during a global crisis will be off-putting for your donors, I urge you to think again. Now is a great time to secure the future of your valued organization. 

What is a Community Foundation?

Although the Arizona Community Foundation is a grantmaking organization, we are quite different than a private foundation. In fact, we are classified as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization just like any other nonprofit, but we have a very broad mission and seek to improve the lives of people within a specific geographical region. 

We do this by encouraging local philanthropy, managing charitable funds for the benefit of our community, and helping to ensure the success of the local nonprofit sector as a whole. In addition to grantmaking, we support nonprofits by managing endowment funds, providing professional development opportunities, offering low-interest loans, educating financial advisors and estate attorneys about community-based charitable giving, and much more. 

We are also the largest independent provider of scholarships in the Arizona and are engaged in public policy at the state and national level. 

ACF is one of the largest community foundations in the country and has been serving Arizona for over 40 years. Our network of affiliate offices provides community-level expertise and local presence to cater to the needs of individual regions. ACF of Sedona focuses on encouraging local philanthropy and disbursing funds in Sedona and the Verde Valley. Hence our motto, Give Where You Live. 
 

Nonprofit Highlight: Manzanita Outreach

Manzanita Outreach, 2020 Spirit of Sedona Nonprofit Organization of the Year

Organizations fighting hunger, such as Manzanita Outreach, saw need skyrocket this year due to lost incomes from COVID-19. Manzanita Outreach provides food directly to people in need, and it went from serving 1,521 households per month in January to 6,400 households in May. That is a staggering fourfold increase in services in six months! To make matters even more complicated, they had to completely change the way they distributed food to keep everyone safe by implementing social distancing practices.

How did they do it? Ingenuity, efficiency, and lots of hard work!

Manzanita Outreach quickly adapted their logistical operations to meet the quadrupled demand for food assistance. They expanded weekly food distribution events and changed to a vehicle drive-thru delivery method so that social distancing could be maintained. They expanded home deliveries to seniors. They brought food to remote rural areas by initiating a Farmers to Families Food Box program that provided local, farm-fresh produce and dairy products, delivered via refrigerated truck, to residents in need. They also increased collaboration with other organizations and updated communications so that residents could easily and safely access nutritious food.

They are on track to distribute two millions pounds of food this year. Thank you to Manzanita Outreach for rising to the challenge presented by the pandemic!

Meet our Philanthropists Next Door, Winter 2020

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

This edition’s featured philanthropists wish to remain anonymous, but we just can’t resist sharing the story of their creative giving.

This couple came to the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona to set up a charitable gift annuity, an investment tool that provides lifetime income to the donor and, at the end of life, provides a sizeable gift to a nonprofit beneficiary.

But this annuity was unusual. Instead of providing income for the donors or children, the annuity was set up to provide $1,000 per month for life to a local, self-employed, near-retirement couple. The donors knew this couple had been putting off retirement and medical treatment due to financial difficulties.

One of the donors explained, “They are an exceptionally nice, hard-working couple, always giving of themselves whether it was a helping hand, volunteer work or financial assistance to those in more need than themselves. They are the type of people who would give you their last dollar if you needed it, but no one was looking out for them.”

When the beneficiaries were notified of the gift, they were floored. “It was like winning Publishers Clearing House,” said the husband, overcome by emotion. They were in tears when they came into the ACF of Sedona to sign the necessary papers.

The donors were equally thrilled. The wife was beaming and the usually reserved husband had a twinkle of light in his eye as they filled out their portion of the paperwork. They were simply delighted to be able to do it.

And of course the nonprofit organization chosen to receive the remainder of the investment is a worthy cause that will put the estate gift to good use in our community.

These local donors show us that giving comes in many forms. Instead of giving a simple gift to their chosen charity or even leaving a gift in their estate, they invested those funds to support good people AND a great organization at the same time.

During these tumultuous times, it is uplifting to know that people like these anonymous donors are out there, working in big and small ways, to help lighten the load of others in need. Let’s use their example to keep this neighborly spirit going!

ACF's Extraordinary Response to COVID-19

Stepping up to the Challenge Facing Arizona

The COVID-19 pandemic created an acute funding crisis for many essential nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and households.

ACF stepped up to the challenge, raising $9,495,108 and distributing $8,918,45 in a matter of months by doubling, and in some cases tripling, our productivity. Our donors compared to last year to make this possible.

Our dedicated staff worked night and day from home computers in an attempt to grant out dollars nearly as quickly as we brought them in. Not only did we streamline our grantmaking and fund disbursement processes, but we were also called upon by cities across the state to administer their COVID-19 emergency funding programs for small businesses and nonprofits.

ACF established seven regional funds, including one for Sedona and the Verde Valley. Locally, over $511,000 has been raised and granted from our Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund. A separate fund was established to help Arizona artists, who were particularly hard hit.

Local philanthropists, just like their statewide counterparts, put the needs of their neighbors as a top priority during the pandemic. Several donors, including Sedona Women, Christ Lutheran Church, Rotary Club of Sedona Village, and Seven Canyons generously created match challenges for their constituents, raising more funds than would otherwise be possible. Along with matching funds from ACF, the local fund has supported 40 nonprofit organizations providing critical, pandemic-related services to our local community.

Both in the Verde Valley and across the state, ACF has been able to leverage its expertise to achieve incredible outcomes. While it has challenged us like nothing we have ever experienced, it has also been incredibly gratifying. We at ACF and the donors who partner with us have all, collectively, been mindful of the question, “If not us, who?” 

Thank you, Sedona and Verde Valley donors, for partnering with us in this unprecedented philanthropic effort! To learn more, view our COVID-19 Community Impact Report.

Give Where You Live this Holiday Season

Give Where You Live this Holiday Season

Did you know that, thanks to our partners, ACF of Sedona has already passed the $1 million mark in local charitable giving this year?

We are the local charitable giving experts, and we would love to help you put your philanthropic dollars where they will have the most impact.

Some donors know exactly which organizations they would like to fund, but others gain great benefit from pooling their gifts with others to create large, meaningful grants that really “move the needle” when it comes to bettering our community.

Through the local community fund, ACF of Sedona is able to identify grant to the worthy projects being proposed in Sedona and the Verde Valley each year. An expert panel vets each organization and project for viability, ensuring that funds will be well spent.

Grants made from this fund are made possible from donors like who you chose to combine their gifts with others for maximum benefit. This fund is the centerpiece of our grantmaking each year.

You can donate to this fund today, or call Jennifer Perry at 928.399.7218 with questions. We match great people with great causes every day.

Spirit of Sedona 2020

ACF of Sedona Proudly Presents the 2020 Spirit of Sedona Awards

These individuals, business, and organizations have made significant contributions in our community this year. The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona is proud to recognize them for their contributions in making Sedona and the Verde Valley great places to live. Join us in congratulating:

 

Philanthropists of the Year: Donors to the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund

When COVID-19 hit our community, many of our nonprofit service organizations were pushed past capacity as needs skyrocketed. Our community stepped up to help them meet increased demand in many ways - with funds, volunteer hours, and expertise.

Donors to the Sedona Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund exemplified this community spirit. They showed exceptional philanthropic leadership, putting the needs of their neighbors as a top priority. In total, they raised $511,000 in just ten weeks! Thanks to their efforts, 30 community nonprofits received grants to support COVID-related critical care services. The grants supported food banks, senior services, and schools, among other essential services. 

The fund started as an $80,000 match challenge from the Arizona Community Foundation. We hoped to raise a total of $160,000. But our community went far above and beyond this goal. Some donors put out additional matching gift challenges to their constituents resulting in an incredibly dynamic and rapid-paced fundraising at Sedona Women, Christ Lutheran Church, Rotary Club of the Village, and Seven Canyons. In total, there were 74 donations to the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Thank you to the following donors for demonstrating the power of community:

Kevin Adams
Gil Agnew and Quinton Jenkins
Scott Amey
Frederick Avery and Rosemary Anderson
Bella Berlly
Kennard and Katherine Bork
Thomas and Sandra Brandvold
Dennis and Lucy Cassatt
Catena Foundation
Christ Lutheran Church Mission Endowment Fund
Christ Lutheran Church Congregants
Teresa Colwell and Isabella Zagare
Toni Coon
Cottonwood Economic Development Foundation
Ryan Danahey
BJ and Catherine Davis
Dick and Karen Deal
Judy Dolloff
Rick and Ellen Ferreira
Wendy Fickbohm
Carolyn W. Fisher
Egon and Deotila Hagemann
Sharon Haizmann
Cliff and Katie Hamilton
David Heacock
Mark von Hoetzendorff
Edmund and Caroline Johnson
Kincaid Financial Advisors
Troy and Carol Kurimsky
L & M Sky Fund
La Merra Holdings LLC
Richard and Susan Lamb
Lisa Lehman

James Loomis
Karen McClelland
David and Suzanne McCoy
Elizabeth McFarland and Larry Linebury
Jean McNulty
Donna Michaels and Jackie Ellis
Michael Owen
Morna L. Paule
Holli Ploog and Bert Campbell
Robert Powers
Rotary Club of Sedona
Rotary Club of Sedona Village
Rotary Club of the Verde Valley
Geoffrey Roth
Janice Saunders
SedonaKind
Sedona Marine Corps League Charities
Sedona Women
Seven Canyons
Seven Canyons Members
Phil Shipp
Richard Sidy
Irma Strauch
Jeff Groenke and Nancy Swanson
Meri Thomason
Dottie Webster
Peter and Kathleen Wege
Jane Walker Whitmire
Why Not Foundation
Gregory and Nancy Williams
Gloria Woody
David Young

Volunteer of the Year: Jennette Bill

A longtime resident of Sedona, Jennette Bill began serving our community as a high school student representative to the Board of Keep Sedona Beautiful. That experience launched a lifetime of incredible service and leadership that has shaped our regional education and youth services landscape.

Starting as PTA President when her children were young, she recently helped found the Sedona-Oak Creek Education Foundation, which helps to sustain our area schools and provide scholarship opportunities for local youth. Jennette has also been active with the Missoula Children’s Theater, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Sedona Oak Creek School District Governing Board, Verde Valley School Board, among other roles.

When her children went on to college, Jennette turned her sights to Rotary, where she embodied what it means to be a true Rotarian - service above self. She describes Rotary members as “good people whose hearts are of a similar makeup, service-oriented.” Jennette was President of the Rotary Club of Sedona and is currently the president of the Rotary Club of Sedona Village.

As a Rotarian, Jennette has continued to improve the lives of Sedona and Verde Valley young people. She has led exchange student programs, youth awards, and leadership opportunities. She helped bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to area children and is currently working with the Village Rotary to establish a youth-focused community garden.

Jennette is energized by her service work and simply loves people. She tells us that while she loved running a dental practice for 28 years because it allowed her to interact with a broad swath of area residents, it was her volunteerism that fed her soul. “It’s a passion,” she says. “I love pulling people together to make these things happen.”

One of the people who nominated Jennette for the Spirit of Sedona Award says, “Her success comes from her interpersonal skills and willingness to do work with others. I’ve never known anyone with so much positive energy, inclusiveness, and follow through.”

Nonprofit Organization of the Year: Manzanita Outreach

Organizations fighting hunger, such as Manzanita Outreach, saw need skyrocket this year due to job loss from COVID-19. Manzanita Outreach provides food directly to people in need, and it went from serving 1,521 households per month in January to 6,400 households in May. That is a staggering fourfold increase in services in six months! To make matters even more complicated, they had to completely change the way they distributed food to keep everyone safe with social distancing.

How did they do it? Ingenuity, efficiency and lots of hard work!

Manzanita Outreach quickly adapted their logistical operations to meet the quadrupled demand for food assistance. They expanded weekly food distribution events and changed to a vehicle drive-thru delivery method so that social distancing could be maintained. They expanded home deliveries to seniors. They got food to remote rural areas by initiating a Farmers to Families Food Box program that provides local, farm-fresh produce and dairy products, delivered via refrigerated truck, to residents in need. They also increased collaboration with other organizations and updated communications so that residents could easily find food safely.

They are on track to distribute two millions pounds of food this year. Thank you to Manzanita Outreach for rising to the challenge presented by the pandemic!

Community Collaborator of the Year: Paul Friedman

Since retirement as a university professor, Paul has committed his time to bettering our community. He has become a central figure in enhancing the intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual wellbeing of Sedona and the Verde Valley.

Over the past eight years, Paul has created over 300 programs at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute. Particularly popular are his “Living Room Conversations,” which were designed to increase understanding among people with different political orientations and find ways to collaborate on constructive solutions. His long-standing “Community Forum” luncheons connect community leaders with residents to exchange ideas about important topics affecting the community. Another highlight among his many contributions is his “Sedona Great Ideas Lecture Series,” which brings humanities scholars, scientists, conservationists and philosophers to our residents of Sedona and the Verde Valley.

Paul is also a leader in conflict resolution. He has facilitated juvenile restorative justice conferences for the Yavapai Juvenile Probation department and started the Sedona Mediation Service center. Paul organized the “Live and Learn” program at the Yavapai County Jail for inmates to have open discussions and peacefully resolve conflicts.

Thank you, Paul, for facilitating connection and understanding between diverse groups in our community and for tackling tough subjects in the name of peace making. 

Business Benefactor of the Year: Goldenstein Gallery

Linda Goldenstein has pioneer roots in the Sedona area, and her connections to the community inspire her to involve both her business and herself in many important local issues and causes. Both the Gallery and its owner lead by example, donating funds, auction items, staffing, expertise, and event space to many causes in our community.

Among the many organizations sponsored by Goldenstein Gallery are the Verde Valley Sanctuary, with whom the Gallery sponsors the annual production of The Vagina Monologues. She has supported the Verde Valley Sinfonietta and Chamber Music Sedona for fourteen and fifteen years respectively. The Sedona International Film Festival and the Sedona Historical Society have also benefitted from the support of the Gallery.

Additionally, the Goldenstein Gallery hosts concerts to raise awareness and support for youth music education. The Goldenstein Gallery has become an important venue for talented young musicians to perform.

Linda is also widely acknowledged as a leader in the business community. Over decades, she has helped to build the business and arts sectors of Sedona and the Verde Valley into what they are today. As an active member of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, Sedona Gallery Association, and other institutions, Linda and the Goldenstein Gallery have made a tremendous impact.

Thank you Linda Goldenstein and the Goldenstein Gallery for showing us what “conscious business” is all about!

COVID-19 Exceptional Volunteer Award: Joy Sinnott

When the pandemic began, we were all wondering what we could do to help. While we were still thinking, Joy had already started sewing masks and gowns for the Northern Arizona Healthcare System. She is now organizing the efforts of over 50 people from SedonaKind and Sedona Women to make both gowns and masks—over 15,250 to-date! Joy then learned of the need on the Navajo and Hopi reservations. She gathered her sewing machine-armed “troops” and is now working with Milton Crewse/Tewa to meet their needs as well as those of 30 other organizations in need. If a sewing machine falters, Joy fixes them herself and delivers machines to those willing to sew for a cause.

Joy has always been drawn to those who most desperately need help, and she has a long history of volunteering to better our community. Joy has been a Board Member and Treasurer of Sedona Women and SedonaKind for many years. She also supports the Sedona International Film Festival and the Sedona Arts Festival.

Joy’s leadership has inspired many individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to go above and beyond to meet critical community needs. One of her nominators explains, “She is a champion of the underdog. Once Joy sees a need, she drops everything to put a plan together to make a difference. I honestly can’t imagine how Northern Arizona Healthcare could have done without her tackling the need for PPE during the current pandemic.”

Thank you, Joy, your exceptional efforts to protect our front-line medical workers and get our community through this pandemic as safely as possible!