This past summer, the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona's Board of Advisors approved $172,900 in grant funding to be distributed to 41 organizations. These organizations were selected from a pool of 75 eligible applications. How does the process work?
ACF has a unique grantmaking process that is different from what many encounter with private foundations. Funding decisions are made by the community, not by ACF staff or Board of Advisors (though the Board does approve the final disbursements).
This year, thirty community volunteers from across Sedona and the Verde Valley went through intensive trainings, read proposals, and analyzed budgets. They met first in small groups then as a whole to discuss and rank proposals. It is a consensus process that takes time but yields thoughtful results.
ACF continues to work hard to recruit a diverse cross-section of the community that represent the geographical, economic, and racial makeup of our region. We hope that bringing varying voices to the table allows for more equitable opportunities among our nonprofits.
The funding source for our grantmaking is also exclusively from the local community. Individuals and businesses donate to our endowed community funds each year to keep the resources flowing into our community.
The ACF regional offices are also unique in the level of support offered to grant applicants, with services such as our annual grant application workshop and technical support given as needed. This helps to level the playing field for small organizations that might be doing incredible work but may not have professional development staff skilled in grant writing. Always feel free to reach out to us!
Finally, we promote all applicants whose proposals made the first round of panel cuts, whether they are ultimately funded through ACF grants or not, to local donors via our Worthy Project List. Many individual and business donors rely on to guide their giving.
While we love the entire process, the best part of the annual grant cycle is seeing projects meet their fundraising goals and come to fruition. Old Town Mission, for example, has already started its renovation project, and Verde Valley Wheel Fun is breaking ground on a new mountain bike skills park at Oak Creek School in Cornville. There is nothing like seeing a community come together to make good things happen! We thank all 2021 grant cycle applicants and congratulate this year’s grantees.
View the list of grantees from the 2021 grant cycle.
As a track and field Olympian, Lew Hoyt has always been a high achiever. But it wasn't until he beat cancer that his inner drive manifested into achieving a new kind of goal: making an impact on the community.
Lew is known as a beloved volunteer and donor for many organizations, but he wanted to do more. Lew had a vision of what he wanted to achieve for local high school students. Unfortunately, he felt his vision was bigger than his bank account.
Lew, however, is unstoppable. He reached out to us at ACF. He knew that “where there’s a will there’s a way”—and he was right.
Jennifer Perry, Regional Director of ACF of Sedona, sat down with him and together they found a way for Lew to create a meaningful legacy. Using equity in his home and careful estate planning, he was able to fund his dreams while still living comfortably during his lifetime.
Last month, Lew and his wife, Nancy, created plans for establishing two endowed funds to support the students at Red Rock High School. The You Don’t Have to be Average Fund will support academic needs and the Hoyt SRRHS Fund ensures that all kids can have the equipment they need to participate in athletics regardless of income.
“My wife and I have no children,” Lew told the Sedona Red Rock News. “So for the past 15 years of working with students at SRRHS and coaching and motivating these student athletes, all have become our kids. They are all great kids. And we are grateful and blessed to be able to help them.”
Lew also told the paper that he likes the fact that, by working with ACF, he can make changes to the funds at any time at no cost. But the thing he loves most is the idea that his contribution will impact generations of kids. “Because it is an endowment, it can live on forever.”
Thank you, Lew and Nancy. You are an inspiration for all of us.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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:
Gil Agnew and Quinton Jenkins
Frederick Avery and Rosemary Anderson
Kennard and Katherine Bork
Thomas and Sandra Brandvold
Dennis and Lucy Cassatt
Christ Lutheran Church Mission Endowment Fund
Christ Lutheran Church Congregants
Teresa Colwell and Isabella Zagare
Cottonwood Economic Development Foundation
BJ and Catherine Davis
Dick and Karen Deal
Rick and Ellen Ferreira
Carolyn W. Fisher
Egon and Deotila Hagemann
Cliff and Katie Hamilton
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
David and Suzanne McCoy
Elizabeth McFarland and Larry Linebury
Donna Michaels and Jackie Ellis
Morna L. Paule
Holli Ploog and Bert Campbell
Rotary Club of Sedona
Rotary Club of Sedona Village
Rotary Club of the Verde Valley
Sedona Marine Corps League Charities
Seven Canyons Members
Jeff Groenke and Nancy Swanson
Peter and Kathleen Wege
Jane Walker Whitmire
Why Not Foundation
Gregory and Nancy Williams
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!
Gifts of real estate are an excellent giving strategy for donors who want to transform their appreciated assets into support for the charities and causes close to their heart. However, many nonprofits don't have the infrastructure or internal capacity to accept complex gifts like real estate. Additionally, when real estate donations are sizable, require a tight turnaround time, or are sold out-of-state, the process can present unique challenges to professional advisors and their clients. That’s when a partnership with the Arizona Community Foundation is key.
Donna Esposito, CPA, met with one of her charitably minded clients in 2017 to discuss a significant gift from the sale of a California-based property. The donor had recently retired and relocated to Arizona, where he was ready to give back to his new community. Having worked with ACF previously on a real estate gift, Donna quickly recognized an opportunity to collaborate for the benefit of this client.
With the sale valued at about $1.7 million and the added complication of being out-of-state property, the gift was not something advisors see every day. “This is the kind of charitable gift that you encounter every 5 to 10 years, so it’s challenging for any advisor to become a true expert on gifts of this size and nature,” said Donna. But through her previous experience, she knew that ACF could bring expertise, professionalism, and prompt service to the process, along with connections to Arizona-based nonprofit organizations to help the client achieve his charitable goals.
Within 90 days, the commercial property was sold after a smooth donation process. In addition to the gift of real estate, the donor made a $50,000 cash gift to cover the carrying costs of property and enable grantmaking in the newly established donor advised fund. Four years later, both the donor and his children are highly engaged in philanthropy through ACF.
We are thankful to Donna and her client for their trust, and for providing this example of effective collaboration between ACF, donors, and professional advisors. If you have questions about how to manage gifts of real estate to charitable causes, reach out to Jennifer Perry or call 928.399.7218.
The challenges of the past year have made us all look at our organizational finances through a new lens. Many smaller nonprofits are starting their first planned giving programs while more established organizations are scrutinizing investment policies with new vigor.
The Sedona International Film Festival and Workshop is no exception. Their leadership has been actively analyzing ways to ensure the organization's service to the community for generations to come. As part of this effort, the SIIFF Board of Directors recently decided to open up a nonprofit fund with ACF of Sedona.
"The Sedona International Film Festival is thrilled and excited to open an endowment fund with ACF of Sedona," explains Patrick Schweiss, Artistic Director at SIFF. "ACF does so much for this community and this state, and it is a natural partnership for ensuring the future of our organization."
Why ACF of Sedona? Because we are 100% focused on charitable goals, which is reflected in both our investment strategies and the suite of services provided by our team of experts to fundholders. With over $1.2 billion in charitable assets under management and 10 years of 4-star ratings with Charity Navigator, ACF can be counted on as a strategic partner in reaching organizational goals. Together, we are building a better Arizona through giving.