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 out Philanthropists Next Door, Spring 2022

Bill and Susan Cammock

Bill and Susan Cammock enjoyed successful careers in Ohio before retiring to Sedona. They quickly adopted their new town as their own and looked for ways to give back and make an impact. They made donations to educational and animal welfare causes--and to a new organization their neighbors told them about, the Sedona Community Foundation (ACF of Sedona’s name at the time).

The community foundation intrigued this entrepreneurial duo. By using the sophisticated financial tools offered by the foundation, they could not only keep their dollars local but potentially make an impact far beyond what simple donations could do. Although the foundation was small at that time, both Bill and Susan could see the untapped potential.

They opened a Donor Advised Fund and became Legacy Donors. Susan joined the Board of Advisors with an eye toward developing the emerging organization. She worked tirelessly to both build assets and improve business practices. She was instrumental in establishing the Miracle at Seven Canyons golf event as a collaborative fundraising effort for the community. Susan also worked hard to involve the business community in giving back through the foundation.

When the Sedona Community Foundation became the statewide Arizona Community Foundation, Bill and Susan provided tremendous support through the transition. Their leadership helped to educate supporters about how the transition increased the organization’s capacity to serve while retaining local focus.

“ACF has come a long way over the past 30 years," says Steve Seleznow, President & CEO of ACF. "Bill and Susan have been instrumental in ACF of Sedona’s sustainability, and now thriving success. They spoke the truth always. And they stood up and spoke out for the right things when facing difficult and divisive issues. They were never daunted by challenges and were willing to lead when their leadership was needed most. Leaders are best judged by what they leave behind. The leadership of Susan and Bill Cammock has laid the groundwork and set the foundation for continued philanthropic support for generations to come for the Sedona region and all who call it home.”

While Susan worked with the internal leadership as a volunteer, Bill joined the Board of Advisors and started formulating plans for what would become the Pathway to Careers Scholarship Fund.

Bill had received a scholarship for college and was passionate about extending the gift of education to others. But, as is typical of this couple, he looked for strategic ways that he could make the biggest impact.

Living in Sedona, it was hard not to notice the shortage of skilled trades people. Getting people who are struggling financially into high-paying trades seemed to be the ultimate win-win solution for an impactful education program. While most scholarship funds focus on university education, Bill set out to provide resources for this neglected area of need. And of course, the Cammocks set out from the start to do it in a big way.

Taking inspiration from the Pat Marr Memorial Scholarship Fund at ACF, Bill and Susan partnered with their friend, Chuck Marr, and set out to create a significant, semi-endowed fund to help put local people through career and technical education programs. Instead of setting up a typical scholarship fund, they created a public field of interest fund at ACF, allowing all philanthropists in the region to participate.

The Cammocks and Chuck Marr made significant investments in the fund to get it started. They then set out to actively build the fund through wider community philanthropic support. The Pathway to Careers Scholarship Fund is now one of ACF of Sedona’s flagship educational programs, helping numerous local families achieve dreams and escape from financial distress.

Bill and Susan are not only true philanthropists in every sense of the word. They helped to create systems and institutions that catalyze increasingly larger philanthropic resources for the community. Thank you, Bill and Susan! You have forever changed the charitable landscape of Sedona and the Verde Valley.

USDA Rural Pre-Development Loans Available

US Department of Agriculture Rural Pre-Development Loans Available for Sedona and Verde Valley Nonprofits

Is your organization planning a capital project to benefit the community? ACF has partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture to help qualifying organizations cover the pre-development costs associated with financing.

The Verde Valley Archeology Center was the first local recipient of this program. A low-cost pre-development loan combined with private donations helped this Camp Verde-based organization access significant USDA Rural Development funding for its new museum and repository. The amount of the ACF loan was then rolled into the USDA award, freeing up the funds to be used by another nonprofit or municipal organization.

This is the latest addition to ACF’s charitable lending programs and complements our affordable housing loan fund and community impact loan fund. Get in touch with Jennifer Perry at 928.399.7218 to learn more about charitable financing.

How can continuing education further the goals of your organization?

There are so many opportunities to use education as a strategic tool for your organization, and ACF is
here to help with a multitude of traditional and non-traditional scholarship opportunities.

ACF is the largest private provider of scholarships in the state. We help donors create and distribute
scholarship funds to support local students. But it is extra special for us when those local students are
part of local nonprofits. The power of education to improve our community becomes exponential in
these instances.

Many of us think that scholarships are for high school seniors with perfect grades going on to four-year
institutions, but ACF has worked hard to break the mold. We have created significant opportunities for
career and technical education, as well as continuing professional education opportunities for returning adult

ACF’s scholarship application period opened on January 1 and will remain open until May 1. Click here to apply to hundreds of scholarship funds with a single, online application. 

$150,000 in Education-Related Grants and Scholarships

Meet our Philanthropists Next Door, Winter 2021

Rosemary and Mark Zimmerman

Rosemary and Mark Zimmerman are full-time residents of Sedona who were referred to ACF by their attorney. As an active philanthropist and volunteer, Rosemary was interested in creating an impactful legacy for her community.

Their attorney knew ACF could help them create a personalized estate giving plan benefiting their community.

Both Rosemary and Mark are retired from the healthcare field. Mark was a physician and Rosemary had a chiropractic practice. Rosemary said that being married to a physician helped her listen to other perspectives without judgement. She brought this philosophy to her giving. She says, “by finding common ground and goals, we are better able to serve not only our patients but our community.”

Rosemary has volunteered locally and internationally and has never stopped learning. She describes herself as a passionate lifelong student. After moving to Arizona from Alaska, she became certified in Medical Acupuncture and Animal Chiropractic. The latter course of study reflects her deep concern for animals, especially those impacted by global forces like climate change and habitat destruction, and advancing the field of veterinary medicine. Rosemary and Mark are also supporters of integrative medicine and improving healthcare throughout Arizona.

Rosemary is passionate about education and scholarships and shortly after becoming involved with ACF of Sedona joined its Education Committee. This group of committed volunteers helps ACF build relationships with local schools and students, assess local needs, and ensure that scholarship funds are equitably disbursed.

Rosemary is just as enthusiastic about exploring local causes and local giving. She and Mark have made a planned gift to ACF and they plan to work closely with ACF on their current giving. They love that they can use what they learn through active philanthropy during their lifetimes to fine tune their estate giving plans. By setting up a Testamentary Fund Agreement with ACF, they can change their plans at any time without incurring attorney fees.

ACF of Sedona is helping Rosemary and Mark research and identify organizations that match their goals and areas of interest. Over time and with experimentation, they intend to craft an exceptionally thoughtful and targeted legacy that will make a lasting impact.

Nonprofit Highlight: Old Town Mission

Nonprofit Highlight: Old Town Mission

ACF of Sedona facilitates local giving in many ways. You may be most familiar with our competitive grant program, which is funded by caring community members. We also hold a number of donor advised funds, which act as an investment checking account for charitable giving for individual donors. ACF also has community impact loan funds, discretionary funds, testamentary funds, scholarship funds, and more. We love it when our different lines of giving intertwine to make a big impact.

This happened recently with Old Town Mission’s renovation project. Old Town Mission applied for a grant, and our 30-member community grant panel was very impressed by their plans to provide our homeless neighbors with a safe place to shower. They voted to fully fund the proposal.

Upon hearing about the grant, a pair of ACF donors were so inspired by the project that they asked Old Town Mission how much more they needed to meet their fundraising goal. They then gave that amount from their personal donor advised fund at ACF.

Together with the Why Not? Foundation, local businesses, and many generous individuals, the ambitious project was competed over the summer, with the ribbon cutting grand opening taking place in mid-October 2021.

Old Town Mission is now fully reopened with three brand new accessible showers with latrines and all new flooring, paint and roof. Director, Jill Sweet, tells us that the family-friendly shower facilities are an important part of their outreach to homeless families. Old Town Mission is dedicated to providing homeless kids with a safe place to hang out, do homework, get clean clothes, and enjoy a home cooked meal. Old Town Mission, in turn, helps their parents and other homeless adults with essential services, including job training and placement.

When is the Right Time to Set Up an Endowment for Your Nonprofit?

When is the Right Time to Set Up an Endowment for Your Nonprofit?

By: Jennifer Perry, Regional Director

The decision to open and steward an endowment fund is a big step. Many boards feel intimidated by the subject. ACF is always happy to sit down with your organizational leadership and discuss readiness and options. We also offer formal training through the Arizona Endowment Building Institute. Regardless, the board plays a central role in this process. Here are some tips and questions to consider to arm your board with the information they need on endowment building.

  1. Endowments can be an incredible asset, but they aren’t always the best option at a given time in the organization’s development. Does your board have the tools it needs to understand the pros and cons? Would a reserve fund or semi-endowed fund be a better choice when planning for long-term stability? 
  2. Does your board understand the importance of planned giving? Many boards fail to prioritize budget allocations for planned giving because it does not immediately produce revenue. Events and annual campaigns seem more important. What information does your board need to make good decisions about investing in a planned giving program? 
  3. You'll need to create a gift acceptance policy. If the board has given the green light for a planned giving program, they will need to create and approve a gift acceptance policy. Has your board thought through the types of gifts that might harm the organization or exceed its administrative capacity? Is your organization willing to pay for appraisal, real estate or legal fees associated with certain gifts? 
  4. The board will also need to adopt investment management policies to guide the endowment or reserve fund growth strategy. Does your board include members with finance expertise? Does it have a finance committee? What information do members need to make good decisions about investments? 
  5. A planned giving program should ideally begin with lead gifts from the board. Why should others give if the board doesn’t see the value themselves? Have you asked your board members to make a planned gift? Do they understand why it’s important? Do they understand the various options for lifetime versus legacy gifts? 
  6. The board supplies important community connections, including the identification and cultivation of major donors and planned giving prospects. Do you recruit board members with community connections in mind? Do you ask them to engage their contacts? Do they know how to direct interested individuals? What tools might they need to interact effectively with potential donors?

ACF of Sedona can help you answer any or all of these questions. It is our mission to help you succeed. Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Meet our Philanthropist Next Door, Fall 2021

Millie Leenhouts

Millie and her late husband, Dr. Thomas Leenhouts, met as students at the University of Arizona. They
opened a medical practice and raised their family in Sedona.

Both Millie and Thomas were passionate about the arts, especially music. Thomas was an accomplished cellist, and the couple helped to found the Verde Valley Sinfonietta.

As philanthropists, they were especially focused on making sure that children had access to music education. The couple believed that students do better in all subjects when music is part of the curriculum.

When Thomas passed, Millie established the Thomas M. Leenhouts, M.D., Northern Arizona Endowment for the Arts Fund to ensure that his legacy of fostering the arts in Sedona and the Verde Valley lived on. As a fully endowed fund, it both supports good work today and will continue to fund local organizations in perpetuity.

“As we all endure this ongoing pandemic, it gives me joy to know that my husband’s legacy continues and we are continuing to make music more accessible through our endowment fund at ACF," said Millie.

Millie has long served on nonprofit boards and councils, including terms with Chamber Music Sedona and the Flagstaff Symphony Association. She was an original member of the advisory board for the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona, which at that time was knows as the Sedona Community Foundation.

Thank you, Millie! Pursuing your vision and honoring your husband’s legacy has made the Verde Valley a better place to live for all.

Strengthening Nonprofit Organizations with Investment Funds

By Jennifer Perry, Regional Director, ACF of Sedona

Most people know that the Arizona Community Foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations. What many don’t know is that ACF offers nonprofits the opportunity to establish an organizational fund that provides reliable financial support, earning income through pooled investments. These funds can support an organization’s work in perpetuity, help save for a major project, or help an organization plan for an emergency.

The importance of having a reserve fund or endowment was extremely evident this past year. As the world shut down, fundraising events that historically generated a significant percentage of a nonprofit's annual revenue had to be cancelled, income generating programs and classes were cancelled, and many nonprofits had to scramble just to survive.

Recently, I was speaking with the executive director of a local social services organization and she shared that it didn’t dawn on her to contact ACF about endowment and reserve fund services. She always thought of us when it was time to look for grant funding but had no idea that we offer such robust financial and development services for nonprofits.

Twenty-four local nonprofits have partnered with ACF of Sedona to manage their endowment or reserve fund and ACF has over 170 nonprofit funds across the state including funds for the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Symphony, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the Girls Scouts of Arizona Cactus Pine Council, and the Rotary Charities Endowment Fund to name a few.

Unlike a personal financial planner, the Arizona Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3). Not only do we provide world class financial management services, we also have a team of philanthropic experts to help nonprofit staff and board members build the fund. Throughout the year, ACF offers free Planned Giving Series workshops. The next class will about gift acceptance policies on Friday, September 24, 2021. To register for this free workshop, click here.

In addition to the Planned Giving Series, ACF conducts a yearlong program for board members called the Arizona Endowment Building Institute. Participants learn how to seek outright gifts to endowments and direct future gifts received from a will or estate plan into endowment funds. AEBI’s curriculum equips nonprofits with the necessary tools to develop and implement their own endowment building programs.

The mission of the Arizona Community Foundation is to lead, serve, and collaborate to mobilize enduring philanthropy for a better Arizona. Our nonprofit reserve and endowment funds in conjunction with our valuable educational resources are powerful tools to help us achieve that mission.

ACF Grant Funding: How it Works

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.

Meet our Philanthropist Next Door, Summer 2021

Lew Hoyt

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.

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 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
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! 

Are your clients interested in gifting real estate?

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.

Why give through a community foundation?

Did you know that when you work with ACF to establish a donor advised fund or a planned gift, there is no charge to change your beneficiaries or to receive philanthropic advice from our staff?

Community foundations like ACF exist to mobilize local philanthropy to improve specific geographic areas. As nonprofit organizations ourselves, we have no profit motive or any purpose other than to help donors execute their unique visions of how they would like to improve our world. In fact, over 99 cents of every dollar invested at ACF goes into the community.

This focused mission is reflected in the level of customized service that we offer to our fund holders. At ACF of Sedona, we have our finger on the pulse of our region’s community service infrastructure, allowing us to advise you in your areas of interest while also providing expertise in the many, customizable charitable giving tools available.

Patricia Jansen, a community foundation fundholder, says “ACF helps us define our philanthropic interests and connects us with nonprofits that match our interests. They know that we like to be actively involved and keep us informed of new needs and projects that have arisen in our community.”

As Pat points out, by partnering with a community foundation, you can be as involved as you want to be. You can make all the giving decisions independently though our online donor portal or you can define your parameters and leave the grantmaking to us.

It’s all about flexibility. You can give locally or around the world. You can rely on our investment management team or use your own financial advisor. And if you want to change your vision in any way, we are here for you.

As another ACF fundholder, Robin, explains, “ACF provides an easy and cost-effective way to keep my estate philanthropy plans up to date. Instead of incurring lawyer fees to adjust the charities in my trust, I can call ACF and update the list for free any time.”

After meeting with us, many donors are surprised to learn that they can make a bigger and longer-lasting impact than they ever expected. “Rather than giving all of the money to a charity at once, I can build a fund that will continue to support my favorite charities for years,” explains Robin.

It is one of the best parts of working for a community foundation—watching donors’ eyes open wide with happiness when they realize just how much they can do with the right tools and the right nonprofit partners. Read more about what a community foundation is.

If you have questions about what community foundations do or how ACF of Sedona can help you achieve your dreams, give Regional Director Jennifer Perry a call at 928.399.7218 or email her today.

Sedona International Film Festival Joins ACF Family of Fundholders

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.

Meet our Philanthropist Next Door, Spring 2022


USDA Rural Pre-Development Loans Available-Copy

US Department of Agriculture Rural Pre-Development Loans Available for Sedona and Verde Valley Nonprofits

Is your organization planning a capital project to benefit the community? ACF has partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture to help qualifying organizations cover the pre-development costs associated with financing.

The Verde Valley Archeology Center was the first local recipient of this program. A low-cost pre-development loan combined with private donations helped this Camp Verde-based organization access significant USDA Rural Development funding for its new museum and repository. The amount of the ACF loan was then rolled into the USDA award, freeing up the funds to be used by another nonprofit or municipal organization.

This is the latest addition to ACF’s charitable lending programs and complements our affordable housing loan fund and community impact loan fund. Get in touch with Jennifer Perry at 928.399.7218 to learn more about charitable financing.

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