Check here for recent announcements from the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona.
$216,000 granted to support COVID-19 immediate relief needs
Since the grant application opened on March 13, ACF has granted $216,000 to 23 nonprofit organizations who provide critical care services to our neighbors in Sedona and Verde Valley communities. Funding has been distributed from the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund and the ACF's statewide COVID-19 Community Response Fund.
"The outpouring of support from caring community members has been truly inspiring. I am so thankful to all of the individuals and organizations who have pulled together and collaborated to make this possible," states Jennifer Perry, Regional Director of ACF of Sedona. Grants have been made possible through the generous support of individual donors, corporations, and local residents.
Special thanks to Sedona Kind, the Sedona Women, Rotary Club of the Verde Valley, Sedona AZ Detachment 1237 Marine Corps League, Rotary of Sedona, Rotary Club of the Village of Oak Creek, Seven Canyons, Christ Lutheran Church, and the Catena Foundation. "We were so impressed with ACF's thoughtful approach to getting funds to our communities most needy, we wanted to pitch in what we could," states Bill Chisholm of the Sedona AZ Detachment 1237 Marine Corps League.
Nonprofit organizations who have received immediate relief grant funding to-date include:
Abide Maternity Home
Bread of Life Mission
Buena Vista Children's Services
Camp Verde Marshal's Office
Friends of Camp Verde Library
Low Income Student Aid Inc.
Old Town Mission
Precious Stones Preschool
Project Rising Hope
Sedona Community Center
Sedona Community Food Bank
Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Toley Ranz Foundation
Verde Valley Caregivers
Verde Valley Fire District
Verde Valley First Books
Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity
Verde Valley Habitat for Humane Society
Verde Valley Sanctuary
Verde Valley Senior Center
Veterans Voice and Views
“Thanks to your support we have been able to meet the significantly increased demand for food assistance in Camp Verde, Rimrock, Lake Montezuma, and Beaver Creek," states Jeremy Embry, President/CEO of Bread of Life Mission, "The donation from ACF has helped us purchase additional food, send a driver to Phoenix on a weekly basis to get an additional truck load of food, helped us purchase the packing materials for food boxes, PPE, and to rent an additional truck to transport the extra food.”
Many community members have indicated that they plan to donate their stimulus checks to the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund. "I'm retired...my income is fixed and my expenses are down these days," states Paul Friedman, local resident and OLLI volunteer, "So I'm donating a chunk of my stimulus check to [the fund] to help my neighbors whose income was cut off. They need the boost much more than I do."
Donations can be made online to the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund by selecting the “Sedona/VV” tab. Checks can be made payable to the Arizona Community Foundation, P.O. Box 558, Sedona AZ 86339. For more information, contact Jennifer Perry or call 928.399.7218.
ACF of Sedona elects new Board of Advisor Members
Four new members have been elected to serve on the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona’s Board of Advisors: Kevin Adams, Carol Kurimsky, Elizabeth McFarland, and Nancy Williams. Current board member John Kincaid was elected as Chair.
Kevin Adams is a retired Fortune 500 executive, spending over a dozen years as Vice President of Program Management at CDW Corporation. He is also a 20-year Marine Corps veteran. Kevin sits on the boards of the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition and Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund. “Three words sum up why I wanted to join the ACF board: ‘to give back,’” said Kevin. “After moving to Sedona full time in 2016, I have learned that ACF is an integral part of our community."
Carol Kurimsky has over 30 years of experience as a marketing executive, working most recently for Western Digital. Carol also worked for large companies like Proctor & Gamble and Pizza Hut. Since moving to Sedona, Carol has volunteered with the Sedona Community Food Bank and the Salvation Army Sedona. “In my professional career, I experienced the tremendous value that a well-run community foundation can bring to both donors and the nonprofit community,” said Carol. “I look forward to building upon that experience and helping donors and nonprofits continue to improve the quality of life for Sedona and Verde Valley residents.”
Elizabeth McFarland is an attorney at law, and has practiced in Sedona since 2002. Elizabeth’s mission is to serve Sedona and the Verde Valley with experience, integrity, and a commitment to affordable and complete estate planning services. She has worked closely with ACF in the past; having served on ACF of Sedona’s Board of Advisors from 2013 to 2015, volunteering for Northern Arizona Healthcare, and chairing the committee that reviews grants for Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation in partnership with ACF.
Nancy Williams has dedicated her career to education, most recently serving as Executive Director of the Kearney Public Schools Foundation. She also worked for EDTECH, Inc. selling financial aid software to colleges nationwide. She developed an online scholarship database that culminated in EDTECH being acquired by Sallie Mae, the national student loan company. Nancy was retained by Sallie Mae as Executive Vice President of Sales. She served as President of the Nebraska and Arizona P.E.O. chapters, chairs the ACF of Sedona Scholarship Committee, and volunteers with the Sedona Heritage Museum, the Sedona International Film Festival, and the Hope House project. “I can’t think of any organization in Sedona and the Verde Valley that financially supports as many area nonprofits as the Arizona Community Foundation,” said Nancy, “Because of this charitable support, I’m honored to be part of this dynamic organization.”
ACF establishes the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund
The Arizona Community Foundation has established the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund to support local nonprofits as they assist in responding to the pandemic.
“Based on the requests for funding we have already received and the impact this crisis is having on our community, we estimate that a minimum of $300,000 is needed to satisfy local critical care needs for the next 30-45 days,” said Jennifer Perry, ACF Regional Director. “We anticipate this number to grow significantly as the demand for the services of nonprofits increases and local volunteers are unable to help.”
ACF of Sedona will match up to $80,000 in gifts to its Sedona and the Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund, dollar-for-dollar.
Gifts to this fund will be restricted to support local nonprofits facing an increased demand for services from clients and communities as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. ACF of Sedona is committed to working with other funding partners and community collaborators to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving community needs in order to support gaps not covered by state or federal relief funding. 100% of contributions will be distributed to nonprofit organizations swiftly as needs arise.
To contribute to the Sedona/Verde Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund, visit azfoundation.org/covid19 and select the ‘Sedona/VV’ tab. Contributions to this tab will support nonprofits across Sedona and the Verde Valley.
Local nonprofits in need of financial support in response to the spread of COVID-19 can apply for funding at azfoundation.org/Covid19Grants.
Charitable Contributions for Maximum Tax Savings
By: Jennifer Perry, Regional Director
Since the tax code change in 2017 and the increase in the itemized deductions allowance, completing your taxes has become a bit more complicated. Many people know they can deduct donations to charity from their income taxes, but elevating your knowledge of tax planning strategies and talking to your tax professional can maximize your giving impact.
According to the report Giving USA, families and individuals living in the United States give an average of more than $1 billion to charity every day. This represents a major funding source to address important needs in our community. The value of giving to charity is also recognized by the IRS tax code, which provides a variety of tax incentives to support those who wish to use their funds to give back to their community.
How you can defer or reduce taxes through charitable giving
By using the proper tax planning strategies, charitable contributions can reduce three kinds of federal taxes: income, capital gains, and estate taxes.
- Combine multi-year deductions into one year - Many taxpayers won’t qualify for the necessary deductions to surpass the standard deduction threshold established by tax reform in 2017. However, you can still receive a tax benefit by “bunching” multiple years’ worth of charitable giving in one year to surpass the itemization threshold. In off years, you can take the standard deduction.
- Donate long-term appreciated assets - When you donate long-term appreciated assets like bonds, stocks, or real estate to charity, you generally don’t have to pay capital gains, and you can take an income tax deduction for the full fair-market value.
- Leave a legacy through estate planning - By naming the Arizona Community Foundation in your will or as a beneficiary of a qualified insurance policy, retirement plan, or trust, you can reduce or even eliminate the burden of estate tax for your heirs. The money from your bequest can be used to establish a donor advised fund, a scholarship fund, or even a designated fund that will continue to grow and support the charities and causes you love.
- Consider the advantages of a donor advised fund - A donor-advised fund is a dedicated account for charitable giving, much like a charitable checking account. When you establish a donor advised fund with ACF, you are eligible for an immediate tax deduction. You can then recommend grants over time to any IRS-qualified public charity and invest the funds for tax-free growth. Donor advised funds provide many benefits for organizing and planning your giving, while simultaneously offering advantages in terms of income, capital gains, and estate taxes.
How ACF can help
For over 40 years, we have been helping donors like you support their favorite charities in smarter ways. We can work with you and your professional advisor to help you explore the different charitable vehicles available and explain how you can complement and maximize your current giving strategy.
Disclaimer: The information above is for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Be sure to consult with your tax and legal advisors for professional advice based on your specific circumstances.
Creative Options for Affordable Housing
By: Jennifer Perry, Regional Director
Arizona’s economy has seen a significant recovery since the Great Recession, but its inventory of affordable housing continues to shrink statewide. Stable neighborhoods and affordable housing are the building blocks of a healthy community. We are all better off as a community when people are adequately housed.
The percentage of single family homes being built in 2017 was 71%, compared to 85% in 2006. This shift, along with the surge in investors purchasing existing family homes for rental purposes, has directly impacted the entry level housing market across the state and right here in Sedona and the Verde Valley. Many formerly affordable properties have been lost to redevelopment and are no longer available for lower to moderate income earners. The reality of this is in our community, and is particularly highlighted by our decreasing school enrollment. The Village of Oak Creek was once a vibrant family community but rising home prices and rents have forced families to move out.
Here at the Arizona Community Foundation, our staff meets with community leaders, nonprofits, businesses and residents to keep a pulse on the needs of our communities and to work with our donors to discuss the issue of affordable housing.
One way ACF is addressing the issue is through our Affordable Housing Loan Fund. ACF, in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and with financial support from several community partners, established the ACF Affordable Housing Loan Fund to provide predevelopment funding for affordable housing projects across Arizona.
Unlike traditional charitable funds, this fund provides zero interest loans to nonprofit housing developers for the predevelopment phase of affordable housing projects. This type of financing is typically not available from traditional lenders. Once the project receives long-term lender financing, loans are repaid – making these dollars available for new projects.
The Affordable Housing Loan Fund supports a variety of types of housing for low-to moderate-income individuals and families, homeless Veterans, senior citizens, and disabled adults. Several of the supported projects buy and rehabilitate foreclosed properties and resell them to moderate-income buyers, often in partnership with local governments.
The Highland Square Senior Apartments located on West Mingus Avenue in Cottonwood is a local project supported by the ACF Affordable Housing Loan Fund. The apartment complex opened its doors in 2017 and has 60 units of affordable housing for seniors aged 62 or older. All 60 units have rental subsidies allowing residents to pay only 30% of their income towards rent and utilities. Seventy percent of the units service households at 50% Area Medium Income. Highland Square has partnered with Catholic Charities to provide on-site services such as monthly nutrition and financial literacy classes. Other services include transportation, recreation and wellness classes, blood pressure screening, on-site food pantry and referrals to other services in the area.
Gifts to the Affordable Housing Loan Fund have totaled $1.5 million and nearly $4.5 million has been loaned for 49 housing projects across Arizona. These projects created more than 2,900 units of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families, senior citizens, Veterans, and adults with illnesses and disabilities. The fund has leveraged an estimated $512.8 million in lender financing and have created more than 3,500 jobs.
Nonprofit community development corporations, qualified 501(c)(3) organizations or joint ventures where the nonprofit is a significant, active partner in the housing development project can apply for a loan of up to $75,000. Applicants must demonstrate the capacity to develop rental or home ownership units. Funds may be used for predevelopment expenses necessary to determine feasibility of a planned affordable housing project and to prepare applications for development funding.
If you are interested in learning more about the fund or contributing to the fund, contact Jennifer Perry, Regional Director of ACF of Sedona at 928.399.7218.
Scholarships Available for Students of All Ages
By: Jennifer Perry, Regional Director
The high cost of a college education deters many students from even dreaming about going on to school after high school. In fact, 63% of graduating high school students in the Verde Valley do not go on to a four year school after graduation. For many students the thought of getting a scholarship is as likely as winning the lottery, so many do not even apply.
Today I am going to share with you some exciting news. There are many, many generous individuals and organizations who want our local students both young and old to succeed and they have scholarships to help you do it.
The Arizona Community Foundation connects donors with causes they care about. One of the most popular forms of charitable giving is scholarships. The Arizona Community Foundation is the largest private provider of scholarships in the state of Arizona. We offer over 200 scholarships and award over $2.5 million a year to worthy students. Applying is very easy. We have one simple online application that matches students with all scholarships they are eligible for. This eliminates the overwhelming process of sifting through enormous scholarship databases searching for opportunities you qualify for. The application process opened on January 1 and will run through May. Each scholarship in our system has different deadlines so it is recommended to apply early so that you can qualify for more opportunities. The two most popular deadlines are March 15 and May 15. Access the application here.
In response to the need for higher qualified workers combined with the statistics about local students not going on to four year schools, the ACF of Sedona Board of Advisors started the Pathway to Career Sedona/Verde Valley Career and Technical Education Scholarship Fund. This scholarship is open to students of all ages seeking a certificate or associates degree for career and technical education. Applicants need a minimum of a 2.5 GPA in high school and awards range from $2,000 to $6,000 and can be renewable.
Applicants can attend any accredited educational institution they choose. Locally, Yavapai College has an extensive Career and Technical Education department. Opportunities include programs in culinary arts, construction and building technology, computer networking and cyber security, automotive, advanced manufacturing, aviation, welding, animal welfare, and commercial driving. Click here for a full list of programs.
Last year four scholarships were awarded from the ACF of Sedona Pathways Scholarship Fund and thanks to many local donors, the fund has increased and we anticipate awarding ten scholarships this year. If you are interested in contributing to the Pathways Scholarship Fund, click here or call Jennifer Perry at 928.399.7218.
Applying for scholarships takes time and work, but the rewards can be tremendous. It is never too late to go back to school and learn a new skill or trade. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about how to apply to ACF for Scholarships or how to establish your own scholarship fund with ACF.