The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona celebrated the 19th annual Spirit of Sedona event on Thursday, September 5 at Enchantment Resort. Approximately 200 community members gathered to honor the 2019 nonprofit grant recipients and philanthropic leaders in the community.
With the support of its Board of Advisors and volunteer grant review panelists, ACF of Sedona awarded over $160,000 in grants this year to 47 nonprofits serving Sedona and the Verde Valley. Funded projects address various community needs in the areas of the environment, animal welfare, arts and culture, community improvement, diversity education, social justice, and healthcare. The nonprofit organizations that received grants were honored during the event for their dedication and the impact they make in the community.
Six individuals and organizations received awards for their exemplary leadership and commitment to improving Sedona and the Verde Valley:
“The Spirit of Sedona is a unique event that celebrates both philanthropy and community,” said Jennifer Perry, Regional Director of ACF of Sedona. “We are fortunate to have many generous and talented individuals in our community who give their time and charitable dollars to make Sedona and the Verde Valley a better place to live. The Spirit of Sedona provides an opportunity to pause and recognize all the good work that is being accomplished in our community.”
The event was made possible through the generosity of local sponsors including presenting sponsor BMO Harris Bank. Other sponsors included Eye Boutique of Sedona, Edward Jones, Kincaid Financial Advisors, Yavapai College, Accord Hospice, and Morris Trust. In-kind sponsors included the Enchantment Resort, Larry Kane Photography, Sedona Media Services, PSAV, and Red Rock Magic Trolley.
Ensuring that education is accessible, affordable, and equitable in our rural community is no small feat. At the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona, we work year round with local educators and community members to keep a pulse on the gaps in education and help organizations and donors fill those gaps. Thanks to the generosity of our local donors we have been able create transformative change by funding a variety of educational initiatives. Some of the needs we have focused on this past year include youth mentoring programs, early childhood literacy programs, equipment and resource upgrades in Sedona schools, and expanded access to scholarship opportunities.
During our most recent grant cycle, funding was provided to Boys to Men Mentoring Network of Northern Arizona. Their proven mentoring program provides support and guidance to 50 local boys and helps them get into less trouble, stay in school, and excel to their potential.
Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters also received funding to assist with establishing mentor matches for the 45 kids currently on the waiting list in the Verde Valley.
The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona is proud to support a number of nonprofits who are assisting with improving access to books and literacy resources in the Verde Valley.
ACF of Sedona provided $30,000 in funding to the Verde Valley Imagination Library. This organization mails age-appropriate books directly to the children’s homes each month from birth to age 5. Since ACF began supporting the program, nearly 2,000 children have received monthly book deliveries.
Arizona Reads Now is a program developed by the Yavapai County Education Service Agency. It is a multi-year early childhood literacy initiative that provides schools and teachers with the research-based best practices for creating assessments, curriculum, instruction, and interventions to meet and enhance the literacy needs of a wide range of children.
Verde Valley First Books, a relatively new nonprofit, also received funding from ACF of Sedona. Verde Valley First Books sends volunteer readers to Head Start preschool programs in the area that have over 50% of their students living in poverty. The volunteers read to the children and teach them letter recognition, comprehension, and book etiquette. Each child is given the book that was read to take home and share with their family.
More students at Sedona Red Rock Junior Senior High School will have access to Chromebooks while at school thanks to a grant from ACF of Sedona. This is the third year of a five year project to give all students in grades 7 through 12 access to Chromebooks.
The Desert Star Community School will install a new kindergarten playground and garden using recycled tires and timbers to create an eco-friendly learning area.
The work of our donors and community members has allowed ACF to award millions of dollars annually to help students achieve their educational goals through scholarships. As the need for a skilled labor workforce increases in Sedona and the Verde Valley, ACF of Sedona recently debuted the Pathway to Careers: Sedona/Verde Valley Career and Technical Scholarship. The scholarship is offered to students who seek a technical vocation or are re-entering the workforce. In the 2019-2020 school year, five local students were each offered $2,000 in scholarships.
Here at the Arizona Community Foundation, we are committed to making our community a better place to live. There are still many worthy projects that require funding. If you are interested in learning how you can support them or how you can apply for funding please contact Jennifer Perry, Regional Director of ACF of Sedona at 928.399.7218.
The Arizona Community Foundation is pleased to announce Jennifer Perry will become Regional Director, ACF of Sedona beginning June 19, 2019.
As Regional Director, Jennifer will be responsible for serving local donors, creating community engagement, and building ACF of Sedona’s assets to support the community. She will collaborate with the local Board of Advisors, which is composed of a diverse cross-section of community leaders, to enhance community impact through strategic grantmaking.
Jennifer brings with her several decades of experience as a nonprofit executive director, extensive marketing experience, and most importantly, a strong background in asset development. Most recently, Jennifer served as Director of Development for the Verde Valley Sanctuary and previously served as the Director of Development and Marketing & Capital Campaign Consultant for the Sedona Public Library.
“With the hiring of Jennifer Perry, the community of Sedona and the Verde Valley will benefit greatly from her knowledge and expertise in so many facets of the philanthropic arena,” said John Kincaid, ACF of Sedona Board of Advisors Co-Chair.
“We believe Jennifer’s engagement with this community and her background in nonprofit development will support the growth of the ACF of Sedona office,” said Elisa de la Vara, ACF Chief Community Officer. “Her community connectivity and experience will continue to enhance ACF’s brand in service to Sedona and the Verde Valley.”
Jennifer believes in community engagement, as exemplified through her community service and volunteer activities. She has served on numerous community boards and has been an active volunteer. Jennifer currently serves as a board member for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Verde Valley First Books. She has engaged with ACF of Sedona through her previous roles, including as a participant in the 2017 ACF of Sedona Grant Review Committee. Jennifer also served on the City of Sedona Small Grants Review Committee in 2017 and 2018.
Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Syracuse University and an MBA from Simmons College. She resides in Cornville with her husband and two daughters.
The Arizona Community Foundation of Yavapai County and Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona have partnered with Yavapai College to present their annual Cash for College Scholarship Awareness Nights. Two events will provide opportunities for local students, their families, and educators to learn more about post-secondary scholarships, vocational trainings, and certificates available for both traditional and non-traditional
The Annual Cash for College Scholarship Awareness Night in Clarkdale brought together 24 scholarship providers and nearly 200 Sedona and Verde Valley high school and adult students and their families to learn about local scholarship opportunities. The event, hosted by the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona in partnership with the Arizona Community Foundation of Yavapai County and sponsored by Yavapai College, is part of an ongoing effort to increase awareness about financial support for higher education available to high school students and adult students of all ages.
The need for a skilled labor workforce is increasing in Sedona and the Verde Valley. ACF of Sedona debuted one of their newest scholarship opportunities, Pathway to Careers: Sedona/Verde Valley Career and Technical Scholarship. This scholarship is positioned to be a philanthropic bridge for regional workforce development and it is offered to students who are seeking a technical vocation. Additionally, Yavapai College presented their 135+ scholarships available to Roughriders through the Yavapai College Foundation. Their financial aid office can help with FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) applications and hosts a list of outside scholarships.
The Arizona Community Foundation was also present, sharing information about scholarship opportunities available to Yavapai County students and their unique online application portal that automatically matches students with more than 100 scholarships for which they qualify. ACF is the largest private provider of scholarships in the state and the application portal will open on January 3, 2019.
Many of the scholarship opportunities presented at Cash for College have application deadlines in early spring. Click here to receive a digital copy of the local scholarship booklet provided at the event.
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