Stories of Impact

Arizona’s nonprofits are changing lives for the better. We are proud to work with a wide array of organizations across the state.

Bishop Henry L. Barnwell Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund

Dr. Wil Counts & Pastor Aubrey Barnwell

Scholarship Committee Member & Scholarship Fundholder

The Bishop Henry L. Barnwell Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund has deep roots in Arizona’s African-American community. The scholarship is named after the late Bishop Henry Barnwell, who fought to make the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a state holiday in Arizona. Despite threats to his life, Bishop Barnwell led non-violent protest marches, meetings, and candlelight services. His ultimate goal was to provide scholarships to students who would be unable to attend college without financial assistance. The scholarship fund has supported students for over 40 years.

When Bishop Barnwell passed away two years ago, his son, Pastor Aubrey Barnwell, wanted to find a permanent home for the fund that honors his late father. Pastor Barnwell worked with Dr. Wil Counts, who serves on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, to move the fund to its new home at ACF in December 2017. Thanks to their involvement, the fund continues to fulfill Bishop Barnwell’s dream of building a pathway to higher education for students of all backgrounds and experiences. 

“They weren’t always large scholarships, but they still made a difference,” said Pastor Barnwell. “The amount was enough to show that this community supported local students on their quest to get a higher education. We’ve had students say to us, ‘That scholarship provided me the money I needed to eat.’” 

Each year, the Arizona Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee partners with the City of Phoenix to host a series of events honoring the MLK dream and legacy, including a candlelight concert, a march through the city, and a festival. The celebrations kick off with the MLK Awards & Scholarship Breakfast, where the scholarship recipients are recognized for their achievements.

Judah Crum

Judah Crum

Scholarship Recipient

Judah Crum was awarded the Bishop Henry L. Barnwell Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship during the 2018- 2019 academic year. She attends Phoenix College, where she studies American Sign Language through the College’s Interpreter Preparation Program. Judah is passionate about sign language and interpretation, and has been since she was a child. “The way my mom tells it is, I was two years old and watching Sesame Street. They had the sign language interpreter box for the show, and I just couldn’t stop watching,” said Judah. “I fell in love with it.” 

In addition to her studies, Judah interprets at her church to share the service with those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Once she has completed her degree, she plans to interpret professionally and continue her service in the community.

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Opportunities for Youth

Pictured left to right: Felix Moran, James Hoyt, and Kendelle Brown

Felix Moran, James Hoyt, & Kendelle Brown

Outreach Coordinator, Executive Director, & Program Coordinator, Opportunities for Youth

Opportunities for Youth is a partnership among nonprofit organizations, education providers, employers, and government agencies focused on connecting young adults with resources for personal growth, educational advancement, and career development. Operating under Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Opportunities for Youth collaborates with over 70 local agencies and organizations to connect young adults with employment training, GED and high school diploma resources, college preparation, and more. 

“This work is important to me,” said Felix Moran, who leads the Youth Outreach Team. “I personally know the struggles that these youth are going through, and I know how powerful it can be to have someone connect with you in that moment, show you respect, and care about where you are headed in life.”

Pictured from left to right: Aubrey Brookover and Carlos Alvarez

Aubrey Brookover

Former Opportunity Youth

When Aubrey Brookover first interviewed for a barista position with Opportunities for Youth employment partner Starbucks, she faced a number of personal challenges, including homelessness. She began working at the Starbucks community store in Central Phoenix, known as an “Opportunity Café” for its role in training and employing youth from underserved communities. Her managers and colleagues were quickly impressed by her ability to connect with customers. 

Aubrey now serves as the general manager of a newly-opened Starbucks in Phoenix. She feels a strong connection to her store and the community it serves. 

She hopes to build the same sense of openness and compassion in her store that she encountered years ago. When asked what she’d say to an opportunity youth confronting the journey to employment or school, Aubrey shared honest insight: “It’s not going to be easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard,” she said. “And you don’t have to do it alone.”

Carlos Alvarez

Former Opportunity Youth

After Carlos Alvarez graduated high school, he came across the Arizona Center for Youth Resources, an Opportunities for Youth partner. The center offered Carlos a community outreach internship, where he connected other young people to available education and employment resources. This job served as a stepping stone to another internship at Opportunities for Youth, where Carlos continued to build his professional and personal network. Carlos found this experience invaluable to the start of his career. “It’s best to explore all your options. 

Partnership organizations like Opportunities for Youth and the Arizona Center for Youth Resources help you gain a lot of different experiences; they’re like a hub to connect you with all sorts of things,” said Carlos. “To me, it’s so important to explore everything that’s out there.” Carlos now works at Starbucks and plans to pursue his degree at Arizona State University.

Coffelt-Lamoreaux Apartment Homes

Pictured from left to right: Rita and Lucio 'Chief' Villalando

Rita & Lucio "Chief" Villalpando

Coffelt-Lamoreaux residents

The Coffelt-Lamoreaux Apartment Homes were the state’s first affordable housing project. When faced with the threat of demolition, dozens of collaborative partners stepped up to renovate the community. This effort included a zero-interest loan from the Arizona Community Foundation's Affordable Housing Loan Fund, which helped kick-start the renovation.

The revitalization project prevented the uprooting of long-time residents like Chief Villalpando, who has called Coffelt home for 50 years. He has plenty of stories to share about his life, recalling his days as a boxer and the 23 years he spent volunteering at Phoenix Memorial Hospital. Chief now lives with his daughter Rita, who moved to Phoenix two years ago to care for him. “I always say we keep each other going,” said Rita of their relationship. “We keep each other in good company, and we just keep going.”

Pictured from left to right: Faith and Vanessa Magil

Vanessa Magil & Faith

Coffelt-Lamoreaux residents

Vanessa Magill lives at Coffelt-Lamoreaux with her daughter Isabella, her sister Faith, and her two brothers Steve and Charles. Their newly renovated three-bedroom apartment offers a safe and spacious home for her and the children. 

Although Coffelt-Lamoreaux is a large complex that houses over 800 residents, Vanessa has formed close connections within the community. During the eight years she’s lived here, she’s found strength, support, and friendship in the property’s management team. “On bad days, I’ll come into the office ready to vent, and they are always there to help and support me,” said Vanessa.

Pictured from left to right: Elisa de la Vara and Gloria Munoz

Elisa de la Vara & Gloria Muñoz

Partnership between ACF and the Housing Authority of Maricopa County

The Coffelt-Lamoreaux Apartment Homes were built in 1953 to house veterans returning from the Korean War. When the community faced the threat of demolition due to unsafe living conditions in 2012, the Housing Authority of Maricopa County, developer Gorman and Company, and dozens of other partners worked to transform the neighborhood into modern, affordable homes for the hundreds of families who live there. To launch the project, the Housing Authority leveraged ACF’s Affordable Housing Loan Fund as a resource. The pre-development loan helped support much of the initial activity required to bring the project to fruition. 

“This project has made a huge difference in the quality of life for the families and individuals who live here,” said Gloria Muñoz, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Maricopa County. “Families who have lived in this neighborhood for decades were able to stay in their homes while benefiting from much-needed upgrades.”


Gompers community garden


The Arizona Endowment Building Institute (AEBI) at the Arizona Community Foundation works with nonprofits that are ready to build an organizational endowment. Through its structured curriculum, AEBI encourages organizations to develop planned giving programs that promote long-term growth, financial stability, and enduring service to the community. Since 2005, AEBI has guided 45 nonprofits through the process of building endowment programs. 

Among AEBI’s successful participants is Gompers, a nonprofit based in metropolitan Phoenix. For over 70 years, Gompers has assisted adults and kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities in accomplishing their dreams. Through the organization’s diverse programming, which includes a private school, day programs, employment services, and in-home services, Gompers develops innovative opportunities for people with disabilities. 

In 2013, the Gompers board and leadership team realized that its existing endowment portfolio lacked a strong foundation of procedures and policies. AEBI emerged as a solution, equipping Gompers with the tools, knowledge, and mentorship necessary to craft an effective process for cultivating donors. 

“As an organization, Gompers matured greatly thanks to our experience with AEBI,” said Mark Jacoby, President and CEO of Gompers. “Our donor cultivation has been formalized with touchpoints from our board of directors and we now have a complete set of policies to deal with gift acceptance and bequests. As a board and a leadership team, we became much more sophisticated in how we operate.” 

Five years after graduating from AEBI, Gompers continues to utilize what they learned in the institute to guide decision-making as they strive for a sustainable financial future. With a robust endowment program in place, the Gompers team is confident that they will continue to empower their program members for many years to come.

First Baptist Church of Phoenix Foundation

The First Baptist Church of Phoenix Foundation

The First Baptist Church of Phoenix Foundation

First Baptist Church has had a presence in Phoenix since the early 1880s, first downtown and then relocating to their church campus in north central Phoenix in 1968. The First Baptist Church of Phoenix Foundation was originally formed in 1993 by the leadership of First Baptist Phoenix. The Foundation’s activities were limited until 2006 when the members of First Baptist Phoenix voted to formally dissolve, sell the property to another like-minded congregation, and turn the proceeds over to the First Baptist Church of Phoenix Foundation. 

In 2013, The First Baptist Church of Phoenix Foundation Board voted to become a supporting organization of the Arizona Community Foundation, where it continues to support churches, pastors, and evangelical causes through their annual grant cycle. The Foundation provides funding for the planting and support of new Christian churches, education and training of planting pastors, and other mission and outreach projects. 

The Phoenix Bible Church is a recent grant recipient that, with support from the First Baptist Church of Phoenix Foundation, has begun developing their ministry and found a new church building for their growing congregation. Lead Pastor Tim Birdwell and his family started Phoenix Bible Church in 2014 after the church he had moved here to lead was forced to close by their sponsoring organization. 

“My family and I had only been in Phoenix for three months so we didn’t have the close relationships you would normally need to plant a church,” said Tim. “We literally had zero money and no one had ever heard me preach before! Despite all the obstacles, we couldn’t get over the sense that God hadn’t moved us across the country to tap us out after three months, so after much prayer and counsel we decided to start Phoenix Bible Church. It was incredibly difficult, but by God’s grace we were able to get the new church off the ground.” 

Since 2016, Phoenix Bible Church has received $34,000 in grant funding from the Foundation, which was catalytic in developing their ministry’s leadership within the first years of their church plant. The funding enabled the church to find a permanent location, allowing them to move from their temporary meeting space. Now they have an opportunity to serve their new neighborhood, community, and faith.



Every day, the staff at one•n•ten open the doors of their youth center to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth across the state. The nonprofit organization provides an array of programs including housing, counseling, networking opportunities, and workforce development. Above all else, one•n•ten aims to empower Arizona LGBTQ youth by creating a safe space that allows for self-expression and self-acceptance. 

Over the past three years, the Arizona Community Foundation’s Center for LGBTQ Philanthropy has had many opportunities to collaborate with one•n•ten. In 2016, one•n•ten was a recipient of an LGBTQ Youth Grant, receiving funding from the Center for the development of signature programs. Examples include Camp OUTdoors!, an LGBTQ summer camp, and Youth Education & Success (Y.E.S.), an LGBTQ-focused workforce development and mentorship program. 

On July 12, 2017, a fire forced the closure of the one•n•ten Phoenix Youth Center. ACF’s Center for LGBTQ Philanthropy was one of many community groups that provided emergency assistance funding, allowing one•n•ten to continue providing programs for the youth who rely on their services. Today, one•n•ten operates a state-of-the-art youth center in downtown Phoenix, with satellite programs in Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale, Queen Creek, and Flagstaff. 

“Thanks to the work of our devoted team, our previous executive director Linda Elliott, and opportunities to collaborate with organizations like ACF’s Center for LGBTQ Philanthropy, we have seen unprecedented growth in our programs and services for the youth we support across the state,” said Nate Rhoton, Executive Director of one•n•ten. 

one•n•ten is also a past participant in ACF’s Arizona Endowment Building Institute, which offers a comprehensive curriculum to nonprofits that are ready to develop and implement endowment building programs. As a result of their team’s enthusiasm, skill, and determination, one•n•ten has successfully secured over $1 million in gifts to their endowment since completing the course.

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