Arizona Community Foundation Donors and Municipal Partners Distribute $192M in Fiscal Year 2021

The Arizona Community Foundation and its donors and municipal partners are pleased to announce grant, scholarship, small business recovery grants, and loan distributions for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. A total of $192,548,375 was awarded from funds of the Arizona Community Foundation and its six statewide Affiliates in Cochise, Flagstaff, the Gila Valley, Sedona, Yavapai County, and Yuma.

The fiscal year began shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a global public health crisis, prompting ACF donors to give and grant at historic levels throughout the months that followed. In total ACF donors granted out over $93 million across 8,059 grants, which represents a nearly 38% increase in total grant awards compared to the previous fiscal year.

“In addition to the unprecedented generosity of our donors during the pandemic, we were also asked to support grantmaking from local municipalities to small businesses across the state,” said Steve Seleznow, ACF President & CEO.  “It’s not our normal line of business, and it wasn’t easy, but because we have systems in place to help, I’m extremely proud that our staff stepped up to support that effort.”

In the first five months alone, advised funds held at ACF increased grantmaking by approximately 100% over the same period in the prior fiscal year. Many of these investments came at a critical time, allowing community organizations to keep their doors open and continue to serve those hit hardest by the far-reaching effects of the pandemic.

Both discretionary and advised grants and scholarships were awarded in five strategic priority areas:  Health Innovations, Community Improvement & Development, Environment & Sustainability, Arts & Culture, and Quality Education.

In the area of Quality Education, the Arizona Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $18 million during the year, including $5 million in college scholarships for the benefit of 1,627 Arizona students. The Arizona Community Foundation is the state’s largest independent provider of college scholarships.

At $41 million, grants in the area of Health Innovations received the largest share of distributions, which were awarded to 3,267 organizations and programs in the areas of health, health care, medical research, and a variety of human services. Compared to the previous fiscal year, ACF donors significantly increased their grantmaking to health and human services organizations to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over $14.5 million went to 811 programs in the category of Community Improvement & Development, which includes economic development, law, justice, public safety, housing, and neighborhood programs.

“We are expanding our focus to increase support for underserved communities and nonprofit organizations throughout Arizona, particularly communities of color,” said Robbin Coulon, ACF Board Chair. “This report affirms our commitment to our mission: to mobilize enduring philanthropy for a better Arizona.”

A total of $2.1 million went to 433 organizations and programs in the areas of Environment & Sustainability, including environmental education, renewable resources, conservation, and animal welfare.

Just under $4.5 million was awarded to 460 Arts & Culture organizations across Arizona, including artists, music, and cultural institutions.

ACF also granted nearly $100 million to 7,903 small businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with Maricopa County, the Phoenix IDA, and the cities of Phoenix, Peoria, Chandler, Surprise, Gilbert, Yuma, and Tempe.

In addition to these grants, 109 nonprofit organizations with dedicated agency endowments managed by the Arizona Community Foundation received their annual distributions, totaling $7,688,766 distributed during the year.

In addition to grants and scholarships, the Arizona Community Foundation invested an additional $375,000 through its Affordable Housing Predevelopment Loan Fund. Trellis, UMOM, and ArtSpace received interest-free loans to help jump-start their affordable housing projects.


DURING THE FOURTH QUARTER OF THE 2021 FISCAL YEAR, the Arizona Community Foundation distributed $29,195,444 in grants and scholarships. These dollars were awarded between January 1 and March 31, 2021 in five strategic priority areas: Health Innovations, Community Improvement & Development, Environment & Sustainability, Arts & Culture, and Quality Education.

Health Innovations: A total of $8 million was awarded to 738 organizations and programs in the areas of health, health care, medical research, and a variety of human services. Among the distributions for the quarter were: $127,000 from the Rosenbluth Family Charitable Foundation to Jewish Family & Children’s Services, designated for the West Valley Clinic Expansion; $30,000 from Christie’s Charitable Fund to support Alice’s Place, a center for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Winslow, Arizona; and $30,000 from the Patti Parsons Foundation in designated support for the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center’s Community School.


The Patti Parsons Foundation supported Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) with a $30,000 grant because of its outstanding work offering extensive resources and services to families from first diagnosis to adulthood. The particular focus of the grant is SARRC’s Community School system with innovative Blended Classrooms. The Community School is an inclusive preschool program that provides intensive, Applied Behavioral Analysis-based programming for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and high-quality early childhood education for typically developing children.

Community Improvement & Development: A total of $7.4 million was awarded to 131 programs in this category, which includes housing, community and neighborhood development, financial literacy training, legal assistance, and crime prevention programs. Among the grants awarded this quarter were: $55,000 from The Larson Giving Fund to support Arizona Center for Youth Resources (ACYR), designated to Arizona Call A Teen Youth Resources and $282,000 from the Black Philanthropy Initiative Social Justice Fund to the recipients of its Social Justice Project grants.


In February, Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI) members issued their first-ever Social Justice Project grants to ARG Cultivators Community and State of Black Arizona. These grantees were selected by BPI members for their quality proposals, which demonstrate a deep commitment to building social justice. ARG Cultivators Community, currently fiscally sponsored by the East Valley Family Center, received $252,000 in support of its Social and Economic Equity for Minority Enterprise (S.E.E. M.E.) program. This program works to improve economic equity in Arizona’s Black and Latinx communities across the state by helping to close the wealth gap through supporting, tracking, and evaluating a total of 20 nonprofit and for-profit businesses over the course of eighteen months. The State of Black Arizona received a $30,000 grant to support data collection and analysis of Black-owned small businesses. This project is just one component of the nonprofit’s broader work in the community, which creates a platform for the synthesis of data, demographics, and research to inform the community on the status of African Americans in Arizona.

Environment & Sustainability:  A total of $297,655 was awarded to 85 organizations and programs in the areas of environmental education, renewable resources, conservation, and animal welfare. Among the distributions for the quarter was $5,000 from an ACF advised fund to Arizona Land and Water Trust Inc. for climate adaptation planning for the Sopori Ranch and farm in Southern Arizona.

Arts & Culture: A total of $854,780 million was awarded to 95 artistic and cultural organizations across Arizona. The grants included $20,000 from the Richard H. Whitney Fund for the Common Good to the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center for unrestricted support and $20,000 from the Newton and Betty Rosenzweig Fund for the Arts to support the Sedona Arts Center and Fine Art Museum of Sedona.

Quality Education: During this quarter, a total of $3.6 million was awarded in scholarships and education-related grants. Among the grants were: $25,000 from the Arizona Buuck Family Fund to Educare Arizona for general support, $5,000 from the Ashok & Rita Patel Family Fund to CBG Foundation for Humanity and Education, and $20,000 from the Hungry Kids Project to the Humboldt Education Foundation in Prescott Valley, providing designated support for weekend food packs.


CBG (Care by Giving) Foundation provides education and other support to a rural workers village in Thuvavi in Gujarat, India. A small government health clinic provides basic medical care to this farming community, but the clinic lacked a convenient waiting area. If there was scorching heat, extreme cold, or rain, patients would need to wait outdoors. Initially, the clinic doctor requested a shade structure, but after serious consideration decided to seek support to build a small annex building. To complete the expanded project, an additional $10,000 was needed. Local support in Phoenix generated about $5,000, but the project still faced a funding shortage. In January, the Ashok & Rita Patel Family Fund provided the remaining $5,000 to fulfill this critical need. The project is now about 85% complete, with the annex recently converted to a COVID-19 Isolation Center. What began as a vision for a small shade structure has become an extremely important short-term resource during the intense second wave of COVID-19 in India.

College scholarships accounted for $257,026 of the quarter’s total and were awarded for the benefit of 68 students pursuing higher education. College scholarships are awarded to Arizona students to attend a wide range of colleges, universities, and technical schools in Arizona and across the United States.

During the fourth quarter, $5.3 million supported 730 small businesses and nonprofits through ACF’s ongoing partnerships with local counties and cities. In addition to these grants, 11 nonprofit organizations with agency endowments managed by the Arizona Community Foundation received their annual distributions during the fourth quarter of ACF’s fiscal year, totaling $2 million distributed during the quarter.

The $29.2 million awarded across all categories represents 2,054 grants and scholarships. Some grants are awarded at the discretion of the Arizona Community Foundation with input from board committees and diverse community panels, while others are awarded through donor advice. All grants are approved or ratified by ACF’s Philanthropic Services Committee whose members include ACF board representatives and other community leaders.

Established in 1978, the Arizona Community Foundation is a statewide family of charitable funds supported by thousands of Arizonans. With five regional offices serving communities across Arizona, ACF is among the top 25 community foundations in the nation with more than $1 billion in trust and endowment assets, and is certified under the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. Since inception, ACF and its affiliates have awarded more than $1 billion in grants, scholarships, and loans to nonprofit organizations, schools, and government agencies.

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