Here's How The Richest Man in Arizona Gives Away His Money

Bruce Halle was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, attended Eastern Michigan University, and launched a tire store in 1960 in Ann Arbor. Since that first Discount Tire store opened, the business now has more than 850 locations in 25 states. It's a business that's made Halle a billionaire — he's worth $6 billion as of this writing — and while some of Halle and his wife Diane's philanthropy involves Michigan, including gifts to his alma mater, and other outfits in other states, the Halles' philanthropy keys in on Arizona, where the couple lives.

In fact, Halle is the richest man in Arizona and the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation has made the state its sole philanthropic priority. The foundation holds quite a few grantmaking interests, including in social justice, homelessness and human services, arts and culture, and education. While the foundation doesn't accept unsolicited proposals, the foundation's website is refreshingly transparent, and grantseekers can submit project summaries via email. Discount Tire is also involved in philanthropy, and has several interests, including education.

The Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation describes its mission as creating and implementing "collaborative philanthropy, while working with its grant partners to multiply the impact of each investment it makes." Halle makes grants in seven different funding areas, detailed below:

1. Access to Justice

This foundation focus area is interested in helping poor and minority women who are victims of domestic abuse. Halle's website notes this population of women is "more likely to lack access to experienced counsel, information about legal rights and have insufficient access to remedies and translation services." 

A $1 million grant from the foundation established the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, a legal services and policy research center based at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Halle has also supported the Arizona Foundation for Women and a 2011 grant to the outfit bankrolled research on the issue of minor sex trafficking in Arizona.

2. Hunger

According to data compiled in the 2010 Hunger in America Report, 77 percent of Arizona households experienced food insecurity at some point during the previous twelve months. In order to address this and other findings, Halle prioritizes fighting hunger across Arizona. Recent money has supported outfits such as Northern Arizona Food Bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank, United Food Bank in Mesa, and Valley of the Sun United Way.

3. Homelessness

The foundation's homelessness grantmaking, meanwhile, has recently focused on UMOM New Day Centers. A $700,000, multi-year grant has supported UMOM, whose mission is to "provide homeless and low-income families with food, shelter and tools to build a bridge to self-sufficiency." Halle has also supported Children First Academy Phoenix and Children First Academy Tempe, the nation’s largest schools for homeless children.

4. Human Services

While some of the work in the previous categories can be described as human services work, Halle has earmarked a specific focus area for human services grantmaking. In this area, the foundation describes its interests as "[assisting] the agencies that provide basic social services to needy clients." One grant in this area was a $100,000 grant in 2012 to the Legacy Foundation Chris-Town YMCA Dental Clinic, which helps low income families and children.

5. Health

The Halle's grantmaking in this area is especially personal because both Halle and Diane lost their first spouses to cancer. The foundation established a cancer treatment pavilion in the Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare in their memory. As well, the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix is the site of the Diane & Bruce Halle Neuro-Oncology Research Lab. Recent money has also gone to the Mayo Medical Clinic/School in Scottsdale, and Phoenix Children's Hospital.

6. Arts & Culture

According to Forbes, Halle maintains what is most likely the world's largest collection of vintage tire advertisements, including 400 unique lithographs. As well, the couple has a strong interest in Latin American art. The Phoenix Art Museum is the site of the Diane and Bruce Halle Collection, which showcases Latin American art. Recent sums have gone to Phoenix Symphony, and Scottsdale Museum of the West.

7. Education

Halle's education grantmaking includes recent grants to the University of Arizona Foundation, Tesseract School, Children First Academy (a charter school), and Educare Arizona. As well, University of Arizona is the site of the Halle Chair in Leadership.

***

I should add that the foundation also has an interest in supporting religious institutions, with recent grants going to Franciscan Renewal Center in Paradise Valley, and Southgate Church.

Halle is a great example of a funder laser-focused on a specific region with a clear philanthropic vision in a number of different areas. In the last two tax years we have available, a little under $10 million has gone out of the door, with outfits across Arizona receiving the majority of this money. With a $6 billion fortune, the largest in Arizona, Halle is a funder to know for those working in this region.

Related: Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation: Arizona Grants