What Does the Arizona Community Foundation See as the State's Top Needs?

The Arizona Community Foundation has become known as a huge health funder in the state, with health grants making up about half of the funder’s overall giving. Health is still a big priority for this Phoenix-based foundation, but grantmaking has looked to be more widely disbursed lately.

When ACF announced its latest round of grantmaking, we were surprised to see nearly as much of a commitment to education as to healthcare. Health grants totaled just over $3.7 million across 540 organizations between October 1 and December 31, 2016. Meanwhile, education commitments totaled more than $3.6 million. For comparison, ACF awarded nearly $5.6 million to health and $3 million to education in a recent grant cycle.

In total, ACF distributed almost $14.4 million in this giving cycle, which is more than many other cycles in the past. However, that money was given out in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, and prizes. A total of $12,957,196 was awarded from discretionary and advised funds of the Arizona Community Foundation and its affiliates in Cochise, Flagstaff, the Gila Valley, Sedona, Yavapai County, and Yuma.

Health innovations grants go towards health, health care, medical research, and a variety of human services. Examples of recent grantees are Feeding Matters, Arizona Lions Vision Center for equipment and instruments for a new mobile medical unit, Circle the City for the Hole in One with a Nun event and in support of patient programs, and HonorHealth Foundation in support of the Desert Mission Food Bank and Xenex Robot.

Although education funding was on-par with health funding in this recent round, it’s important to note that a significant portion of that went to scholarships. In fact, over 30 percent of ACF’s latest education funding went towards college scholarships to Arizona students. Meanwhile, 13 percent of the education funding went towards private K-12 school scholarships. So essentially, education grantmaking is still far below health grantmaking when you do the math. Education grants went to groups like Support My Club for the Bioscience High School College Prep Club, Collaborative Flash Funding, and core support for the organization and to St. Thomas the Apostle School in support of the school’s building fund.

In addition to health and education, ACF’s priorities in the state include community improvement and development, arts and culture, and environmental sustainability. Arts and culture groups shared $707,866 across 127 organizations, community improvement groups shared $1,098,744 across 112 programs, and environmental groups shared $1,084,344 across 114 groups and causes.

As community foundations often do, ACF also manages endowments for nonprofits and hands out annual distributions at the end of the quarter. Nineteen nonprofits received such distributions, which made up over $2.6 million given out in the last quarter. This is also a funder that gives out loans, and it invested an additional $1.4 million in the work of local nonprofits and completed two loans last quarter. These loans were for First Place AZ and Desert Stages Theatre.Otherwise at ACF, a couple new members have been elected to the board of directors and Shelley Cohn has been elected chairman of the board.

To get in on the next round of grantmaking, local grantseekers can view current opportunities here.