Dorrance Family Foundation: Arizona Grants

OVERVIEW: The Dorrance Family Foundation focuses grantmaking on education and natural resource conservation in Arizona, California, and Hawaii. Although the foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals, nonprofits can submit letters of inquiry through the foundation website. The foundation reported over $49 million in assets and the founder, Campbell Soup heir Bennett Dorrance, is worth at least $3.2 billion personally.

FUNDING AREAS: Primary, secondary, and post-secondary education, literacy, teacher training, low-income students, natural resource conservation, marine and coastal areas, waterways, wildlife habitats, sustainable agriculture

IP TAKE: The Dorrance name may be most familiar for it's local first generation scholarship program, but education and environmental grant opportunities should be on Arizona nonprofits’ radars as well. 

PROFILE: Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Dorrance Family Foundation (DFF) awards grants in the areas of education and natural resource conservation. This foundation was established in 1991 by Bennett Dorrance, co-owner of the Campbell Soup Company, which was founded by his grandfather John T. Dorrance. At the end of a recent year, DFF reported over $49 million in assets and over $5 million in total giving. Assets are down a bit, but giving has remained steady. 

Arizona is one of DFF’s primary geographic focuses; however, the foundation also makes grants in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California and the Big Island of Hawaii. DFF’s education grantmaking revolves around the following areas: low-income and underserved students, first generation graduates, literacy, quality teacher training and recruitment, and science and technology education. Primary, secondary, and post-secondary education organizations are considered for grants.

DFF’s natural resource conservation grantmaking is all about forests, marine and coastal areas, rivers and streams, wetlands and watersheds, wildlife habitats, and sustainable agriculture and land management. On occasion, DFF supports arts and culture, children's medical research, science, and other community needs as well. However, priority is given to nonprofits that have a personal connection to the foundation’s directors.

Some representative Arizona grants include $100,000 to Ballet Arizona, $100,000 to the Translational Genomics Research Institute Foundation, $60,000 to the POPSICLE Center, and $25,000 to Not My Kid. These grants funded general operating support, a website upgrade, staff hiring, and event funding. Bennett Dorrance and his wife Jacquie personally are known for supporting sculpture gardens, art museums, and planetariums as well.

To support Arizona’s first generation college students, DFF established a scholarship program in 1999. Dorrance Scholarship Programs supports around 150 students at Arizona’s three public universities and at South Mountain Community College. The scholarships are part of signature program at the Arizona Community Foundation.

Related: Read IP’s Profile of the Arizona Community Foundation

Carrie Walker-Ostroski serves as the foundation’s Executive Director, a position she’s held since 2011. Prior to this role, she worked at Florence Crittenton for 10 years, most recently as a Chief Advancement Officer. Bennett Dorrance is the foundation’s president and personally worth an estimated $3.2 billion.

DFF is one of the top 10 giving foundations in the state of Arizona. The foundation staff meets two or three times each year to review applications and award grants. But unfortunately for grantseekers, applications are accepted and reviewed by invitation only. However, organizations that improve the quality of community life through education and natural resource conservation can submit a letter of inquiry. To get started, you can create a login and password on DFF’s online grant system.

General inquiries or questions about the Letter of Inquiry process can be submitted through the foundation’s online form or by phone at 480-367-7000.

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