Flinn Foundation: Arizona Grants

OVERVIEW: The Flinn Foundation’s primary grantmaking purpose is to support biosciences in Arizona. However, the Phoenix-based foundation also supports arts and culture organizations with budgets over $2.5 million and some scholarships as well. At the end of a recent year, the foundation reported nearly $220 million in assets.

FUNDING AREAS: Biosciences in Arizona, arts & culture in Arizona, scholarships, civic leadership in Arizona

IP TAKE: Although biosciences are the Flinn Foundation’s main priority, keep in mind that less than a dozen new biosciences grants are awarded each year. And although Flinn doesn’t necessarily welcome a flood of unsolicited grant requests, the foundation doesn’t refuse to look at them, either. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the Arizona Bioscience Roadmap before contacting the Flinn staff about bioscience funding opportunities.

PROFILE: Established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn, the Flinn Foundation awards grants that are focused on science and technology in Arizona. During the couple’s lifetimes, the foundation supported technology-driven medical programs and physician specialist recruitment in the state. Flinn has also been a big supporter of medical school scholarships to prepare Arizona students for health careers.

Robert Flinn practiced medicine for about fifty years in Arizona, and he was the head of cardiography and electrocardiography at Phoenix’s St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was the Chief of Medical Staff at both St. Joseph’s and Phoenix Memorial Hospital and co-founder and first president of the Arizona affiliate of the American Heart Association. Although Flinn grantmaking originally and exclusively focused on healthcare in Arizona, programming expanded and broadened in the mid-1980s.

There are a couple different grantmaking programs at the Flinn Foundation today. One aims to advance biosciences in Arizona, another is for arts and culture in Arizona, and the last is a scholarship program. Flinn’s bioscience program involves partnering with other donors to support the growing bioscience sector in Arizona, and the foundation has committed more than $50 million as a strategic investor. The foundation also coordinates with other key leaders in the field to achieve the goals of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap 2014-2025, which has five overarching goals, 17 strategies, and 77 potential actions.

Biosciences grant money has gone to the Translational Genomics Research Institute, the International Genomics Consortium, and the Critical Path Institute. Through the Arizona BioIndustry Association, the foundation makes direct investments in other projects that translate research into clinical medicine and personal care. Less than a dozen new bioscience grants are awarded each year, and most of these go toward building the organizational capacity of Arizona universities, research facilities, and affiliated organizations.

Flinn’s arts and culture program supports organizations that enhance audience and donor participation among the large arts and culture organizations in the state. The foundation typically supports about 20 of these organizations that have annual operating budgets of at least $2.5 million. Flinn also supports the web-based data collection tool, the Arizona Cultural Data Project.

In partnership with the Thomas R. Brown Foundation, Flinn supports and administers the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. The center’s programs include a leadership academy to prepare the future leaders of Arizona and a collaborative of other leadership and outreach programs. However, this center does not involve Flinn Foundation grants.

On occasion, Flinn hosts workshops and forums in the Flinn Foundation Educational Conference Center. Nonprofit organizations who work in biosciences, healthcare, education, and the arts can rent out these facilities for their own purposes for free when they’re not otherwise in use.

The highly specialized Flinn Foundation rarely funds unsolicited grant requests and prefers to invite requests for proposals on its own. At the end of a recent year, the Flinn Foundation reported nearly $220 million in assets and over $5.4 million in total giving that year. As a general rule, Flinn doesn’t fund building projects, equipment costs, ongoing operating expenses, or conferences. Through it all, the state of Arizona is at the heart of Flinn grantmaking.

To get in touch with the Flinn Foundation, you can reach out to the staff at 602-744-6800 or via email at info@flinn.org. Flinn is run by a staff of about 21 and a board of nine.

"We do more than just award grants by providing services,” explained Executive Vice President Cathy McGonigle. “We call them the five Cs—convening, catalyzing, consensus building, collaborating, and communicating. These services add depth, dimension and much additional value to our grantmaking."

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