Lodestar Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Lodestar Foundation awards grants to encourage philanthropy and support collaboration in Arizona and beyond. It aims to build capacity in the social sector by promoting philanthropy, volunteering, public service, and nonprofit collaboration.

FUNDING AREAS: Encouraging philanthropy, supporting collaboration, nonprofit capacity building

IP TAKE:  This is a unique foundation because it gives for the promotion of philanthropy, rather than to specific community needs or issue areas. Get in touch with the president to inquire about current grant opportunities.

PROFILE: Established in 1999, the Lodestar Foundation is based in Phoenix, Arizona. The name “Lodestar” refers to a guiding star that serves as a navigation point for sailors and also a nod to Arizona history. There is a family of foundations with this name, made up of the Lodestar Foundation, the Lodestar Charitable Foundation, the Lodestar Jewish Donor Advised Fund, and the Lodestar Foundation Fund. Grantmaking areas of interest are growing and promoting philanthropy and long-term collaborations.

There are two strategic funding areas at Lodestar. One is encouraging philanthropy, which involves strengthening organizations whose primary mission is to grow philanthropy, work with volunteers, and engage citizens in public service. The other area is collaboration, which involves funding long-term collaborations, mergers, acquisitions, associations, and strategic capacity-building tools for nonprofits. Special project support has gone to groups like the Global Leadership Foundation, Forum 2000, and the EastWest Institute. Lodestar makes direct grants and also is involved with field-building activities to educate others about philanthropy and collaboration. Challenge and matching grants are common here. Lodestar partners have included the Foundation Center, Seachange Capital Partners, the Patterson Foundation, and the Lyda Hill Foundation. Local funder collaboratives receiving Lodestar’s support include the Arizona Nonprofit Capacity Building Landscape Project, the Funder Collaborative for Summer Youth Programs, and the Neighborhood Funder Collaborative.

Foundation grants range anywhere from $5,000 to $5 million. View the funder’s grants database to learn more about where past grants have gone. Many Lodestar grants support local nonprofits in Arizona. However, some grants are made nationally and internationally too. It is typical for grantees to report back to Lodestar for at least two years after receiving funding.

There is no online application or clear avenue for grantseekers to submit a letter of inquiry or apply for funding. However, the funder welcomes informal communications from groups that are not currently engaged in philanthropy but want to get involved and also from nonprofits engaged in work that advance Lodestar’s mission. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at 602-956-2699 or to the attention of President Lois Savage at lsavage@lodestarfoundation.org.

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