Lodestar Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder 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: The Lodestar Foundation is based in Phoenix, Arizona, and dates back to 1999. 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 actually 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.

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.

Many Lodestar grants support local nonprofits in Arizona. However, some grants are made nationally and internationally. 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. It is typical for grantees to report back to Lodestar for at least two years after funding.

There is no online application or clear avenue for grantseekers to submit a letter of inquiry or apply for funding. 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. Grantees for each of the Lodestar philanthropic entities can be viewed on the funder’s website.

The Lodestar Foundation is made up of Chairman Jerry Hirsch, President Lois Savage, VP of Programs Cathy Lake, and Grants Manager Bonnie Fujii. Lois Savage is a good contact for grantseekers and can be reached at lsavage@lodestarfoundation.org or 602-956-2699. The funder welcomes communications from groups that aren’t currently engaged in philanthropy but want to get involved and also from nonprofits engaged in work that advance Lodestar’s mission. The foundation is located at 4455 East Camelback Road, Suite 215A, Phoenix, Arizona, 85018.

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