Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust: Arizona Grants

OVERVIEW: The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust awards grants in Arizona and Indiana to support women, children, animals, nature, and community enrichment. The average grant from this funder is around $64,000 and there are two funding cycles per year. Although the trust does not accept unsolicited grant proposals, new nonprofits are welcome to submit an initial letter of inquiry.

FUNDING AREAS: Women, children and families, animals and nature, community enrichment

IP TAKE: The bulk of Pulliam Charitable Trust funding goes to helping people in need in Phoenix and Indianapolis. This involves helping vulnerable children and adults get through crises and become self-sufficient, as well as training for employment. 

PROFILE: With a strict geographical focus on Phoenix, Arizona and Indianapolis, Indiana, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust awards grants that support city life for women, children, families, animals, and nature. The trust was established upon Ms. Pulliam’s death in 1997 to continue supporting the causes that to which she dedicated herself in her two home states. In a past year, for example, the trust provided over $13.3 million in grants and scholarships to 195 organizations.

Nina Mason Pulliam was a humanitarian, journalist, and business leader who was born in rural Indiana in 1906. During her journalism career, she wrote for Farm Life, newspapers and books about post-WWII conditions in Europe, and she was a founder/director of Central Newspapers. Pulliam was also publisher of the Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette, and she was known for her love of animals and nature conservatory efforts.

There are two initiatives at the trust: animal welfare and foster youth. The animal welfare initiative involves spaying and neutering dogs and cats, rescue pet adoptions, and public education about pet ownership. The foster youth initiative is focused on Arizona because more than 700 young adults in the state celebrate their 18th birthdays each year in foster care without a permanent family. The Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative is a Children’s Action Alliance project that’s funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

In addition to these initiatives, the trust has three grant programs: helping people in need, protecting animals and nature, and enriching community life. The first program supports organizations that help vulnerable children and adults get through crises and become self-sufficient, as well as training for employment. The second program focuses on domestic animals, the conservation of natural habitats, and environmental education. Through the “enriching community life” program, the trust supports arts, cultural, and civic organizations.

Although almost all grants are focused on the Phoenix and Indianapolis metropolitan areas, the trust accepts environmental proposals from organizations throughout Arizona and Indiana as long as they have a statewide impact. The trust established a scholarship program in 2001 involving Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Ivy Tech State College-Indianapolis Campus, Arizona State University, and Maricopa Community Colleges.

During over 16 years of grantmaking, the trust awarded at least 3,105 grants to 890 organizations totaling over $223 million. “Helping people in need” is the trust's largest funding interest area, and over $8.8 million went to this cause in a recent year. By comparison, $2.8 million went to protecting animals and nature and $1.6 million to enriching community life.

The trust provides funding for capital projects and general operating support, and the average grant is about $64,000. Although there is no set grant size range, recent grants have ranged from $9,000 to $500,000. You can find a list of recent Arizona grantees on the foundation website. 

Download the PDF of the current grant application guidelines on the foundation website.

There are three people (each residing in Indiana or Arizona) on the board of trustees who are entrusted to approve all grants and the foundation’s budget. To get started, nonprofits must submit an initial inquiry. Although the Trust doesn’t accept unsolicited proposals, it does accept grant inquiries from previously unsupported organizations.

Then the nonprofits that are invited to submit a proposal have about five months to wait before a funding decision is made. Funding cycle deadlines typically fall twice a year, with proposals due at the beginning of the year and the middle of the year. Someone from your nonprofit must consult with a grants program staff member at least a month in advance of the proposal submittal deadline.

General inquiries about grant opportunities in Arizona can be directed to the staff by phone at 602-955-3000.

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