Phoenix Suns Charities

OVERVIEW: The Phoenix Suns Charities is a NBA team funder that supports children and families throughout Arizona. Areas of interest are health and human services, education, and sports and recreation.

FUNDING AREAS: Children and families in Arizona, health and human services, education, sports and recreation

IP TAKE: Compared to other sports team funders, this well-established foundation shares informative application guidelines with grantseekers and makes it easy to get in touch.

PROFILE: Established in 1988, Phoenix Suns Charities (PSC) is the philanthropic arm of the Phoenix Suns NBA team. It benefits organizations that assist children and families in Arizona. The original Phoenix Suns Chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo had a vision for PSC and initially assembled community leaders to oversee operations. Managing partner Robert Sarver has extended the reach of PSC since then to bring in more community stakeholders. Grantmaking areas of interest are children and families in Arizona, health and human services, education, and sports and recreation.

Today, PSC distributes over a million dollars each year to local charities and has given out over many millions to Arizona organizations since its inception. The foundation raises funds through events like the Suns Golf Classic, the Jump Ball, Suns Charities 88, and the Slam Dunk Street Party. Grant money also comes from employee giving, game night auctions, special license plates, and other donors. PSC grantees include Amanda Hope Rainbow Angeles in Phoenix, Arizona Brainfood in Mesa, the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, and El Rio Health Center Foundation in Tucson. PSC also awards scholarships to local students. Since 2012, Suns Charities 88 has been bringing together Phoenix business professionals to give back to the community through PSC as well.

The maximum request amount is $15,000 for standard PSC grants. Nonprofits that have received PSC funding previously can submit an additional proposal for the Playmaker grant program, which involves a group of donors that pledge $100,000 over four years. Playmaker grants are $50,000 or $100,000 and go to groups working on specific projects that can be accomplished within a year. Overall, PSC requires nonprofit applicants be Arizona organizations in operation for at least three years. All grant money must serve Arizonans, and all organizations must serve children under 18 or families.

This sports team funder is open to receiving unsolicited grant applications. Grant application cycles typically open in mid-January. Grant applications are typically due at the end of March, and the application process is completely online, through the Arizona Community Foundation’s grants page. Direct questions about the grant application process to the staff at grants@azfoundation.org or 602-381-1400.

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