Phoenix Suns Charities

OVERVIEW: This NBA team funder supports children and families throughout Arizona. Unsolicited applications are accepted, and grants are awarded yearly for 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 outfit shares very informative application guidelines with grantseekers and makes it easy to get in touch.

PROFILE: Phoenix Suns Charities (PSC) is the philanthropic arm of the Phoenix Suns NBA team. It was established in 1988 to benefit 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.

Today, PSC distributes over a million dollars each year to local charities and has given out over $20 million 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.

Grant application cycles typically open in mid-January. Broadly, PSC focuses on children and families in Arizona. But more specifically, grants go to health and human services, education, and sports and recreation. 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. 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. Questions about the grant application process should be directed to the ACF staff at grants@azfoundation.org or 602-381-1400.

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.

Sarah Krahenbuhl is the executive director and can be reached at skrahenbuhl@suns.com or 602-379-7767. Also on staff is Maggie Cortex, the PSC coordinator, and Jennie Patel, the PSC manager. You can keep up with who’s receiving grants and other foundation events in the PSC news section.

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