Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

OVERVIEW: The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust supports arts and culture, children, education, healthcare and medical research, older adults, and religious organizations in Phoenix and throughout Maricopa County, Arizona.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, children, education, healthcare and medical research, older adults, religious organizations

IP TAKE: This is an accessible grantmaker for solution-oriented nonprofits to reach out to that are working in and serving Maricopa County, Arizona. The funder considers grant requests in terms of impact, effectiveness, feasibility, and sustainability.

PROFILE: Established in 1995, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust is a place-based funder with a focus on Maricopa County, Arizona. Virginia was the wife of Motorola founder, Paul V. Galvin. She moved from Chicago to Paradise Valley, Arizona with her second husband, Kenneth M. Piper, and committed her philanthropic efforts to Phoenix-area nonprofits for over 30 years. She established the trust and appointed four lifetime trustees to handle grantmaking after her death. After she passed in 1999, over $600 million was transferred from her estate to the trust. The foundation “supports organizations that enrich health, well-being, and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County, Arizona.” The trust focuses grantmaking on six areas: arts and culture, children, education, healthcare and medical research, older adults, and religious organizations.

The Piper Trust has a competitive grantmaking program, and it makes special investments to bring national program models to Maricopa County for long-term community impact. The trust’s arts and culture program includes performance art, visual art, literature, and other cultural experiences that stimulate the economy and include children’s participation. It often funds programs that improve the business and financial operations of arts organizations, that redesign business models, and that facilitate collaborations between local arts groups. Piper Trust grants for children go to nonprofits that make parents and caregivers more effective in child-rearing and that assist children without resources or with special needs. The trust also funds programs for afterschool care and ones that integrate early childhood policies and practices with the BUILD Initiative, a Special Trust Investment. Grants for older adults are made for disease and disability prevention and include programs that focus on exercise, nutrition, appropriate medications, and early screenings. The trust supports programs that help older adults remain independent and engaged in their communities through civic engagement. Within its education focus area, the Piper Trust supports preschools and other early learning environments, as well as tutoring and academic enrichment aids for school-age children. Education grants for remedial programs, learning aids for students with disabilities, and career-focused programs for older adults and adults with disability programs are also common. Meanwhile, health and medical grants are focused on four issue areas: healthcare workforce training, access to care, capital investments for improving facilities, and biosciences as a vehicle for prevention and early disease detection. Virginia G. Piper was a woman of strong faith, and accordingly, the trust often supports faith-based organizations.

Foundation grants often range from $50,000 to $500,000. See the funder’s online grants database to learn more about past grantees. Grantmaking is largely focused on Phoenix and Maricopa County, Arizona. Maricopa County includes the city of Phoenix and is home to about four million people. 

The foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. After an initial review, the foundation will request a full proposal from selected applicants. Read through the trust’s What Makes a Strong Proposal and the FAQ before applying. The trust does not have any deadlines for initial proposals and accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry throughout the year. To learn more about Piper Trust grantmaking, consider attending a Piper 101 Information Session, which is an information workshop about priorities, guidelines, and the review process. Direct general questions to the staff at 480-948-5853 or info@pipertrust.org.

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