photo: Mario Savoia/shutterstock
For several years now, health issues have been a top priority with the $830 million-dollar Arizona Community Foundation. This is a leading funding force in the state with over 1,650 charitable funds and five offices throughout the state. But in ACF’s most recent round of giving, a couple other trends emerged that are worth noting.
Between April and June of this year, ACF released over $19.3 million from its funds and also through it affiliates in Cochise, Flagstaff, the Gila Valley, Sedona, Yavapai County, and Yuma. In this round of giving, education causes came out on top instead of health, but just narrowly. A total of $6.5 million was committed to education during this quarter. But it’s important to note that a significant amount of these education funds went towards scholarships for Arizona students pursuing college and also to private K-12 students who are low-income, disabled, or have been displaced. Grants from donor funds went to groups like Valley Interfaith Project Education Fund and Treasures 4 Teachers.
Meanwhile, a total of 624 organizations are splitting $5.8 million in grants for healthcare, medical research, and various human services causes. Sample grantees from this most recent batch include the Phoenix Indian School Visitor Center, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Aside from traditional grantmaking, something else that stands out about ACF lately is how this community funder has been embracing impact investing. This emerging role is mostly due to the funder’s growing Community Impact Loan Fund, which recently invested another $1,050,000 in loan funding to the Phoenix Art Museum. This particular loan was made possible with support from Dignity Health and the Phoenix Community Development & Investment Corporation as well. And this additional money will be going towards upgrading and expanding the vault and storage capacities of the museum to protect valuable works of art.
The loan fund plays into ACF’s dual mission of building resources and creating measurable social impact. This is a way for the community funder to have an even larger impact than it already does with grants alone. There are opportunities here for other nonprofit community projects in the state in the realms of education, healthcare and environmental sustainability. Other recipients of ACF loans include the Desert Botanical Garden, Desert Stages Theatre, the Mariposa Community Health Center, and Torah Day School.
Other foundation topics of interest lately include families who have been separated at the U.S./Mexico border, animal welfare, and public art. To apply for a grant, nonprofits must sign up for an account on the ACF Online Grant Portal, which is where grantseekers can find a link to the online grants center and apply for grants. Just keep in mind that this funder typically reviews over 7,000 grant applications per year, so the competition is pretty steep.