Arizona Community Foundation

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Full history:

Incorporated in 1978 in AZ.

Mission Statement

"Lead, serve and collaborate to mobilize enduring philanthropy for a better Arizona."

Financial Information

Year ended 3/31/12:
Assets: $504,347,361 (market value)
Gifts received: $38,081,527
Expenditures: $49,285,880
Total giving: $33,239,397
Giving activities include:
$30,562,496 for 2,784 grants (high: $1,000,000; low: $250)
$2,676,901 for 747 grants to individuals (high: $15,000; low: $250)

Year ended 3/31/09:
Assets: $388,862,166 (market value)
Gifts received: $43,014,261
Expenditures: $45,610,289
Total giving: $31,753,622
Giving activities include:
$31,753,622 for grants

Funding Priorities

Affordable Housing:
The foundation's Fund for Affordable Housing provides zero-interest revolving loans to assist nonprofit housing developers in the creation of affordable housing, including new construction and the purchase/refurbishment of distressed housing inventory for affordable-housing uses. This type of housing can support individuals, families, the elderly and the disabled.

Arizona Family Economic Success:
Through the Arizona Family Economic Success initiative, ACF partners with Arizona nonprofits to aid working families in building and sustaining financial health. The program trains volunteers to assist qualifying families in filing their income tax returns and claiming their Earned Income Tax Credit, and assists in the creation of Individual Development Accounts-savings accounts that provide an incentive to work, save and build assets as a means to reach economic self-sufficiency.

Black Philanthropy Initiative:
The foundation's Black Philanthropy Initiative is a permanent endowment supported by African-Americans to address relevant issues in Arizona's Black community. Through strategic grantmaking, the endowment will support nonprofits serving African-Americans in such critical areas as health, education, workforce development, community building and more.

Civic Leadership:
This fund supports ACF's leadership role in important areas of community life that are crucial to Arizona's competitiveness, including the development and maintenance of the Arizona Indicators Project, research, major convening, task forces and action agendas.

Communities For All Ages
The Communities For All Ages initiative's goal is to build communities that intentionally support the well-being of children, youth and older adults, strengthen care-giving families and promote interdependence across generations. It is based on the belief that the aging of the population is opening up opportunities to think and act differently for the greater good. Since 2003, the CFAA program has brought together diverse groups of community leaders, youth and seniors to address concerns such as lifelong learning, civic engagement, transportation, health care, housing and individual and family support.

Education Reform
The foundation continues its commitment to advancing statewide, systemic reform of the public education system through the following activities: research, convening, policy, strategic grantmaking, public/private partnerships, and early education.

Scholarship awards are paid from more than 80 individual scholarship funds to assist students pursuing higher education. The donor who creates the fund can designate a specific institution, such as a college or vocational school, to receive the funds and select annual award recipients; provide guidance to the foundation on the goals of the scholarship program but leave the selection process to the foundation; or, participate as a member of the selection committee, reviewing individual applications and evaluating award recipients.

Relevant Program Area(s)

Education Reform
With significant support from the John & Delys Ellis field of interest fund at ACF, the Arizona Community Foundation continues its commitment to advancing statewide, systemic reform of our public education system through the following activities:
In early 2008, we released Educating Arizona and Building Our Foundation, two comprehensive reports on the state of public education from birth through 12th grade. Our staff and Board presented the findings state-wide throughout the year, and the reports served as the basis for significant conversation during Governor Jan Brewer’s transition to office.In 2009, ACF released the first College Readiness Report which tracked the readiness of Maricopa County public and charter high school graduates who attended one of Arizona's three universities or a Maricopa Community College to do college-level, credit-earning coursework in English and Math. An update to the figures was released in May 2010. This data can be found at the Arizona Indicators Web site.

Arizona was selected to join a national consortium of six states committed to significantly improving student achievement by supporting the recommendations contained in the “Tough Choices or Tough Times” research report released in 2006 by the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. ACF convened key partners to submit the initial application and is a funding partner for the planning phase, supporting the lead organization for the effort, the Center for the Future of Arizona.

As a non-partisan community leader, ACF has been proud to provide counsel to the current and previous Arizona Governor as a member of committees for each of their P-20 Councils.

Strategic Grantmaking:
In early 2009, ACF and Helios Education Foundation launched the Accio Education Fund, a “venture capital” type of charitable fund aimed at supporting innovative education reform programs. The fund awarded two significant grants—one for a program already underway in Arizona, and one for a program looking to expand to Arizona from elsewhere—which are being paid over a three-year period, with intense staff engagement and technical and strategic assistance. The Arizona grantee selected in 2009 is Beat the Odds Institute, while the expansion grantee is Stand for Children. Two new grantees will be announced in late Spring 2011.

Public/Private Partnerships:
The newly launched Target EDventures in Partnership with the Arizona Community Foundation program has given Title 1, K-8 schools an opportunity to take learning to a new level by going on a field trip. One-hundred and sixty classrooms will visit one of our arts & culture treasures in Maricopa County to augment their learning experience. Each field trip will enhance the classroom lessons and help fulfill the Arizona state standards for their grade level. This grant program is made possible by Target’s commitment to improve education in the community.

ACF is a collaborator in and manages the funding for Expect More Arizona, a public-private partnership dedicated to making education the top priority in our state. The partnership is creating a movement of passionate, actively engaged Arizonans who are working to ensure our students graduate with the skills and knowledge necessary to compete, contribute and succeed in a 21st Century global economy.

Early Education: Through funds held and managed at ACF, we are improving early care and education offerings to children from birth to age 5 throughout Arizona. These modest funds will help all Arizona children become contributing citizens by funding programs that build a sustainable, comprehensive system for providing high-quality early care and education programs.

For more information on ACF's Education Reform efforts, please contact Jim Pitofsky at (602) 381-1400 or email


Giving limited to AZ.

No support for religious organizations for religious purposes.

No grants to individuals (except for scholarships), travel to or support of conferences, fundraising campaigns and expenses, debt reduction, or capital grants; generally, no loans.

Recent Grant Examples


  • $250,000 to Center for the Future of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, payable over 1 year.
  • $250,000 to Stand for Children, Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, payable over 1 year.
  • $73,580 to Community Outreach Program for the Deaf, Tucson, AZ, payable over 1 year.
  • $35,000 to Rehoboth Community Development Corporation, Phoenix, AZ, payable over 1 year.
  • $20,000 to Ballet Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, payable over 1 year.
  • $20,000 to Northern Arizona University Foundation, Flagstaff, AZ, payable over 1 year.
  • $20,000 to Sunnyside Neighborhood Association of Flagstaff, Flagstaff, AZ, payable over 1 year.
  • $9,284 to Catholic Charities Community Services, Phoenix, AZ, payable over 1 year.
  • $6,300 to Sedona Historical Society, Sedona, AZ, payable over 1 year.
  • $5,200 to Northern Arizona University Foundation, Flagstaff, AZ, payable over 1 year.

Grant Application Guidelines

Full grant process details can be found here.

Competitive Grants:
The Arizona Community Foundation conducts competitive grant cycles throughout the year, each spanning several months. During a competitive grant cycle, the Foundation requests funding proposals from nonprofits, sometimes in broad focus areas and other times within very specific fields such as animal welfare or youth programs, depending on the parameters of the fund(s) providing the grants. Staff often conducts free workshops in advance of a grant cycle to assist prospective applicants in preparing their proposals. Workshops are listed under Events for Nonprofits.

Proposals are due by a specific date, and are then evaluated and ranked by staff, Board members and diverse community panels. The top ranked organizations are awarded grants, which are paid from ACF’s Funds for the Common Good and various field-of-interest funds. The Distribution & Programs Committee, comprising ACF Board members and community representatives, approves all grants paid by the Foundation.

What the Foundation funds
Grant requests should be focused around programs that serve Arizona residents, that avoid duplication of existing services and that demonstrate measurable outcomes and sustainability.

How to apply for a grant:
Most of ACF's Competitive Grant Cycles are conducted online. To be eligible for competitive grant funding and to appear in the online Charitable Catalog, applying organizations must complete an online organizational profile and submit required documents, such as a current Form 990 and the IRS letter of determination.

Current grant opportunities:
Once your organization has completed its online profile, visit our Web site at for a list of open grant applications and their individual guidelines.

Advised Grants:
Many of the Community Foundation’s funds are advised, meaning the donor or a named advisor has grant recommendation privileges. While final approval of all grants rests with the Community Foundation, donor advice plays a central role in awarding grants from these funds. Fund advisors make grant recommendations year-round through the Foundation’s Web site, by phone, e-mail or regular mail. Once our staff has ensured the recommended grant recipient is a qualified nonprofit in good standing, is financially sound and has filed the required tax documents, grant checks are issued from that particular fund.

Nonprofits can make their funding needs known to our advised funds and supporting organizations by completing a profile in our online Charitable Catalog. Simply complete the profile of the organization and submit the required documents, such as a current Form 990 and the organization’s IRS letter of determination. This is the best way to ensure that ACF's fund holders will be aware of the organization's mission, achievements and current funding needs.

Application form required.
Initial approach: Complete online grant application
Board meeting date(s): Quarterly
Deadline(s): Varies
Final notification: 60 days

Current Projects

Primary Organization Contact


Full staff list and contact information:

Key Staff

  • Kerrie Bainum, Deputy Finance Officer
  • Tony Banegas, Program Officer
  • Tamika Chiquito, Scholarship Associate
  • Jill Christiansen, Grants Admin. and VISTA Proj. Director
  • Sharon Ellis, Human Resources Officer/Financial Associate
  • Marc Goldstick, Advancement Officer, Donor & Prospect Research
  • Lora Golke, Advancement Coordinator, Donor Services
  • Janita Gordon, Sr. Advancement Officer, Development
  • Patty Hughes, Finance Associate
  • Kimberly C. Kur, J.D., Sr. Advancement Officer, Planned Giving and *Professional Advisors Services
  • Lee McIlroy, Research and Evaluation Officer
  • Alice McKinney, Grants Admin.
  • Joyce Medina, Program Officer, Education
  • Jim Pitofsky, Chief Strategist

Officers and Trustees

Marilyn Harris, Chairperson
Manistee Investments, President
William J. Hodges, Vice-Chairperson
Inlign Wealth Management, Sr. Managing Director
Steven G. Seleznow, Chief Executive Officer and President
Jacky Alling, Chief Philanthropic Services Officer
Megan Brownell, Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Carla Roberts, Vice President, Affiliates
Susan Budinger, Secretary
The Rodel Foundation, Vice President
Paul Velaski, Chief Financial Officer
Tony Astorga, Treasurer
Blue Cross/Blue Shield Arizona, Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Bert A. Getz, Chairperson Emeritus
Globe Corporation, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer
Ellen Steele Allare
Dr. William V. Andrew
AFC Public Foundation, President
Betsey Bayless
Maricopa Integrated Health System, Chief Executive Officer
Gerald Bisgrove
Stardust Companies, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson
Ron Butler
Shelly Cohn
Jack Davis
Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, Chief Executive Officer & President
Arizona Public Service Company, Chief Executive Officer & President
Robert M. Delgado
Hensley Beverage Company, Chief Executive Officer and President
Robert S. Diamond
Bennett Dorrance
CMB Associates, Managing Director
Carol Parry Fox
Corporate Social Responsibility Associates, President
John Gogolak
A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., Sr. Vice President, Investments
Sharon Harper
The Plaza Companies, Chief Executive Officer and President
Michael E. Kelly
Kelly Consulting Alliance, LLC, Manager
Neal Kurn
Fennemore Craig, Director
Grace Y. Lau
PacWest Financial Management, President
Paul J. Luna
Helios Education Foundation, Chief Executive Officer and President
Mary Martuscelli
Arizona JPMorgan Chase and Co., President
David C. Maurer
Prescott Chamber of Commerce, Chief Executive Officer
Marjorie McClanahan
Paulina Vasquez Morris
Maricopa County Special Health District, Director
Karen Nicodemus, Ph.D.
Frederick M. Pakis
JDA Software Inc., Co-Founder
Denise Resnik
Denise Resnik & Associates, President
Julia Rosen
ASU Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, Associate Vice President,
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Richard Silverman
Salt River Project, General Manager
Richard Snell
Pinnacle West, Chairperson Emeritus
Hal Tashman
John O. Whiteman
Whiteman Foundation, Chairperson
Educare Arizona, Co-Founder and Co-Chairperson
Arizona Museum of Youth, Director
Richard H. Whitney
Gust Rosenfeld, Member

Primary Contact Address

2201 E. Camelback Rd., Ste. 405B
Phoenix, AZ 85016-3431
Telephone: (602) 381-1400
Contact: Paul Velaski, C.F.O.; Peg Reirson, C.P.A.
Fax: (602) 381-1575

Grant application e-mail:

NWP employees who’ve worked with this organization

Additional Notes

External Links

  1. Arizona Community Foundation website
  2. ACF Facebook
  3. ACF LinkedIn
  4. ACF Twitter


  • 03/05/12: Page created (Marina)
  • 08/14/13: Updated Background, Financial Information, Primary Contact Address, External Links; minor formatting throughout (Alexina)
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