AAI News



WHAT:       On September 1, 2016, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona’s African American Initiative opens its second grant round, with a focus on educational enrichment. Organizations in or serving the African American community that are engaged in collaborative, innovative projects to improve educational outcomes are encouraged to apply

All applicants must attend a mandatory introductory workshop, which will provide in-depth information on the request for proposals and the application process. Two sessions will be offered, September 13 and 27.  More information, including instructions and guidelines, is available at http://cfsaz.org/partner/african-american-initiative/aai-grants/

WHO:        African American Initiative (AAI), a program of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA)

WHEN:      Request for proposal available for download on September 1; deadline to submit grant applications is October 14, 2016.

Mandatory introductory workshop sessions:

September 13, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., CFSA, 2250 E Broadway Blvd.

September 27, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., CFSA 2250 E Broadway Blvd.

CONTACT:   Elizabeth Burden, AAI Coordinator

Phone: (520) 907-0670 or email: liz@participationink.com

ABOUT:        The AAI was founded in 2013 as a program of CFSA. The AAI’s mission is to improve the quality of life of African Americans living in metropolitan Tucson by promoting philanthropy and strengthening community through collaboration. To learn more about the AAI, please visit http://www.cfsaz.org/partner/african-american-initiative/

AAYP Collaborates with TUSD to Mentor Black Youth

(August 24, 2016) — College and career readiness for high school students is a major focus of the education in the 21st century. Yet many African American students–both high achieving and academically challenged–are disengaged, disconnected, and leaving school without the core knowledge, skills, and habits that they need to be successful in college, career, and life in general.

To address the issue, the AAI African American Young Professionals (AAYP) and TUSD African American Student Services Department (AASSD) are collaborating to launch Project ABC, beginning mid-September.  The purpose of the project is to promote academic achievement and holistic youth development among Black students, by providing access to mentors, resources, and support.   Jimmy Hart, director of AASSD—and AAI board member, will serve as the primary facilitator of the initiative.

AAYP members will mentor Palo Verde high school students for the entire 2016-2017 school year. The mentors will work with students individually or in small groups, offering culturally relevant academic and social support.  Project ABC will also host leadership development workshops on topics of interest and importance to youth.

AAI Launches African American Young Professionals Group

(April 1, 2016) – Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations across the United States will face a significant leadership shift in the coming decade as Baby Boomers fully retire. Southern Arizona is no exception. Given this fact, the AAI board of advisors decided to launch an African American Young Professionals (AAYP) group to cultivate and develop young professionals ages 25-45 for civic and philanthropic leadership roles—and to connect with the many young African-Americans who are not yet invested or engaged in the community.

Tucson-native Beah Williams and transplant-from-Nashville Trehon Cockrell-Coleman were tapped to build the network of young leaders. They have brought boundless energy to the task and fresh perspectives to the AAI board, which they joined in March.

Beah and Trehon began planning the AAYP in January 2016. In March, they hosted their first gathering with 40 young professionals in attendance. Subsequent meetings and gatherings have been held to envision what the AAYP might be, identify action areas of interest, and solidify their governing board.

The group now has a board of 9 and more than 100 members that are committed to forming a network to build social and business relationships, share resources, and develop and implement projects to benefit the community.

Young professionals interested in joining AAYP can contact either Beah at mowiyah@hotmail.com  or Trehon at taccservices@gmail.com

AAI Funded Projects Share their Success

(December 9, 2015) — Over 60 people gathered at the Dunbar School to hear about the two projects that received funds through the inaugural AAI grant round.

Representatives from Thrive Generations and Tucson Spartans Basketball discussed the kick-off of the first 8-week CHOICES series that attracted 24 youth. Each week focuses on a different discussion topic, a chance to do participate in some physical exercise, then enjoy a meal together.  The facilitators have been impressed with the attendance, the willingness of the participants to open up and try new things and their engagement.  Two more 8-week sessions are planned before the end of school.

The Sankofa Youth Empowerment program was represented by Culture of Peace, I Am You 360 and Angel Hands Foundation. Twenty youth were recruited to participate in a two-week summer institute to teach them about the tenets of Kingian Non-violence, while developing their leadership skills so that they can, in turn, teach younger students about Dr. King and his impact.  After the institute, the cohort continues to meet, develop their skills and participate in community events, like the United Way Days of Caring held in October.

“Not only did we have a chance to update the community about the work AAI is doing, we also provided an opportunity to shine a light on our grantees,” said Dr. Saunie Taylor, Chair of the Advisory Board. “We appreciated the fact that both groups brought young people to the meeting to greet our guests and talk about their experiences.”