Graphic for COVID Wk 16 Grantees

CFSA Announces Additional $128,000 in COVID-19 Event Relief Grants

Graphic for COVID Event Relief with red and gray COVID-19 virus image

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona is excited to announce an additional $128,000 in COVID-19 Nonprofit Event Relief Grants to nonprofits in our community.

Many nonprofit organizations in Southern Arizona organizations were forced to cancel fundraising events and programming as a result of COVID-19 and the impact of that lost revenue was significant. CFSA is proud to have provided $233,000 total in event relief funding to 41 nonprofits in Pima and Santa Cruz County.

With these grants, CFSA is closing the COVID-19 Nonprofit Event Relief Fund, however applications are still being accepted for our COVID-19 Community Support Grants.

Congratulations to the following recipients!

Previous Event Relief Grant Recipients include:

The Cooper Center for Environmental Learning (CCEL) is an outreach program of the University of Arizona College of Education, in partnership with Tucson Unified School District . They work to increase ecological understandings and deepen students’ connection to nature by providing hands-on, research-based programs in science and earth education. In an ever-changing COVID-19 environment, many of the CCEL programs have moved online to continue providing engaging and interactive experiences in a safe setting. Director of the CCEL, Colin Waite, shared, “These experiences support high quality instruction in science and other subject areas across grade levels, supporting teachers, children, and families. Thank you to CFSA for this critical support for our work!”

Now more than ever, St. Luke’s Home must take extra precautions to keep their at-risk residents safe while providing assisted-living for people aged 55 and older. In response to COVID-19, they have installed a “hug tunnel,” allowing elderly residents to hug their family members through a layer of plastic. For many, this is the first time they’ve been able to hug their family members in months since the pandemic began. St. Luke’s Director of Development, Marie Reyna, offered, “St. Luke’s Home is truly grateful to the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona for the compassionate assistance. Together, we will beat back COVID-19!”

The Fox Tucson Theatre, now celebrating 90 years as an iconic cultural venue, relies on events to continue operations. While The Fox began as a vaudville/movie house, it has since become a versatile venue for live events, films and performances that reflect the diversity of Southern Arizona’s communities. Christa Neil, Graphic Design and Marketing for The Fox, conveyed the importance of relief funding during COVID-19 by sharing, “With dozens of events cancelled since March 12 and an uncertain timeline for reopening, all who love The Fox are deeply grateful to the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona for recognizing this need and stepping in to help fill the gap.”

Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports, a volunteer-driven adaptive sports organization, works to transform lives through the power of adaptive sports. Since the pandemic began, SAAS faces new challenges in providing safe adaptive sports programs, equipment and resources. To serve their community during COVID-19, Executive Director, Mia Hansen, shared, “Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports thanks the CFSA for this grant that will empower us to provide home delivery of medical equipment and supplies, mobile wheelchair and hand-cycle repair, and support for people with disabilities in Tucson and Southern Arizona.” 

The Tucson Jewish Community Center (The J) serves more than 2,000 families and 5,000 members, offering essential services to community members of all ages including arts and culture, sports, and wellness programming. While the center reopened in June for essential services, The J still faces hardships as a membership-based organization. Director of Marketing, Khyle Gardner, shared, “Our members have been incredible throughout the process! As a membership-based organization, our inability to operate our fitness center has hit us hard. We are grateful to the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona for providing us with a grant to help us continue to provide Tucson with holistic wellness opportunities that center their physical, emotional, and spiritual well being.”

Many small businesses in Tucson and Southern Arizona are struggling to survive during closures and COVID-19 related restrictions, making Local First Arizona’s mission to cultivate hometown pride and support local business more relevant than ever before. Their focus currently is on responding to the greatest needs of local businesses during the pandemic and offering the support needed to help the local business community navigate the challenges of the pandemic to return stronger than ever. Executive Director, Thomas Barr, expressed, “We are beyond grateful for the investment from The Community Foundation of Southern Arizona to continue providing support to small businesses in Southern Arizona.”

The American Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter remains hard at work keeping our communities safe in such uncertain times. Communities rely on the American Red Cross every day, and the work has only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, they’re focusing on supplying blood products for patients needing transfusions, collecting plasma from individuals who are fully recovered from COVID-19 to help treat seriously ill patients, and helping families in disasters to make sure they continue to have safe housing and food.

Executive Director, Courtney Slanaker, shared, “Disasters and the need for blood don’t stop, we have made significant changes to our operation to ensure we can safely deliver our mission to anyone in need. The American Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter expresses gratitude to CFSA and our community partners for making our mission possible.”

The Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation (SARSEF) works to provide accessible science education for all. Their programming centers on helping young people find their inner scientist through real and practical experience. Julie Euber, Chief Operations Officer, announced, “SARSEF has been working to ensure all of our opportunities in science education can be engaging and inspiring through safe, virtual learning environments. With the help of the COVID-19 Response Grant, we are able to support STEM education at all levels – from teachers to parents to students.”

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson Museum brings Tucson’s history to life through a re-creation of the original Tucson Presidio, built in 1775. The Presidio works to promote, preserve and celebrate the multi-cultural history of Tucson in their events and programming.  Executive Director, Amy Hartmann-Gordon, discussed the continued operations of The Presidio, stating, “We are so appreciative to CFSA and its community supporters for recognizing the value of cultural organizations in Tucson. During this difficult summer the Presidio Museum Board and staff have felt it is extra important to provide intellectual and uplifting stimulation for the community. None of this would have been possible without emergency funding to support staff salaries – without it, the Museum would not only be closed but would not be employing its talented team. Thank you!” 

COVID-19 restrictions greatly altered the Invisible Theatre’s presentation of live productions to the Tucson community.  Invisible Theatre promotes local professional talent with live performances to capture the invisible connection that exists between the performers and their audience during live theatre performances. Currently, they have worked to create a safe, yet authentic, theatre experience through social distancing, installation of ionization systems in their AC unit, and more following the CDC and City of Tucson guidelines.

Susan Claassen, Managing Artistic Director, was optimistic about these adaptations when she shared, “‘Good Times, Bad Times, We’ve Seen them All …’ But never anything like this! Although we are facing financial challenges, our advisory and national board, our exceptional and imaginative administrative and artistic staff, and funding sources like Community Foundation for Southern Arizona Event Relief Fund are helping us navigate these uncharted waters.

El Grupo Youth Cycling provides youth with experiences that are fun, skill-building, and bike centered, so that they can acquire the self confidence and leadership skills to be active and healthy members of the community. Sean Pantellere, Program and Operations Manager, asserted just how important socializing and physical activity is during the pandemic, sharing, “We’re excited to offer after school cycling programs to kids who need healthy outlets and positive social interaction after months of isolation. While riding in small, socially distant groups is different, the mission stays the same; kids on bikes learning life skills!”

With events unable to continue as normal, Tubac Center of the Arts has adapted their offerings to continue bringing local art and artists to the Southern Arizona community in a safe way. They have moved their events into the digital world to continue presenting art exhibitions, a new art series, and art receptions. Executive Director, Karin Topping, stated, “Tubac Center of the Arts, (TCA) is grateful for the support from the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona to help us through this challenging time. TCA a true gem in the desert and a destination for residents and visitors alike in southern AZ.”

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona envisions a community where all pets are loved and cared for through the aide of their innovative programs and adoption services. Many of the HSSA’s fundraising events were cancelled due to COVID-19, to which Director of Development, Marketing and Communications, Randy Peterson, shared, “The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is honored to accept this grant that will allow us to continue serving pets and the people who love them.”

COVID-19’s effect on live performances and practices impacted the Tucson Girls Chorus’ mission of providing leadership training and musical education to a diverse group of young women. TGC has since designed creative virtual practices, allowing for the access, connection, and impact of music to continue serving Tucson’s young women.  Dr. Marcela Molina, Director of TGC, optimistically stated, “The grant from CFSA is very reassuring, especially during uncertain times. It gives us the assurance that we have an amazing community behind us. It shines light to our path and it is tremendously humbling. Thank you for believing in the power of music and the mission and vision of the TGC.

KXCI Community Radio is a diverse, independent and community-based radio station serving Tucson and Southern Arizona. Their commitment to connecting communities together through informative, engaging, and creative community-based programming remains strong as KXCI staff and volunteers keep the music and programs their listeners count on going 24/7 during these pandemic times.  Cathy Rivers, Executive Director, thanked listeners and supporters by saying, “KXCI has always been engaged in dual work both behind and away from the microphone, but with even more creativity in recent months. And we can only do this because of what YOU do. You listen. You support. You maintain your community radio station, and it’s our hope that we continue to sustain, survive, and thrive together. Thank you!”

Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage’s (BICAS) mission works through advocacy and bicycle salvage to participate in affordable bicycle transportation, education, and creative recycling with the greater Tucson community. BICAS relies heavily on community donations and events to continue their important work, to which Kellie Kasniak, Youth Development Coordinator, shared, “In the face of having to cancel our classes, summer camps, regular programming and events we have explored and provided new services to the community to keep us all safely rolling, including sliding scale and fully subsidized repair services, sales of refurbished bicycles and bike accessories, online workshops, and donated bikes for youth and adults requesting bicycles to meet their essential needs.”

Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson has remained closed during the pandemic, but continues to engage with and bring art to the community through digital and socially distanced programming. Event Relief Funds go towards important programs, such as an online summer camp for children. Morah Ridel, Curator of Community Engagement, shared, “Receiving CFSA’s COVID-19 Event Relief Fund has allowed MOCA to sustain our work with pioneering artists and diverse audiences, retain our talented staff, and allowed us to pivot to safe, free and imaginative offerings for all.”

The Arizona History Museum works to connect people through the power of Arizona’s history. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum has remained closed to visitors, allowing for updates to exhibits in preparation for the eventual reopening of the museum. Marilyn Murphy, Communications Manager, said, “Thank you to the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona for your generous support for the Arizona History Museum. We are exceedingly grateful for the grant we were awarded to help sustain our ongoing work to preserve and collect Arizona’s unique history.”

Dramatic shifts in operations occurred at The Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre when they were forced to completely shut down overnight. The theatre shifted its focus to become a curator of online and streaming content to help make up for the shuttering of their live theatre performances. This has allowed for their audience to grow, connecting Southern Arizona’s talent to the world. Bryan Falcón, Artistic and Managing Director, shared, “CFSA’s support helped us make this transition to an almost entirely virtual organization, and we have a clearer path now towards sustaining ourselves and serving our community during this challenging time. We thank the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona for being a key part of our sustaining strategy and a supporter of our innovation during this extraordinary time.”

The Tucson Boys Chorus has been a signature chorus group within Tucson for the past 81 years. The Chorus endeavors to impart musical, social and leadership skills that build self-esteem and have a sustaining impact on its members.  Dr. Julian Ackerley, Director, emphasized the importance of event relief funding by stating,The funding will help us achieve adapted goals to meet the needs of the current pandemic environment not only through music education but also through social development and leadership training.”