Collage of CORE 2020 Recipeints - girls dressed in black gowns, childen on a Zoom call, workers delivering shoes, radio station studio room.

Impact of CORE: 2020 Grant Recipients

CFSA’s CORE Grants provide highly qualified nonprofits with general operating funds to be used where they are needed most.  The CORE Grants program is rooted in the philosophy that well-governed, impactful nonprofits understand where funding will have the greatest return for the organization and the communities they serve.

In April 2020, CFSA awarded $720,000 in its third round of CORE Grants to support the fundamental operating needs of our local nonprofits.  Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

With the upcoming launch of CFSA’s CORE Grants 2021, opening December 7, 2020, we are excited to share updates from our CORE 2020 Grant Recipients and the great work they have achieved over the last six months with the aid of CORE funding.

Amphitheater Public Schools Foundation is a non-profit organization providing programs and events for the promotion of academic excellence. Leah Noreng, Executive Director of Amphi Foundation, shared, “While many nonprofits have struggled to raise adequate funding this year and then had to scale back on programming, the Core Grant has provided security and has helped us to move through this pandemic year in thoughtful, creative and strategic ways.”

Since receiving this funding, Amphi Foundation has been able to support their students and teachers through remote learning and hybrid instruction. With the reopening of some schools for hybrid learning came more expenses to make classrooms and materials safe for students and teachers. Noreng shared that CORE funding was part of what helped make these changes possible.

In addition, Amphi has been able to provide not just essentials but also fun to their staff and students. Through Amphi Foundation, high school seniors who graduated in May were able to participate in broadcast graduation ceremonies for their friends and family to watch from home, and they even through a district-wide pizza party for Amphi staff as a thank you for their dedication during the pandemic.

Integrative Touch for Kids (ITK) supports families whose children have any type of special health or medical need. This includes kids with cancers, genetic conditions, autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic stress, and other serious health issues. Due to COVID, ITK adapted to develop new programs to deliver their services safety, including tele-services such as TeleFriend and TelleWellness. 

One of ITK’s TeleFriend participants shared, “From my buddy group my cheeks hurt from smiling so much from feeling so good and proud. They make me laugh and feel happy also. After every single time after my buddy group, I feel like I have more tools to be successful in life and I feel safer to be able to do what I want to do.” Another participant in ITK’s TelleWellness shared, “After my session, I feel ready for the world. I feel empowered. I feel open to grow and hear, like I have a greater sense of listening now.”

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.

Kristin McRay, Education Coordinator at BICAS, shared, “The CORE grant gave us the support we needed to quickly change our model to serve our communities essential transportation needs while prioritizing the safety and health of our staff and community members.” She further explained that BICAS continues to provide essential services in Tucson through bike sales, sliding scale repair services, free bicycles to those in need, and affordable parts and supplies for people to ride their bikes safety during the pandemic.

Tucson Girls Chorus (TGC) provides leadership training and musical education to a diverse group of young women. Due to the pandemic, TGC had to pivot their operations and they 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, shared, “The unrestrictive nature of the CORE grant has allowed us, especially during one of the most volatile and challenging times, to be flexible and invest in what is needed the most. At the Tucson Girls Chorus, we took this challenge as an opportunity for creative output. Having the CORE grant enabled us to securely create, re-invent and innovate, knowing we had resources for an unforeseen situation.”

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 at KXCI, shared, “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!”

Brent Rohde, a listener at KXCI, further highlighted the impact of KXCI, saying, “Thanks for keeping the sound of music alive to lift the heart during these times.” 

Willcox Theatre and Arts, Inc. is an integral part of Willcox’s entertainment and culture industry. During the pandemic, Willcox Theatre and Arts has developed clubs and activities for kids, as well as at-home arts projects created by their arts and tech staff.

Gayle Berry, Executive Director for Willcox Theatre and Arts, shared, “The CORE grant we received this year was invaluable, in ways we didn’t originally anticipate, by giving us the opportunity to react to the changing conditions that 2020 has brought to arts organizations like ours.” Berry further stated, “The flexibility of the CORE grant has helped us to continue supporting Willcox and the surrounding rural Arizona communities, bringing arts activities, engagement and creative opportunities to our southeastern Arizona community.”

Live Theatre Workshop produces inclusive, accessible and affordable professional theatre and theatre education that entertains, educates and enlightens children, adults, and families. Despite changes due to the pandemic in their original intent for the CORE grant, Live Theatre Workshop has been able to invest in hiring and training a new teaching artist so that they could create a safe online curriculum.

Michael Martinez, Executive Director, shared, “CORE funding expanded the LTW education team in an unexpected way, which ultimately has inspired innovation and positioned the organization to be better arts educators during and after the pandemic. Additional CORE funding was invested in our new outdoors stage and equipment which has allowed us to continue producing shows, hiring artists, teaching outdoor theatre classes, and has created a revenue stream that is further helping LTW to sustain the organization.”

Sister José Women’s Center is dedicated to the care and nurture of homeless women in a welcoming environment. Penny Buckley, Program Director, shared, “With the support of the CFSA CORE Grant, Sister José Women’s Center has been able to continue to serve the vital needs of women experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. Balancing the increasing needs of women left behind as service providers closed this Spring with the realities of the pandemic, Sister José adapted its programs to serve 1300 hot meals at the front door every month while providing emergency clothing and hygiene products to those in need.” 

Additional services Sister José has provided include safe spaces for women to shower, wash their clothing, and rest. Beginning December 1, 2020 Sister José will also be re-opening for overnight sleeping available for 21 women.

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, requiring funding like that of the CORE Grant to supplement their budget. 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!”

Learn more about applying for the CORE 2021 Grant Round here.