The LGBTQ+ Alliance Fund is thrilled to announce that Ethan Smith Cox has been appointed as Chair of the Alliance Fund Advisory Board.
Ethan shared, “It is such an honor to lead the LGBTQ+ Alliance Fund during this exciting and consequential time for the LGBTQ+ community. While we continue to see many attacks on those among us who are most vulnerable, especially transgender people of color, our hope is that the Alliance Fund can stand as a beacon of light for so many who have been dismissed and marginalized. Now, more than ever, the Alliance Fund is an incredibly important resource, and we are very fortunate to live in a community where we have tremendous support for our mission and work.”
The LGBTQ+ Alliance Fund was created in 1999 by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona with support from donors, community members, and the National Lesbian and Gay Community Funding Partnership. To date, the Alliance Fund has awarded 219 grants to 75 organizations, totaling $1,131,957.
About Ethan Smith Cox
Ethan Smith Cox, CFRE, (preferred pronouns: he/him) has been fundraising since 2002, having raised more than $50,000,000 both professionally and as a volunteer. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Cox has called Tucson home for more than 4 decades.
Cox began his fundraising career as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) after leaving a seven-year career in the retail sector.
After leaving SAAF in 2005, Cox held fundraising positions with: AZ Opera; the University of Arizona; and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO). At the TSO, Cox was Annual Fund Director for more than 2 years and, in 2010, assumed the position of Director of Development. Cox left the TSO at the end of 2010 to return to SAAF as Director of Development.
In fiscal year 2013, Cox helped SAAF have its first year ever where fundraising revenues exceeded $1,000,000. In 2016, Cox led a successful $2 million capital campaign to fund a LGBTQ youth center. Cox left SAAF in 2017 to become Major Gifts Officer with Planned Parenthood AZ (PPAZ). That same year, Cox was promoted to Director of Development with PPAZ. In 2022, Cox left Planned Parenthood Arizona to become the Director of Strategic Growth at Tohono Chul, the position he holds today.
Cox has also volunteered on various nonprofit boards, including Tucson Pride (2005-2009; President from 2006-2009); Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)-Southern Arizona Chapter (2007-2013 and 2015-Present; President in 2012); and Planned Giving Round Table (2014-2015). In 2016, Cox was honored as Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the AFP Southern Arizona Chapter.
Cox’s philosophy of philanthropy is to create opportunities for everyone to support the thing(s) they care about most. Philanthropy is not about who can write the biggest check but about helping everyone find a way to make a difference in their community, in any way possible.
Cox is married to Michael Bilharz, and they are the proud parents of canine Bugsy and feline Neel.