Collage of local nonprofit Stone Canyon award recipients

Stone Canyon Community Foundation Awards $295,000 to Local Nonprofits


Stone Canyon Community Foundation (SCCF), a donor-advised fund held at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, is pleased to announce that a total of $295,000 was granted to 26 local nonprofit organizations in their 2022-2023 Annual Grant Round.

Grantees were selected based on their programs fulfilling the following needs: helping young people get and stay on track or take advantage of educational and other opportunities for their own self-improvement and development. These grants were made possible through the generosity of the members of the Stone Canyon community.

SCCF supports nonprofit organizations whose endeavors positively impact the quality of life and development of youth in need in Oro Valley and the greater Tucson, Arizona area. “In 2008, the Stone Canyon Community Foundation made its first two grants for a total of $4,000,” shared SCCF Advisory Board Co-Chair Cathy Earnest.  “Little did we envision that in 15 years, the SCCF would have donated over $3.5 million in 295 grants!  We are ever grateful to the Stone Canyon donors for their generosity and for their ongoing commitment to Tucson’s youth-in-need.”

2022 – 2023 Stone Canyon Community Foundation Grantees:

Grantee Highlights:

SARSEF focuses on engaging student populations underrepresented in the fields of STEM and fosters communities of support for students in STEM by building the confidence and toolboxes of some of their greatest advocates – teachers and caregivers.

“We are incredibly grateful to have been awarded a grant from the Stone Canyon Community Foundation. This generous contribution will allow us to foster curiosity, facilitate exploration, and encourage discovery in classrooms, impacting countless students and educators across Arizona,” said Yvonne Pysher, Director of Marketing and Communications at SARSEF. “This gift allows us to impact numerous students and educators throughout Arizona, as it supports our STEM Education and Outreach Programs.”

Interfaith Community Services helps people in need achieve stable, healthy, and independent lives through emergency assistance, self-sufficiency programs, caregiving and senior services, and community health outreach.

“The Stone Canyon Community Foundation grant supports our two-generation approach to breaking the cycle of poverty. Funds for Youth Enrichment Support provide essential school supplies, tutoring, educational enrichment, and extracurricular activities for the children of Single Mom Scholars, improving the quality of life for kids while their parents study full-time to earn a college degree that will bring a better future for the whole family. This investment in children provides family stability, supports kids’ academic performance, and expands the life outlook of vulnerable youth,” shared Tom McKinney, CEO of Interfaith Community Services.

The on-site resource centers at Project Access provide access to on-site health, education, and economic services for families, children, and seniors to cultivate strong communities, positive changes, and hopeful futures.

“Receiving this grant from SCCF fills a tremendous gap in low-income neighborhoods by providing youth with comprehensive out-of-classroom education enrichment services that lead them on a path towards academic achievement and beyond. It also provides critical support and resources for parents/caregivers to foster resiliency, which is sorely needed in today’s ever-changing environment,” shared Victoria Vega, Chief Operating Officer of Project Access. “Project Access shares the SCCF’S vision of empowering youth to achieve their dreams through the Education for Youth & Families Program by making high-quality academic support and enrichment activities accessible.  With the support of SCCF, our program is able to address the multi-dimensional and holistic needs of children, which helps to establish a strong foundation for success in the classroom and beyond.”

Since 1963, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona helps children realize their potential and build their futures through mentorships between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).

“A gift from Stone Canyon Community Foundation allows us to make one-to-one mentoring matches for youth in need.  These matches help children realize their potential and build their futures, which in turn, strengthens our community,” shared Sabrina Lobato-Gonzales, Director of Community Development at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona.

“The generous investment of the Stone Canyon Community Foundation is foundational to our efforts to provide the life-changing gift of literacy to at approximately 850 elementary school students in greater Tucson this school year,” shared Melisa Woodhall, Grants Manager at Literacy Connects. “Literacy Connects’ Reading Seed program directly helps youth in need achieve educational success. Reading Seed recruits, trains, and supports volunteers to work one-to-one with children reading below grade level every week throughout the school year. Reading Seed also provides students with free books chosen specifically to match their reading level and interests. The goals of the program are for students to increase reading proficiency, develop healthy identities as readers and learners, and ultimately to positively impact third-grade reading levels. The vision of Reading Seed is that all children in Pima County will read at grade level by the end of third grade.”

Wheel Fun promotes the well-being for rural Arizona’s youngest community members by getting them off electronic devices and outdoors onto mountain bikes. Wheel Fun teaches life skills and encourages physical activity and spending time outdoors.

“Thank you, Stone Canyon Community Foundation!  Your generous donation will make a difference as we introduce and expand the love of biking to more kids across the local community,” said Kevin Adams, Treasurer at Wheel Fun. “Wheel Fun is grateful for your support!”

Dr. Tracy Baynes, President and Founder of STEP, shared, “At STEP, we believe that low-income Tucson students who are putting in the hard work to excel in the most challenging courses at their school should receive the focused guidance needed to prepare for and apply to top colleges, secure scholarships, navigate the transition from high school to college to career, and advocate for themselves in college and life.  Stone Canyon Community Foundation’s support of our mission has been integral to our success.  The impact of their funding will be far-reaching and will significantly change the lives of our first-generation students and their families.”