Collage of nonprofits that were awarded support through CORE grants

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona Awards $1.2 million in General Operating Support through CORE Grants

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) is thrilled to announce that $1,225,000 in general operating support has been awarded to 51 nonprofits to provide the flexible working capital necessary to maximize their impact and improve the quality of life in Southern Arizona. This is the largest grant round in CFSA’s 43-year history.

Jenny Flynn, CFSA’s President and CEO, shared, “This year’s CORE Grants highlight the generosity and trust between our donors and nonprofit partners and celebrate the community that makes this all possible. As we look towards next year with a new strategic plan, we are focused on our mission of building a thriving Southern Arizona through philanthropy.”

CFSA’s 2023 CORE Grants were made possible with the support of our CORE Donor Collaborators, our CFSA Field of Interest Funds, the Connie Hillman Family Foundation, and our CORE Community Review Committee. Their commitment and dedication were essential in making the sixth year of CORE Grants successful. CORE Grants have awarded $4.7 million to 115 Southern Arizona nonprofits since 2017, with significant growth in impact and reach seen each year.

Kelly Huber, Vice President of Philanthropy, shared, “We are lucky in Southern Arizona to have many amazing community members that bring their time, expertise, and financial resources to this work. Our CORE Donor Collaborators are an example of that. Their generosity and community spirit are essential to the success and continued year-over-year growth of the CORE Grants program. This year, our 21 CORE Donor Collaborators contributed nearly $600,000 to the 2023 CORE Grants program.”

This year’s grantee pool represents eight geographic areas and 17 focus areas, including Arts & Culture, Education, Healthcare, Rural Community Services, Children & Youth, and more. Forty-one percent of this year’s grantees are first-time CORE Grant recipients, and twenty-nine percent primarily serve rural communities. The average grant award for this cycle is $24,019.61 – an eighteen percent increase from 2022.

Jeaiza Quiñones Ivory, Director of Community Investments for CFSA, shared, “This year’s CORE Grants application process underwent significant improvements due to the transparency, advocacy, and adaptability of our previous applicants, review committee, and CORE Donor Collaborators. As this program grows, our team will be focused on further centering those voices and approaching this process from a trust-based philanthropy lens. This helps to ensure that our nonprofit community maintains the autonomy to utilize funding as they see fit, that there is continued access to our team, and that our grant processes evolve collaboratively and equitably.”

Photo of attendees from the 2023 CORE grants celebration.

CORE Grants 2023 Celebration

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CORE 2023 Grantees & Donor Collaborators

2023 CORE Grantees
2023 CORE Collaborators

Anne Maley-Schaffner and Timothy Schaffner
Anonymous Donors
Barbara Kelly
Blessings Fund
Buffalo Fund for the Animals
Cathy Davis
Connie Hillman Family Foundation
David and Norma Lewis Foundation
David Wegner and Nancy Jacques
Dr. William E. Horst
Fenster Family Foundation Fund
Hellene Henrikson Legacy Fund
Hopeful Spirit Fund
Jane Levin and Judy Reisman
Julian M. Babad Charitable Fund
Shaaron Kent Endowment Fund
Topaz Fund

CORE Application Review Process

In this year’s grant round, 140 applications were received from nonprofits across the Southern Arizona region.

In a three-round selection process, our cohort was narrowed down to 67 finalists by a committee of community volunteers.

These groups joined us for 15-minute interviews held over the course of 5 days in March 2023, after which the grants committee and our CORE Donor Collaborators made their final recommendation for funding.

Receiving the CFSA CORE Grant means that our organization can make a greater impact in the community by investing in staff and the infrastructure needed to serve more children. It gives us the flexibility we need to meet issues head-on, as they arise. Our organization is healthier and more robust because of this grant.

— Tim Kromer, Executive Director, Amphi Foundation

Receiving the CORE Grant helps create a stable organizational foundation, which means we can focus more time and energy serving our community. We’ll be able to reach more people through outreach events, educational workshops, and connect communities with cultural and historical ties to heirloom seeds.

— Alexandra Zamecnik, Executive Director, Native Seed/SEARCH

Receiving a CFSA CORE grant is a game changer for our organization as we continue to reach further to extend our services to underserved communities beyond of the walls of our theater. This funding will help provide stability as we extend our services to new audiences.

— Bryan Falcón, Artistic and Managing Director, Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre

Receiving this grant is a massive breath of fresh air for our organization! The majority of our funding is federal grants, which often comes with massively tight strings attached. Receiving grant money to be used as we see fit, without limitations and requirements for certain programs, is a wonderful help to us and enables us to be flexible as needed.

— Kim Gill, Executive Director, VICaP

Receiving the CFSA Core Grant means so much to us. It means that we have the much-needed flexibility in our funding to make the decisions that are right for our organization, and increased capacity to serve our community to the best of our ability.

— Thea Van Gorp, Development Director, Bisbee Science Exploration & Research Center

We are privileged to receive these funds again. Throughout this grant, we can continue serving our community in ways we wouldn't be allowed to with a restricted grant. We will reinvest these funds directly into our community, providing education, training, and support to Youth, Adults, and Women. Thank you, CFSA, for this opportunity!

— Blanca Acosta, Executive Director, Constructing Circles of Peace

Receiving the CFSA CORE grant means so very much to the Autism Society of Southern Arizona. We want to be able to create opportunities for the Autism community to engage with one another and find community and support, this grant will make that dream a reality.

— Kate Elliott, Executive Director, Autism Society of Southern Arizona

This was our third time applying and it is amazing to feel that our work is relevant and valued. These funds give us the ability to continue creatively responding to our community's end-of-life needs.

— Julie Evans, Executive Director, Roots & Roads Community Hospice Foundation

Receiving the CFSA CORE Grant means the world to us here at Friends of Aphasia. The grant will help us make huge strikes towards meeting the unprecedented demand for aphasia services in our community.

— Fabi Hirsch Kruse, CEO, Director of Clinical Services, Friends of Aphasia

Receiving a CORE grant from CFSA means that Iskashitaa can continue to serve refugees and the Southern Arizona community at a very dynamic time in our history. Unrestricted funding shows trust in our abilities, and reminds us that we should be proud of the relationships that we have built in the past 20 years.

— Amelia Natoli, Grants and Development, Iskashitaa Refugee Network

Simply put, receiving this grant is a game changer for the Patagonia Regional Times. This grant covers a significant portion of our operating expenses and will allow us to explore avenues for the generation of new revenue in the future.

— Marion Vendituoli, Managing Editor, Patagonia Regional Times

Unrestricted grants are rare, precious, and essential to non-profit resilience, program planning, and impact development and reflects CFSAZ’s deep understanding of non-profit fundraising challenges. Moreover, CORE general operating support confers a trusted partnership with the message: “We value your work. You are delivering your mission. Use these funds where most needed to make a difference in our community.

— Michele Mirto, Executive Director, Step Up to Justice

Grants for general operating support helps lighten the load for nonprofits and helps us to focus on running and improving our programs. These types of grants also give us flexibility to respond to emerging community needs.

— Kaitee Doll-Bell, Grants & Communication Manager, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sun Corridor