2024 Comunidad Grantees

CFSA Announces $132,000 in General Operating Support through the Inaugural Comunidad Grants

CFSA is pleased to announce that $132,000 in general operating support has been awarded to 24 Southern Arizona nonprofits through the first year of Comunidad Grants.

Comunidad Grants were designed to support organizations working at the local level with their communities to address emerging or systemic issues. The program is dedicated to supporting grassroots nonprofits that perform critical work in their communities and are often most in need of unrestricted funding. Rooted in mutual trust, this program gives nonprofits autonomy over how resources are best utilized to achieve their mission.

In this year’s grant round, 39 eligible applications were received from organizations representing 17 different focus areas. After a three-week application review process, our grants committee of community volunteers made its final recommendation for funding.  This year’s grantee pool represents four geographic service areas within Southern Arizona and 13 different focus areas. Twenty percent of grantees primarily serve rural communities.

2024 Comunidad Grantees

Benson MTB kid riding bike jumping dirt hill

Receiving a 2024 Comunidad Grant shows that the momentum is growing and more people are getting the vision for the powerful impact that trails can have for our communities--locally and collectively. Our organization will be infused with capital that will help make the dream become reality! Building trails close to home will be happening!

— Christy Jo Crowley, Benson MTB
Beyond Dreams

Getting this grant for our organization means we can continue supporting immigrant students in our community. We will be able to provide them with resources to continue their studies and grow in the different skills. We will be able to provide them with financial assistance for their College/University tuition and skill-based workshops by our team and community.

— Isela Zazueta, Beyond Dreams
Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona

Receiving a grant is paramount to our organization’s ability to fulfill our mission of supporting children and adolescents facing cancer, sickle cell, and blood disorders. It signifies the assurance of sustained service delivery and underscores our commitment to making a lasting impact on the lives of those we serve. This funding is indispensable for our staff to broaden and implement our programs effectively, guaranteeing ongoing support to families during their most vulnerable moments. Moreover, through the expansion of outreach initiatives, the grant ensures that resources extend to reach more families in need, magnifying our ability to make a meaningful difference in their lives.

— Beverley Tidwell, Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona
Changing Lanes Recovery graduate

Receiving the 2024 Comunidad Grant means that we, at Changing Lanes Recovery, can reach our targeted audience on a wider scale. We will be able to improve our Family and Friends activity days (Saturday/Sunday) and ensure we are offering events and socialization opportunities for our clients to re-integrate into daily life with support. Additionally, we will be able to improve our group materials and expand our outreach efforts further into Tucson and Southern Arizona. We are so excited to be able to receive this grant and even more excited at the door being opened into more accessible services for everyone.

— Kaitlin Martin, Changing Lanes Recovery
Community Care Tucson

This grant will benefit our work by supporting our ability to provide Tucsonans in need with catered or home-cooked, locally made food. It will help us purchase seasonal needs including warm blankets, tents, warm clothes, gloves, and hats in the winter; and reusable water bottles, electrolytes, hats, and bandanas in the summer. Grant funding gives us another valuable resource — breathing room. Having grant support opens our ability to be creative, build our capacity, recruit, organize for systemic change, participate in community events, relax, laugh, and have fun. All of this is essential for us to be effective in our mission.

— Tate Williams, Community Care Tucson
Favor Celestial Community Economic Development Initiative for the Preservation of Barrio Kroeger Lane

We sincerely give our gratitude for having the blessing to receive a 2024 Comunidad Grant from the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona! With this funding and every partnership's support, we can prove the fact that Our Barrio deserves to be acknowledged and work for preservation, betterment, and more opportunities for our multi-generational families and everyone included. We will be able to continue documenting our barrio history and family stories. Gracias!

— Josefina Cardenas, Favor Celestial Community Economic Development Initiative for the Preservation of Barrio Kroeger Lane
Friends of Pinal County Animal Shelters and Rescues

Receiving the Comunidad Grant allows us to keep animals in their homes that would otherwise be slated for euthanasia at underfunded municipal/county shelters in Pinal County. Friends of Pinal originally began as a way to support the shelter's need for veterinary care, we now recognize that the best way to keep animals who need medical care out of the shelter is to keep them in their homes.

— Katrina Rodrigues, Friends of Pinal County Animal Shelters and Rescues
Lifeline Oro Valley Animal Rescue

Being a recipient of the CFSA 2024 Comunidad Grant means that we can expand our programs, service, and support in ways that we were unable to previously due to restrictions on existing funds. For example, expanding our reach to pet families in marginalized BIPoC communities and broadening our social media footprint through digital accessibility for people with limited English proficiency and Deaf/Hard of Hearing who have pets, or would like to adopt. With elevated length of stays for pets in shelters, including and reaching more of our diverse communities will help get lost pets home faster, keep families and pets in need together to reduce owner surrenders and help with awareness of fostering and adopting.

— Jeanette Anders, Lifeline Oro Valley Animal Rescue - LOVAR
No Jail Deaths

Receiving this grant is an incredible opportunity to expand our support of people who have been and are incarcerated at the Pima County Jail and their loved ones. These people are some of the most vulnerable in our community and we know that the jail has one of the highest death rates in the country. Local groups like our own are often limited by finances. With these funds, we can better ensure that our incarcerated community members know that they are loved, supported, and are not alone.

— James Lioi, No Jail Deaths
Oracle Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation

This grant represents security for OARR. It ensures that we can commit to our planned programming (mobile spay/neuter clinics, trap/neuter/vaccinate/return of community cats, and dog behavior/training) while continuing to intake foster dogs & cats with serious medical & behavioral needs. We don't have to choose between core, critical, urgent services and the programs that help address systemic, long-term solutions for our community. For our Board and volunteers, unrestricted support is enormously stress-reducing. It allows us to respond where the need is when we encounter it without our hands being unnecessarily tied.

— Julie Hall, Oracle Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation
Patagonia Creative Arts Association

All funding to our cause helps us continue our 25-year commitment to our community. Learning through the arts has helped raise a generation of kids in Patagonia and continues to be a source of jobs for local artists. We are especially grateful for flexible funding that allows us to use the money where needed without limitations.

— Cassina Farey, Patagonia Creative Arts Association
Project Bike Club

Receiving a 2024 Comunidad Grant means that our small team will continue to be able to offer scholarships to any riders in need while still being able to pay our contracted coaches the stipends they count on to do the amazing work they do.

— Lucas Murray, Project Bike Club
Reach For The Stars

Receiving the Comunidad Grant not only propels us towards significant growth and the achievement of our mission's objectives but also elevates our efforts, enhancing our impact within the community. For our team, and more importantly, for the youth and communities we support, this grant represents a shining star of hope and a promise of expanding possibilities. This grant greatly enhances our leadership capacity, strengthens our organizational structure, and enriches our services. This ripple effect will benefit every aspect of our programs, touching the lives of all our current and future clients, as well as their families. Thank you for allowing us to aim higher and reach for the stars.

— Carlos Aragon, Reach For The Stars
Rio Rico Community Center

The likelihood of the RRCC being able to provide/expand needed programs and services in our community is made possible with grant funding from the Comunidad Grant. Our population from youth to seniors are directly impacted as rural communities face a challenge in accessibility to those programs in the community and not having to travel to the metropolitan areas for services and programs.

— Oscar Pena, Rio Rico Community Center

This grant means everything to the people we support who need access to culturally grounded and trauma-informed mental health therapy. It removes barriers commonly preventing them from receiving care.

— Faviola Augustin, Sagrado Wellness
Sierra Vista Dream Center

The Sierra Vista Dream Center provides vital support and resources to individuals and families in need throughout our community. The grant awarded t to the Dream Center has the following important benefits:

-Increase access to nutritious food for low-income households struggling with food insecurity.
-Support the Dream Center's food pantry program, which distributes groceries, fresh produce, and other essentials free of charge to those facing hunger and poverty.
-Enable the Dream Center to serve more people in need and prevent them from having to turn away individuals and families.
-Provide healthier food options for the homeless population served by the Dream Center's community meals program.
-Allow the Dream Center to redirect funds from their limited budget toward other critical areas like job training, childcare, housing assistance, and more.

Overall, a food grant would be an investment in addressing food insecurity and supporting the health and well-being of our community's most vulnerable populations. The Sierra Vista Dream Center is doing exemplary work, and this grant would empower them to expand their life-changing services.

— Clea McCaa, Sierra Vista Dream Center
South Tucson Community Outreach

The Comunidad Grant will help us continue to provide food to residents in South Tucson, extending our senior resident popup markets for months. This will impact many senior residents by increasing food accessibility with fresh, culturally-appropriate, pantry items, and fresh produce. This grant means so much to our organization, and we are thrilled to continue providing for our senior residents in South Tucson.

— Desiree Guerrero, South Tucson Community Outreach
Southwest Folklife Alliance Inc.

Receiving the Comunidad Grant means we can continue the work with consistency and assurance by delivering to the greater community valuable information and community narratives told directly from local/nationwide indigenous folks. As a devoted podcast team, we believe in the power of the microphone and recognize the impact we can make with support from a funding source such as this one. We are grateful for the financial support and thankful that the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona has acknowledged the passion and dedication we have for our communities. Thank you for contributing to the success of the podcast as we continue to share community stories and grow our audience.

— Leia Maahs, Southwest Folklife Alliance Inc.
Sustainable Tucson

The Comunidad Grant enables us to expand our initiatives, such as educational meetings, leadership training, and community-building projects, reaching more people and fostering greater sustainability. Additionally, the grant will enhance our operational sustainability, allowing us to build capacity, strengthen partnerships, and advocate for sustainable policies. For the people impacted by our work, the grant means access to vital resources, opportunities for empowerment, and a brighter, more sustainable future for all.

— Tres English, Sustainable Tucson
The Center for Community Mediation and Facilitation

Receiving the 2024 Comunidad Grant is a significant acknowledgment of our organization's commitment to fostering peace, respect, and understanding within our community through conflict resolution, mediation, facilitation, and training. This grant supports our ongoing efforts including raising awareness among underserved communities and TPD.

— Catherine Tornbom, The Center for Community Mediation and Facilitation
The Land With No Name Sanctuary

Receiving the Comunidad Grant keeps our programs running, including sculpture tours, educational workshops, and artist-in-residence programs. We are grateful for these opportunities to give people in our community a chance to be with the land, with art, and with their own experience of art-making and understanding. LWNN supports Native artists who want to practice their artistry on their ancestral lands, share their arts and culture on their terms and in their voice, with all community members, and create spaces where intergenerational arts learning is prioritized. For over 15 years, LWNN has built friendships with the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui community, collaborating on art workshops, sculpture tours, and sharing circles that discuss Native history and contemporary Tribal issues.

— Kate Hodges, The Land With No Name Sanctuary
Tucson Home Sharing

Receiving the Comunidad Grant means we will move closer to achieving our vision of a supported home-sharing community in the Tucson area. Home Sharing is a safe, low-cost, healthy, sustainable, and companionable housing option that has the potential to impact the affordable housing crisis in Tucson definitively. Our mission to provide education, outreach, and advocacy toward creating and sustaining home-sharing partnerships will continue with greater focus, visibility, intent, and expansion. All programs will continue to be offered at no cost, along with increased coaching, consultation, and volunteer assistance.

— Lucy Read, Tucson Home Sharing
Tucson Juneteenth Festival Committee Inc.

Receiving the 2024 Comunidad Grant means that Tucson Juneteenth can continue the work that began in 1970, which is first educating the masses about the significance of June 19, 1865, and the impact it had and still has on American history. Secondly, it will allow us the opportunity to further unify the community in Southern Arizona, not just one day in the year, but throughout the year. Having the ability to partner with other organizations, bringing Black and Brown lives together, through community empowerment. Third, the grant would ensure that we can continue to hold this event for another year, as we grow, so does the Diversity and Inclusion in Tucson and Southern Arizona. The community has supported the Festival for over 50 years, but now we want to support the community in ways, that have never been realized. Bringing Black men back home, talking about real issues in our community such as domestic violence, and toxic masculinity, creating mentors for BiPOC boys and girls, and creating talking circles for men and women. Educating our youth on the real history and people realizing this is not a "black holiday"but an American holiday."

— Larry Starks, Tucson Juneteenth Festival Committee Inc.