2024 AALF

African American Legacy Fund Awards Second Year of Unrestricted Funding to Six Local Nonprofits

The African American Legacy Fund (AALF), an initiative of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA), is thrilled to celebrate grant recipients entering their second year of funding.

In 2023, six local nonprofits were awarded a combined total of $50,000 in unrestricted funding, and this same level of funding was allocated to the organizations in 2024. Since 2013, our generous donors have made it possible for AALF to invest over $325,000 to support organizations serving African American communities in Southern Arizona.

AALF 2023-2024 Grantees

AALF was founded in 2013 by esteemed educator, philanthropist, and civic leader Dr. Anna Jolivet, Ph.D. AALF works to improve the quality of life for African Americans who live in Southern Arizona through strengthening relationships and fostering collaboration among community members, donors, and organizations serving the African American community, enhancing the capacity of organizations that are working to improve the African American community, encouraging greater giving from and to the African American community, and funding innovative, collaborative programs that improve the quality of life for Southern Arizonans of African heritage.

Dr. Laila Hishaw, Founder of Diversity in Dentistry Mentorships, shared, “Receiving this generous grant from the African American Legacy Fund will allow us to unlock the potential of so many students who never considered a career in dentistry. Through mentorship and hands-on programming, we will continue strengthening the diversity pathway from middle school to dental school of African American and other students underrepresented in healthcare.”

“Receiving the African American Legacy Fund Grant is a significant milestone for our organization. It means our work and mission to empower girls, particularly those from Black communities. This grant provides us with financial support to promote self-confidence, leadership, and personal growth among girls and young women, and it enables us to expand our impact and reach more girls in need,” shared Acacia Barnett, Founder of Hattie B. Black Women in Progress (BWIP). “Thank you for giving a small, rural, Black organization like ours a chance. We look forward to continuing our work to empower Black girls and build a stronger community.”

CFSA is grateful to continue our partnership with the Connie Hillman Family Foundation, which will contribute one hundred dollars for every two hundred dollars of support the African American Legacy Fund receives.

Please consider supporting the African American Legacy Fund today!

Receiving a grant would be an extraordinary boon for our organization dedicated to supporting minority students. It would signify a beacon of hope and affirmation, not just for us as an entity, but for the countless individuals we serve. With this financial support, we would be empowered to expand our programs, enhance our resources, and reach even more underserved families. This grant would not only validate the importance of our mission but also enable us to tangibly manifest our commitment to equity and inclusion. It would signify a pivotal moment in our journey, propelling us forward with renewed vigor and determination to create a more equitable educational landscape for all minority students, ensuring that they have the tools, opportunities, and support they need to thrive and succeed.

— Marie Cephers, President Tucson Educational Empowerment for Minorities

Receiving the 2024 Grant from the African American Legacy Fund is a tremendous honor and opportunity for the African American Museum of Southern Arizona (AAMSAZ) and the community we serve, our Tucson, Southern Arizona, state and national communities. The grant enables AAMSAZ to delve deeper into African American history in the Southern Arizona region, uncovering untold stories and highlighting the contributions of African Americans who are and were a part of the area's cultural tapestry. This research helps preserve and promote a more comprehensive understanding of this region's history. With funding from the grant, AAMSAZ can acquire, clean and update artifacts that enrich our collection and enhance the museum's ability to educate and engage visitors. These artifacts serve as tangible links to the past, allowing for a more immersive and meaningful experience for our visitors. Day-to-day operations are the backbone of any museum, and the grant provides crucial support in this area. From maintaining the museum's facilities to covering intern costs, this funding ensures that AAMSAZ can continue its mission effectively and sustainably. Exhibits are the heart of any museum, and we are no different, offering a platform to showcase curated stories and artifacts. The grant empowers AAMSAZ to develop innovative and informative exhibits that educate, elevate, inspire, and provoke thought. We hope we hear, “ I didn’t know that,” a few times during our tours.Perhaps most importantly, the grant allows AAMSAZ to fulfill its role as a vital community resource. By sharing the rich history of African Americans in Southern Arizona, the museum fosters understanding, dialogue, and appreciation among people of all backgrounds. It serves as a space for reflection, learning, and celebration of diversity. This 2024 Grant from the African American Legacy Fund not only sustains the operations of the African American Museum of Southern Arizona but also amplifies its impact on the community by enabling it to expand its reach, deepen its research, and enrich its offerings. This support ensures that the museum continues to be a beacon of cultural heritage and education.

— Beverely Elliott, Founder African American Museum of Southern Arizona

Thank to your support, we will be able to continue our efforts to preserve and promote African American culture and history at the Dunbar Pavilion. Support from the African American Legacy Fund will help us improve our museum/artifact displays and continue to share the history of the Dunbar with the community during tours and digital storytelling.

— Freda Marshall, Executive Director Dunbar Coalition, INC

Receiving the 2024 Grant from the African American Legacy Fund is a profound affirmation of our mission and the importance of our work. The AALF’s commitment to supporting Black nonprofits like ours is invaluable. This grant enables us to provide more comprehensive programming, reach a broader audience, and offer enhanced resources that are specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of the Black communities we serve. We are deeply grateful to the African American Legacy Fund for their support and for recognizing the value of our work. With this grant, we are further motivated to continue our dedication to transforming the lives of young Black girls, helping them to envision and achieve a bright, empowered future.

— Acacia Barnett, Executive Director Hattie B. Black Women In Progress

We are honored to have the continuing support of the African American Legacy Fund. With their help, Books for Classrooms has delivered over 50,000 high-quality diverse supplementary reading books directly to classrooms and school libraries allowing over 20,000 Pima County Title 1 students to see themselves in books in their classroom.

— Linda Laird, President/Coordinator Books for Classrooms