CORE Grants

Since 1980, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona has distributed more than $176 million to the regional nonprofits and educational institutions. Dollars have been directed toward programs spanning animal welfare, arts and culture, community development, education, environment, health and human services, and other areas of community need. For more than 38 years, CFSA has been a trusted philanthropic partner helping hundreds of individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits to create a stronger community.

As we prepare for the decade ahead and sharpen our focus, CFSA will be making general operating support grants to high-impact nonprofits. We know from experience—our own and that of other forward-looking foundations—that such gifts can quicken the arc of change, creating greater results in less time and at a lower cost.

In 2016, CFSA changed its grantmaking strategy to confront 21st-century challenges and achieve greater impact in our grantmaking. After research and following recommendation of best practices by other foundations, CFSA developed CORE grants.

The purpose of the CORE grants is to provide unrestricted operating support for high-impact nonprofits. We believe that in order for our nonprofit community to improve the life of people and places in Southern Arizona, they need the core unrestricted working capital to leverage their impact.

Important Dates
January 7, 2019 Applications Open
March 1, 2019 Applications Due
March-April 2019 Applications Review
June 10 Award Notifications
Summer 2019 Awards Celebration

To view application guidelines and requirements for 2019, please visit our CORE grants brochure.

Characteristics of the high-impact nonprofit organizations that will receive funding are ones that meet our CORE values of:

Community: Are continually evolving and growing, meeting the needs of the clients they serve. They are well networked and utilize the strengths of relationships and collaboration.

Organizational Sustainability: Have business models that provide on-going financial sustainability for their organization as well as the ability to leverage different forms of capital. A robust and balanced fundraising plan is in place and volunteers and staff are balanced in their roles. They have boards and staff that are skilled, diverse, and knowledgeable and have shown longevity and a desire to move the organization forward to achieve the best results.

Results: Demonstrate results and outcomes which help them improve over time as well as develop appropriate services to their clients. High-impact nonprofits should be able to demonstrate methods for collecting and evaluating effectiveness.

Effective Programs: Clearly articulate why their programs and mission are important; high impact nonprofits strategically align their programmatic work with the larger good of the clients that they serve.

Partnering with Donors  As part of CFSA’s strategic approach to grantmaking, CORE grants will also be presented to donors who may have an interest in supporting general operating support grants.


Contact Kelly Huber, Director, Strategic Grants and Initiatives, Community Investments, at or by phone (520) 209-2858