Education: Collaborative Approaches to Innovation

The African American Legacy Fund (AALF), a fund of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, envisions a thriving community where people and resources converge to support the prosperity of all its children, youth and families, today and in the future. Started in 2013 by renowned educator, philanthropist, and civic leader, Anna Jolivet, Ph.D., AALF addresses the educational and economic disparities faced by African Americans who call Tucson home.

The mission is to improve the quality of life of African Americans living in metropolitan Tucson by promoting philanthropy and strengthening the community through collaboration. Its core values are integrity, empowerment, community, diversity and inclusion, and equal opportunity.

Established in 1980, CFSA provides expertise and skilled guidance to help donors give back in ways that are aligned with their charitable and financial goals. Donors establish charitable funds that join hundreds of other funds under one organizational roof and every year, a portion of each fund is used to make grants, scholarships and awards in accordance with each donor’s interests. The Board of Trustees oversees the Foundation’s growing community endowment and ensures that donors’ intentions are honored now and forever.

African American Legacy Fund Grants support collaborative, innovative programs designed to improve educational outcomes. AALF understands the definition of education is very broad. Examples include, but are not limited to, projects that focus on:

  • Early childhood education
  • Retention strategies to keep children in school
  • Enrichment and other non-traditional opportunities
  • Leadership development
  • Acquisition of specific skills
  • Preparation for higher education

First-time users of Common Grant Application, please click here.  Returning users, please click here. Please see the video below for more details on the application process.

Important Dates:

  • Thursday, August 1, 2019 | Application opens on Common Grant Application
  • Friday, August 30, 2019 | Applications Due
  • October 21 – November 8, 2019 | Site Visits or Interviews
  • Week of December 9, 2019 | Notifications of Award
  • January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 | Grant Period
  • January 2020 | Award Event

Questions? Contact Laci Lester at or 520-382-9203.

Basic Eligibility Requirements

  1. The applicant must be a 501(c)(3) in good standing, conducting charitable work in Southern Arizona. Grassroots groups that have identified a 501(c)(3) that will act as the fiscal agent may be eligible to apply. Please contact Laci Lester at 520-382-9203 or to determine if you are eligible.
  2. The applicant must have local leadership in the form of a board of directors or advisory committee, local financial support, and local program management and accountability.  In the case of nationally-sponsored organizations, no portion of the grant can be used to support the national, state or regional entity.
  3. Maximum grant requests are $10,000. Requests made for more than this amount will not be considered. The grant period is one year in duration. An agency cannot receive funding until all reports required for previous awards have been received.
  4. Only one application can be submitted by the lead and collaborating organizations.
  5. The proposed program must directly benefit the people living in Metro Tucson
  6. Grants are generally not made to individuals, for-profit organizations, government entities, capital fund drives, agency endowments, individual schools or for sectarian purposes.
  7. The grant period is one year in duration. An agency cannot apply for funding until all reports required for previous awards have been received.
  8. One of our guiding principles is to honor the rich diversity of our community and to promote equal opportunities for all people. Awards made by the Foundation’s various grant panels support organizations that do not discriminate in their employment practices, volunteer opportunities or delivery of programs and services on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, disability, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, gender identity, economic circumstances and/or veteran status.

Young people, don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education… then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise.

— Michelle Obama