In their effort to address areas of inequity in education for marginalized students, CFSA donors Phil and Carol Lyons established the African American Opportunity Fund in 2020 to provide higher education scholarship support specifically to African American students living in Southern Arizona.

Mr. Lyons shared, “I saw that through philanthropy and volunteerism, superb education could create tremendous success for African American students given the opportunity to thrive in college. Thus, we want to support students in our community who may not have had the chance to attend college, giving them the same opportunity to succeed.”

Scholarship recipients will be recommended by the members of the African American Legacy Fund Advisory Board, who will take into consideration financial need, academic achievement, and existing financial aid. Additional consideration will be given to students that may not qualify for traditional scholarships or grants, or who are the first generation in their family to attend higher education.

2023-2024 Scholarship Applications Now Open!

This scholarship awards $2,000 to recipients who must generally be enrolled as full-time students. Applications will also be accepted from part-time students.

  • Student must be a graduating senior from or must have attended high school in the city of Tucson
  • Student must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher
  • A short essay question is included within the application and must be completed
  • One letter of recommendation is required for this scholarship and can be attached directly to the application
  • Students are not required to submit a FAFSA to apply for this scholarship, however financial need is taken into consideration.
  • Students are not required to be first-generation college students, however preference will be given to first-generation college students.


African American Opportunity Scholarship  applications must be submitted online through Common Grant Application. Please submit the completed application by Friday February 17, 2023  at 5:00 PM MST.

  • First-time users of Common Grant Application, click here to register for an account.
  • If you have already applied for a grant using Common Grant Application, you should have an account.  Returning users click here.


Please contact Natalia Gabrielsen, Program Manager, at or call 520-289-8003.

To increase the impact of this scholarship, Phil and Carol have generously agreed to match donations up to $100,000 to the African American Opportunity Fund on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Please use the form below to make a donation today.

We want to support students in our community who may not have had the chance to attend college, giving them the same opportunity to succeed.

— Phil and Carol Lyons