Since 2016, CFSA’s Civic Leadership Award has honored members of our community who have gone above and beyond to make Southern Arizona a more inclusive and welcoming place to live.

2021 Southern Arizona Civic Leadership Award Recipient

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona announces Dr. Marla Franco as the 2021 Civic Leadership Award Recipient.

Dr. Franco serves as the Assistant Vice Provost for Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Initiatives at the University of Arizona, having led efforts towards the UA becoming federally recognized as an HSI in 2018. She is the recent founder of the AZ HSI Consortium, aimed at fostering partnerships and leveraging resources across all 16 HSIs in Arizona, and co-founder of the STEM in HSI Working Group, aimed at bringing greater equity in STEM at HSIs. Throughout her 20-year career in higher education Dr. Franco has been a fierce advocate for educational access and building and sustaining culturally affirming learning and work environments.

Speaking on her leadership over the past twenty years, Dr. Franco reflected, “What an honor it has been to be embraced by the Southern Arizona community and work alongside so many to advance educational equity and inclusion.”

General Criteria:

  • Nominees must live in Southern Arizona.
  • Nominees have inspired others through either their work, volunteerism, or advocacy efforts with diverse or underrepresented communities. This work is not limited to those serving through nonprofit organizations.
  • Nominees must be able to participate in public relations before and willing to speak to attendees during the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona’s Annual Event.


  • Nominations may be made by anyone familiar with the nominee
  • Before submission, nominee(s) must agree to be nominated; verification is included on the application.
  • Up to three letters of support no more than 1 page in length may be uploaded along with the application. A minimum of one letter is required.
  • Only fully completed nominations with no more than three letters submitted by the deadline will be considered.
  • A review committee selected by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona shall be appointed to determine the recipient from among the nominees.
  • All nominees will be notified prior to the event.


  • Please tell us about the nominee.
  • Describe why this individual is being nominated and how they have inspired others through their work, volunteerism, or advocacy efforts with underrepresented communities.
  • What impact has the nominee’s leadership had on the community?
  • Please upload three letters of support.

Please contact Enedina Miller, Program Manager, Awards Community Foundation for Southern Arizona at 520-209-1525 or for questions regarding this process.

Past Recipients

  • 2016: Martha Ortiz + Noel Matkin
  • 2017: Ray Davis
  • 2018: Bishop Emeritus Gerald Kicanis
  • 2019: Marcia Berger
  • 2020: Shay Beider
  • 2021: Dr. Marla Franco
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