The Greater Tucson Area Foundation was established in 1980 by community leaders to bring together philanthropic individuals interested in supporting the needs of our community, now and in the future.

Four decades and two name changes later, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona continues to connect donors who want to make a difference to the causes they care about.  Hundreds of individuals, families, and businesses have established funds at the Community Foundation, creating a group of funds that have granted more than $230 million since 1980.

Today, we continue to improve the quality of life in the region with the support of community-minded people like you. Together, we address a broad spectrum of issues and apply our collective funds to life-changing philanthropic efforts.


“Greater Tucson Area Foundation” established by Buddy Amos, James Burns, Jim Click Jr., Edward Moore, and Granger Weil

CFSA Founders

Leonard White becomes the first Executive Director.


James Burns, founder of Greater Area Tucson Foundation, serves as Board Chair.


Edna Amos establishes one of the first endowed funds in memory of her late husband, George H. Amos, Sr.


George “Buddy” Amos, Jr. serves as Board Chair.

Buddy Amos Chair

Donna Grant is hired as the Foundation’s first full-time Executive Director.



Greater Tucson Area Foundation was renamed Tucson Community Foundation.


Established “First Family Funds” honoring individuals and families who lived in greater Tucson prior to WW II and contributed to the social, cultural and charitable growth of the community

Renamed “Tucson Community Foundation”


Received National Endowment for the Arts Challenge Grant to establish Endowment for the Arts Fund


Assets grow to $3.1 million.


Sidney B. Brinkerhoff serves as Board Chair.

Sid Brinkerhoff

“The Arizona Arts Award” and the “Igor Gorin Memorial Award” are established.  Since 1993, the Igor Gorin Memorial Award has given over $306,000 to 44 aspiring opera singers to help with expenses associated with accompanists, coaches, and auditioning as they transition from school into professional careers.

Photo of Igor Gorin singing to a group of people in a field

Awarded first grant to the Tucson AIDS Project, beginning a long involvement in the fight against the disease.


Received challenge grant from Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to raise $1.5 million in endowed funds to be matched with $1 million.


Received challenge grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to establish a program funding neighborhood development.  Later partnered with United Way, city and county governments, and Pima Prevention Partnership to found PRO Neighborhoods.

ProNeighborhoods Logo

Assets grow to $7.3 million.


 Gordon W. Waterfall serves as board chair.


HIV/AIDS Consortium established with a grant from the National Community AIDS Partnership.


Melody S. Robidoux established a supporting organization, the Melody S. Robidoux Foundation, placing the foundation in the top 50 community foundations nationwide.


“Southern Arizona Women’s Fund” is established by Harriet Silverman and Melody Robidoux.  This fund evolved into the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona in 1999.  WFSA empowers women and girls to improve their lives and communities through five primary forces for change – leadership development, charitable giving, community building, research and grantmaking.

Melody Robidoux photo

Kerstin and Spencer Block established the “Buffalo Exchange Arts Award.”  Since 1994, more than than $250,000 has been awarded to 27 Southern Arizona artists.

Spencer and Kerstin Block

Bettina O’Neil-Lyons serves as Board Chair.


Assets grow to $25.1 million


Dr. Anna Jolivet serves as Board Chair.

Dr. Anna Jolivet smiling

Name changed to “Community Foundation for Southern Arizona” to reflect regional grantmaking.

Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

Michael Hard serves as Board Chair.


CFSA awarded $100,000 challenge grant to establish the LGBTQ+ Alliance Fund.  Since its creation in 1999, the LGBTQ+ Alliance Fund has awarded 194 grants, totaling $943,397, to more than 65 local organizations working to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people in southern Arizona.


Assets grow to $52.2 million. CFSA is ranked in the top 20% of community foundations nationwide.


In partnership with local leaders, CFSA established the regional affiliate Santa Cruz Community Foundation.

Santa Cruz Community Foundation an affiliate of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.

Mary Ann Dobras serves as Board Chair.


Steve Alley joins CFSA as President and CEO.


Center for Planned Giving (CPG) was established as an impartial resource for professional advisors, donors, and nonprofits exploring philanthropy.


Phil Amos serves as Board Chair.


Became a founding member of the Border Philanthropy Partnership designed to strengthen philanthropy on both sides of the US/Mexico border stretching from San Deigo/Tijuana to Brownsville/Matamoros.


Robert Friesen serves as Board Chair.


Assets grow to $75.4 million.


Launched $1-million Literacy for Life Coalition to promote a culture of literacy in Pima County.  This led to the merger of five local literacy programs and the creation of Literacy Connects in 2011.

Social Venture Partners Tucson is established.


Surpassed $100 million in assets.


Carmen Marriott serves as Board Chair.


Stone Canyon Community Foundation donor advised fund established.

Stone Canyon Community Foundation

The Economic Relief and Stability Fund granted 100% of the $442,000 funds contributed to local nonprofits through the CFSA Community Investment grants.  We were able to provide relief to the most vulnerable in our community – through the nonprofits that serve them.


Launched Technical Assistance Program in partnership with the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Cox Communications and awarded Collaborative Grant to Help Low-Income Minority Artists become economically successful.


Paul Lindsey serves as Board Chair.


Clint Mabie joins CFSA as President and CEO.

Clint Mabie- Headshot - B&W

Planning Grants of up to $5,000 each awarded to Ajo Food Partnership, Neighborhood Stabilization in the City of South Tucson, Partnership for Women and Girls, and the Empowered Leaders Directing Elder Resources to develop their implementation plans and expand their collaborations.


Responded to the events of January 8, 2011 by establishing 5 funds that received over $1,100,000 from 5,000 individuals from 48 states and 10 countries.


Nancy Davis serves as Board Chair.


CFSA convenes the animal welfare community and establishes the Pima Alliance for Animal Welfare to improve animal welfare through collective action.  At that time, almost 13,000 animals a year were being euthanized annually in our municipal shelter and our community needed to act.  Today, Pima Animal Care Center has a 90% save rate.


 R. Michael Sullivan serves as Board Chair.


African American Legacy Fund is established with leadership from former board member and civic leader Dr. Anna Jolivet. The fund works to increase philanthropy to and from the African American community in Tucson.  Since 2013, $90,000 has been granted to support innovative educational programs for African American youth.


Launched the Making Action Possible (MAP) Dashboard in partnership with the University of Arizona and Southern Arizona Leadership Council.  The MAP Dashboard was created to measurably improve Southern Arizona through data driven collective civic action and education.


Launched the Community Interactive, a series of engaging and informative live events addressing issues Southern Arizonans face – such as poverty, the border, education and the arts. Produced in partnership with Arizona Public Media, each event featured an accomplished moderator and a panel of experts, offering community members an opportunity to participate in a solution-driven conversation about these pressing issues.

Community Interactive Logo

Fred Chaffee serves as Board Chair.


Jan Lesher serves as Board Chair.

April 2017

Launched CORE Grants Program to increase the availability of general operating support for high-impact nonprofits in southern Arizona. Since 2017, CFSA has granted $2,374,000 to nonprofits in Southern Arizona through its CORE Grants program. CORE Grants provide nonprofits with the flexible working capital necessary to maximize their impact and improve the quality of life in Southern Arizona.

CORE_Grantees 2017
November 2017

Began construction at 5049 E. Broadway to build the Community Foundation Campus as central hub for nonprofits to convene, collaborate, and grow.

December 2018

Community Foundation Campus opened to the public.


Claudia Jasso serves as Board Chair.

Claudia Jasso Headshot
July 2019

Launched Catchafire Program to support nonprofit capacity building throughout Southern Arizona.  CFSA granted year-long Catchafire memberships to 100 local nonprofit organizations in 2019 resulting in more than $1.8 million in completed projects, representing over 9,000 volunteer hours and 440 individual projects.

Catchafire Grantee 2019

Launched CORE Donor Collaborator Program and awarded $500,000 in general operating funds to the community through the second round of CORE Grants – a 67% increase over the first round of CORE Grants.

Surpassed $200 million in funds granted to the community.

CORE Grants 2019
January 2020

Established the Center for Healthy Nonprofits to strengthen the southern Arizona nonprofit community by offering free and reduced cost capacity building workshops and training for nonprofits. Built upon CFSA’s in-depth knowledge of the nonprofit community, the Center helps nonprofit professionals and volunteers improve their ability to manage, govern, and grow local charitable organizations.

Center for Healthy Nonprofits - Color
March 2020

Celebrated 40 years of serving the Southern Arizona community with event at the University of Arizona featuring guest speaker Maria Hinojosa.


March 2020

Established two COVID-19 Response Funds and facilitated (to date) over $3.5 million in COVID relief funding to Southern Arizona nonprofits.


Jan Lesher serves as Board Chair.

January 2021

CFSA partners with The University of Arizona’s Eller Executive Education to provide nonprofit leadership and management training to local nonprofit professionals. The partnership was established as part of CFSA’s COVID-19 Response Strategy to help local nonprofits recover from the impact of the pandemic. The trainings, consulting opportunities, and Nonprofit Leadership & Management Certificate Program is provided free of charge to local nonprofits


Jenny Flynn joins CFSA as President and CEO.

CFSA CEO Jenny Flynn

Styne Hill serves as Board Chair.

Board member Styne hill
November 2022

Established the Nonprofit Solar Project to offer local nonprofits the opportunity to meet a significant portion of their energy needs through solar power. By switching to solar, the selected nonprofits will reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs, freeing up resources for programming or other infrastructure needs.

Community Foundation for Southern Arizona's Nonprofit Solar Project
May 2023

CFSA opened a Little Free Library called Dog eared Books.

Dog-Eared Books Little Free Library
June 2023

The Community Foundation in partnership with Tucson Tome Gnome and Tucson Agenda starts a Solutions-Focused Community Book Club to bring together interested community members from all walks of life to bond over a shared desire to make our community better for all – and be inspired by a shared reading experience!

June 2023

Together We Bloom. CFSA launched a new strategic plan – BLOOM – to sharpen our focus and refine our mission: To build a thriving Southern Arizona through philanthropy. Three new awards were created to recognize our blossoming community: the Bold Aspirations Award, Impactful Philanthropy Award, and Vital Nonprofit Award.

Together we bloom
October 2023

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona is proud to expand its efforts to provide unrestricted operating grants to local nonprofits with the launch of the Comunidad (Community) Grants Program. This grants program was created to provide unrestricted funding to Southern Arizona nonprofits with annual operating budgets under $100,000.

November 2023

Established the Local News initiative for Southern Arizona to help strengthen local journalism in our community and fill critical gaps in local news and information.

February 2024

Santa Cruz County Community Foundation (SCCF), a geographic affiliate of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA), was selected as a host organization for a new Economic Recovery Corps program (ERC) launching this month at 65 host locations across 44 states and territories.

May 2024

Press Forward Southern Arizona was established as one of the newest additions to Press Forward Locals, a network of chapters working to expand resources for local news across the country.

Press Forward Logo

Taunya Villicana serves as Board Chair.

Board trustee, Taunya Villicana.