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 $200 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.

1980

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

CFSA Founders
1980-1983

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

1981

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

1983-1986

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

Buddy Amos Chair
1983

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

 

1984

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”

1985-1986

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

1986

Assets grow to $3.1 million.

1986-1989

Sidney B. Brinkerhoff serves as Board Chair.

Sid Brinkerhoff
1987

“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
1988

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

1989

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.

1989-1990

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
1990

Assets grow to $7.3 million.

1990-1994

 Gordon W. Waterfall serves as board chair.

1991

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

1992

“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
1994

Kerstin & Spencer Block established the “Buffalo Exchange Arts Award.”  Since 1994, $234,000 has been awarded to 26 Southern Arizona artists.

Spencer and Kerstin Block
1994-1996

Bettina O’Neil-Lyons serves as Board Chair.

1995

Assets grow to $25.1 million

1996-1998

Dr. Anna Jolivet serves as Board Chair.

Dr. Anna Jolivet smiling
1997

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

1998-2000

Michael Hard serves as Board Chair.

1999

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.

2000

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

2000-2002

Mary Ann Dobras serves as Board Chair.

2001-2010

Steve Alley joins CFSA as President and CEO.

2002-2004

Phil Amos serves as Board Chair.

2004-2007

Robert Friesen serves as Board Chair.

2005

Assets grow to $75.4 million.

2006

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.

2007

Surpassed $100 million in assets.

2007-2009

Carmen Marriott serves as Board Chair.

2008

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.

2009

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.

2009-2011

Paul Lindsey serves as Board Chair.

2010

Clint Mabie joins CFSA as President and CEO.

Clint Mabie- Headshot - B&W
2010

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.

2011

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.

2011-2013

Nancy Davis serves as Board Chair.

2012

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.

2013-2015

 R. Michael Sullivan serves as Board Chair.

2013

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.

2014

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.

2014

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
2015-2017

Fred Chaffee serves as Board Chair.

2017-2019

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. CFSA awarded $300,000 in grants to ten high-impact nonprofits in Southern Arizona.

CORE_Grantees 2017
2017

Latino Community Fund is established to strengthen the Latino community and transform
lives by working for racial equity and social justice.

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.

2019-Present

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
2019

Launched CORE Donor Collaborative 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.

Surpassed $200 million in funds granted to the community.

CORE Grants 2020
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 $2 million in COVID relief funding to Southern Arizona nonprofits.