Teaming Up: What Community Funder Affiliates Are Doing in Southern Arizona

Oro valley, az. photo: Abigail Halliday/shutterstock

Oro valley, az. photo: Abigail Halliday/shutterstock

Community foundations come in all shapes and sizes, and some cover much broader geographic regions than others. Major cities, like New York City and Chicago, have their own dedicated community foundations, but community funders in smaller cities often branch out to include the surrounding communities as well. A good example of this is the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA), which is based in Tucson but addresses the needs of other nearby towns as part of its mission.

In places like rural Arizona, there aren’t necessarily enough local donors to keep multiple community foundations afloat. But this is where affiliate foundations really come in handy to stay in touch with local needs in more distant places while still retaining the support and expertise of a larger and more experienced grantmaking entity.

Related: In North Carolina, a Community Foundation Affiliate Network

At CFSA, there are three regional affiliates: the Santa Cruz Community Foundation, the Oro Valley Community Foundation, and the Stone Canyon Community Foundation.

The Santa Cruz Community Foundation was established in 2001 by area residents and works under the umbrella of CFSA. As we’ve noted in the past, the grants from many regional affiliates are small compared to umbrella organization grants, and this affiliate is no exception. The Santa Cruz Community Foundation plans to open up its next grant cycle in August 2018 and accept requests up to $5,000. Last year, this funder awarded $40,000 in grants to 12 groups that Serve Santa Cruz County, including Green Valley Assistance Services, Literacy Connects, Lowe House Project, and Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest. Funding topics of interest are local schools, health, social care systems, and environment in the county. Grants are for one-year periods only, and applicant must be doing charitable work in Santa Cruz County, Arizona to be eligible for funding.

A second CFSA affiliate worth paying attention to is the Stone Canyon Community Foundation, which is made up of member and residents of Stone Canyon and the Stone Canyon Club. This affiliate’s grants go towards early childhood education, high school graduation, and life skills development in the Oro Valley and Tucson communities. This affiliate was launched in 2008 and really prioritizes the needs of youth in this region. Recent grants have gone to Make Way for Books, Our Family Services, Painted Sky, and San Miguel High School, and many grantees continue to receive support for multiple years. The first step for applying for one of these grants is to fill out Stone Canyon’s pre-screening form online.

There’s a third CFSA affiliate, the Oro Valley Community Foundation, which has awarded grants to Oro Valley nonprofits and scholarships to youth in the past. However, this funder doesn’t appear to be as active in the region for a while now, as its website states, “No additional grants will be awarded in 2015. Please be sure visit us in 2016.” In the past, K-12 education, youth services, social services, and art and science programs in schools have received support.

As a grantseeker in this part of Arizona, or anywhere else for that matter, it’s a smart idea to get to know the people and priorities of affiliate funders that might pay more attention to your needs than the big community funder that broadly covers your geographic area. Since 1980, CFSA has awarded over $176 million to regional nonprofits and educational institutions in the fields of animal welfare, arts and culture, community development, education, environment, health and human services, and more.