Why Do Half of Arizona Community Foundation's Grants Keep Going to Health Groups?

Grantmaking was a bit lower at the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF) in its most recent giving cycle, but a key trend that we’ve highlighted in the past still rings true.

The Phoenix-based funder announced its latest round of grant distributions totaling over $11 million. However, grant cycles in the recent past have seen totals over $13 million and even $16 million. But it’s worth mentioning that this new $11,288,979 in grantmaking was made just between the dates of April 1 and June 30. This accounts for discretionary funds, advised grants from ACF’s many donor funds, and its six statewide affiliates in Cochise, Flagstaff, the Gila Valley, Sedona, Yavapai County, and Yuma.

But taking a step back, the sheer number of grants coming out of this place is nothing short of impressive. ACF awarded a total of 1,212 grants and scholarships during the first quarter of the fiscal year that ended in June.  

A third thing that we find interesting about this community funder is that health is consistently issue number one, with education usually behind as a close second. In this recent round of giving, it awarded nearly $5.6 million to 513 organizations. In contrast, education groups saw just $3 million in grants to 172 schools and organizations and $511,326 in college scholarships.

Earlier this year, we took a look at ACF’s support and highlighted its big grants for science education. But even at that time, health was a huge issue too. The big health grant back then was a $1 million one for ALS research. Between September and December 2015, the foundation awarded approximately $5.2 million to education and nearly $5.3 million to health, so it was more of an even split.


So what are we gathering from all these facts and figures?

ACF’s commitment to health funding is just as strong as ever, even if overall funding is down a bit. As a result, the hardest hit area looks to be education. Overall, ACF health grantmaking extends to causes of general health, health care, medical research, and a variety of human services too.

Here are a few select grantees to give you a better idea of the types of health groups catching ACF’s attention:

  • Children’s Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies – autism and related disabilities
  • New Life Center – domestic violence
  • Jewish Genetic Diseases Center of Greater Phoenix – Jewish genetic diseases
  • Ability360 – independence for people with disabilities

So as you can see from this small sampling, ACF’s health grantmaking is very broad, which is probably why it’s consistently the top funded category. ACF regularly awards grants in five strategic priority areas: health innovations, quality education, arts and culture, community improvement and development, and environmental sustainability. There’s no human services category, so it all gets lumped together under the umbrella of "health".

Grant applications are accepted from nonprofits throughout the state of Arizona, but just know you’ll be up against some fierce competition. The funder received over 3,500 grant applications last year.