Dear Members,

Greetings! I’m Laurie Liles and, in just a few days, I’ll have the privilege of joining the Arizona Grantmakers Forum as your president and CEO. I’m deeply honored that the board has tapped me to lead AGF into the future, and I’m excited about the opportunities that future holds for Arizona’s philanthropic community.

I look forward to getting to know you and to learning how AGF can best help you excel in the vital work you do every day. So in the coming days, look for an email from me seeking a convenient opportunity for us to connect in person.

In the meantime, I’ll share a little bit of my story here and look forward to hearing yours.

Like you, I’m drawn to philanthropy and advocacy because I want to be a force for positive change. Robert F. Kennedy wrote, “Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events.” His words capture the desire we share to improve the world, beginning with our own tiny corner of it.

I grew up in Arizona, the proud daughter of two public school teachers. My passion for making a difference led me to a career in public policy and advocacy. During more than two decades at the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, I learned what members most value and expect from their association. The desire to be with and learn from colleagues who share your values and your calling, along with a need for advocacy with policymakers and a clear public message, bind members together for the common good.

As grantmakers, you feed many mouths. AGF is a place where you can come to be fed—through education about issues that affect the people you aim to help and the causes your organization supports; through networking with likeminded collaborators; and through civic engagement that will have a lasting and positive impact on our state.

While I bring to AGF experience with and passion for serving members, philanthropy is new to me and there is much I don’t yet know. I look forward to learning from you!

We’re better together.

Arizona is my home. I love the incomparable beauty of our sunsets and the friendliness of our people. It was a wonderful place to grow up and it’s a fabulous place for my husband and me to raise our children. But our state faces daunting challenges financing education, health care, the arts, and infrastructure…the list goes on. No one knows better than you the vital role Arizona’s philanthropic sector plays, partnering with policymakers and community leaders to help meet the needs of our growing state.

Through your active participation and engagement, AGF will be a valuable resource for policymakers and the public and a powerful voice for the philanthropic spirit that thrives in Arizona.

As we begin this journey, the AGF team and I need and welcome your ideas for adding value and ensuring we’re meeting your needs. So please call, email or tweet me at @LaurieCLiles early and often! I look forward to shaking your hand soon, and to working with you to fulfill AGF’s mission to increase, enhance and improve philanthropy in Arizona.

Warmest regards,

Laurie