Arizona Grantmakers Have Made More Than $33 Million Available to Nonprofits During COVID-19 Pandemic

In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, grantmaking organizations across Arizona have begun distributing grants from special funding sources totaling more than $33 million for nonprofit agencies to address financial challenges resulting from cancellations and postponements of fundraising events, programs and cultural offerings.

An Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits survey of 501(c)(3) agencies throughout the state projected the financial impact of those cancellations and postponements to be more than $40 million.

More than $5 million already has been distributed. An additional $6.1 million was raised by and for individual nonprofits through the recent Arizona Gives Day 24-online fundraising event organized by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum and presented by FirstBank.

“The collaborations and collective response from the grantmaking community has resulted in some of the highest fundraising efforts this state has ever seen,” Arizona Community Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Seleznow said.  “These organizations have quickly and aggressively established critically important resources for nonprofits doing incredibly good work under unimaginable circumstances in communities of every size in every part of the state.”

“The effort clearly shows that working together is far better than going it alone,” he added.

Community-based relief funds include:

  • ACF COVID-19 Funds – $7 million
  • ACF Artist Relief Fund – $250,000
  • Arizona Gives Day (Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, Arizona Grantmakers Forum) – $6.1 million
  • Arizona Together (Arizona Governor Doug Ducey)  – $6.5 million
  • City of Phoenix, Phoenix IDA – $2 million
  • Community Foundation for Southern Arizona – $2.1 million
  • Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona – $300,000
  • Local First Arizona – $625,000
  • United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona – $243,000
  • Valley of the Sun United Way – $2.25 million
  • Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust – $6.3 million

The Hopi Foundation has established a $1 million goal for its COVID-19 fundraising campaign and ACF has provided $500,000 for individual COVID-19 funds at each of its six regional affiliates.

“Arizona Grantmakers Forum members responded swiftly and decisively to the threats facing our nonprofits and the people they serve, and they mobilized to meet the challenges of the pandemic head on,” Arizona Grantmakers Forum President and Chief Executive Officer Laurie Liles said.  “Across the state, philanthropic organizations have created or contributed to community-based relief funds and are working directly with their nonprofit partners to address the health and economic impact on those most affected by this crisis.”

“There’s been a tremendous outpouring of support for Arizona nonprofits and the families and individuals they serve during this unprecedented time. Donors across our communities, from major corporations to foundations to individuals, are quickly and generously providing much-needed support for those in most desperate need,” said Carla Vargas Jasa, President and CEO of Valley of the Sun United Way.  “This support is especially vital as nonprofits face growing demand for their services, while also feeling the impact of reduced funding due to the cancellation of events and other philanthropic activities because of this pandemic.”

Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Chief Executive Officer Kristen Merrifield praised the response, not just of the grantmaking community, but of individuals who came through with unexpected donations during Arizona Gives Day and continue to show their support for struggling nonprofits.

“We’re in uncharted territory on so many levels, but I am deeply encouraged and humbled by how quickly, generously and consistently the community has stepped up,” she said.

Local First Arizona Founder and Executive Director Kimber Lanning said that the Local First Arizona Foundation goal is “to provide micro-grants for critical operating capital to keep our smallest most vulnerable entrepreneurs and nonprofits afloat during this crisis, especially those with no other income who have children at home. We have already distributed half of our fund but continue to fundraise.”

To give to the Arizona Community Foundation, visit; to give to Valley of the Sun United Way, visit; to donate through the Arizona Gives Day website, which is active all year, visit

For more information about Arizona Community Foundation, visit For information about Valley of the Sun United Way visit  For information about the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, visit


  • Lisa Dancsok, Chief Brand & Impact Officer, Arizona Community Foundation, (248) 417-7001
  • Laurie Liles, President and CEO, Arizona Grantmakers Forum, (602) 845-1361
  • Kristen Merrifield, CEO, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, (602) 279-9150
  • Kimber Lanning, Founder & Executive Director, Local First Foundation, (602) 956-0909, Ext. 5
  • Kelli Fawcett, Marketing Director, Valley of the Sun United Way, (602) 677-3053 (cell)
  • Steve Carr, The Kur Carr Group, Inc., (602) 317-3040