PHOENIX - May 11, 2020 - The Arizona Community Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way are proud to announce the first collaborative COVID-19 response grant of $74,000 has been awarded to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSAZ).
The Arizona Community Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way have put an emphasis on working together to ensure funding within Maricopa County is deployed in a coordinated, efficient, and effective manner. Requests are shared between the two entities and funding decisions are being made collaboratively.
"The collaboration between these two large grantmakers through this historical time has been important for the nonprofit community," said ACF Board Chair and United Way Board Member Steve Evans. "As we work together through this crisis, we are building a strong foundation for the future working together to support our community."
The two leading philanthropic organizations joined together in a coordinated effort to help nonprofits that are providing direct support services during the pandemic and BBBSAZ was an ideal candidate for joint relief funding.
In their grant application, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona highlighted their need for immediate relief funding to support increased costs related to the immediate and unanticipated change in their mentoring program model. The foundation of this 60-year old program is relationship-building between a mentor and youth through personal, face-to-face interactions. The majority of youth who participate in the program live in poverty and often face unstable home and family situations.
With physical distancing measures in place, the mentorship model was forced to rapidly pivot to virtual meetings so the youth participants continue to have a stable, reliable mentor who can support them during this uncertain time. In Maricopa County, this impacts over 1,000 youth mentor pairs who rely on the program to provide support through conversation, friendship, homework help, and sharing thoughts and fears. BBBSAZ staff have been working around the clock to secure computers and equipment and ensure the transition to virtual was taking place.
"When the pandemic hit, we saw our revenue drop quickly and substantially and if it were not for the amazing partnership between Valley of the Sun United Way and the Arizona Community Foundation, we would definitely have had to shrink our program and potentially close some of our matches," said BBBSAZ President & CEO Laura Capello. "Seeing how quickly these two funders came together to support us and so many other nonprofit agencies truly made the difference in continuing our work."
ACF and Valley of the Sun United Way have collectively distributed over $6.9 million in grants to nonprofits since March 31. To-date more than 580 grants have been awarded to nonprofit organizations providing immediate relief.
To learn more about ACF's COVID-19 Community Response Fund, or to make a contribution, visit azfoundation.org/covid19.
To learn more about Valley of the Sun United Way's United for the Valley COVID-19 Fund, or to make a contribution, visit vsuw.org/covid19fund or text Unitedfund to 51-555.
About the Arizona Community Foundation
Established in 1978, the Arizona Community Foundation is a statewide family of charitable funds supported by thousands of Arizonans. With five regional offices serving communities across Arizona, ACF is among the top 25 community foundations in the nation with more than $960 million in trust and endowment assets, and is certified under the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. Since inception, ACF and its affiliates have awarded more than $783 million in grants, scholarships, and loans to nonprofit organizations, schools, and government agencies. More information is available at azfoundation.org.
About Valley of the Sun United Way
United Way is celebrating 95 years of meeting the most pressing needs of Maricopa County. Valley of the Sun United Way unifies diverse partners, donors, business supporters, nonprofits, government and faith based communities to build a stronger Valley for us all. United Way and its 90,000 donors, 400 business supporters and 5,000 volunteers fight to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring children and youth succeed, ending hunger and homelessness, and increasing the financial stability of families. Join the fight, visit vsuw.org.
Lisa Dancsok, 602.682.2053 Idancsok@azfoundation.org
For Valley of the Sun United Way:
Kelli Fawcett, 602.677.3052 email@example.com