Arizona Community Foundation, United Way Collaborate in Grant

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona Receives $74K

In their first collaboration, the Arizona Community Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way have granted $74,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.

The two organizations 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,” says Steve Evans, ACF board chair and United Way board member. “As we work together through this crisis, we are building a strong foundation for the future working together to support our community.”

The two 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 the grant application, BBBSAZ highlighted its need for immediate relief funding to support increased costs related to the immediate and unanticipated change in its mentoring program model. The foundation of the 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 mentoring model was forced to rapidly pivot to virtual meetings so the youth participants could continue to have a stable, reliable mentor who can support them. In Maricopa County, this impacts more than 1,000 youth-mentor pairs. BBBSAZ staff have been working around the clock to secure computers and equipment and ensure the transition to virtual is taking place.

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