Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Names 2017 Piper Fellows and Highlights Recent Grantmaking

December 14, 2017

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Names 2017 Piper Fellows and Highlights Recent Grantmaking

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust named its 17th class of Piper Fellows amidst a slate of investments in our community—critical work carried out by some of Maricopa County’s most awe-inspiring organizations. Following are highlights along with a listing of recent grants.

The newly selected Piper Fellows, chosen via a competitive process, will complete their fellowships in 2018 and become part of the larger and enduring Piper Fellows community—now totaling 72 Fellows. The 2017 Piper Fellows are: Dr. Aaron Blocher-Rubin, Founder and CEO, Arizona Autism United; Melissa Elliott, Vice President of Programs & Services, Area Agency on Aging; Mary Mitchell, Senior Associate of Community Engagement, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine; Stacia Ortega, Director of Volunteer Services, Hospice of the Valley; and, Essen Otu, Senior Director of Diversity & Community Affairs, Mountain Park Health Center. Further information about the 2017 Piper Fellows and the program is available here.

“Piper Trust is excited to welcome its 2017 Fellows—true examples of servant leaders,” said Susan Pepin, MD, MPH, president and CEO, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “In spite of unsettling times and uncertainty, Maricopa County’s social profit leaders are resourceful and driven to serve our community in new ways. It is deeply heartening,” Pepin said.

Following are the grants awarded January through December 2017; grants for this period total more than $17.7 million.


Artspace Projects, Inc.
Support construction of new community arts meeting and performance space in downtown Mesa.
$380,000 / 24 months

Black Theatre Troupe, Inc.
Upgrade stage lighting and associated technology.
$100,000 / 12 months

CALA Alliance
Develop and implement strategic business and fundraising plans.
$150,000 / 24 months

Chandler Cultural Foundation
Conduct market research and develop marketing plan.
$106,000 / 12 months

Support Cultural Data Profile arts and culture data tools and related trainings in Maricopa County.
$135,000 / 36 months

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Support technology infrastructure upgrades.
$307,100 / 12 months

Phoenix Art Museum
Support comprehensive digital strategy development, website, and technology upgrades.
$993,000 / 24 months

Phoenix Theatre
Implement strategic business plan to strengthen financial capacity.
$500,000 / 24 months

Rosie’s House
Expand youth services via new fundraising and marketing strategies.
$185,000 / 36 months

Scottsdale Arts
Support comprehensive website and technology infrastructure upgrades.
$410,000 / 24 months

Piper Trust’s AGILE Project is designed to build the operational capacity and organizational resilience of a Trust- selected set of mid-sized grantee arts organizations. By employing “a capacity + capitalization” approach to organizational resilience, AGILE aims to build an organization’s capacity and capital to weather the unexpected while effectively carrying out their mission. A total of $450,000 AGILE grants were awarded to the following four organizations: Arizona Opera; Children’s Museum of Phoenix; Childsplay, Inc.; i.d.e.a. Museum Board of Directors.


American Heart Association
Implement childhood obesity program and training in 30 early child care centers.
$183,000 / 24 months

Arizona Recreation Center for the Handicapped (ARCH)
Support land acquisition to maintain permanent location for ARCH.
$300,000 / 12 months

Child Abuse Prevention License Plate Program
Support for the Child Abuse License Plate Program.
$150,000 / 36 months

First Place AZ
Support pre-development and construction of facility for special populations (Capital Campaign).
$1,430,000 / 24 months

Jewish Family and Children’s Service
Support acquisition and integration of domestic violence programs.
$60,000 / 12 months

Lions Camp Tatiyee, Inc.
Expand program to address service demand.
$50,000 / 12 months

Complete construction of youth center.
$90,000 / 21 months

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona
Support expansion of comprehensive parent education program.
$475,000 / 36 months

Tanner Community Development Center
Implement Children in Kinship Care program.
$281,000 / 36 months

UMOM New Day Centers
Support acquisition of assets for youth assistance program.
$250,000 / 12 months

United Food Bank
Support losses associated with heat-related damage of freezer.
$10,000 / 12 months


City of Tempe Education, Families, and Youth Development
Support training and professional development for educators in the Tempe PRE pilot project.
$510,400 / 24 months

Maricopa Community College District Foundation
Support Achieving a College Education (ACE) program at four community colleges.
$3,000,000 / 36 months

Phoenix Public Library Foundation
Expand College Depot space and college access programs and services.
$400,000 / 12 months


HonorHealth Foundation
Establish the Virginia G. Piper Distinguished Chair in Innovative Cancer Research.
$3,000,000 / 36 months

Mission of Mercy
Develop service model to strengthen healthcare offerings.
$251,750 / 24 months

National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped (dba Dental Lifeline Network)
Provide comprehensive dental care to vulnerable populations.
$80,000 / 24 months

Ryan House
Implement new medical record technology and expand access to services.
$130,000 / 12 months


Area Agency on Aging, Region One, Inc.
Support renovations of auxiliary building to expand services.
$225,000 / 12 months

Experience Matters Consortium
Support continuation of scalable business model.
$300,000 / 36 months

Northwest Valley Connect
Develop and implement volunteer and fundraising programs.
$90,000 / 24 months


Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Support construction, renovation, and expansion projects (Capital Campaign).
$1,600,000 / 24 months

Piper Fellows (five Fellows named above) are each awarded up to $30,000 for their self-designed, professional development plans and $10,000 for staff development.

Piper Fellows Organizational Enhancement Awards of up to $50,000 support a specific project to address a major opportunity or challenge facing a Fellow’s organization. Piper Fellows Organizational Enhancement Awards for this reporting period:

All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Day School (Piper Fellow Reverend Poulson Reed)
Establish community music program for underserved children and youth.
$50,000 / 12 months

Chrysalis Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence, Inc. (Piper Fellow Patricia Klahr)
Support development and implementation of trauma sensitive strategy and tools.
$50,000 / 12 months

Desert Botanical Garden (Piper Fellow Kimberly McCue)
Develop and implement conservation marketing and engagement strategy.
$50,000 / 12 months

Foundation for Blind Children (Piper Fellow Marc Ashton)
Develop curriculum and standards for new learning progress software.
$50,000 / 12 months


CEOs for Cities
Support for the 2017 Fall National Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.
$25,000 / 12 months

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc.
Support for eight Maricopa County nonprofits to participate in Listen for Good project.
$120,000 / 12 months

Rocky Mountain Institute
Support long-term recovery efforts for hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico.
$40,000 / 12 months

St. Bernard Project, Inc.
Support for Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund.
$75,000 / 12 months

Piper Trust’s Good Governance Fund supports grantees’ efforts to strengthen nonprofit board governance practices and leadership. A total of $135,000 Good Governance grants were awarded to the following nine organizations: Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits; Arizona Helping Hands; Assistance League of Phoenix; Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale; Child Crisis Arizona; Friendly House, Inc.; Herberger Theater Center; Phoenix Art Museum; Valley of the Sun YMCA.

Piper Trust’s ATLAS Project is designed to strengthen the organizational and operational structure of a select group of nonprofits. Through a Trust-initiated process, select nonprofits (grantees) become a cohort where they respectively assess lifecycle stages and develop comprehensive plans for building organizational capacity. A total of $400,000 grants were awarded to the following eight organizations representing Piper Trust core funding areas of children, education, and older adults: Beatitudes Campus; Be A Leader Foundation; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona; Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona; Foundation for Senior Living; Raising Special Kids; Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center; Stardust Non-Profit Building Supplies, Inc.

About Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust:
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust supports organizations that enrich health, well-being, and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County, Arizona. Since it began awarding grants in 2000, Piper Trust has invested more than $390 million in local nonprofits and programs. Piper Trust grantmaking areas are healthcare and medical research, children, older adults, arts and culture, education, and religious organizations. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @PiperTrust; visit us on Facebook.


Karen Leland, 480-556-7125 /
Director, Communications and External Relations
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust