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Piper Trust Awards $3.4 Million in Grants

PHOENIX (Feb. 23, 2011)—Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust announced grants of $3.4 million, including funding for early literacy and tutoring programs, healthcare projects for people across the Valley and unique housing for older adults with aging children with disabilities.

“These are a group of projects to watch unfold in our community,” said Judy Jolley Mohraz, Piper Trust president and CEO. “Several of them have the potential to move the needle in addressing the needs of children and older adults, two groups often at risk in our community.”

Marc Center of Mesa’s project could become a national model. The agency serving almost 9,000 people with disabilities will build an affordable housing project for aging disabled individuals along with their older adult parents who also need services. In 1970 only one Marc client was over the age of 50; today, Marc has 200 clients over the age of 60. Older adult parents who are responsible for aging disabled children now are asking for additional support.

Two early care and learning programs involve parents the support they need to “teach” their children. Both are part of a campaign by foundations across the country to see that children are reading by third grade, a crucial milestone for success in school.

  • Arizona’s Children Association will deliver early childhood development and prevention programs using the successful Parents as Teachers model that supports the parent’s role in promoting school readiness and the healthy development of children.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics – AZ Foundation will expand a pilot project, introducing the Raising A Reader program in low-income apartment communities across Maricopa County. The project partners with Arizona Multihousing Association and Southwest Human Development.

Alan Taylor, director of training at Southwest Human Development, said, “This grant will help hundreds of children enter school ready to learn by giving parents the tools they need to instill in them early literacy skills and a love of reading. Raising A Reader brings services to parents right in their apartment community.

“Parents get to know other parents, learn about the importance of telling stories, having conversations, establishing routines of reading with their children and sharing the Raising A Reader books. It’s a winning combination that works.”

A literacy intervention program—Your Experience Counts—will place older adult tutors in high-need elementary schools across the Valley. Grant recipient HandsOn Greater Phoenix launched a similar successful program in the Mesa Public Schools in 2005.

“Our goal is to support the academic success of students and provide quality volunteer experiences for people over 50, resulting in benefits for both students and volunteer tutors,” said Rhonda Oliver, HandsOn president and CEO. “This grant translates into more than 100 adults in the prime of their lives sharing their richly diverse experiences with 1,500 4th through 6th grade students. It’s a win-win.”

Two healthcare projects for children provide integrated, comprehensive care:

  • Maricopa Integrated Health System will launch a pediatric medical home model to improve healthcare for low-income children by linking together all health services and providers of care for each child.
  • Southwest Human Development, Arizona’s largest child development agency, will coordinate care for young children with complex developmental and behavioral health issues.

Piper Trust also awarded a grant to Hospice of the Valley to develop an avatar-based online curriculum in palliative medicine for medical students.  Previous grants have created programs to train medical professionals already in the health care system, including residents, hospitalists, nurses, chaplains and social workers.

“This grant continues our efforts to increase clinicians’ knowledge and communication skills about end-of-life care, and it puts Hospice of the Valley at the national forefront of educational endeavors in this field,” said Gillian Hamilton, MD, Hospice vice president for education and innovation.

The following is a list of grants awarded from September 2010 to February 2011:

Grants Awarded from Sept. 12, 2010, to Feb. 14, 2011

Arts and Culture

Subtotal: $68,135

Arizona Musicfest
Customer relationship management system.
$40,500/36 months

Free Arts of Arizona
Strategic plan to strengthen the organization.
$7,635/6 months

West Valley Arts Council
Planning grant to develop a Creative Aging program in the West Valley.
$20,000/7 months


Subtotal: $555,000

AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute
Business planning for an earned income strategy.
$10,000/12 months

American Academy of Pediatrics – AZ Foundation
Raising A Reader early literacy program for low-income apartment communities throughout Maricopa County.
$260,000/24 months

Arizona Child Care Association
An expenditure responsibility grant for updated training orientation materials for child caregivers in Maricopa County.
$75,000/15 months

Arizona’s Children Association
Expanded early childhood development and prevention programs in Maricopa County using the Parents as Teachers program.
$200,000/36 months

Southwest Human Development
Training for early childhood professionals in Maricopa County.
$10,000/3 months

Healthcare and Medical Research

Subtotal: $1,701,275

Empowerment Systems, Inc.
An online version of Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.
$234,275/36 months

Hospice of the Valley
A curriculum in palliative medicine for medical students.
$217,000/24 months

Maricopa Integrated Health System
Improved healthcare for low-income children using a medical home model.
$500,000/24 months

Mountain Park Health Center
Building renovation and coordination of pediatric services at the Maryvale Clinic.
$240,000/15 months

P.O.P.S.I.C.L.E. Center, Inc.
Business planning for an online earned income strategy.
$10,000/12 months

Southwest Human Development
Comprehensive, coordinated medical and mental health services for young children with complex developmental and behavioral health issues.
$500,000/36 months

Older Adults

Subtotal: $893,445

Arizona Grantmakers Forum
Support for the EngAGEment Initiative, a collaborative effort to plan, develop and implement activities that encourage Arizona grantmakers to take an active interest in aging issues.
$7,500/24 months

Expansion of catering function at Birt’s Bistro for increased revenue and vocational training for re-careering older adults.
$250,000/24 months

HandsOn Greater Phoenix
Your Experience Counts, a program placing older adult tutors in high-need elementary schools.
$265,100/36 months

Marc Center of Mesa, Inc.
Affordable housing for disabled aging individuals and their older adult parents.
$200,000/12 months

Regional Community Partners
A comprehensive aging services model for local governments, using the Aging Well in Communities Toolkit.
$110,800/12 months

Sun Sounds of Arizona
Specially designed high definition radios for blind or visually impaired individuals who have low incomes, and redistribute reclaimed and refurbished radios.
$60,045/12 months

Piper Fellows

Subtotal: $210,000

Adelante Healthcare
Avein Saaty-Tafoya’s sabbatical as a Piper Fellow and related staff development.
$40,000/12 months

Arizona Museum for Youth Friends, Inc.
Sunnee O’Rork’s sabbatical as a Piper Fellow and related staff development.
$40,000/12 months

Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.
Martin Quintana’s sabbatical as a Piper Fellow and related staff development.
$40,000/12 months

Desert Botanical Garden
Elaine McGinn’s Piper Fellows Organizational Enhancement proposal to support development of the master plan for the design of the core trail, the Desert Discovery Trail.
$50,000/12 months

EMPACT – Suicide Prevention Center, Inc.
Julie Zalimas’ sabbatical as a Piper Fellow and related staff development.
$40,000/12 months

Total  of Grants: $3,427,855