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Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Highlights 19th Class of Piper Fellows and 20th Anniversary Grantmaking

Feb. 11, 2020

2019 Piper Fellows pictured with President and CEO, Mary Jane Rynd.

2019 Piper Fellows pictured with President and CEO, Mary Jane Rynd.

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Highlights 19th Class of Piper Fellows and 20th Anniversary Grantmaking

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Five exceptional nonprofit leaders who are passionate about improving and enriching life in Maricopa County were selected for Piper Trust’s 2019 Class of Piper Fellows. They are Charlie Brown, general manager of Franciscan Renewal Center; Tiffany Fairall, chief curator of Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum; Sherri Friend, president and CEO of Oakwood Creative Care; Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of Arizona Food Bank Network; and Dr. Arianne Roy, director of clinical strategy and analytics at Terros Health. The newly selected class becomes part of the larger and enduring Piper Fellows network that is now 81 Fellows strong.

The 2019 Piper Fellows will each participate in a self-designed, professional development sabbatical focused on strengthening leadership skills and exploring renowned programs that can help nonprofits become more effective and resilient. A Fellowship supports sabbatical study and travel, professional development for staff of a Fellow’s organization, and the eligibility to apply for an Organizational Enhancement Award to implement learning or programming that emerges during a Fellow’s sabbatical. A Piper Fellowship provides up to $90,000 in potential grant awards for a Fellow’s organization.

Dr. Paul Mittman, 2009 Piper Fellow and president of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, recently said, “Becoming a Piper Fellow has been one of the most meaningful experiences and accomplishments in my career. The Piper Fellows program supports the social profit sector in a way that nothing else does. I continually learn from Fellows at our alumni network meetings and our conversations have led to collaborations and partnerships that I’m certain would not have happened without the Fellows program.”

“While our Piper Fellows graciously credit Piper Trust for the transformational impact of their Fellowships, in turn, we learn so much from them,” said Mary Jane Rynd, president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “Fellows frequently cite the relationships they gain with peer colleagues as the most rewarding aspect of the program. As such, we want to build on and strengthen the alumni network aspect of this signature program.”

In addition to selection of the newest class of Fellows, the Trust also celebrates an exceptional year of grantmaking—totaling more than $32 million. Following summarizes grant awards for the period covering December 2018-December 2019.

Responsive grants support nonprofit programs, capital campaigns, or capital projects that fall within the Trust’s grantmaking guidelines and core funding areas: arts and culture, children, education, healthcare and medical research, older adults, and religious organizations. Responsive grants were awarded to 33 organizations during this reporting period and support a broad range of life-enriching efforts—such as providing early childhood training to education professionals, installing unified audio equipment in a small but mighty performing arts theatre for youth, and implementing healthy living programming for older adults.

Immediate community-need grants respond to a time-sensitive challenge where people and/or mission-critical nonprofit organizations are at risk. These Trust-Initiated grants are at the discretion of Piper Trust trustees and the president and CEO.

The following three organizations received community-need grants to support the health and well-being of families in critical circumstances. The International Rescue Committee—for its management of the Phoenix Welcome Center for Migrant Families; and, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army—for their support of families who face a health and/or shelter crisis due to an inability to pay utility expenses.

Trust-Initiated grants are unique, often long-term investments, with multiple strategies that are designed for broad impact. Trust-Initiated/initiative grants are under the purview of Piper Trust trustees and the president and CEO. Examples include Piper Trust capacity-building programs such as its Good Governance Fund and Piper Fellows program; major multiyear grants that advance life-changing improvements for people and strengthen communities, such as a grant for Creighton University’s Arizona Health Sciences Campus; and collaborations or partnerships among other organizations and/or philanthropies, such as The Arizona Together for Impact Fund.

In honor of Piper Trust’s 20th anniversary and Virginia Piper’s legacy, the Trust is investing an additional $20 million in the organizational capacity of its grantees through programs that will roll out over an approximate four-year period. This commemorative investment will be over and above the Trust’s annual grant payments of approximately $22 million.

During this period, the Trust selected seven organizations for 2020 Initiative grants of $50,000 each for organizational capacity building through the Trust’s “ATLAS Expansion/Enhancement” 2020 Initiative programming; this version of ATLAS builds organizational capacity and resilience by “right-sizing” the work for organizations with annual budgets of $250K-$1M. This ATLAS cohort includes Arizona Jewish Historical Society, Black Theatre Troupe, Inc., Gabriel’s Angels, Jazz in Arizona, Inc., Keogh Health Connection, Neighbors Who Care, Inc., and Theater Works.

As human services organization that provides comprehensive services to vulnerable populations, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was selected for a 2020 Initiative “Busting the Overhead Myth” grant of $5 million to develop its fundraising and marketing models further and ultimately strengthen its financial longevity.

Piper Trust’s grantmaking to organizations by core area and/or year is available online at Grant Search.


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 $465 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 | @PiperTrust | Facebook.

MEDIA CONTACT:    Karen Leland, 480-556-7125 /
Chief Communications Officer, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust