Piper Trust exceeds grantmaking annual average with $27.7 million awarded so far in the year of COVID-19

December 8, 2020

Piper Trust exceeds grantmaking annual average with $27.7 million awarded so far in the year of COVID-19

December 8, 2020

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust far exceeds grantmaking annual average with $27.7 million awarded so far in the year of COVID-19

Piper Trust and nonprofits do more and do things differently

PHOENIX, Ariz.— The end of a tumultuous 2020 brings forecasts of continued public health, economic, and social stresses in the new year. It’s abundantly clear that meeting this ongoing moment, filled with extraordinary challenges for individuals and communities, means doing more than the usual, and it often means doing things differently. Here’s what responsiveness looks like at Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust:

  • Since January 2020, the Trust has awarded $27,740,432 in total grantmaking—with $24,373,750 of these funds being grants initiated by the Trust to support nonprofits due to the COVID-19 crisis. Typically, the Trust’s annual grantmaking is between $20 million and $22 million.
  • For the first time in its 20-year history, Trustees support dipping into Piper Trust’s endowment to help meet more need.
  • The Trust designated its COVID-19 emergency response grants as unrestricted, meaning grantees had discretion and flexibility to use the funds however they needed.
  • Piper Trust made a commitment to being even more intentional and strategic in incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion in grantmaking decisions.

“Our Trustees see how nonprofits are adapting and working differently to meet the challenges of the pandemic and believe the Trust must as well,” said Mary Jane Rynd, president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “We are inspired by the drive and determination of our nonprofit community, always, but particularly this year. The Trust will continue to listen to what the community needs as we work together to make it to the other side of this health and social crisis.”

In October and November, Piper Trust awarded $7.3 million in unrestricted COVID-19 emergency response grants to nonprofits in the human services and arts and culture sectors. The Trust applauds the resolve and ingenuity of these organizations for how they are addressing COVID-19-related challenges. New efforts by nonprofits, such as one⋅n⋅ten and TheaterWorks, hold great promise for helping individuals and families long after the coronavirus pandemic ends. These nonprofits are doing more, and they are doing things differently with innovations that build community resilience.

In the spring, a $20,000 Piper Trust emergency response grant became the seed money for a new one⋅n⋅ten COVID-19 emergency relief fund that grew to nearly $90,000. This new program fund helped one⋅n⋅ten, a nonprofit that serves LGBTQ youth and young adults, support individuals struggling with housing, food insecurity, and utility payments.

“The grant enabled us to very quickly assist our youth in a way that was dramatic and critical for them,” said Nate Rhoton, CEO of one⋅n⋅ten. “Because we were able to say that Piper Trust had contributed to this and helped us launch (the emergency fund), I think it really added a level of credibility, as well as showcased the need. Donors were very responsive to it after that.”

Helping one⋅n⋅ten members navigate government programs, negotiate with landlords, and then create plans for their continued stability is part of the Phoenix nonprofit’s emergency assistance service.

“We were able to step in and be there for them,” Rhoton said. “I would like to say with all of our programs we are walking beside our young people and empowering them. We’re not doing the work. They’re doing it with us. It is a team effort, and they are so resilient and capable. But there are times when they need someone to lean on, and that’s what we’re able to do.”

Because of its success in assisting members through tough times during the pandemic, one⋅n⋅ten plans to continue offering emergency help as part of its regular array of services when the public health crisis ends.

For TheaterWorks, an early-on COVID-19 response grant from Piper Trust gave the nonprofit based in Peoria room to breathe and think creatively about how to address long-term disruption to its live performance calendar. “Piper Trust’s willingness to support TheaterWorks with unrestricted grant funds is such a hopeful signal that we matter—that arts and culture has a role in helping all of us get through this disruptive time,” said Cate Hinkle, managing director at TheaterWorks.

TheaterWorks introduced immersive theater as an innovative way to continue its mission and provide cultural enrichment. Its production of “Curiouser & Curiouser” took audiences inside the world of “Alice in Wonderland” at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, which was entirely reconfigured to allow live theater to occur safely with social distancing in place for actors and audience members. The sold-out, extended run inspired the current production of “Curiouser Nutcracker.”

“The community response was one that really took us off guard,” Hinkle said. “It was so much more positive than we could have imagined. It blew us away.”

The response also affirmed the importance of arts and culture to individual and community health, especially during times of crisis.

“Sometimes people don’t understand that critical part of participating in theater, that sharing an experience with others is crucial,” Hinkle said. “It really teaches you humanity and that’s where you get that sense of community. The arts is what gives it to you. So now more than ever while we’re going through the pandemic, while we were going through the election year and everything else that everyone is dealing with, it was a way to experience with their community and escape from their lives. Something to give them joy.”

Piper Trust’s October and November grants focus on investments in arts and culture and human service organizations, with a priority to award funds to those serving children, youth, and marginalized communities. The ripple effects of the pandemic coupled with various socioeconomic issues have put enormous stress on children and families.

“Youth-focused nonprofits across all sectors—human services, arts and culture, faith-based, etc.—play a critical role in fostering health and well-being as we navigate the months ahead. Piper Trust feels strongly about its role to proactively invest in these nonprofits as they have such a heavy lift on their shoulders,” said Rynd.

In October and November, 100 organizations received grants totaling $7,342,500 to support their missions as they respond to COVID-19-related challenges. These grantees are largely categorized within the human services and arts and culture sectors.



Children Focused Organizations/Grant Awards

AZCEND ($100,000)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona ($62,500)
Black Family and Child Services ($65,000)
Discovery Triangle ($25,000)
EMPACT Suicide Prevention Center ($100,000)
Esperança, Inc. ($20,000)
Foothills Food Bank ($50,000)
Friendly House, Inc. ($62,500)
Girl Scouts-Arizona/Cactus-Pine Council, Inc. ($125,000)
Homeless Youth Connection, Inc. ($20,000)
ICAN ($62,500)
Native American Connections, Inc. ($125,000)
New Pathways for Youth ($100,000)
one∙n∙ten ($65,000)
Prevent Child Abuse Arizona ($100,000)
Southwest Human Development ($100,000)
Tanner Community Development Corp. ($30,000)
Tempe Community Action Agency ($50,000)
The Salvation Army ($200,000)

Education Focused Organizations/Grant Awards

AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute ($15,000)
Be A Leader Foundation ($30,000)
Maricopa Community College District Foundation ($100,000 designated for emergency and food pantry funds)

Healthcare and Medical Research Focused Organizations/Grant Awards

Arizona State University Foundation ($140,000)
Asian Pacific Community in Action ($10,000)
Horizon Health and Wellness ($100,000)
Human Services Campus, Inc. ($50,000)
Keogh Health Connection ($100,000)
Native Health ($75,000)
Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health ($225,000)

Older Adult Focused Organizations/Grant Awards

About Care, Inc. ($10,000)
Area Agency on Aging, Region One, Inc. ($100,000)
Aster Aging, Inc. ($50,000)
Benevilla ($100,000)
Chicanos Por La Causa ($125,000)
Duet: Partners in Health and Aging ($50,000)
Foundation for Senior Living ($100,000)
Mercy Housing Southwest ($20,000)
Neighbors Who Care, Inc. ($10,000)
Northwest Valley Connect ($10,000)
Oakwood Creative Care, Inc. ($20,000)

Religious Focused Organizations/Grant Awards

Andre House of Arizona, Inc. ($50,000)
Catholic Charities Community Services ($100,000)
ICM Food and Clothing Bank ($100,000)
Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest ($100,000)
Neighborhood Ministries, Inc. ($25,000)
Paz de Cristo Community Center ($50,000)
Phoenix Rescue Mission ($100,000)
Rehoboth Community Development Corp. ($12,500)
Society of St. Vincent de Paul ($200,000)
St. Joseph the Worker ($100,000)


Arizona Community Foundation for the Undocumented Workers Fund ($200,000)
Central Arizona Shelter Services ($50,000)


Act One ($50,000)
Arizona Jewish Historical Society ($25,000)
Arizona Musicfest ($75,000)
Arizona Opera ($115,000)
Arizona Science Center ($200,000)
Arizona Theatre Company ($115,000)
Artlink, Inc. ($15,000)
Black Theatre Troupe, Inc. ($50,000)
CALA Alliance ($30,000)
Chandler Cultural Foundation ($75,000)
Children’s Museum of Phoenix ($150,000)
Childsplay, Inc. ($200,000)
Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts ($75,000)
Desert Botanical Garden ($150,000)
East Valley Children’s Theatre ($22,500)
Fountain Hills Theater, Inc. ($25,000)
Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona ($150,000)
Greasepaint Youtheatre ($22,500)
Heard Museum ($200,000)
i.d.e.a. Museum ($37,500)
iTheatre Collaborative ($15,000)
Jazz in Arizona, Inc. ($25,000)
Mesa Arts Center Foundation ($25,000)
Musical Instrument Museum ($150,000)
Musical Theatre of Anthem ($22,500)
Phoenix Art Museum ($150,000)
Phoenix Boys Choir ($75,000)
Phoenix Center for the Arts ($50,000)
Phoenix Chamber Music Society ($15,000)
Phoenix Chorale ($15,000)
Phoenix Conservatory of Music ($50,000)
Phoenix Girls Chorus, Inc. ($37,500)
Phoenix Theatre ($115,000)
Phoenix Zoo ($150,000)
Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children ($50,000)
Scottsdale Arts ($150,000)
SOUNDS Academy ($30,000)
Southwest Shakespeare Company ($25,000)
The Phoenix Symphony ($150,000)
TheaterWorks ($50,000)
Valley Youth Theatre ($75,000)
West Valley Arts Council ($15,000)
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West ($100,000)
Xico, Inc. ($30,000)


Earlier this year, prior to the need for COVID-related support, Piper Trust had its ongoing and regular grantmaking in the pipeline, among other Trust-initiated grants. The Trust congratulates the following organizations for the well-deserved grant awards they received in October and November.

Responsive Grantmaking: grants that support nonprofit programs, capital campaigns, or capital projects that fit Trust core funding areas.

  • Children’s Action Alliance received a $202,000 grant to support the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA) to establish itself as an independent membership organization.
  • ICM Food & Clothing Bank received a $200,000 grant to support building renovations and improve accessibility.

Trust-Initiated Grantmaking: grants that are unique, often long-term investments, and designed for broad impact. The awarded grants listed below are for Piper Trust capacity-building grants related to the AGILE program.

  • ASU Art Museum, via Arizona State University Foundation ($380,000)
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation ($216,000)


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 $493 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.org | @PiperTrust | Facebook. For Piper Trust’s Annual Financial Report: Fiscal Year Ending March 2019, visit FY 2019.

Karen Leland, 480-556-7125 / kleland@pipertrust.org
Chief Communications Officer
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust