Piper Trust helps Maricopa County Nonprofits Meet Fluctuating Challenges

August 7, 2023

Piper Trust helps Maricopa County Nonprofits Meet Fluctuating Challenges

August 7, 2023

Piper Trust helps Maricopa County Nonprofits Meet Fluctuating Challenges
Grantmaking Offers Flexibility and Encourages New Approaches

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Piper Trust’s nearly $34 million in grant support during the 15 months ending March 31 speaks to the return of investing in the community through both its application-based and Trust-initiated philanthropy. This two-pronged grantmaking approach follows more than two years of the Trust’s almost singular focus on addressing the significant, multifaceted challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic.

But that’s not to say the final chapter of COVID-19’s norm-shattering impact on nonprofits has been written. The struggles continue and the Trust’s strategic investments during a period that included its entire 2023 fiscal year reflect that.

“We continue to consider the uniqueness and needs of individual nonprofits as well as how Piper Trust can best support the sector as a whole,” said Steve Zabilski, president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “The Trust strives to be a partner alongside the nonprofit community as it adjusts and finds its footing in a post-pandemic world. We are so encouraged by the innovations and collaborations we are seeing and realize that there is still recovery and reinvention underway that needs nurturing and flexibility.”

About 48 percent of grants awarded (January 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023) were Trust-initiated grants, meaning grants conceived by the Trust or in partnership with other funders/organizations. These grants recognize nonprofits’ need for flexible support as they carry out their important missions in a forever-changed — and ever-changing — world. For example, to help arts and culture partners in their ongoing transition to new normals following the pandemic, the Trust awarded $5,760,000 to 42 organizations in a one-time grant initiative called “Arts & Culture Forward.”

“The idea behind Arts and Culture Forward was to provide some breathing room for our arts and culture partners as they continue to explore the new ways people seek to engage in the arts post-pandemic,” said Erin Goodman, senior program officer with Piper Trust. “Arts and culture are critically important to our quality of life. These organizations need and deserve flexible funding to pivot, innovate, or fully reinvent for the future. These are some of the most creative and tenacious professionals in the community, and the Trust sought to create conditions that would help get them further along in their re-norming.”

“Piper Trust's flexible funding plays a vital role in Childsplay's ongoing navigation through the post-pandemic landscape, which continues to challenge theaters across the nation,” said Dwayne Hartford, artistic director for Childsplay. “This assistance enables us to respond to those challenges and adapt our program and performance delivery methods, strengthening the future of our mission.”

Now in its 24th year serving Maricopa County, Piper Trust remains committed to staying nimble in its support of the ever-changing needs of community while keeping its eye on strategic investment that will enrich quality of life long term.

Piper Trust grant awards can be viewed by year and/or by core funding areas on the Trust’s website via the Grant Search.

Trust-Initiated Grantmaking: grants conceived by the Trust or in partnership with other funders/organizations; these grants are often unique long-term investments that carry broad impact. Following lists the breakdown by core funding area.

Arts and Culture—Total: $5,900,000 (includes all Arts & Culture Forward grants)

Children—Total: $925,000

Healthcare—Total: $5,872,500

Older Adults—Total: $100,000

Religious Organizations—Total: $1,150,000

Trust-initiated grants that respond to time-sensitive needs often due to humanitarian crisis or natural disasters. Examples for this timeframe include supporting emergency aid for communities in Florida and Puerto Rico affected by hurricanes and care for Ukrainian refugees.

Launched in 2003 by Piper Trust’s Trustees, the Back-To-School Grants Program provides select Maricopa County schools with funds to support essential clothing, hygiene, and technology needs for vulnerable students. Forty-five school districts were collectively awarded grants totaling $1,593,600. These funds, paid over three years, will reach over 200 individual schools to aid children and help them begin the school year feeling supported. This Program has contributed more than $10.5 million to schools since 2003.

The 2022 Class of Piper Fellows is comprised of 12 nonprofit leaders with each organization awarded $30,000 to support the Fellows’ respective self-designed, professional development plan; each organization is also awarded $10,000 to support related board/staff development. The 2022 Piper Fellows are: Becky Bell Ballard, CEO, Rosie’s House; Pedro Cons, CEO, Adelante Healthcare; David J. Hemphill, executive director, Black Theatre Troupe; Sister Mary Jordan Hoover, principal, St. John Paul II Catholic High School; Kirk Johnson, founder and CEO, SOUNDS Academy; Jared Kittelson, associate CEO, Foundation for Blind Children; Jessyca Leach, executive director, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS; Marcia Mintz, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley; Alicia Nuñez, executive vice president and CFO, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.; Denise Resnik, founder/president and CEO, First Place AZ; Christopher Tiffany, executive director, Raising Special Kids; Gerd Wuestemann, president and CEO, Scottsdale Arts.

Responsive Grantmaking: application-based grants proposed by a nonprofit working in partnership with a Trust program officer; these are grants to support nonprofit programs, capital campaigns, or capital projects that align with the Trust’s defined grantmaking. Following lists a breakdown by core funding area.

Arts and Culture—Total: $4,350,000

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation ($450,000) • Heard Museum ($750,000) • Phoenix Theatre ($1,000,000) • Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children ($650,000) • Scottsdale Arts ($1,500,000)

Children—Total: $7,413,000

Arizona Autism United ($1,300,000) • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley ($3,000,000) • Child Crisis Arizona ($500,000) • Friends of the Children ($600,000) • Homeless Youth Connection, Inc. ($200,000) • Neighborhood Ministries, Inc. ($313,000) • Southwest Human Development ($1,500,000)

Education—Total: $325,000

Desert Voices/Oral Educational Opportunities for the Hearing Impaired ($75,000) • Southwest Human Development ($250,000)

Healthcare and Medical Research—Total: $3,632,200

Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired ($250,000) • Valleywise Health Foundation ($3,200,000) • Wickenburg Community Health Foundation, Inc. ($182,200)

Older Adults—Total: $1,865,000

About Care, Inc. ($150,000) • Arizona Housing, Inc. ($90,000) • Duet: Partners in Health and Aging ($175,000) • Hospice of the Valley ($1,250,000) • Tempe Community Action Agency, Inc. ($200,000)

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 $705 million in local nonprofits and programs. Piper Trust grantmaking areas are healthcare, 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 2022, visit FY 2022.

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