The Arizona Community Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way announce the first collaborative COVID-19 response grant of $74,000 awarded to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.
The Arizona Community Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way have partnered to ensure funding within Maricopa County to grant requests for those in need, according to a press release.
“The collaboration between these two large grantmakers through this historical time has been important for the nonprofit community,” said ACF Board Chair and United Way Board Member Steve Evans in a prepared statement.
“As we work together through this crisis, we are building a strong foundation for the future working together to support our community.”
The two leading philanthropic organizations joined together in a coordinated effort to help nonprofits that provide direct support services during the pandemic, the release said, noting that BBBSAZ was an ideal candidate for joint relief funding.
The organization highlighted its need for immediate relief funding to support increased costs related to the immediate and unanticipated change in its mentoring program model.
The foundation of this 60-year old program is relationship-building between a mentor and youth through personal, face-to-face interactions with the majority of youths who participate in the program living in poverty and facing unstable home and family situations, according to the release.
With physical distancing measures in place, “the mentorship model was forced to rapidly pivot to virtual meetings so the youth participants continue to have a stable, reliable mentor who can support them during this uncertain time,” the release described.
In Maricopa County, over 1,000 youth-mentor pairs who rely on the program to provide support through conversation, friendship, homework help, and sharing thoughts and fears have been impacated, noted the release.
BBBSAZ staff have worked around the clock to secure computers and equipment to ensure the smooth transition to virtual environment.
“When the pandemic hit, we saw our revenue drop quickly and substantially and if it were not for the amazing partnership between Valley of the Sun United Way and the Arizona Community Foundation, we would definitely have had to shrink our program and potentially close some of our matches,” said BBBSAZ President/CEO Laura Capello in a prepared statement.
“Seeing how quickly these two funders came together to support us and so many other nonprofit agencies truly made the difference in continuing our work.”
ACF and Valley of the Sun United Way have collectively distributed over $6.9 million in grants to nonprofits since March 31, the release noted. To-date, more than 580 grants have been awarded to nonprofit organizations providing immediate relief.
To learn more about ACF’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund, or to make a contribution: azfoundation.org/covid19.
Learn more about Valley of the Sun United Way’s United for the Valley COVID-19 Fund, or make a contribution: vsuw.org/covid19fund or text Unitedfund to 51-555.