71 Arizona Nonprofits Receive Surprise Grants From Piper Trust

Published: Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 3:14pm
Updated: Friday, September 17, 2021 - 9:47am
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Phoenix Rescue Mission, Arizona Opera and Valleywise Health Foundation are just a few of the dozens of Arizona nonprofits that received major gifts this week when the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust awarded $123 million in surprise grants.

The pandemic created high need for the services of charitable organizations. But as demand soared, nonprofits struggled with canceled fundraisers, reduced volunteer hours and slowing donations. The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits estimates organizations in the state lost at least $91 million during the first year of the pandemic.

At the same time, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust was seeing large growth in its investments. In a 15-month period, the trust's endowment grew by $123 million. Trustees decided to distribute all of it. 

“Now is the moment, they decided. Don’t wait for the future, do something good now," said Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust President and CEO Mary Jane Rynd. "It's a really bold move." 

Trustees chose 71 well-known Arizona nonprofits to surprise with grants. Grantees include arts organizations, medical research centers and private schools. 

Black Family and Child Services, which provides behavioral health and foster care services, received $750,000. CEO Shawn Pearson said that’s about half of her organization’s annual budget.

“It took me a minute to gain my composure because there were tears, there were moments of hyperventilation, I think we went through the extremes of emotion because it was so unexpected," Pearson said. 

Pearson said the past year and a half has brought major budgeting challenges to her organization. 

"The need for our behavioral health services was probably three times what it had been, but our capacity was limited because of the pandemic," Pearson said. "The gift is more significant than probably they even realized."  

The 71 grants ranged from $100,000 to $7.5 million depending on the organization's size. Rynd said a few grants specified that funding must be used for educational programs, or that the donation must be spent within Maricopa County. But the majority of the grants were unrestricted, Rynd said. 

"It was just, 'here you go, do your best,'" Rynd said. "We think it's going to be broad-reaching. It will help some organizations keep their doors open, it will help others stabilize, it will help others to adopt some innovations and new programs that have been on the waitlist because of their financial struggles."  

Grant Recipients 

Human Services

  • André House of Arizona, Inc.
  • Arizona Justice Project
  • Benevilla
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona
  • Black Family and Child Services of Arizona
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley, Inc.
  • Catholic Charities Community Services
  • Central Arizona Shelter Services
  • Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.
  • Child Crisis Arizona
  • Duet: Partners in Health & Aging
  • First Place AZ
  • Foundation for Senior Living
  • Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Inc.
  • Human Services Campus, Inc.
  • ICAN
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Jewish Family and Children’s Service
  • Maggie’s Place
  • Native American Connections, Inc.
  • one⋅n⋅ten
  • Phoenix Rescue Mission
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul
  • St. Joseph the Worker
  • The Joy Bus
  • The Salvation Army
  • UMOM New Day Centers
  • Valley of the Sun YMCA

Arts & Culture

  • Act One
  • Arizona Musicfest
  • Arizona Opera
  • Arizona State University Foundation*
  • Arizona Theatre Company
  • Artlink, Inc.
  • Ballet Arizona
  • Black Theatre Troupe, Inc.
  • CALA Alliance
  • Children’s Museum of Phoenix
  • Childsplay, Inc.
  • Cultural Coalition, Inc.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
  • Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona
  • Heard Museum
  • Jazz in Arizona, Inc.
  • Phoenix Art Museum
  • Phoenix Theatre
  • The Phoenix Symphony
  • Valley Youth Theatre
  • Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
  • Xico Inc.

Education & Academic Enhancement

  • Arizona State University Foundation
  • Be A Leader Foundation
  • Bourgade Catholic High School
  • Brophy College Preparatory
  • Creighton University
  • Foundation for Blind Children
  • Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation, Inc.
  • Notre Dame Preparatory High School
  • Seton Catholic High School
  • St. John Paul II Catholic High School
  • St. Mary’s High School
  • Xavier College Preparatory

Healthcare & Medical Research

  • Mission of Mercy
  • Ryan House
  • Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center
  • The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
  • Valleywise Health Foundation

Religious Organizations

  • Franciscan Renewal Center
  • Mount Claret Retreat Center
  • St. Joseph Catholic Church
  • The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix