2019 Annual Report

News and Reports


Dear Friends,

Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

In 2019, the Trust continued our long-standing practice of partnering with grantee organizations and community leaders to help shape our grantmaking. Our experience reaffirmed a simple truism: When we collaborate with the leaders in the fields where we invest, we make better funding decisions that achieve bigger impact.

Throughout 2019, we:

  • Worked with more than 30 grantees to build five-year environmental and animal welfare funding roadmaps that dedicate over $27 million in future grants.
  • Consulted with experts in Indiana and Arizona to discuss the best practices – and frustrating gaps – in workforce development, foster care and youth development.
  • And, explored with the directors of our flagship Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program what additional support services would improve student success.

Read on for more about these collaborations that help achieve gains for the people, animals and natural places in our communities.

From left: Trustees Kent E. Agness, Chair Carol Peden Schilling, Trustee Lisa Shover Kackley and President and CEO Gene D’Adamo


The Trust worked in partnership with our environmental grantees to create a roadmap that dedicates $19.5 million to investments in protecting nature over the next five years in Arizona and Indiana.

The roadmap supports the Verde and White rivers to protect river flows, address water quality, preserve wildlife habitat, foster development of sound water policy and innovate economic and conservation collaborations. It extends the Trust’s investments in underwriting environmental journalism at the Arizona Republic and The Indianapolis Star and state and international environmental reporting awards, which keep people informed about pressing environmental concerns of our time.

On the ground, we funded a first-of-its-kind crop-conversion project with the Yavapai-Apache Nation and The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. The pilot project supports indigenous food culture and expands the tribal economy while maintaining water flow in the Verde River. In Indiana, the White River Alliance hosted the second Indiana Water Summit and officials unveiled the White River Vision Plan, which the Trust and Partners for the White River are engaged in, to enhance 58 miles of the river. It’s encouraging to see decisionmakers, conservationists, businesspeople and residents claiming a broader stake in the future of our waterways.

Photo: The Nature Conservancy – The Arizona Republic


Nina Mason Pulliam was devoted to animals throughout her life and the Trust honors her passion by investing in animal welfare initiatives with the goal of keeping pet euthanasia rates as low as possible in our communities and curbing overpopulation. We consulted our animal welfare partners to outline funding priorities through 2024 and dedicated nearly $8 million in Arizona and Indiana to continue funding spay/neuter surgeries, vaccines and wellness access, and expand partnerships with animal welfare providers. We will increase access to pet care in underserved neighborhoods through the Fix.Adopt.Save. program in Arizona, and grants like the one to Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which brings veterinary students to Indianapolis to learn shelter medicine and provides additional free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for neighborhood animals.

Learn more about the Trust’s animal welfare initiatives here.


Photo: Save the Family

Because the challenges facing people in need always evolve, the Trust undertakes continuous learning so we can make timely, well-informed refinements to our funding strategies. The Trust initiated a two-year project to take an in-depth look at the current landscape and forecast future needs in the areas we address through our Helping People in Need giving area. We turned to expert sources in Indiana, Arizona and nationally to examine the first three areas: workforce development, foster care and youth development.

Our research will better inform Trust grantmaking over the next few years. We appreciate the nonprofit and government agency leaders who dove deep into these conversations with us to provide a greater understanding of how needs are being met for the underserved in our communities and how we can marshal our resources and investments to fill the gaps.

Nina Scholars

Our Nina Scholars face difficult challenges – they were part of the child welfare system, deal with physical disability or are adults with dependents in the home. Despite this, their college success rate is 76%, outpacing traditional student peers, and 81% of Nina Scholars who graduated in the past five years are employed in a field related to their degree, compared with 27% of traditional student peers nationwide.

We know the Nina Scholars program’s intensive personalized wrap-around services are key to scholars’ success, so the Trust convened the program directors from Arizona State University, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College and Maricopa Community Colleges to explore how we can provide even more support. With strong numbers of scholars progressing toward and earning degrees, the Nina Scholars team determined it will continue increasing emphasis on helping scholars transition from college to career and plug into the greater community. The team also is piloting the Nina Scholars Alumni Network, so alums can stay connected to one another, forge more professional and community connections and support current Nina Scholars.


Since its inception, the Trust has distributed nearly $319 million in grants and scholarships to 983 nonprofit organizations in Arizona and Indiana. In 2019, we awarded 141 grants totaling $13,536,756. See an overview of our 2019 grantmaking.

Reflecting on 2019, we remain grateful to collaborate with many quality organizations and partners effecting enduring change in our communities. We are honored to continue this work with you. Be well.

Carol Peden Schilling
Trustee Chair

Kent E. Agness

Lisa Shover Kackley

Gene D’Adamo
President and CEO