Press Release

$1.5 million new grants awarded to 22 Arizona nonprofit organizations

July 15, 2009

2009 grants awarded in Arizona total $4.79 million through June 30, including $800,000 to emergency funding initiatives

(Phoenix) — The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust announced $1,475,000 in grants to 22 Arizona nonprofit organizations Wednesday, July 15. The presentation was held at The Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Avenue. Recipients arrived at 3 p.m. for the hour-long reception with the Trust’s Trustees, staff and representatives from other grantee organizations.

The Trust furthers the causes Nina Pulliam supported during her life, continuing her legacy of helping people in need, protecting animals and nature, and enriching community life in metropolitan Phoenix. Since the Trust began its grantmaking in 1998, it has awarded more than $81 million to 374 Arizona nonprofit organizations, said Trustee Chairman Frank E. Russell.

The new grants we are distributing today represent most areas of the Trust’s funding interests. But, they especially build upon this year’s $800,000 emergency funding initiatives that infused $500,000 into 17 Valley Community Action Programs for housing assistance and leveraged a $300,000 Trust grant as part of The Changing Face of Poverty community relief matching fund campaign, Harriet Ivey, Trust president and CEO reported. Ivey further stated that Arizona’s housing market meltdown and record number of foreclosures, combined with the state’s deficit–one of the highest per capita in the nation, have severely threatened basic needs for thousands of poor and lower-income Maricopa County residents. Many of the Trust’s grantees are agencies that serve these individuals and families, and they are struggling to maintain programs because of major cutbacks in state fee-for-service contracts, grants and downturns in their annual giving campaigns.

The Trust’s $500,000 collaborative initiative with Phoenix and Maricopa County 17 Community Action Programs (CAP) is helping 750 lower-income families avoid home foreclosure or apartment eviction. Together, we created an emergency grant initiative for rent/mortgage assistance targeting households with incomes of 150 percent to 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, said Ed Portnoy, Ph.D., director of the Trust’s Arizona grants programs.

The families receiving assistance from this grant are at a tipping point. They are already extended due to economic challenges, when an unplanned expense or emergency puts them at risk of losing their housing. Because of the Trust’s support, the CAP agencies can now provide assistance to these families who, in turn, will then continue to be independent and self-supporting members of our communities, Portnoy added.

The Trust’s Emergency Funding Initiative for the CAP agencies will make a real and measurable difference for the families it touches and now allows us to reach, said Gloria Hurtado, director of human services for the city of Phoenix. Our departments are stretched and our budgets continue to be cut. Because of the Trust, we can now provide assistance to these one-time-need families that will keep them from becoming part of the system.

These families are truly the most salvageable. The Trust’s support will make a real difference, providing financial assistance that will keep these families in their homes and not become part of the growing homeless statistics, said Trish Georgeff, director of Maricopa County Department of Human Services. Because these families are just above the federal assistance standards, programs are very limited for this type of emergency assistance, she explained.

In April the Trust also supported the community relief matching fund campaign, The Changing Face of Poverty, with a $300,000 grant. Ten foundations and corporate funding partners contributed $1.33 million, and the community donated $270,000 to create the funding pool that is helping 45 nonprofits provide basic needs assistance throughout the Valley of the Sun and around the state. The Trust also contributed $100,000 to this year’s Summer Youth Program Fund, a collaborative of 15 partners that raised more than $500,000 to help sustain summer activities for over 78,000 young people offered by 38 youth-serving organizations.

These are challenging times. And, our grantees are doing an exceptional job of bringing relief to those in the greatest need; furthering Nina Pulliam’s legacy in her hometown through their daily work and ongoing commitments to their life-changing missions, said Frank Russell, Trust chairman.

Russell added that Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars, the Trust’s signature scholarship program at ASU and Maricopa Community Colleges, continues to bring the dream of a college education to student populations traditional scholarship programs overlook. This month, the Trust welcomed its ninth cohort of 23 new scholars who will begin classes in August. They will join 61 ongoing Nina Scholars at the two schools. Through May 2009, 64 Nina Scholars have graduated since the Trust began the program in 2001. Through December 2008, the Trust has provided $4.4 million in grants to ASU and Maricopa Community Colleges for the Nina Scholars program.

The Trust also makes grants in Indiana and at the end of June 30, 2009, had assets of approximately $300 million. Visit for more information about the Trust and its programs.