Pulliam Trust Makes Funding Changes in Response to Economic Hardships

The community’s economic hardships have changed a 10-year policy at the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust with the Trust’s announcement it will not accept requests for grants to capital campaigns for buildings or endowment purposes. The moratorium redirects these funds to human-service organizations providing food, clothing and shelter to citizens experiencing the greatest difficulties.

“With these exceptional times, the Trustees felt certain that Nina Pulliam would have wanted to assure as much funding as possible is directed to services directly touching the lives of families needing assistance in her hometown of Phoenix” said Frank E. Russell, Trust Chairman. “Last October we made the decision to redirect our 2009 capital funding to the Trust’s newly created Emergency Funding Initiative.”

“In November we met with city and county officials asking how Trust funds could be best put to work. Together, we created an emergency grant initiative for rent/mortgage assistance targeting households with income 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 who will receive assistance are at a tipping point. These families 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.

“The Trust’s Emergency Funding Initiative allows us to help families who would, no doubt, lose their home or apartment otherwise,” added Hurtado.

The Trust will divide grants totaling $500,000 among the city of Phoenix, distributing $275,000; the city of Mesa, distributing $62,656 through A New Leaf/Mesa CAN; and Maricopa County, distributing $162,344 to assist more than 750 Valley families stay in their apartments and homes.

The Maricopa County CAP offices, with additional jurisdictions served, include: AVONDALE, Goodyear; BUCKEYE; CHANDLER, Queen Creek, Sun Lakes; EL MIRAGE, Litchfield Park, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, Youngtown; GILA BEND; GILBERT; GLENDALE; GUADALUPE; PEORIA, Carefree, Cave Creek, New River, Rio Verde; SCOTTSDALE; TEMPE, Fountain Hills; TOLLESON; WICKENBURG.

The Trust has also pledged $300,000 to the $1.4 million community relief matching fund campaign, The Changing Face of Poverty.

“The campaign is modeled after successful community challenge programs in Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana,” said Portnoy, who brought the idea before his peers at a special meeting of local grantmakers last December and serves as campaign spokesperson. “With the extreme generosity our state’s citizens shows their fellow citizens in times of crisis, why not take a successful model and bring it here with members of our funding community already on board, leveraging the support of all to create the greatest impact,” Portnoy added.

The Trust joins Arizona Community Foundation, Arizona Republic Charities, The Bidstrup Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Lodestar Foundation, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and Valley of the Sun United Way. The campaign runs through April 19 and will distribute funds to organizations providing basic needs assistance of food, shelter, health and emergency assistance.

“People who have never before needed food boxes, shelter or help paying their rent are now in need, dramatically changing the profile of what most people consider impoverished,” Portnoy said.

“Our staff asked the Trustees to approve these unique initiatives that go beyond the Trust’s established grantmaking processes and deepen the Trust’s commitment to be a responsive community grantmaking partner,” Russell explained.

“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.”

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. Since the program’s inception, it has touched the lives of 184 men and women in Phoenix with 52 graduates. The application deadline for cohort 9 is April 1.

Since 1998, the Trust has awarded more than $77 million to 350 nonprofit organizations in Arizona in the areas of Helping People in Need, Protecting Animals and Nature and Enriching Community Life. Visit www.ninapulliamtrust.org for more information about the Trust and its programs, including the Nina Scholars program.

Welcome to Connections!

Dear Readers,

Our first round of grants for 2009 brought together 33 wonderful Arizona nonprofit organizations at an informal reception held last week in Phoenix at the Disability Empowerment Center, the new home of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, a former Trust grantee. 

The Trust also announced two emergency funding initiatives to assist people severely affected by the economic recession.  Seventeen Valley of the Sun Community Action Programs will share $500,000 to provide mortgage or rental assistance to an estimated 750 families who are facing foreclosures or evictions.  The Trust also has pledged $300,000 to The Changing Face of Poverty, a collaborative project of 10 Arizona funders that have committed a total of $1.4 million to match contributions from the general public to aid 47 nonprofit organizations providing basic needs of food, shelter and medical assistance to needy individuals and families.

As we announced last fall, in our effort to provide the best possible service and responsiveness to community needs during these difficult economic times, the Trust placed a moratorium on capital campaign and endowment requests for 2009.  This moratorium provides more flexibility to direct a larger portion of grant funds to nonprofit organizations serving men, women and children who are most in need. 

The Trust’s decision translates to March grants of $2,594,000, with almost 90 percent of the funds directed to the Trust’s Helping People in Need program area, the largest percentage distribution to this category since the Trust began grantmaking in 1998.  In addition, to leverage its grants resources, the Trust is collaborating with other funders, as well as with local governmental agencies.  We think that these strategies are appropriate ways to maximize our resources in these extraordinarily challenging times.

Please join me in congratulating our March Arizona grant recipients.

As always, we welcome your comments and ideas for Connections.

Preliminary Applications are Due May 5, 2009


The Trust’s first round of 2009 grant awards in Arizona totals $1,794,000 and represents every area of the Trust’s mission. For more detailed information on Arizona grants, go to descriptions.

The break down by program category is:
  - Helping People in Need - 25 organizations - $1,448,000
- Protecting Animals and Nature - 5 organizations - $277,000
- Enriching Community Life - 3 organizations - $69,000
Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest $40,000 *Humane Society of Wickenburg $75,000
Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence $32,000 *Lodestar Day Resource Center $50,000
Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation $30,000 Mission of Mercy $100,000
Arizona Friends of Talking Books $24,000 A New Leaf $125,000
*Arizona Jewish Historical Society $30,000 Peregrine Fund, Inc. $50,000
Arizona Science Center $50,000 *Phoenix Conservatory Of Music $15,000
Best Buddies Arizona $40,000 Power Paws Assistance Dogs, Inc. $25,000
*Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale $125,000 St. Joseph the Worker $30,000
Desert Mission, Inc. $60,000 Save the Family Foundation of Arizona $68,000
Devereux Arizona $68,000 Society of St. Vincent de Paul $50,000
*Ecumenical Chaplaincy for the Homeless $50,000   Sonoran Institute $42,000
Eve's Place, Inc. $30,000   *Superstition Area Land Trust $35,000
FACCS-Friends of Animal Care & Control $75,000   Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services $125,000
Florence Crittenton $67,000   Top Dog, Inc. $15,000
Girls For A Change - Phoenix $60,000 United Food Bank $100,000
Great Arizona Puppet Theater, Inc. $24,000   WellCare Foundation $56,000
Helping Hands Housing Services $28,000 *Denotes first-time grant recipient  
Arizona Emergency Funding Initiative Recipients
For more detailed information, go to descriptions
  Maricopa County Community Action Agencies
  City of Phoenix Family Services Centers
  A New Leaf/Mesa CAN
  The Changing Face of Poverty Community Campaign
Copyright 2009,
The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust