On Wednesday night, May 24th, three teams won the Common Good Challenge and each won a $100,000 grant for coming up with solutions to community problems.
The Common Good Challenge is the fifth award under the New Arizona Awards banner and is a collaboration of the Arizona Community Foundation, the Republic of Arizona, and the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University.
The New Arizona Awards were first established in 2014 by the Community Foundation in partnership with The Republic and Morrison Institute.
According to the initiative’s website, the Common Good Challenge aims to embrace the idea that people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds develop solutions to community problems that benefit society. It’s a gold contest.
Each winning team was awarded a $100,000 grant to use for their projects. This year is the first time the $300,000 total has been distributed to separate teams, but for most years, grants have only gone to one team, said the Community Foundation’s Chief Program and Community Engagement. Deputy Chief Jamie Dempsey said.
For the first three years, the focus was on finding solutions to the water crisis, and the grant was donated to one person. The latest New Arizona Awards for affordable housing included five winners with her $50,000.
Dempsey said the New Arizona Awards had the most submissions this year, probably because of the wider scope.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations began partnering in new ways to serve their communities. So when the Community Foundation first started planning for the grant in 2021, it was important, Dempsey said, to communicate that local organizations are best suited to identify the issues facing communities. said.
“This promotes a philanthropic culture where anyone, regardless of background or current account balance, feels able to donate their time, talents and wealth to make Arizona the best state in the nation,” said the Foundation. said Anna, chairman and CEO of Maria Chavez.
It’s too early to say what the next New Arizona Awards will be, but Chavez said the next few months will be spent visiting communities across the state. Foundation staff meet with students, nonprofit leaders, and other stakeholders to consider what issues people want the organization to focus on.
38 teams submitted projects for the award, which were evaluated by a committee of 32 members. Six teams were selected as finalists, announced earlier this month. The six teams competed Wednesday night at the Creighton University Health Sciences Campus in central Phoenix to pitch their projects to a panel of nine members, including President Chavez and Republic editor-in-chief Greg Burton.
The team identified issues within the community and worked to find solutions to the issues. Here are the pitches for the three winners:
Anytown Leadership Program
Serving Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Pima, Yavapai, and Yuma counties, Anytown is a 65-year-old camp dedicated to stopping hate speech. “This is a relationships organization that promotes leadership and diversity programs for young people,” said Amber Checky, president and camp director.
Camp director Amanda Delphi said Anytown’s model includes a summer leadership program, as well as school-based programs throughout the year. The program educates young people about the value of diversity and inclusion, how to recognize and combat stereotypes and discrimination.
“This award has truly been a game-changer for our program. I know,” said Checky. After the ceremony.
Boys to Men Tucson
The Healthy Intergenerational Masculinity Initiative for Pima County addresses crises stemming from the way boys are raised, including gender-based violence, academic achievement gaps, school shootings, addiction and untreated mental health issues. intended to deal with
Former Boys to Men Tucson CEO Michael Brasher said many boys don’t have a father figure in their lives and are exposed to toxic messages about masculinity and masculinity. says that there are
The Boys to Men website says the organization was initially a mentorship program designed for schools, but now works with other local organizations. The program usually consists of talk circles attended by both young people and adult men. Lance Meeks, Director of Community Engagement at the Southern Arizona Goodwill Society, said the talk circles are free weekly, with 400 teenage boys currently participating in the program.
Meeks said the organization has the goal of expanding to serve more boys and recruiting more men of color into leadership positions. The group also advocates for community policy changes that harm men of color.
“We are piloting restorative justice circles instead of punitive practices. We are going to destroy the school-to-prison pipeline,” Meeks said.
After completing the program, Brasher said he was overwhelmed with the grant.
“I had to try not to cry,” Brasher said when he heard Boys 2 Men won.
read better, get better
Read Better Be Better is an organization that serves Maricopa County to help children improve their reading skills. After-school literacy tutoring combines local middle school tutors with her third-grade readers and is led by a college education major.
CEO Sophie Allen Etchart said 41% of children in their grade weren’t reading. When race and poverty are taken into account, that number drops to about 27%, she said.
Allen Etchart said it’s important that the program caters to 3rd grade because 3rd grade is the last grade children are taught to read. According to Allen Etchart, if a child can’t read at grade level by the end of the year, they’re four times less likely to graduate from high school.
Allen Etchart said the program was first piloted in 2015 at a Phoenix school of 30 children. And 13,000 students will graduate from the program this semester.
Allen Etchart said the program, while effective, is not a solution to the root cause of the problem.
“It is my fervent belief that nonprofits have a responsibility to look beyond the programmatic solutions they currently offer to consider root causes and prevention strategies,” said Allen Etchart. .
And the root cause of the problem is Arizona’s teacher shortage, and that’s where Glendale Community College comes in. The campus is a Hispanic college and its teacher education program focuses primarily on primary and special education, said Heather Merrill, an assistant professor at the university. educational chair.
Read Better Be Better not only provides financial incentives for education majors, but also the opportunity to gain on-the-job experience.
“It was pretty scary, but I’m really proud of what the team accomplished,” Allen Etchert said after the ceremony. “And it’s $100,000, so it’s a big deal for us.”
For more information about the Arizona Community Foundation and the Common Good Award, please visit: https://www.azfoundation.org/ and https://www.commongoodchallenge.org/