By: Jackie Kajos
Thanks for joining us for Part 2 of our site visits! To recap, each year as part of the Grant Round, our Investment Committee makes site visits to the organizations that are chosen as finalists for our Investment cycle. The 2011 Investment Committee consists of Partners David Griffis (Chair), Frank Grundstrom, Susan Tarrence, Bob and Ginnie McKay, Bill Wissler, John Payne, Susan Warmack, Ruby Buchsbaum, Doris Coris, Mark Rubin, Jill Rosenzweig, and Hank Peck.
Partners have volunteered their time to evaluate the nonprofit organizations that submit Letters of Inquiry, and the Committee then requests full proposals. Full proposals are requested from the nonprofits that they feel would be the best fit for working with our organization and have the most room for potential to benefit from Partners’ skills. As part of the Investment Process, the Committee makes site visits, which are one of the most interesting and fun parts of the Grant Round!
We have already recapped our visits to The Loft Cinema and Youth On Their Own. In the second round of site visits, the Investment Committee visited Literacy Connects and The Arizona Blind and Deaf Children’s Foundation.
The Committee made a site visit to Literacy Connects, which is a newly formed organization that resulted when five literacy organizations in Tucson merged to create one strong organization that aims to lead a literacy movement in Tucson. Literacy Connects is a unique organization consisting of four partner programs: Reading Seed, Reach Out and Read Southern Arizona, and Stories That Soar!, in addition to the Literacy For Life Coalition. Together these programs provide a variety of services to the community, including and not limited to: adult literacy classes, reading coaches and support for elementary-aged children, children’s arts programs, parental support and early literacy intervention, and community literacy advocacy.
Our Investment Committee made a site visit to the Literacy Connects headquarters. We had the chance to meet with Executive Director Betty Stauffer to talk about Literacy Connects’ mission and goals in the future. Partners brainstormed and discussed opportunities in which they could assist Literacy Connects as they progress as an organization, solidify their infrastructure and integrate operations. Partners toured the very busy offices and got a feel for daily activities, which included a glimpse of two adult literacy classes. It was an exiting morning and we’re looking forward to seeing the “literacy movement” progress!
[Check out more photos here on Facebook]
Arizona Blind and Deaf Children’s Foundation
The Investment Committee headed over to the Arizona Schools for the Blind and Deaf to check out the art, literacy, fitness and life skills programs that Arizona Blind and Deaf Children’s Foundation (ABDCF) helps to support. ABDCF is committed to providing the 4,000+ blind, deaf, low-vision and hard-of-hearing children throughout the state with experiential learning in key areas involved in and beyond traditional education. ABDCF does this by supporting programs at Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Executive Director of ABDCF, Rita Weatherholt set up a site visit for the Committee in the Art Shed, an area at the school where deaf and blind children have the opportunity to participate in hands-on art projects and express themselves through creative means.
The Committee got to explore the Art Shed, where students were working with a variety of artistic mediums. Students can sculpt with clay, paint and draw, and weave on large or hand-held looms. Partners were also given a presentation on other programs that the ABDCF funds. An ASBD teacher presented about the “Literacy for Life” program that includes adaptive communication tools and resources for parents and children about sign language and braille, and reading to children with hearing and sight impairment.
The Committee was also shown a demonstration of a broadcasting activity, where a student interviewed Partner Frank Grundstrom on radio equipment. Students can modify the interview and sound clips on editing software and create broadcasts. Another student also talked about a hiking trip that he went on in Sedona as a part of the “Fitness for Life” program. ABDCF purchased hiking poles for the students that they used on their 5 and 10 mile hikes! ABDCF also funds a “Success for Life” program that teaches students independent life skills, financial literacy and career technology. The Committee greatly enjoyed their trip to the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind and the Art Shed, where they were able to talk to students and see programs in action!
[Check out more photos of the site visit here on Facebook]
Thank you to The Loft Cinema, Youth On Their Own, Literacy Connects and Arizona Blind and Deaf Children’s Foundation for graciously hosting us! The Committee very much enjoyed getting to know our Finalists better. Thank you to wonderful Investment Committee for all of their time, energy and enthuasism!