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The Finer Properties of the Valley of the Sun

The Finer Properties of the Valley of the Sun

Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, Arizona Grantmakers Forum become one strategic force for local property-homes

photo of kristen merrifield
Kristen Merrifield, Alliance chief executive officer. (File Photo/
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Following unanimous approval by both boards of directors, the merger of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum is complete.

Alliance Chief Executive Officer Kristen Merrifield will lead the combined organization, which will operate under the Alliance name for the immediate future, according to a press release.

Arizona Grantmakers Forum President and CEO Laurie Liles is set to become chief public policy officer and vice president of Arizona Grantmakers Forum as she shifts her focus to advocacy on behalf of the entire sector, while continuing to maintain relationships and provide support to the grantmaking members, the release states.

“After many months of strategic conversations, engagement with members of both organizations and some deep-dive planning, we’re thrilled that the merger of these two organizations is complete,” Ms. Merrifield said in a prepared statement.

“We are confident this merger will leverage the combined strengths of two important, credible and respected statewide associations representing nonprofits and property-homes to maximize value for members, advance the sector, and benefit Arizona through more effective collaborations among philanthropic and nonprofit leaders.”

The merger will be officially celebrated at the Alliance’s statewide 2022 ENGAGE Nonprofit Conference, the first event of the combined organization, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 25 at Desert Willow Conference Center, 4340 E. Cotton Center Blvd in Phoenix. The conference is sold out, but a waiting list is available for anyone interested.

Laurie Liles

Arizona Grantmakers board members are now members of the Alliance board and all employees from both organizations will remain on staff, the release states.

Current programming and membership structures will remain as they are through at least the end of the calendar year and likely into 2023 as the integration occurs in phases over the next year or two, according to Ms. Merrifield. The merged organization is found at 333 E. Osborn Road, Unit 245, in central Phoenix.

“Our reimagined organization will preserve the distinct learning and networking spaces our nonprofit and grantmaking members value, while also unlocking the potential for philanthropic and nonprofit professionals to solve problems collectively,” said Torrie Taj, chief executive officer at Child Crisis Arizona and Alliance board chair, who will continue to lead the merged board.

“Together, we will advance inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility in Arizona. We will foster authentic communication among funders and nonprofits to transform relationships and make grantmaking processes more efficient. And we will speak with a clear, unified voice on public policy issues that affect our sector and the people and communities we serve.”

— Torrie Taj, Alliance chair

Ms. Liles, who had served as president and CEO of Arizona Grantmakers Forum for the past seven years, says policy work is a full-time need unmet for both organizations.

“While each organization had been deeply involved in advocacy efforts, neither had a staff position specifically dedicated to public policy work, which has been my area of expertise,” she said. “The merger will further strengthen the position of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors as key partners with government and the business community to drive economic growth and build an equitable Arizona where all people thrive.”

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