Arizona nonprofits awarded with surprise grants

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The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust awarded a total of $123 million in surprise grants to 71 Arizona nonprofits, the largest single-day grant initiative in Arizona’s history. Mary Jane Rynd, the president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper, talked to us more about the grants and which organizations will be getting them.

Rynd said 2021 has been a very positive year for the trust. “Now is the time to especially share with our community, even after what we went through with the pandemic,” she said.

In the world of philanthropy, the decision is extremely rare, Rynd said. “I haven’t heard of a relatively large foundation doing it,” she added. “Hopefully some will take inspiration from this move.”

The minimum amount donated was $100,000 and the maximum amount given to larger organizations was $7.5 million. Foundation grants are given for a specific purpose with reporting requirements, Rynd said. However, during the pandemic, Piper Trust decided not to focus on the longer reports because there were other areas the trust needed to focus on.

The grants for the most part are completely unrestricted. “We will be gathering anecdotal and other information over the next year or two, she said.”

Virginia Piper learned philanthropy from her first husband who founded Motorola. “She took it so seriously and made her more humble,” Rynd mentioned.  Rynd calls Piper a role model in her life.

Rynd said the impact of all of us giving has created jobs and hope provided with the rich arts and culture activities for people.

When deciding which organizations would get the funding, Rynd said it was a very difficult process to choose. “It is really important for the trustees to feel comfortable with the organizations. They are really pleased.”

“My work is humbling and exciting, and we really take our job seriously,” she said.

Mary Jane Rynd, the president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

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