NOVEMBER 13, 2013

$400,000 awarded to help rebuild Yarnell after summer fire

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PHOENIX/PRESCOTT—The Arizona Community Foundation and its affiliated Yavapai County Community Foundation will award $400,000 to the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group to address Phase I of the group’s recovery plan for the community of Yarnell. Phase I of the three-phase plan addresses the most critical post-emergency recovery needs, including the rebuilding of homes, help for the underinsured, unmet needs of fire victims, and aid to the Yarnell Water Improvement Association and the Yarnell and Peeples Valley fire departments.

The Yarnell Hill Recovery Group was formed by local volunteers to identify unmet needs of residents and businesses in the Yarnell Hill Fire area and ways to meet those needs. It is recognized by the State of Arizona and Yavapai County as the official recovery group for Yarnell.

The $400,000 in grants being awarded by ACF and YCCF came from the Yarnell Disaster Relief Fund created in early July when the Yarnell Hill Fire destroyed one-quarter of the homes in the town and took the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots fire fighters—making it the deadliest fire in Arizona history. Making national news headlines, the fire and shocking loss of life generated an unprecedented outpouring of support from across Arizona and throughout the country.

A grants committee was appointed to oversee distributions from the Disaster Relief Fund. Members include Arizona Community Foundation Board members Shelley Cohn, Michael Kelly, and Jodi Padgett, a Skull Valley resident who also serves as chair of the YCCF advisory board; ACF Chief Philanthropic Services Officer Jacky Alling; YCCF advisory board member Tim Naylor; Yavapai County Supervisor Rowle Simmons and retired County Supervisor Carol Springer; former ACF Board member and Yarnell resident Mary Hays; and Bagdad resident and YCCF grant advisor Karen Anderson.

“With so many resources accumulated to serve needs and families in Yarnell, our grants committee decided to work with the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group to ensure that funds were deployed effectively, that needs were addressed thoroughly, and to avoid duplication of efforts that can result from multiple funding sources,” explained Carol Chamberlain, ACF’s regional manager who oversees the Yavapai County Community Foundation. “It has been a joy to be associated with both the outpouring of community support and the thoughtful approach to rebuilding Yarnell.”  

With dollars remaining in the Yarnell Disaster Relief Fund, the grants committee will meet again in spring 2014 to evaluate progress on Phase I and consider funding requests for Phase II and III of the Yarnell recovery plan.

Since July 1, the Yarnell Disaster Relief Fund has received about $750,000 in contributions. Gifts from YCCF funds established by the Kieckhefer family to honor Bob and Dudie Kieckhefer were added to the original matching dollars, which were contributed by YCCF, ACF, generous community partners, private foundations, businesses, and individuals.

Major contributors include the Nina Mason Pulliam Trust, Hickey Family Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Cox Communications, Apollo Group, BMO Harris Bank, Arizona Diamondbacks Charities, Intel, C-A-L Ranch Stores, Chauncey Foundation, Christ Lutheran Church of Sedona, Cobham Aerospace, Country Bank, Crossfit Prescott, Denver Foundation, Foothills Bank, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Harkins Theater, Lions Club, Patagonia-Sonoita Rotary Club, The Seattle Foundation, The Withington Foundation, Unity Church of Prescott, The Wellik Foundation, WellCare Community Foundation, Western Alliance Bank, Yavapai Gaming Agency and the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe.

A second fund, the Yarnell Memorial Scholarship Endowment, was established shortly after the fire with a $100,000 lead gift from Helios Education Foundation, followed by a $200,000 gift from Arizona Public Service. The long-range fund will provide college scholarships for the children of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and other fallen firefighters when they come of age, supporting tuition and other academic supports for any college, university, vocational or technical school the students attend. Gifts to this fund now total about $460,000 and will continue to grow over time and through additional gifts.

Donors may continue to make tax-deductible gifts to either fund online with a credit card at or by phone at (602) 682-2042; or, checks may be mailed to Arizona Community Foundation, 2201 E. Camelback Road #405B, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Please note the name of the fund on the memo line of your check.  One-hundred percent of donations will serve needs in Yarnell and provide for the scholarships described above, and no fees or overhead will be deducted from the funds.

The Arizona Community Foundation is a statewide nonprofit organization with four regional offices throughout Arizona. Established in 1978 and certified under the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, ACF is among the top 30 community foundations in the nation with more than $570 million in trust and endowment assets. Last year, ACF and its affiliates awarded $41 million in grants and scholarships to some 2,500 nonprofit organizations, schools and government agencies. More information is available at

The Yavapai County Community Foundation is a 20-year-old permanent philanthropic endowment for the enduring benefit of our community. Its mission is to lead, serve and collaborate to mobilize enduring philanthropy for a better Yavapai County. An affiliate of the Arizona Community Foundation, YCCF secures, manages and allocates donors’ gifts for charitable purposes in the County while working to improve the quality of life for local residents. During the past decade, YCCF has awarded some $5.3 million to Yavapai County nonprofit organizations, schools and municipalities serving local needs.  To learn more, visit

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