Community Foundation Campus

The new Community Foundation Campus will provide office and coworker space for local nonprofits. 

Teamwork has long aided business, but does it work outside of the for-profit sector? The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona plans to take this concept into the nonprofit realm with their upcoming Community Foundation Campus.  

“It’s a centralized place for nonprofits to convene and work side-by-side,” said Mark Montoya, CFSA Vice President of Operations. 

In 2015, CFSA Board of Trustees determined the Community Foundation had outgrown its current 5,000 square foot location at 2250 E. Broadway, where they’ve housed since 2001. Thus, the idea for the Community Foundation Campus was born. This transition to a new campus, located at 5049 E. Broadway, is part of CFSA’s 2020 Strategic Plan. The main ethos of their 2020 Plan is to better serve their donors and community through greater investment, inclusion, impact and infrastructure. The new Community Foundation Campus is the centerpiece to this vision. 

“We determined we had outgrown our current location and the idea for the Community Foundation Campus was born,” Montoya said, “For it to be a true nonprofit center, we realized we needed a bigger location.”

CFSA originally selected the new location in Jan. 2017. They hired Barker Contracting, Inc. as the general contractor. Interior demolition began in Nov. 2017, with reconstruction taking place throughout spring 2018. Over this past summer, CFSA has been busy installing new office systems throughout the campus. 

“It’s been a three-year endeavor,” Montoya said. “But it’s been a rewarding one.” 

Since 1980, CFSA has connected local nonprofits to their donors by hosting fundraisers and working directly with the local government and business community. They also provide information for philanthropists to create “long-term solutions in areas such as animal welfare, arts and culture, community development, education, environment, health and human services”.

“It’s what we call ‘capacity building’ in the nonprofit community.” Montoya said. 

The new campus hopes to continue this vision by providing a collaborative campus with 24,000 square feet of workspace over three buildings. 

“When we started to look for a place of our own, we contacted the Eller College of Management to help,” Montoya said “We looked up statistics for collaborative models between nonprofits.” 

The statistics they found pointed to the same conclusion: collaboration breeds success. According to a 2015 survey from the Nonprofit Network, shared workspace leads to cost savings, improved service delivery and heightened brand awareness. 

“We wanted it to be an inclusive campus,” Montoya said. “More than just a new location for CFSA.” 

The new campus will be managed by the Tucson-based PICOR Real Estate Services and include individual office suites and smaller co-working spaces for tenants. CFSA says the hope is for these community spaces to allow for nonprofits to “trim overhead and simplify day-to-day administration; helping them to improve service to their clients.”

So far, over 30 local nonprofits have expressed interesting in renting a space in the new campus. Of those, one nonprofit business has committed. In addition, the Pima County library signed on to host a space at the new campus. 

“From the research conducted by the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, we gathered that nonprofits in the community didn’t want to be downtown or too far east,” Montoya said. “We were lucky to find a nice, centralized location.”

The Boy Scouts of America originally owned the campus location, but also needed a new place at the same time as CFSA. CFSA bought the Boy Scouts’ building in April 2017, and the Boy Scouts moved into the Community Foundation’s former space over that summer.

“It worked out well,” Montoya said. “We ended up swapping places.” 

The new campus will be directly designed for smaller nonprofits with budgets less than a million dollars. These sized nonprofits constitute over 80 percent of the nonprofit market in Tucson. 

Throughout their business history, CFSA has led over 20 collaborative projects which resulted in over 175 million dollars being granted to the community. CFSA says this experience makes them qualified to create a community nonprofit center. 

“Great things happen in the projects we feel strongly about,” Montoya said. 

CFSA described three projects they worked on for their goal of “creating community”. CFSA partnered with the David and Lura Lovell Foundation and ten associated nonprofit agencies to support local palliative and end-of-life care. They worked with the Southwest Folklife Alliance and Community Food Bank to develop cultural food businesses in the La Doce neighborhood of southern Tucson. They also partnered with Arizona Public Media to bring NPR’s Maria Hinojosa to Tucson to moderate a “Stories from the Border” event to discuss border issues. 

“Our role is being that thought leader in the community,” Montoya said. “We’re the collaborator, the convener, to improve the quality of service to nonprofits.” 

CFSA originally planned to host the grand opening celebration for the new campus in Oct. 2018. However, logistics pushed this date back. CFSA now plans to move their offices to the new location during the second and third weeks of October. A soft, operational opening for the campus will be in November, with the new grand opening date scheduled for Dec. 14, 2018. 

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