Message from
Board of Trustees and President & CEO

The Road to Resilience

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Throughout the history of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, we have had the privilege of listening to and learning from people who are working to improve the health and strength of our community. We are struck that there are more similarities in the conversations across our cause-centered communities than differences. A cause-centered community is a collective of people and organizations that share common concerns and goals about a community issue or need. Piper Trust believes in the power of working collectively to address pressing community needs that cannot be solved by any one organization working alone. Three themes permeate our work today.

CHANGE. Our world is changing at an ever-increasing rate but our reigning paradigms and tools leave us ill-equipped to navigate a challenging and uncertain future.

COLLECTIVE WORK. Issues are complex and intertwined and cannot be improved or solved by one organization or one viewpoint. The ability to address these issues comes from the community—people, organizations, businesses, agencies, municipalities, governments, networks, groups—working together on changes that improve life at a systems level.

What we see as challenges in Maricopa County require the minds and efforts of all sectors—from case workers to county employees, school nurses to business leaders, service providers to mayors—all working together. This collective action builds resilience. Moving forward in silos is not effective. Single actors cannot change a system. Systems change, and building resilience requires this cross-sector collaboration. While individual efforts can be incremental, lasting change and new solutions need a diverse collective to bridge social, economic, and political divisions. By coming together in revolutionary ways as cause-centered communities, we can build a stronger, more resilient community capable of adapting and overcoming challenges. Who is at the table really matters.

LISTENING, LEARNING, and LEADING. Piper Trust has the ability and commitment to listen, learn, and lead in our community. We listen to those who work every day directly addressing causes and problems—they are the ones who know the challenges best—they have the insight and experience to develop solutions. We combine this with our learnings and best practices in philanthropy so that we leverage our resources with a drive to make a positive difference in the health, well-being, and opportunity for the people in Maricopa County. By aligning with the doers, we lead together.

Piper Trust is taking a long-term view. Creating lasting change requires patience and sustained effort. The Trust’s ability to convene is a powerful way we can support the community. Through the Advancing Community Resilience Partnership, an effort of Piper Trust and the Institute for Sustainable Communities, we are working alongside agencies, private and social profit organizations, and individuals—tapping the strengths of existing relationships and fostering new collaborations to collectively address pressing issues and needs and ultimately, helping build Maricopa County’s community resilience.

An example of this work is how the Advancing Community Resilience Partnership helped bring together organizations, businesses, and agencies that provide utility assistance to limited income individuals and families. This cause-centered community is now working together in unprecedented ways—identifying gaps and limits in a system that causes further chain reaction challenges for vulnerable populations. Together, they are reimagining a new future for the utility assistance system—and building resilience.

Looking ahead, we will be growing our capacity to partner in dynamic ways that advance community resilience. We’re listening…

Warmest regards,

Jim Bruner, Trustee
José A. Cárdenas, Trustee
Paul Critchfield, Trustee
Arthur DeCabooter, Trustee
Laura Grafman, Trustee

Sharon Harper, Trustee
Judy Jolley Mohraz, Trustee
Sue Pepin, President & CEO
Steve Zabilski, Trustee


For questions or comments about Road to Resilience, Piper Trust’s FY15 and FY16 Biennial Report, or for ideas about future biennial reports, please contact:

Karen Leland
Director of Communications/External Relations
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Report Design: Fervor Creative
Photos: Fervor Creative, Sharon Price, Roberta Lind, Southwest Human Development/Smooth Way Home, Spot 127/Friends of Public Radio: KJZZ and K-BACH