SAFFORD — Nearly half a million dollars is coming to seven local nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies and worthwhile project, courtesy of Freeport-McMoRan Foundation.

Funding is being directed to a trio of park projects, a microloan program to help small businesses, development of a sober living facility, helping people eat healthy and childhood development.

In announcing the grant recipients, Tracy Bame, president of Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, said, “Working in collaboration with a range of committed community partners, we’re continuing to focus on empowering citizens through opportunities to acquire a broad range of skills, education and leadership to foster community resilience and transformation that leads to sustainability. Things like vocational skills and educational attainment not only lead to healthier, higher standards of living but also are transferable beyond mining into other areas of the economy, while broader leadership abilities support resilience and self-governance that enable thriving communities post-mining.”

Recipients include:

• Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley Growing Smarter 2019 + STEM — $30,000

The grant supports the Club’s Power Hour, a structured hour-per-day homework assistance and tutoring program, as well as the Club’s established +STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activity-based program aimed at helping youths to connect scientific principles to real-world applications.

• City of Safford El Paso Park — $78,000

Funds will be used to build community infrastructure and provide recreational opportunities for Safford residents. El Paso Park will receive needed improvements and enhancements.

• Gila Valley Friends for a Drug-Free Community House of Hope Sober Living Home — $100,000

Funds kick-start the construction of a sober living facility that will provide a residential accommodation, free of alcohol and illicit drugs, for men. Centered on peer support and connections to services such as vocational training, higher education and mandatory recovery programs, the program will assist residents with long-term recovery and future success.

• Graham County Interfaith Care Alliance ONF&P Capacity Building and Community Development Project — $22,000

The award supports the development of a cohesive strategic plan for Our Neighbors Farm & Pantry to inform and guide the organization’s contribution as a provider in the local food security system as well as define its role as a steward and leader in developing regional economic opportunities in the local foods space.

• Local First Arizona Foundation Graham County Loan Fund — $30,000

Grant funds infuse additional principal into the Graham County Micro Loan fund for local businesses. In rural communities without resources for smaller commercial loans, custom lending programs remove the access to capital barrier for both startups and developing businesses prepared to scale up, thereby supporting economic development and diversification efforts at the small business level.

• Mt. Graham Baseball and Little League 2019 Field Lighting — $120,000

Funds will support field lighting at the Graham County Fairgrounds Park to illuminate fields used for both Little League baseball as well as soccer. The lighting project is being developed in a dark-sky-friendly manner to minimize any impacts to nearby astronomy observation sites. It will allow for prospective evening practices, nighttime games and matches in a space previously only available for daytime use.

• The Gila Watershed Partnership Gila River Linear Park Master Plan — $20,000

This award assists a grass-roots effort to create a master plan for design and construction of a linear park and trail system along the Gila River in Safford and Thatcher. The project aims to ultimately tie in to the existing popular multiuse recreation path in the community and bring users to the riverside. This is an effort to better connect the community to the river, helping to curb vandalism and wildcat dumping on the river and increasing local stewardship of the resource.

Recipient organizations will receive their funding in July and be recognized by members of the Community Investment Committee during grant presentations this summer.

Since its establishment in 2009, the Graham County CIF has invested $4.65 million.

For more information about Freeport-McMoRan community investments and programs, contact Sean Wenham at or visit

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