Community Impact Grants

Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services are committed to investing in the communities where we live, work and play. Our Community Impact Grants are designed to provide a significant boost to local community assistance, education and environmental protection efforts.

On Sept. 13, TEP awarded $250,000 in grants to help a dozen local nonprofit groups improve education, protect our environment and provide services to limited-income families affected by homelessness, domestic violence, poverty and child abuse. Visit our Community Impact Grants recipients page for details.

In all, our expanded grants program will provide $330,000 to nonprofit groups across Arizona in 2016, more than doubling the total amount we awarded last year. The goals of our program include:

  • Improving the quality of life in areas served by TEP and UES
  • Directing support to our philanthropic focus areas, including education, environmental protection and community assistance for limited-income residents
  • Providing an open, competitive process for any qualified nonprofit group to present its proposal to TEP and UES for funding
  • Encouraging agency collaborations - sharing expertise and resources for stronger programs - through a weighted scoring process
  • Providing a financial incentive to leverage volunteer involvement and/or other grant funds that need matching funds
  • Increasing our awareness of worthwhile charitable efforts and agencies in our communities

Download the Grant Overview Presentation from our May 26 kickoff breakfast.

Eligibility and focus areas

To be eligible for funding, an organization must:

  • Be a nonprofit with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) (3) of the IRS and in good standing with all appropriate regulatory agencies
  • Operate and provides services in TEP/UES territories and/or the White Mountain community;
  • Submit the grant application into one of the following focus areas:
    • Community Assistance/Limited income: programs and services for underserved members of the community including but not limited to at-risk persons, homelessness, domestic violence, poverty, foster care, child abuse prevention/treatment, etc.
    • Education: programs and activities that support pre-K through 12th grade, including but not limited to classroom resources and field trips, teacher assistance, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities, etc. (Individual schools are not eligible to apply.)
    • Environment/Sustainability: local or statewide programs and projects that support efforts to protect and preserve our air, land, water and wildlife habitat.
  • Leverage other grants/funds or volunteers, involve collaboration with another nonprofit organization
  • Provide evidence of fiscal stability and a way to measure the success of the proposed program
  • Be incorporated for at least three years, with solid audited financial history and future funding stability. In collaborations, there may be an organization that has not been a 501(c)(3) for 3 years, so the agency submitting the grant must have the 3 year incorporation status)
  • Relate the program in the grant request directly to the organization's mission

Applications that WILL NOT be considered include:

  • Capital campaigns, fundraisers, sponsorships, multi-year funding, and endowment requests
  • Submissions from government agencies or schools. However, associated parent-teacher organizations or foundations may apply
  • Faith-based organizations with a religious requirement for program eligibility are not eligible. Social service programs provided by a church or faith-based organization are eligible.
  • Programs where funds will be used outside of TEP’s or UES’ service territories
Grant Funding
Review Process
Grant Funding

TEP Community Impact Grants are designed to:

  • Provide funding for new or expanding programs that are critical to community well-being. (For new programs, there should be supporting data that shows need and sustainability prediction)
  • Provide funds towards matching grants, increase volunteer involvement (i.e. match for National Service Program) and/or other program leverage opportunities
  • Encourage nonprofits to formally collaborate with other nonprofit, educational, or government organizations in providing a programs that:
    • Provide expanded or improved services
    • Increase nonprofit business efficiencies that increase stability and resources for proven programs
    • Raise awareness, increase participation and/or advocacy of the program service

Funding Available for 2016 Grant Round - $330,000

  • Coconino County $15,000 total available. Minimum grant: $1,000
  • Navajo Counties: $5,000 total available. Minimum $1,000
  • Mohave County: $30,000 total available. Minimum $1,000
  • Pima County and White Mountain/Springerville area: $250,000 total available.
    • Minimum grants: $5,000 in Pima County; $1,000 in the White Mountain/Springerville area
  • Santa Cruz County: $15,000 total available. Minimum $1,000
  • Yavapai County: $15,000 total available. Minimum $1,000
Review Process

Review Process

  • All applications are screened at corporate headquarters for eligibility before being sent out to regional committees for review
  • Each regional committee will score the grant applications and select successful submissions
  • UNS reserves the right to fund all, none, or part of any grant application, based on merit. UNS decisions are final
  • Funding for Community Impact Grants will be one-time per grant cycle per year per organization
    • multiple year requests will not be considered
    • multiple grant applications per organization will not be considered within the same service area (i.e., two grant requests from the same organization for Tucson/Pima County will not be considered, however one organization can make a grant request in Tucson/Pima County, and another in Santa Cruz. Requests by one organization in multiple service areas are permitted, as long as the funding will be applied with the different locations.
  • Successful grant applicants will be notified by phone or mail and invited to a grant presentation event. Check uesaz.com and tep.com for the most updated information.
  • Applicants who do not receive grants will be notified by mail.
  • A feedback session will be available once the grant cycle concludes, the date and details will be included in the decline letter. This is an opportunity for agencies to ask questions and consider future grant requests.
  • Grant applications that include false information may disqualify the agency from future funding from UNS.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are Community Impact Grants different from other funding from UNS?
UNS philanthropy is an integrated strategy to support employee volunteerism, community wide initiatives driven by senior management and the grants program. Community Impact Grants allow the company to review all potential partnerships for community investment, rather than funding on a first-come or previous relationship basis.

Other typical ways that UNS funds community organizations are:

  • Supporting UNS Community Action Team (CAT) employee volunteerism on CAT projects or in leadership positions (i.e. board of directors or coaching a youth sports team). These grant requests MUST be supported by the UNS employee and are often initiated by the employee.
  • Community-wide initiative/event, i.e., economic development, community wellbeing campaigns with senior management leadership involvement.
  • Corporate memberships are driven by business needs and employee involvement.
  • Requests for marketing and advertising are referred to appropriate UNS department for review. See websites for programs offered.

What will successful Community Impact Grants proposals include?
Proposals must be completed and submitted before the deadline and be descriptive, yet concise. Describe the program with a strong case statement that explains the existing program or new program, why the program makes a measurable difference, and specifies any leveraged resources (i.e., volunteer involvement or matching funds) that are enabled by the grant funds.

What are the chances we will get funded?
Each year the number of submissions increase because of the great demand in the state of Arizona. Thankfully, TEP and UES have been able to increase the amount of funding when the grants program was redesigned in 2016 to respond to this need. However, the grant process is very competitive and is based on the strength of the application and how it compares to the other applications that are received for that year’s cycle. A dozen or so grant proposals are typically eliminated immediately because of incomplete application, location or program being outside of the focus areas.

How do we know if our grant is strong?
The grant score sheet is available for download, so please review your grant packet to assure that your submission answers all of the questions the committee will be using to score. The final decision is heavily weighted by score.

How do I know if my organization is eligible to apply?
Reviewing the guidelines and verifying the program service and/or persons to be served are in a UNS service territory. Check the utility bill at the program location – is either TEP or UniSource Energy the service provider?

Can I meet with someone from UNS to talk about our grant submission idea?
Due to the large volume of grant applications, and to ensure a level playing field, UNS employees do not offer advice or assistance to organizations applying for Community Impact Grants. Open meetings are hosted by UNS Community Relations across the state at the beginning of the grant cycle to allow questions and specific assistance. Grant guidelines and applications will be available only online (no mailings or phone requests).

American Red Cross

2016 Community Impact Grant Recipients

This year's grant recipients improve education, protect our environment and provide services to limited-income families.
Buffelgrass Volunteer

Serving on Nonprofit Boards, Committees

Many TEP employees serve on boards and committees of various nonprofit organizations, lending their professional expertise in leadership roles.

Volunteerism Culture Benefits Nonprofits

TEP's strong commitment to volunteering is employee-driven, led by its Community Action Team.