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The Story of CFA

It all started when Lattie Coor, outgoing president of Arizona State University, and Sybil Francis, now Chair, President & CEO of CFA, sat down to discuss how they could make a difference in the state they call home. With Lattie's background in education and Sybil's passion and experience in public policy, they created CFA, a self-proclaimed "do tank" dedicated to creating a stronger and brighter future for Arizona.

From the beginning it was clear that education is key to a bright future and would be a top priority. Our education work is founded on the belief that every child should have equal access to an excellent education. Knowing there can be no strong schools without strong leaders, we launched the Beat the Odds School Leadership Academy—our longest-standing program that is still growing its impact today. Now we have worked with hundreds of school leaders and impacted hundreds of thousands of students through the program’s school leadership training, new teaching and learning models, and career exploration and career pathways programs.

Over the years, CFA's commitment to creating a statewide agenda that reflects Arizonans’ top priorities has only grown stronger. Originating from an understanding that the voices of Arizonans are central to any bright future for Arizona, CFA established a unique partnership with the Gallup organization to build robust survey research of Arizonans as a key pillar of our work.  As we learned what matters most to Arizonans, we created The Arizona We Want, a shared vision of success around Arizonans' most important shared priorities for the future of our state. Then we developed the Arizona Progress Meters to keep Arizonans informed on how we're doing in these key priority areas. Our goal is to ensure that these priorities are realized throughout Arizona, in the organizations, leaders, and communities that call our state home. We continue to refresh our understanding of what matters most to Arizonans now and into the future.

CFA has grown in size and impact since 2002 and 2003, with over 30 staff and a broad range of programs focused on education, workforce, and civic health. We continue to listen to Arizonans, share trusted data about how Arizona is doing, bring critical issues to public attention, and work with communities to tackle big problems. Our mission to bring Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for our state has never been more important, and we're committed to ensuring all Arizonans enjoy sustained prosperity, unmatched quality of life, and real opportunity.