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The Story of CFA

It all started in 2002, when Lattie Coor, outgoing president of Arizona State University, and Sybil Francis, now president and 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 as a public policy specialist, 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 of CFA's agenda. 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 a unique partnership with the Gallup organization to identify what matters most to Arizonans, we created The Arizona We Want, a shared vision of success around Arizonan’s most important shared priorities for the future or our state. Then we developed The Arizona We Want 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 renewed our partnership with Gallup in 2020 to refresh our understanding of what matters most to Arizonans now and into the future.

CFA has grown in size and impact since 2002, with over 20 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.