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Center for the Future of Arizona’s 20th Anniversary Builds Momentum to Achieve The Arizona We Want

Arizona leaders across sectors gathered to mark the nonprofit's milestone
Posted on October 25, 2023 • Category: News Release

Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to bringing Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for the state, celebrated 20 years of impact with an anniversary event where the organization unveiled plans to embark on a three-year campaign designed to accelerate its progress in the years ahead.

CFA’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, held Oct. 25 at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn in recognition of the organization’s two decades of advancing the state, brought together elected officials, dignitaries, municipal and business leaders, supporters, and staff and board in celebration of the progress the organization has facilitated through its work over the years.

The celebration was made possible with support from sponsors, including Visionary Presenting Sponsor Sharon Dupont McCord, Bright Future Sponsor The Burton Family Foundation, and many others — such as Helios Education Foundation, Robert and Ruth McGregor, National Bank of Arizona, and SRP.

Reflecting CFA’s nonpartisan spirit, the event drew an impressive attendance from every corner of Arizona and its political spectrum, including Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs, Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee, Mesa Mayor John Giles, Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls, and many more elected officials, as well as representatives from state, county, and city agencies, numerous leaders from major Arizona foundations, and a significant number of corporate leaders.

Governor Katie Hobbs
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs speaks at the anniversary event.

As part of the festivities, Governor Katie Hobbs issued an official proclamation that recognizes October 25, 2023, as Center for the Future of Arizona Day. The proclamation celebrates CFA’s 20 years of “visionary leadership,” of “fostering a resilient and dynamic Arizona,” and of “committing to bringing people together to build a stronger and brighter future.”

Attendees who spoke at the event, which detailed the lasting change CFA has initiated through education, workforce development, and civic engagement initiatives, included Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs, Arizona State University President Michael Crow, Helios Education Foundation President and CEO and CFA board member Paul Luna, and the Honorable Ruth McGregor, a CFA board member and retired chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court.

“To determine where Arizonans stand and whether Arizonans, in fact, share a vision, CFA turned not to a panel of experts or politicians but to the people of Arizona,” McGregor said. “Over the past 20 years, CFA has provided Arizona with a unique combination of strategic thinking, positive focus, research, and unbiased, reliable, actionable data to ignite efforts on issues that truly matter to Arizonans across the state."

The Arizona We Want, a shared vision for the success of the state–and CFA’s unique and most significant contribution to Arizona over the last two decades– draws on a set of shared public values reflecting the issues on which Arizonans overwhelmingly agree. This is the bedrock of all of CFA’s efforts and is at the heart of the organization’s new campaign. “Building Arizona’s Bright Future Together” leverages the success the organization has had in its cooperative approach over the past 20 years to inspire increased collaboration and an even greater positive impact for the future.

Recommitting to The Arizona We Want captures CFA’s dedication to acting as a partner, serving as a trusted resource for data-driven insights that reflect the sentiment of Arizonans. Dr. Sybil Francis, CFA’s Chair, President & CEO, said the organization will build on its accomplishments and continue to facilitate meaningful progress in bringing people together even as attempts at division persist.

“In a world where forces seek to divide, CFA unites us to ensure Arizona realizes its potential today and tomorrow,” Francis said. “It’s about keeping Arizona connected, building trust, and providing a reliable source of facts and trusted information that leads to real action.”

CFA has been and will continue to be committed to this work by centering the voices of Arizonans, sharing data on where Arizonans agree, and providing research-backed solutions for the challenges Arizonans have prioritized. And Arizona’s leaders are on board.

Dr. Sybil Francis and Paul Luna
Dr. Sybil Francis and Paul Luna announced CFA's three-year campaign with $1 million grant from Helios Education Foundation.

“We've celebrated the profound impact of CFA's work over the past two decades. Now is the time to double down in support of their mission,” Luna said at the event as he announced the new campaign. He also announced a $1 million grant to CFA on behalf of Helios Education Foundation in addition to several other commitments from foundations, corporations, and individuals that kicked off the three-year fundraising campaign.

A commitment to progress, seen over years of dedicated group effort, is illustrated by CFA’s footprint across a variety of vital sectors, including education and workforce development. The Yuma Union High School District is just one example of the progress seen through several years of consistent investment.

“CFA has been a long-standing and strong partner through it all,” Gina Thompson, retired Yuma Union High School District superintendent, said. “Bringing research-based practices that have helped transform the Yuma Union High School District, CFA stands apart from other organizations as they’re invested and do the work alongside their partners.”

Steve Zylstra, Arizona Technology Council President and CEO has witnessed the positive effects of CFA’s effort from a workforce development perspective.

“From my own experience, CFA’s initiatives that affect workforce development have an intense ripple effect on the broader workforce ecosystem from multiple directions. From individuals to companies to entire industries — and ultimately, the state as a whole,” Zylstra said.

Anchored by extensive relationships and 20 years of demonstrated success across the state, CFA invites those who are passionate about shaping Arizona’s future to support The Arizona We Want. For more information, visit


Watch CFA's 20th Anniversary Event