Flinn Foundation issues grant to support COVID-19 testing, cancels events

March 16, 2020

By brianpowell

Conference center closes, staff to work from home 

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation has issued an emergency $100,000 grant to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to support population-based testing of the novel coronavirus in Arizona and to help TGen immediately and dramatically ramp up its capacity to analyze individual samples for the disease. 

Meanwhile, following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Arizona Department of Health Services, the Foundation is canceling several public events scheduled for March and April at venues across Arizona. 

Additionally, the Flinn Foundation Conference Center, which Arizona nonprofits use daily for meetings and training sessions, has closed through at least mid-April. 

Flinn Foundation staff will work from home toward limiting COVID-19’s community spread and ensuring that the Foundation maintains capacity to serve its constituents in its areas of philanthropic interest: the biosciences, education, arts and culture, and civic leadership. 

Event Cancellations 

The following events will not be presented as in-person gatherings. Details of these changes will be sent to all current registrants. 

  • Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Progress Report Luncheons: Scheduled for April 14, 15, and 16 in Flagstaff, Tucson, and Tempe. These meetings are cancelled, with a videoconference alternative being explored. 
  • Flinn Scholarship Information Sessions: Scheduled between March 31 and April 20 in Glendale, Tucson, Flagstaff, Tempe, and Yuma. These evening sessions for high-school students and their families to learn about the Flinn Scholarship have been cancelled. An online information session is available now
  • Arts and Culture Convening: Scheduled for March 19 at the Flinn Foundation. This meeting is shifting to a videoconference. The morning session is cancelled but the afternoon session with Susan Nelson, TDC executive vice president, will change to a more timely topic. 

Philanthropic Response to COVID-19 

The TGen initiative supported by the Flinn Foundation is also being funded with grants from the Phoenix-based Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and the Flagstaff-based NARBHA Institute. TGen North, the nonprofit institute’s pathogen-genomics division, is based in Flagstaff. 

Another project supported by a previous Flinn Foundation grant, the Prevent HAARM initiative, is contributing to Arizona’s response to COVID-19. Led by the Tucson-based Critical Path Institute with TGen North playing a major role, Prevent HAARM focuses on deploying tools for surveillance of hospital-acquired infections; applications to the current pandemic are being developed. 

Foundation leaders are now studying how else to answer the emerging needs within its areas of philanthropic work.