Catalyst for Change
John joined The David and Lura Lovell Foundation in 2015 to help lead its transition from traditional programmatic grantmaking to funding strategic initiatives. His ability to listen, understand, collaborate, inspire, and amplify cross-sector action has led the Foundation on a journey toward more measurable impact. In 2018 the Foundation was awarded Foundation Philanthropy of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southern Arizona Chapter.
One example of his work is the Foundation’s long-term support of the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership, that brings together 18 nonprofits and hundreds of individual including medical providers, clergy, insurers, academics, and community members (all of whom have lived-experience with this issue) to collectively enhance the way we live by fundamentally changing the way we talk about death. John recognized the enormous challenges in making progress on this sensitive topic in Arizona’s multi-cultural communities and complex healthcare landscape. He started by listening to the community and learning what was already going on, and then worked with them as a funding partner to support the planning and growth of what ultimately became the Partnership. It is already recognized as one of the most comprehensive, community-based, end-of-life-care models in the country and now John aims for it to become the most effective and sustainable of such efforts.
Megaphone for Good
John is passionate about using Foundation resources to help Grantee Partners to solve a problem or create a solution, change a system or structure, or transform themselves so they can achieve their goals. Then he sees his role as a promoter of the work and actively seeks other funders to join in support these efforts.
“I am fortunate that the Foundation Board gave me the bandwidth to explore what was possible by listening to stakeholders and then patiently supporting the initiatives that the community cared most about. It is gratifying to see these resources used to make real progress on issues that matter most to the people we serve. I want to share those successes with as many people and as many future funders as I can.”
Courage to Lead
John has been on the board of Arizona Grantmakers Forum since 2016 and served as board chair in 2020. He led the organization through an exciting and challenging time of regional membership growth, a serious exploration of philanthropy’s role in social justice and racial equity, and strategic business planning. He sits on the Membership Committee for Exponent Philanthropy, the Nation’s largest philanthropy serving organization, and is a regular contributor to their peer-led educational efforts. He makes himself available to his foundation peers, existing Grantee Partners and grant seekers.
The Big IDEA
John tries to educate himself first and then works to infuse the ideas of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) into the Foundation. He seeks initiatives that can lead to long-term, sustainable benefits for everyone, emphasizing black, indigenous, people of color and other under-represented groups. But he also recognizes the inherent barriers and limitations of philanthropy. He believes the field must acknowledge its roots and roles in maintaining the status quo of today’s problems, then adapt and grow to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world with enormous needs.
“Of all our focus areas, Gender Parity has the most potential for good—when women thrive, everyone thrives.” – John Amoroso