Parsons Foundation awards $2.5 million grant to Free Arts for Abused Children

The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation has awarded Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona a $2.5 million grant to double the organization’s physical space and provide funding for two of its signature programs.

Bob and Renee Parsons. (Submitted photo)

The grant will establish The Bob and Renee Parsons Center for Hope and Healing, expand programming and reach children Free Arts had previously been unable to serve, according to a press release.

“Free Arts has been quietly demonstrating the powerful healing art can have on children — and we think it’s time for their story to get a little louder,” American entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bob Parsons said in a prepared statement.

“Renee and I have no doubt that with added space and resources, Free Arts will have a larger impact on the community and will empower even more children to create a better future for themselves.”

Free Arts harnesses the healing powers of art to help abused and homeless children build resiliency and learn to trust and heal. All of the children in Free Arts programs have experienced combinations of family trauma, homelessness and violence, a release states.

To begin the healing process, Free Arts provides mentoring, a caring community and an opportunity to learn new skills and express themselves.

“The work being done by Free Arts is providing hope and a pathway to healing for children who have gone through serious and traumatic experiences,” business woman and philanthropist Renee Parsons said in a prepared statement.

“Bob and I have been fortunate enough to witness the incredible difference art is making in the lives of these children, and we are happy to continue our support of this great organization.”

As part of the funding, Free Arts can also purchase the building in which they now rent space and conduct major renovations to accommodate on-site programming, staff and volunteer growth and create a community center that can be utilized for training, workshops and events.

Historically, programs have been limited to children living in foster care group homes and homeless shelters, but this grant will allow the organization to open its doors to children living with foster families.

“This generous donation will change the future of Free Arts and we are incredibly grateful,” Alicia Sutton Campbell, executive director, Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, said in a prepared statement.

“The new building is double in size from our previous space and will enable future growth and expansion over the next 10 years. Our vision is to create a center where the community can learn about the effects of trauma and how to use the arts to build resilience in children.”

Bob and Renee Parsons have been longtime supporters of Free Arts and through The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation have granted more than $3 million to the organization over the past six years. The two programs specifically supported by this grant are the Free Arts Camp and Professional Artist Series.

The organization hopes this gift will inspire others to support Free Arts as they work to raise an additional $700,000 to complete the capital campaign.

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