It is the hope of the Directors that the Foundations serve as examples of the type of charitable support organizations that can grow out of the small entrepreneurial businesses that have become incredibly successful over the last 30+ years. America provides a unique opportunity for those willing to take a risk to create and grow small innovative companies. When successful, these companies often bring significant increases in net worth for their founders and key executives. The Directors of the Foundation believe such entrepreneurs have a moral responsibility to apply their talents, creativity and drive to the not for profit arena for the benefit of others.
The Foundations’ Board of Directors attempts, through example, to encourage successful men and women to share their good fortune, talent and dedication to those in need. The Foundations’ fundamental belief is that far more is received from giving and sharing entrepreneurial success than the cost required to provide it.
Director of Armstrong Family Foundation & President of Kiita Foundation
Jim Armstrong is Managing Partner of Canal Partners. In this role Mr. Armstrong is responsible for all aspects of the company including identification of potential acquisition targets, due diligence, financial analysis and final investment decision making.
Mr. Armstrong is former chairman of the board of JDA Software Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: JDAS), which he founded in Canada in 1978. Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ, JDA Software Group, Inc. provides enterprise software solutions to the world-wide supply chain market, enabling planning, optimization, and execution of merchandising and supply chain processes. Mr. Armstrong served as Chief Executive Officer of JDA Software from 1985 to 1997 and again from 1999 to 2003.
Mr. Armstrong serves on a wide range of boards and foundations. In addition to previously serving as chairman of the board for JDA Software Group, Inc., he is a Director and President of JDA Investments (US), Inc.; and serves on the board of directors for a variety of software companies. He is President and Chairman of the Armstrong Family Foundation, President and Chairman of the Kiita Foundation, and Director of the Rancho Feliz Charitable Foundation. He has received numerous awards and honors including Arizona Software Association Business Leader of the Year, Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Ernst and Young Spirit of Philanthropy Award, Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year Award, and National Society of Fundraising Executives Spirit of Philanthropy Award.
Vice President of Armstrong Family Foundation & Kiita Foundation
Jo-Ann has a wealth of experience with many years working in the philanthropic world. Many activities have included numerous roles in clubs and organizations around the Valley.
Jo-Ann is an Emeritus Board Member of the Salvation Army Southwest Division from which she received the Sally Award for Outstanding Community Service. She meets with grantees and visits non-profit locations.
With the Foundation's emphasis on education, Jo-Ann manages and coordinates special events. Having direct contact with organizations supported by the Foundation is an important part of helping serve the needs and making a difference in changed lives.
The Armstrong family moved to Paradise Valley from Calgary, Canada in 1987. Jo-Ann and Jim raised their four children with the same values and belief system in giving back to the community. All four children have gone on to devote time to their philanthropic passions.
Grant Advisor for Armstrong Family Foundation & Treasurer of Kiita Foundation
Patrick Armstrong is a Partner at Canal Partners. In this role Mr. Armstrong is responsible for evaluating potential investments, performing industry and financial analysis, due diligence, and providing additional support for internal operations and portfolio companies.
In addition to his role with Canal Partners, Mr. Armstrong is Vice President and Co-Founder of JDA Investments (US), Inc., which was formed in 2008 to manage his family’s partnership. Prior to his role at JDA Investments, Mr. Armstrong founded and operated Armstrong IT Services, in 2005. Armstrong IT Services acted as an Information Technology consultant for several small and medium-sized companies with focuses on healthcare, digital media, accounting, education, and IT Services. Prior to that, Mr. Armstrong was a Support Specialist at Sungard Availability Systems. He began his career in the Information Technology Services department at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Mr. Armstrong works with both of his family’s foundations – the Armstrong Family Foundation and the Kiita Foundation – is a member and serves on the Selection Cmmittee of Arizona Tech Investors, is a member of Social Venture Partners of Arizona, serving as Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Rancho Feliz Charitable Organization. Additionally, he serves as the Board Chair for SEED SPOT, an incubator and accelerator for innovative social enterprises and, along with his wife, Amy Armstrong, serves on the Grant Committee for Next Generation Philanthropists, which provides programs and experiences that promote lifelong engagement and philanthropy.
Mr. Armstrong earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is a Microsoft Certified Professional. He has 2 children and resides in Phoenix, AZ.
Grant Advisor for Armstrong Family Foundation & Secretary of Kiita Foundation
An Arizona native, Amy is the founder of Next Generation Philanthropists and Support My Club; two Arizona based non-profit organizations. In addition to her role as President of both, she serves as the Director and Grant Coordinator for the Kiita Foundation and the Grant Advisor of the Armstrong Family Foundation. She is also an active member of Social Venture Partners Arizona, a board member of Feeding Matters and Rancho Feliz Charitable Foundation and a former Advisory Board member of the Salvation Army.
Amy has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from The Art Institute of Colorado in Interior Design. After several years as in the design industry in Colorado, she and her family moved back to Arizona in 2008 where she began following in the footsteps of her in-laws, beginning her philanthropic career here in the Valley.
Along with her husband Patrick, she is the parent to 2 children and enjoys being involved at their school as well as in their favorite hobbies.
Board of Directors for Armstrong Family Foundation & Kiita Foundation
Alison has been on the foundation board since it was first established. She was a Service Learning Tutor, and Leadership Intern at the South Mountain Salvation Army while studying at ASU. This lead to the family involvement throughout the years. Alison has a B.A. in Elementary Education and a M.A.E in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. Alison has always had a passion for education. Her twins were born prematurely, which has opened her to the importance of early childhood intervention. She is currently receiving an accreditation from the American Montessori Society as a lower elementary teacher. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and 4 children.
Director of Animal Initiatives of Kiita Foundation
Andrew is the owner and founder of National Assistance Dogs Inc., N.A.D.I, and is involved in helping people with disabilities gain greater independence through the use of skilled service dogs, with a focus on returning members of our Armed Services.
Board of Directors for Kiita Foundation
Laura Armstrong-Arellano has been involved with her family's charitiy endeavors since childhood. Growing up she would accompany her parents in their charity interests and participate hands on in projects associated with the Salvation Army, Armstrong Family Foundation and Rancho Feliz. These experiences for Laura were inspirational.
From 2005-2008 Laura was head of the Christmas gift exchange program for poverty stricken patients at ASU's Breaking the Cycle, a medical clinic focused on women's preventative healthcare that was a teaching facility for ASU's nursing program. Laura has also worked with The Arizona Partnership for Immunizations (TAPI), spreading awareness on the importance of vaccinations for adults, children and animals.
President of Armstrong Family Foundation
Joan Lowell has held leadership positions in the non profit sector for over 25 years. She served as Executive Director of Hospice of the Valley from 1983 to 1994, followed by two years in the Peace Corps, Kazakhstan, where she served as counselor in business and NGO development. She continued this work in Russia, Ukraine and Thailand and is currently counseling in Africa.
Upon her return from Peace Corps, she served as Vice President/Senior Advancement Officer for Donor Services for the Arizona Community Foundation until 2007. She has written a series of articles for the Arizona Business Journal, the Prescott courier and most recently the AZ Daily Sun. She has also been published in Newsweek.
Joan currently counsels nonprofit organizations in Arizona, nonprofits and small businesses in Africa, and serves on two nonprofit boards and four family foundation boards.
Joan holds a BA from Queens College, N.Y., an M.S. from Adelphi University, N.Y. and an M.P.A from ASU.
Brent R. Mekosh, CFP®
Brent is a Partner at MP Advisors, LLC, a Raymond James affiliate that designs, implements and monitors financial solutions and comprehensive advanced plans for family held businesses, institutional clients and C-level executives.
Brent earned an MBA concentrating in Finance and International Business from New York University and a B.S in Finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
He is currently working towards a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Stanford University. He holds the Series 4,7,24,31,51,63 and 65 licenses and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Professional.
Brent lives in Phoenix with his wife Paige, their son Nicholas and their dog Kansas.
Steven G. Seleznow is President & Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Community Foundation, a statewide philanthropy whose mission is to lead, serve and collaborate to mobilize enduring philanthropy for a better Arizona.
Prior to leading the Arizona Community Foundation, Seleznow served for nearly five years as program director and deputy director for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Program in Education
Seleznow spent the first 28 years of his career in public education, serving as deputy superintendent for the Montgomery County, MD, Public Schools and chief of staff and interim superintendent for the District of Columbia Public Schools, as well as in other administrative and leadership posts. Seleznow earned a doctorate and master’s degree in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, and is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston University
Donation PoliciesThe Armstrong Family Foundation and the Kiita Foundation have established the following policies to guide in the allocation of grant resources:
The foundation supports organizations that:
- • Adhere to the principles of the foundation
- • Are U.S.-based 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Charitable or Educational Institutions
- • Demonstrate a convincing need for funding
- • Show that the funding will make a significant difference in the lives of those served
- • Show that the funds will be used for a specific need, problem or issue
In addition the Board takes into account the financial condition of the applicant, the portion of total annual expenses spent directly on charitable programs, the cost to raise $100 from the general public and the ratio of organizations annual operating expenses to net assets.
It is important to note that the AFF does NOT normally support the following types of organizations:
- • Sports & Arts unrelated to K-12 education
- • Religious Organizations (for sectarian purposes)
- • Non-Educational Organizations receiving a significant portion of their funding from Governmental Agencies or the United Way
- • Compensation for professional fund-raising