our impact

Annual Reports and Strategic Plan

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Another year for the books…

Last fiscal year was our 10th year of Higher Ground, a huge milestone accompanied by some significant achievements.

Looking ahead, we want to continue the quality of our individual work with our youth and families. We also want to build on the systemic work that has begun to ensure our impact expands to entire communities in the city of Tucson.

We want to begin creating a sustainable and replicable model that will impact the public schools and other youth systems for years to come. In order to identify and invest in the future leaders who will sustain and continue our work in other communities that are in need.

- Jansen Azarias, CEO and Co-Founder


Download our Latest Annual Report!


We expanded our reach to serve over 1,500 youth in over fifteen different program delivery sites, and this has achieved some phenomenal effects. While we have continued to grow rapidly, our mission focus has remained the same – to empower one life a time to reach, transform, and elevate the community through love and building character.

Our outcomes continue to show that building relationships, investing in people, teaching skills for character building, and supporting the staff in our public school systems will enable us to remain effective. Our mile deep and inch wide approach is now being implemented in schools through our Community Schools Initiative. Community Schools, a nationally recognized strategy, has become the primary vehicle for Higher Ground’s plan for expansion. Higher Ground’s effort is being guided by the expertise of the following national organizations - Children’s Aid and the National Center for Community Schools.


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Download Past Annual Reports!


FY 2016-2017 Annual Report 

FY 2015-2016 Annual Report 

FY 2014-2015 Annual Report 


Strategic Plan - Evolving for Growth 


With ten years of operational experience and the recent explosive growth where our budget has expanded five-fold in just three years, Higher Ground’s capacity to expand further will require substantive changes in our delivery model as well as staffing, skills and administrative support structure. What won’t change is the quality, passion and care with which we deliver the comprehensive programs that alter the trajectories of our students’ lives.

As we look back at all that has happened, and forward to what we yet want to accomplish, now is an ideal time to develop a thoughtful strategic approach to intentionally and efficiently expand our impact.

In April, 2017, Social Venture Partners in Tucson awarded Higher Ground a three-year capacity building grant that includes both financial and consulting support. With their guidance, our strategic plan defines the intentional changes the Board and senior staff will make to our organization, with measurable outcomes, over the next three years.

The planning process was facilitated by an SVP partner and began with discussions and interviews of a broad range of stakeholders to obtain input, review our mission, and development of a prioritized organizational strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis. We then identified the priorities among the weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and agreed which to address based on the skills, capacity and resources available.

This document provides an overview of Higher Ground’s SWOT analysis as well as the goals and objectives of the strategic plan. The specific tactics and tasks we will use to achieve the desired outcomes will be specified in our implementation plan, a follow-on document that will be developed by staff.

Our plan is entitled, Evolving for Growth, to reflect the overarching theme of our goals.

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