A new program focused on the needs of the African-American community in Tucson will launch Tuesday.

The African American Initiative, a program of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, seeks to improve collaboration among organizations that serve this community in Tucson and establish a $1 million endowment to fund permanent resources.

“The African-American community in Tucson is very diffuse, and so it makes supporting it very, very difficult, especially if you’re a donor,” said Clint Mabie, president of the Community Foundation. “What this initiative does, because it’s led by a group of African- American leaders, it allows you to support the community in an effective way.”

Mabie helped launch a similar initiative while working in Chicago in 2003 that has so far given away $800,000 in grants, Mabie said.

The Community Foundation has offered to match up to $25,000 in donations to the initiative to help it accomplish its goal of giving away $50,000 in grants this year.

Community members and organizations are invited to help identify the needs that should be addressed by the new initiative via an online survey at www.cfsaz.org/AAI and at a launch event Tuesday.

“Tuesday is a really going to be a good way for us to really hear the needs of the community from the community so we can make sure we’re effective in what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Joseph Blair, chair of the African American Initiative.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or 573-4224.