Marla Franco

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona is excited to honor Marla Franco, assistant vice provost for Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives at the University of Arizona, as the recipient of its Civic Leadership Award. She will receive her award at CFSA’s Annual Event on May 27.

Created in 2016, CFSA’s Civic Leadership Award honors members of the community who have gone above and beyond to make Southern Arizona a more inclusive and welcoming place to live. These nominees must inspire others through either their work, volunteerism, or advocacy efforts with diverse or underrepresented communities.

As this year’s recipient, Franco has created a lasting impact on the Southern Arizona community through her work, having led efforts toward UArizona becoming federally recognized as an HSI in 2018. She is the recent founder of the AZ HSI Consortium, which fosters partnerships and leverages resources across all 16 HSIs in Arizona; and co-founder of the STEM in HSI Working Group, aimed at bringing greater STEM equity to HSIs.

Throughout her 20-year career in higher education, Franco has been a fierce advocate for educational access and building and sustaining culturally affirming learning and work environments. In the past year, Franco raised $160,000 to support greater access for the DACA student community and offset tuition costs.

During the pandemic alone, Franco led distribution efforts of $2.3 million in CARES Act Funding, prioritizing aid for the campus food pantry, increasing laptop and hotspot lending inventory, reinvesting in on-campus student employment and supporting technology access and college outreach to Native Nations.

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