Zuckerman Family Foundation

Promoting positive change in peoples' lives and enhancing the Southern Arizona community

Photo of Zuckerman family and foundation logo

Photo of Zuckerman family and foundation logo

As the founding funders of the College, the Zuckermans have had a profound impact on health and wellness across Tucson, around Arizona, and beyond.
They really did change the world.

Thank you from Dean Iman Hakim
"Thank you Zuckerman Family for your continued generosity and partnership and the gift of our college! It is my great privilege to work with you and the next generation of Zuckermans on the challenges of today and tomorrow."

A Passion for Health and Wellness

This is the story of the Zuckerman Family Foundation, and it is our honor to tell it. The College would not be here today without the vision and generosity of the Zuckerman family. Mel and Enid Zuckerman gave a transformative contribution, a gift that launched the College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, a gift that has touched the lives of millions of Arizonans, and improved the health and wellness of so many communities in Southern Arizona and beyond.

The story of the Zuckerman Family Foundation begins with the story of one man, Mel Zuckerman. Mel discovered the benefits of health and wellness in his own life, and in that discovery he and his wife Enid found a passion to share what they had learned with the world.

As an accountant in New Jersey during the 1950s, Mel Zuckerman had dreams of moving West. He convinced his wife Enid, and together they moved to Tucson where Mel learned the building trade and became a home developer. Success soon followed, and by the 1970s, Mel had become president of the Southern Arizona Home Builder Association.

Photo of Jay, Mel, Enid and Amy Zuckerman, circa 1960s.

Jay, Mel, Enid and Amy Zuckerman, circa 1960s.

However, the stress of running the business took a toll on Mel’s health. After his father’s death, he embarked on a quest to reduce stress, lose weight, and find a path to wellness. With his unique focus and determination, Mel not only adopted a healthy lifestyle, he also learned all about health and wellness, and about the many benefits of healthy living ­– nutrition, exercise, mindfulness. It was a revelation. Inspired by what they had learned, Mel and Enid felt called to help others benefit from their insights into healthy living. In 1979, their vision came to life with the opening of Canyon Ranch, a resort dedicated to natural practices for health, fitness, and wellness.

From the start, the Zuckermans were committed to sharing their health and wellness knowledge with the community. They wanted everyone to benefit, not just the guests at Canyon Ranch.

To reach the wider Tucson community, Mel and Enid supported the University of Arizona’s physiology and nutritional sciences departments, and they collaborated with the Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC). In 1997, the Zuckermans’ enthusiasm for promoting healthy lifestyles led to the creation of a major endowment at the university. At the time, the Zuckerman donation was the largest gift in University of Arizona history. The gift ultimately enabled the launch of the College of Public Health in the year 2000. A few years later, the College was named in honor of Mel and Enid Zuckerman. Since then, the family has committed more than $20 million to the UA Foundation, primarily for the benefit of the College of Public Health.

In 2004, the Zuckermans created the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion to support community wellness efforts aimed at improving health and reducing disease risk, in concert with research on lifestyle-based disease prevention. These programs engage underserved and minority communities in Southern Arizona with the goal of building widespread health equity in the region.

The Zuckerman Family Foundation Established

Photo Mel and Enid Zuckerman

Mel and Enid Zuckerman

In 2005, the Zuckermans established the Zuckerman Family Foundation to provide structure and direction for their philanthropic commitment to health, wellness and education. Under the leadership of granddaughter Nicole Zuckerman, daughter Amy Zuckerman, and long-time family friend Kim Bourn, the Foundation supports health-focused projects throughout the community. This multigenerational approach to philanthropy ensures that the Foundation will have a long and impactful legacy and continue to build on what Mel and Enid began.

Since its inception, the Foundation has invested in a many organizations for the benefit of at-risk populations, and for research associated with the prevention of disease and health promotion. The Foundation board strives to carry on the legacy of Mel and Enid to promote positive change in peoples’ lives and to enhance health in Southern Arizona communities. The Zuckerman Family Foundation provides grants to organizations by invitation only. 

Research shows that health literacy and food education can transform the health of children and families, the Zuckerman Family Foundation is currently focused on improving food systems in Southern Arizona through education, leadership, economic impact, and organizational collaboration. For the sixth year, the Foundation has provided funding for the FOOD Initiative from the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, the TUSD/UA Community & School Garden Program from the UArizona School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and other local nutrition and food organizations.

Long time Zuckerman family friend, southern Arizona leader and public health champion Jim Click congratulates the Zuckermans with this video.

Jim Click Tribute Video

A Gift That Changed Lives

As the founding funders of the College, the Zuckermans have had a profound impact on health and wellness across Tucson, around Arizona, and beyond. With their founding gift, they planted a seed that has grown, in the short span of 20 years, into a forest, an entire ecosystem of Departments and Centers and Programs and Research that benefits millions of lives. They really did change the world.

All of us in the College, at the University of Arizona, and around the state owe the Zuckermans, and the Zuckerman Family Foundation, a deep debt of gratitude. Graduates from the College have become public health leaders locally, nationally, and even globally. Thanks to the outstanding education and research at the College, millions of lives have been changed, and so many communities now have better health. We thank the Zuckermans for all the health, wellness, and good they have brought to Arizona and the world.


The Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health excited to announce that the Zuckerman Family Foundation will support a new Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree track in Wellness & Health Promotion at the College. The new BA degree track, inspired by the Zuckerman's lifelong dedication to health and wellness, will be created and implemented through the College to educate the next generation of wellness promoters and innovators.

Watch the Zuckerman Family Foundation Honoree Video


Thank you to our presenting sponsor Arizona Complete Health!

ach logo

crest tribute
click tribute
TMC tribute

merril tribute
wetter tribute
UA foundation tribute

allergy asthma associates tribute
hughes tribute
langer tribute

R&A tribute
bourn tribute
SBS tribute