Call Us 520-392-7722
What We Do

Creating young leaders and empowering them to thrive.

Founded by David Barnes, President of Watermark Retirement Communities, Watermark for Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to unlocking the potential of our future leaders. Our goal? To empower, inspire, and uplift young minds to reach for the stars and achieve greatness. 

At Watermark for Kids, we're passionate about nurturing the growth of character, leadership, creativity, compassion, and spirit in every child. Through our unique platform, kids can submit their bold visions and dreams, and we provide the financial support necessary to turn as many of these visions into reality as possible. Together, we empower children to pursue a brighter future and support them as they soar to new heights. 

Recognized by the State of Arizona and the Internal Revenue Service, Watermark for Kids is described in 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This means that your generous gift is tax-deductible to the fullest extent provided by the law. 

Do you have questions or want to learn more about our life-changing mission? Feel free to reach out to Rachel at or give us a call at 520-392-7722. 

Our Mission

Simple yet life-changing.

We strive to reduce barriers so that all kids can thrive.

Our Vision

"Learn their story and figure out how we can help them thrive."

At Watermark for Kids, we have a fundamental belief that all children have an innate greatness and deserve equitable opportunities regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or religious affiliations. We help kids access life-changing opportunities to be their true selves.

Watermark Communities

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Frequently Asked Questions

Reach out to your local Watermark community, and ask to speak to the Watermark for Kids Champion. You’ll work with a Watermark for Kids Coach, who’ll assist you with submitting your application and the necessary documents to Watermark for Kids. Applications are reviewed periodically, and you’ll be notified as quickly as possible.

Watermark for Kids has awarded more than $1.15 million in the last 15 years. We’ve helped more than 2,800 kids ages 6–22, in communities across the country by providing financial assistance with the following: 

  • Education and Exploration: Books, supplies, laptops, academic clubs, travel and trip expenses, tuition assistance, scholarships, room and board expenses, after-school activities, and summer camps. 
  • Sports and Fine Arts: Sports registration fees and equipment, clubs, musical instruments and lessons, theater and dance classes, camps, and travel and trip expenses.
  • Health and Well-Being: Counseling, dental care, adaptive wheelchairs, medical equipment, and therapeutic treatments not covered by medical insurance.

Step 1: Become a Coach. 

Step 2: Nominate a Watermark Kid. This should be an individual who needs financial assistance to thrive or a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps underserved youth in your community. 

Step 3: Complete and submit applications to

  • Coach Affidavit. 
  • Watermark Kid application or nonprofit application. 

Step 4: Watermark for Kids Executive Director and Board reviews application. 

Step 5: Coach, Kid, parent/guardian, and nonprofit are notified with next steps. 

Step 6: Vendor provides W-9 and itemized invoice for goods or services; vendor and invoice are processed. Check is mailed to vendor or community for presentation. Process takes two to three weeks. 

Step 7: Stay in touch, and invite your Watermark Kid to your community so they can share their success story with residents and associates or obtain a gratitude video or letter. 

We welcome applications from young individuals aged 6 to 22 who come from financially under-resourced families. Our aim is to help these amazing kids pursue their passions, enhance their independence, and create a positive impact on their lives so they can truly thrive. It’s important to note that kids under the age of 18 must have approval from a parent or guardian to apply. 

Watermark for Kids partners with selective nonprofit organizations that serve the needs of local underserved children in our community.

Watermark for Kids will NOT grant awards to:

  • Agencies that serve adults, defined as individuals over 22 years of age.
  • Agencies that are for profit.
  • Religious agencies where proselytizing is a part of the service provided.
  • Agencies requesting funds for salaries or operational expenses

In order to be eligible for a WFK grant an organization must be:

  • Exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code
  • Must agree to use the WFK grant only for purposes that are charitable or educational within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code
  • An equal employment opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, marital status, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

Coaches are Watermark associates and residents who are eager to help kids thrive. A coach also can be an individual affiliated with the Watermark Kid applicant or local nonprofit organization. 

Coaches work closely with the Champion in their community and the Watermark for Kids Executive Director. Their job is to: 

  • Protect the organization’s integrity by ensuring the resources provided benefit underserved children. 
  • Connect the Watermark Kid with the Watermark for Kids Executive Director and Board. 
  • Ensure each Watermark Kid understands the award process and has a positive experience. 

Watermark for Kids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax deductible, and administrative costs are underwritten by generous donations from Watermark Retirement Communities. Funds are raised by Watermark’s generous associates like you through payroll deductions, and through community fundraising events with residents and their families, as well as our wonderful sponsors and donors. Watermark for Kids’ two largest fundraisers are the annual Thrive! Classic Golf Tournament and Silent Auction. The 2022 golf tournament raised more than $168,000. 

We Operate With Integrity

At Watermark for Kids, when we make a promise to our donors and applicants, we keep our word. We don’t deviate from our mission, and while we'd like to grow to the point that we can reach more of the people who need our help, we’d rather be small and efficient than large and wasteful.