About Thunderbirds Charities
THUNDERBIRDS CHARITIES MISSION
Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the WM Phoenix Open golf tournament. The Thunderbirds Charities Board consists of 15 board members from varying professional backgrounds. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to support organizations that assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The organization’s giving is directed toward organizations based or with a significant presence in Arizona.
WHO ARE THE THUNDERBIRDS?
The Thunderbirds began in 1937, when the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce expanded its role as a convention and tourism bureau. There was a need for a special events committee to venture into new fields. Five young executives were selected to lead the committee. The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce suggested that the committee become an “official” group and expand its membership. Each of the five then selected ten additional members to make up a committee of 55. The Thunderbird name was chosen because the emblem of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce was, and still is, a Thunderbird derived from American Indian symbols. One of the early inductees was Bob Goldwater, an avid golfer. Goldwater thought it would be a great idea to sponsor a golf tournament. That first year, Goldwater sold the tickets, recruited volunteers and set up the golf course at the Phoenix Country Club. The Phoenix Open caught on, and in 83 years, has developed into one of the leading stops on the PGA TOUR. Goldwater was Tournament Chairman from 1934 through 1951 and is affectionately called the “Father of The Phoenix Open.” Active Thunderbird membership is limited to 55 members. Each has demonstrated a sincere interest in sports and a dedication to community affairs. All Thunderbird activities and events are the prime responsibility of these Active Thunderbirds and are under the watchful eye of the Big Chief and Thunderbird Council. When a Thunderbird reaches the age of 45, their status changes from Active to that of Life Member. Although they are relieved of continuous duties, it is not unusual to see a Life Thunderbird lending a helping hand at The WM Phoenix Open or one of the many other Thunderbird-sponsored events. To date, there are over 300 members comprising The Thunderbirds organization. For more information about The Thunderbirds, please click here.
THE THUNDERBIRDS SCHOLARS PROGRAM
Founded in 2019, The Thunderbirds Scholars Program provides a four-year, full ride, renewable scholarship to attend Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University or University of Arizona. This scholarship covers the cost of attendance including tuition, fees, and room and board. Recipients receive mentoring support from Education Forward Arizona. The Thunderbirds Scholars Program will entertain requests for opportunities for study abroad, internships and other programs. To learn more about this scholarship opportunity or to apply please visit the Arizona Community Foundation at https://www.azfoundation.org/scholarship-seekers/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.