Special Olympics Arizona and The Thunderbirds Celebrate Grand Opening of New State Office and Distribution Center in Goodyear

The Thunderbirds – hosts of the WM Phoenix Open – have been long-time supporters of Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) and were on site this week to celebrate the official grand opening of SOAZ’s new state office and distribution center in Goodyear. The project was made possible thanks to The Thunderbirds who awarded SOAZ a $1 million donation for the project, the largest single gift handed out by Thunderbirds Charities since its inception in 1937. Additionally, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey was on hand to announce a $1 million grant from the State of Arizona which will be gifted to SOAZ to continue to develop its inclusive health and wellness programs which are crucial for the more than 21,000 SOAZ athletes in Arizona. Specifically, that $1 million can help in the following ways: Ensure vital health screening for an additional 1,000 athletes throughout Arizona Provide health education to another 1,500 students Provide hands-on provider training and experience opportunities for 300 healthcare students and professionals Expand critical mental health provider access, screenings and education for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) The office and distribution center will provide statewide support for programs and events that are not just for Special Olympic athletes […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Provides $40K in Support of UPWARD’s Integrated Childcare Program

Thunderbirds Charities recently awarded $40,000 to UPWARD for Children and Families in support of the Integrated Childcare Program for kids with and without special needs in an integrated setting. Upward focuses on services in three areas: 1) special education for children in grades Pre-K through 12 who have severe disabilities and are medically fragile, 2) inclusive child care for infants and children with and without disabilities, and 3) outpatient therapies for children with mild to severe disabilities. “The support of Thunderbirds Charities has been critical for UPWARD over the years,” said CEO Doug Carter. “They have been very generous to us. The Pandemic has been difficult on families. One parent who is a healthcare provider at a local hospital said, ‘UPWARD has been a savior for our family because my wife and I both have to work during the pandemic.’ ” UPWARD for Children and Families This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbirds Charities Supporting Safe Return to Play in Arizona

Thunderbirds Charities announces its support of the relaunch of Playworks’ TeamUp program in Title 1 schools in Arizona and further innovation of the Playworks Pro training programs, professional development programs for adults who work with kids. Together, these organizations will support kids transitioning to schools and recess safely from the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment will enable students in our community to re-engage socially, physically and emotionally by providing them with Playworks’ unique tools and resources to experience joy, socialize with their peers, re-engage in person and strengthen their social-emotional learning and life skills this year. A series of trainings will provide techniques, resources and strategies to help adults implement and support safe, healthy and inclusive play with kids. “We are so grateful to receive a $37,500 grant from the Thunderbirds Charities and excited to partner to positively impact our community,” says Kerryann Tomlinson, Vice President, Field Operations of Playworks Arizona. “Many students have experienced significant trauma in the last two years; these funds will directly support 22,000 students in low-income schools across the valley with social emotional learning and resources.” “The support from Thunderbirds Charities makes the Playworks mission possible in Arizona. I am proud of the work we are […] More

Dress for Success Phoenix Receives Grant from Thunderbirds Charities to Support Mobile Career Center for Women

Thunderbirds Charities has awarded a generous $25,000 grant to Dress for Success Phoenix to support its Mobile Career Center initiative. Dress for Success Phoenix is a nonprofit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. Thunderbirds Charities is a nonprofit organization that distributes monies raised through the WM Phoenix Open, with a specific focus on improving quality of life in Greater Metro Phoenix. Now more than ever, Dress for Success Phoenix is seeing an increased need for its services. “The effects of COVID-19 have drastically impacted women in the workplaces, which now leaves us in the midst of the first female global recession,” stated Tamala McBath, CEO of Dress for Success Phoenix. Globally women’s job losses due to the pandemic are 1.8 times greater than men’s, and nearly70% of women who have experienced COVID-19-related disruptions are concerned about their ability to progress in their careers. “The generous grant from the Thunderbirds Charities will make a significant, life-changing impact for hundreds of women throughout the Valley on their journey to thrive in work and life,” said McBath. Dress for Success […] More

New Grant to Drive Financial, Social, and Emotional Learning for Arizona Children

The Arizona Council on Economic Education (ACEE) was recently awarded $40,000 of grant funding from Thunderbirds Charities to support innovative programs for Arizona students and teachers. ACEE reaches hundreds of schools and tens of thousands of K-12 students from low- to moderate-income families and rural communities by developing financial, economic, and entrepreneurship skills. The global pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for families, students and teachers. New as well as veteran teachers surveyed believe it is even more important now to teach students financial and economic literacy, and they need more support now than ever before. Social and emotional learning, technology, and new teaching strategies are critical support classroom learning in this new educational environment. The grant will bolster ACEE in their development of innovative tools, games, curriculum, and strategies to support teachers and help tens of thousands more students in gaining back the educational lessons and connections that were taken away by the pandemic. Teachers will be able to apply ACEE materials efficiently to economics, math, business, reading and writing classes for their students. “Thunderbirds Charities is partnering with ACEE to systematically achieve economic equity and social justice through financial and economic education for all children in Arizona,” said Elena Zee, […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $50,000 to The Be Kind People Project: Inspiring Health, Wellness, Diversity and Inclusion

BE FIT.BEHEALTHY.BE KIND (BFBHBK) will encourage and inspire health, wellness, diversity and inclusion. This effective, high-impact, engaging and fun program will reach 20 Maricopa & Pinal County low-income schools,11,000 students, 700 teachers, and 3,000 families with programs to improve fitness, nutrition, healthy living, social and emotional awareness, personal wellness, and coping skills. BFBHBK provides interactive student programs, innovative school and community signature events, and year-round student learning materials. To honor diversity, equity and inclusion, BFBHBK will involve special education students, and this project will provide funding to add young adults with disabilities to THE BE KIND CREW to honor inclusion and support the acceptance of differences with action. The Be Kind People Project® (BKPP) is a public 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to providing students with comprehensive youth development programming that effectively uses a positive approach to social, emotional, and academic learning. The mission of The Be Kind People Project is to initiate positive social change in schools and provide a framework for youth that will improve academic achievement, interpersonal relationship skills, accountability, behavior, personal health and wellness, teacher appreciation, and the formation of enduring values. The Be Kind People Project is building a generation of respectful, responsible, healthy, and caring citizens […] More

Thunderbirds Charities and Elaine Aim to Address Social Determinants of Health Disparities Through Greater Transportation Access

With the generous investment from Thunderbirds Charities, Elaine will dedicate one vehicle and a full time driver to provide friendly, reliable and compassionate transportation for the most vulnerable individuals in our communities for an entire year. Founded in early 2019, Elaine eliminates transportation barriers and health disparities by providing no-cost rides to critical resources and services surrounding the Social Determinants of Health. For adults experiencing homelessness and other underserved populations (e.g. low income, uninsured, seniors), Elaine will provide connection to healthcare, food, housing, employment and other community services. “The demand for rides has skyrocketed over the last year, and it presents a very exciting new time of growth for our organization. Elaine’s team, our clients and leadership are so grateful for the support of Thunderbirds Charities. This partnership will allow Elaine to expand capacity in order to keep up with our rising demand, and explore opportunities to assist the communities in unique and special ways,” said Eric Barr, Executive Director. Elaine This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbirds Charities Technology Commons at The Opportunity Tree

The Opportunity Tree is thankful to receive $25,000 to create the Thunderbirds Charities Technology Commons for Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at our location in the Avondale Community Center. The new room will be outfitted with technology equipment, computers, and programming supplies to provide a space where youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities will learn and thrive. Funding from Thunderbirds Charities will be used to purchase computers, tablets, adaptive, software, and furniture for the Technology Commons space. Programming will empower our youth, ages 14-22, to explore their world in an up-to-date, state-of-the-art computer lab. This exploration comes at a critical time, as they explore what their life will look like after high school graduation. In this new space, we will provide after-school programming three days per week utilizing curriculum that focuses on career exploration, independence, gaining technology skills, and social skill building so members will be prepared to transition to the adult world after high school graduation. The Opportunity Tree This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $25,000 to Support Childsplay’s In-School Performance Programs

Thunderbirds Charities generously awarded $25,000 to Childsplay to support its In-school Performance Program. In-School Performances form the core of Childsplay’s operations, presenting nearly 350 performances annually; bringing professional theatre productions to schools across the state. More than half of Childsplay’s school audiences live at or below the poverty level. “The goal of the In-School Performance Program is to provide access to theatre and arts education to all Arizona children by removing financial and geographical barriers. This is possible because of the support from Thunderbirds Charites. We are grateful for their generosity.” said Ernesto Ortiz, Director of Development at Childsplay. It is estimated that one in five Arizona K-6 students will see a Childsplay production at their school. All performances are specifically tied to both academic curriculum and the experience of being a child today. Funding from Thunderbirds Charities supports the return of LIVE In-School Performances of THE BOOK OF DRAGONS, based on the book of short ‘dragon stories’ by Edith Nesbit, and DREAMERS, a poetic adaptation of Yuri Morales’ story that tells of resilience, hope, and the courage to find one’s voice. Additionally, funding from Thunderbirds Charities helped to provide the adjunct Childsplay program, Imagine Together Online. Developed in response […] More

AHS Receives $30,000 Thunderbirds Charities Grant for New Papago Park Campus

The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) announced today that it received a $30,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to help support its Capital Campaign. The gift to name AHS’ Education and Outreach space at its new Rob & Melani Walton Papago Park Campus, a state-of-the-art facility set to open in early 2023, will be an integral part in continuing to create a stronger system of care for homeless pets throughout the state while combating overpopulation and keeping more pets in homes. AHS’ Education and Outreach team positively impacts 300,000 pet lovers through community events and programs each year, with a particular focus on teaching children about compassion towards animals, responsible pet ownership and STEM careers in animal welfare. In an effort to continue expanding its education programs, this gift will allow the new campus to house three multipurpose rooms and one classroom, which will help AHS reach more students through fun, engaging and interactive programs year-round. There will also be a public viewing area into the lives of AHS’ Education and Outreach team’s incredible “Animal Teachers,” comprised of small mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and amphibians who assume the role of ambassadors and help young animal lovers develop an appreciation and compassion for living […] More

Hope Community Services Receives Grant Funding from Thunderbirds Charities to Support Children with Compound Trauma

The Hope’s Healing Horses equine therapy program uses horses as part of the therapeutic process to help children and youth who have experienced chronic trauma resulting from extreme abuse and/ or neglect. During equine therapy, children engage in activities such as grooming, feeding, and leading a horse while being supervised by a trained mental health professional. The program offers children a therapeutic environment that can feel less threatening and more inviting than a traditional talk therapy office. It brings children outdoors and allows them to use all of their senses while learning and processing emotional challenges. The Hope’s Healing Horses program has grown over 200% since opening in 2019 and we still have a waiting list for this powerful program, which is helping children overcome the impact of long-term trauma. The grant from Thunderbirds Charities will go toward covering the cost of feed, boarding, and veterinary costs for the horses. Hope’s Healing Horses This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbirds Charities Supports Character and Civic Education Through a Grant Award to Veterans Heritage Project

A recent grant awarded to Veterans Heritage Project (VHP) from Thunderbirds Charities will support the organization’s character and civic education program which Connects Students with VeteransTM. Civic learning experts agree that civic education must include service-learning or project-based activities, because these experiences are necessary for students to build communication and collaboration skills, to be exposed to people with different perspectives, and to learn how to engage with the greater community. (Brookings Institute, 2020) Thanks to Thunderbirds Charities funding, Veterans Heritage Project provides such activities through their innovative after-school program. Middle school and high school students interview a veteran, research history, and write and publish the veterans’ experiences into a hardbound book entitled Since You Asked.TM Students organize a free community book reception to honor their veterans and present them with the book. On August 14, 2022 at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort and Villas, fifteen local school partners and their honored veterans will gather for this memorable event. The public is welcome and will have the opportunity to meet veterans during a book signing. https://www.veteransheritage.org/bookreception Grant funds are helping students reach their potential and bonding our community through increased civic engagement. Annual student and veteran surveys indicate that 100% of students […] More

Save the Family Receives Generous $100,000 Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

Save the Family is thrilled to announce Thunderbirds Charities has awarded a $100,000 grant in support of families experiencing homelessness and poverty. This generous support of our Homeless Families Intervention Project (HFIP) will provide hundreds of families with stable housing and a chance at a better life. Thunderbirds Charities made its first grant to Save the Family more than 15 years ago, and most recently, when they supported Save the Family’s Valor on Eighth community in Tempe in 2017. Valor was specifically created for formerly homeless and impoverished women veterans and their children. The Thunderbirds’ name and logo are displayed prominently in the community’s Thunderbirds Charities Maricopa County Human Services Head Start program. Over its 34 year history, Save the Family has assisted thousands of struggling families and become the leading provider of housing and supportive services for homeless families in the East Valley. Through one-on-one case management, career services, budgeting assistance, parenting support, life skills classes, and youth programs that provide children and teens with academic and social-emotional support, Save the Family is transforming lives. “We are grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for supporting our work with vulnerable families – which is especially needed right now as rent costs have […] More

EMPACT-SPC Prevention Department Receives $68,000 from Thunderbirds Charities

The Prevention Department at EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center (EMPACT-SPC) was awarded a $68,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to expand its Youth Suicide Prevention Program in Maricopa County. Using the Signs of Suicide evidence-based curriculum, EMPACT-SPC educates youth about the warning signs of suicide and how to intervene if they or a friend are at risk for suicide. As a community, we should be concerned about helping youth who are struggling with depression or anxiety or suicidal ideation. Using the Signs of Suicide curriculum, middle and high school youth throughout Maricopa County will be screened for depression/suicide risk and will be educated about warning signs of suicide and how to intervene if a friend is at risk for suicide. The main goal of the program is early identification and referral. By identifying youth at-risk and referring them to appropriate mental health services, we believe we can save lives. EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center (EMPACT-SPC) This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Mesa Arts Center’s MABEL Receives Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

Mesa Arts Center’s MABEL has been acknowledged with a grant of $20,000 from Thunderbirds Charities, to support the ongoing efforts to bring art to the people of Mesa. MABEL, (Mobile Art Based Engagement Lab) is an adaptable and flexible mobile gallery, with a really big table, moving arts lab, mono-printing, custom button-making, pop-up community center on the go. “MABEL was created to reach further and provide programming to those without access to the Mesa Arts Center with community-building engagement at the core of its mission. It is greatly meaningful to have an organization of similar values come up beside us in support,” said Danica Marlin, community Engagement Specialist. “Mesa Arts Center’s MABEL is creating connections, encouraging creativity and reducing barriers to the arts in our underserved neighborhoods. We are excited to support such a great neighborhood program,” said Scott Jenkins, president of Thunderbirds Charities. Mesa Arts Center’s MABEL This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $10,000 Grant to SOUNDS Academy

SOUNDS Academy After-School Music Program provides instrumental instruction in a group setting at schools and community centers. In this Program, students receive instruments, music books, and  other supplementary materials. The gift from Thunderbirds Charities will help address inaccessibility and inequity in music education by providing 3,000 total hours of instrumental instruction to 100 K-12 students from low-income families and Title I Schools that otherwise would lack high-quality music education opportunities. Students will not only develop their musical talent but will reap the many academic and personal benefits associated with playing an instrument. The weekly, one-hour group music classes will be taught by our qualified and talented teaching artists who will provide instruction on string and woodwind instruments, guitar, or piano. Students will learn note reading and the fundamentals of performance, as well as the important character values of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork. At the end of each semester, the program will culminate in a community performance where students of all ages and levels will demonstrate their progress. SOUNDS Academy This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Arizona Burn Foundation Receives $50,000 Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

Arizona Burn Foundation received a $50,000 grant to fund Helping Others, Promoting Empowerment (HOPE) Services. These services begin the moment a burn patient is admitted to the Arizona Burn Center or the Burn Unit at Banner University Medical Center Tucson, and continue until the burn survivor and their family are independently thriving once again. In the initial crisis, we offer short-term emergency needs, including: lodging, transportation, financial assistance, meal vouchers, and emotional support to families. Upon hospital discharge, we provide long-term transitional services focused on helping burn survivors not just survive their injuries — but thrive in their post-injury life. This year, we expanded our therapeutic support to include: Art Therapy, Music Therapy and Equine-Assisted Therapy Services. Each tailored program includes a hybrid model of live events and broad-reaching digital experiences to assist burn survivors and their families as they work through the emotional scars they face on their road to recovery. The support from Thunderbirds Charities allows us to deliver these critical services to hundreds of Arizona families each year. Arizona Burn Foundation This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Wigged Out Receives $10,000 Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

Wigged Out, Inc. received a $10,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities which will help expand and support financial assistance for wigs and hair pieces for women and children with medically related hair loss. Wigged Out, Inc provides financial assistance to women and children in the metropolitan Phoenix and surrounding areas who are in need of wigs and head coverings due to the effects of a diagnosed medical condition, such as cancer, alopecia, and blood or genetic disorders. By partnering with reputable wig boutiques across the Valley, Wigged Out is able to ensure that the women we help are able to receive new, high quality, and well fitting wigs that they are able to select, empowering them to choose a wig that helps them feel more like themselves. Wigged Out serves a wide range of women, children, and the elderly across the Greater Phoenix area, with our youngest applicant being 5 years old, through women in their 80s and 90s. Funding from Thunderbirds Charities will help women like Joni, a recent recipient, who says, “I loved my hair and it was devastating to lose it all and have no control at all over how or when. You look in the mirror and […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Provide Generous Funding for Families Experiencing Homelessness

The $300,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities will help UMOM New Day Centers provide families experiencing homelessness with emergency shelter and a full continuum of services that lead to stability and permanent housing. The 160-unit family emergency shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and serves over 600 families annually. Each family works one-on-one with a case manager and has access to a wide range of onsite supportive services such as employment assistance, job readiness training, onsite medical care, counseling, educational resources, and more. Every individual receives client-centered support to address their unique needs. While at UMOM, clients are also provided with everyday essentials from hygiene items, diapers, formula, and laundry facilities to clothing and cleaning supplies. “We are incredibly grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for this award,” said Jackson Fonder, CEO of UMOM New Day Centers. “Family homelessness is solvable; we can get there with the continued support of our community partners that helps us provide these comprehensive services and everyday supplies to the families in our communities who need them most.” Nearly 60% of the people at UMOM’s emergency shelter are children under 18. Since homelessness has such a dramatic impact on young people and their […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Awards a $45,000 Grant to House of Refuge to Support the “Adopt a Home” Program

Every family deserves a home. For 25 years, House of Refuge, Inc. has provided families in crisis a proven path out of homelessness through Transitional Housing. Professional staff work with residents to help them regain dignity, heal from trauma, gain employment, and graduate into permanent housing. The Mesa-based non-profit is pleased to announce that Thunderbirds Charities is sponsoring 3 of the agency’s 88 two-bedroom single family homes through the House of Refuge “Adopt a Home” program. Grant funds will be utilized to cover housing and social services expenses as needed for three low-income families for an entire year – including utilities, property repairs, household goods, case management, employment assistance, and educational activities. House of Refuge This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbirds Charities Fund Early Opportunities for Local Children

Thunderbirds Charities has granted $30,000 to A Stepping Stone Foundation to help provide high quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children in the Phoenix area. “We transform lives through two generation education,” says Executive Director, Cynthia Gattorna of A Stepping Stone Foundation. “This funding will help provide quality preschool for 40 local children and parent support for their families for one year. While children are learning how to be successful in kindergarten, their parents are learning how to be their child’s first best teacher and parents work on their own education classes, too. Together we can break illiteracy-driven cycles of poverty in our community.” A Stepping Stone Foundation This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Shoebox Ministry Awarded $10,000 from Thunderbirds Charities

Shoebox Ministry, Inc. received $10,000 from Thunderbirds Charities to help meet the increased demand of our hygiene kits. This grant will provide 25,000 days of hygiene, health, dignity, and safety for Arizonans in need. Our hygiene kits include basic, but extremely important necessities such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, washcloths, soap, feminine hygiene products, and new socks. On a weekly basis, Shoebox receives toiletry item donations from local business and dedicated supporters. We also purchase additional items in need and our staff and volunteers then assemble the products into complete hygiene kits. These kits are then distributed via our network of nearly 50 partner agencies such as Tempe Community Action Agency, The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley, Nourish Phoenix, and many others. These hygiene kits will provide essential items to veterans, people with disabilities, at risk youth, individuals in recovery, the LGBTQ community, domestic violence survivors and many others that are in need. Shoebox Ministry, Inc. This grant is part of the Fall 2021 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Friendly House, Inc. Receives Grant Award from Thunderbirds Charities to Support the Integrated GED + College Certification for Adults program

Thunderbirds Charities awarded $35,000 to Friendly House to support its Integrated GED + College Certification for Adults. Through Friendly House’s Adult Education department, the GED + program will serve two student cohorts beginning in 2022. Students will be provided the instruction necessary to attain their High School Equivalency diploma while concurrently receiving one of the following college level certifications: COMP TIA+ in partnership with GateWay Community College or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) through Accord Healthcare Institute. Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to enter the workforce with the credentials needed to acquire entry level work in IT or healthcare as well as accreditations for pursuing additional post-secondary education. “Friendly House is grateful to Thunderbirds Charities since this donation supports a valuable program that provides meaningful long-term benefits to these students and in turn our community,” said Jerry Mendoza, President and CEO of Friendly House, Inc. Friendly House’s longstanding Adult Education and Workforce Development departments have been training and upskilling individuals in order to attain self-sufficiency and economic independence. Since the pandemic hit, it is estimated that one in four 16 to 24- year-olds is not in school or working. Our hope is to not only address […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Helps Adaptive Baseball Get Back to Full Swing in the Valley

Working with the special needs population over the years, Miracle League of Arizona is acutely aware that they are a group of individuals more isolated than most on a regular basis. They are also a group that is more vulnerable and susceptible to sickness and health challenges. With the ongoing pandemic that has created continued restrictions, changes, and cancellation of activities, Miracle League families were more than ready and excited to return to play and fun at the ballpark. The $30,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities supported a return to group activities and structured baseball games for the year. They helped the league to achieve their goal in offering opportunities of play and inclusion once again, while keeping safety top of mind. Nearly 200 players with various special needs have been able to return to the ballpark and enjoy America’s favorite past time sport. A Fall and Winter season have already occurred, and a Spring season for the families is just around the corner. Thanks to Thunderbirds Charities, individuals with special needs in the Valley once again get the chance to be included, celebrated, and part of a team. Miracle League of Arizona This grant is part of the Fall 2021 […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $20,000 to Sponsor State Spelling Bee

The Arizona Educational Foundation is the recipient of a $20,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support the Arizona State Spelling Bee. The student who wins the State Spelling Bee goes on to represent Arizona as the official State Champion in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Arizona has one of the largest Spelling Bee participation rates in the nation, with close to 300,000 students competing each year from public, private, and homeschools statewide. While Spelling Bees are a great American pastime, they are also tremendous tools for building written and verbal literacy skills. Over 1,000 teachers responded to a 2019 survey administered by AEF about the impact of the Arizona Bee on students. An overwhelming 91.4% of teachers reported that students who participate in Spelling Bees score significantly higher on reading and writing assessments than their non-Bee peers. Spelling Bees begin at the classroom level and progress to grade level competitions, schoolwide, and then district Bees, with the final qualifier being a county or regional Bee. From county and regional Bees, twenty-seven students emerge as finalists and move on to compete at the Arizona State Spelling Bee. In addition to providing technical support and enrollment assistance to thousands of teachers throughout […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Help Musicians with Disabilities Rock On!

We are excited to announce continued partnership between Thunderbirds Charities and Higher Octave Healing’s Rock Band Program. Thunderbirds Charities has previously funded various programs at Higher Octave Healing to support music therapy services for people with developmental disabilities and their families. The Rock Band Program provides group music therapy rock bands to 65 members with developmental disabilities in a total of 15 bands. Thunderbirds Charities has donated $8,000 towards the Rock Band Program in 2022, covering technology and equipment costs. The funding will be put towards iPads needed to display visual aids and record music, musical equipment needs such as new instruments or instrument repair, and other materials needed to run the program smoothly. Guitar strings break, and new strings don’t grow on trees! With this funding, we are excited to supplement the return of our Rock Band Program to the clinic and get back to playing “real instruments” in the clinic. Thank you, Thunderbirds Charities! You are truly making a difference in the lives of our band members. Higher Octave Healing seeks to increase the quality of life and promote the empowerment of people in the Phoenix area through a variety of therapy, research, resources, and community outreach programs. Our […] More

The Centers for Habilitation Receives Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

The Centers for Habilitation (TCH) has received a $10,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities. The grant will be utilized as part of the P.A.S.S. Program (Participation, Accessibility, Socialization, and Sports), which fosters growth, provides new experiences, finds new interests, and enriches the lives of the organization’s supported individuals. Funding from this request will provide onsite and community activities involving cooking, art, and science. “I am so excited about this funding because it provides opportunities for new activities that would not happen otherwise. I love to see the joy our supported individuals express when we do new things,” observed a TCH supervisor. TCH provides a wide range of activities for all levels of abilities that are designed to increase communication, encourage a range of motion, provide sensory opportunities, increase confidence, provide an outlet for self-expression/creativity and increase independence. TCH’s programs provide opportunities for our supported individuals to be embraced and accepted by their community. Upwards of 120 supported individuals attend the TCH day program and/or live in a TCH group home.  Breaking down barriers, creating opportunities to learn new skills, and fostering social connects for all abilities is critical for achieving goals and increasing independence. Through support from Thunderbirds Charities, TCH will continue to […] More

U.S.Vets New Home $100,000 Grant Provided by Thunderbirds Charities

Thunderbirds Charities generously awarded $100,000 to U.S.VETS—Phoenix, helping to open their new veteran housing site—and forever home in Phoenix this year! For 20 years, U.S.VETS—Phoenix has proudly served homeless, at-risk, and underserved veterans across our community. As the largest nonprofit exclusively dedicated to veterans in Maricopa County and the United States, U.S.VETS—Phoenix provides housing, career development and mental health services, meals and case management to veterans and their families. U.S.VETS—Phoenix provided more than 50,000 nights of housing last year to homeless and at-risk veterans—men and women who bravely served our country and deserve  our support. “Thanks to the City of Phoenix and dedicated long-time supporters like Thunderbirds Charities, U.S.VETS—Phoenix will be relocating to their new home in May 2022 and expand critical services and housing for Phoenix veterans,” notes Michelle Jameson, Executive Director of U.S.VETS—Phoenix. “We wouldn’t be where we are today, proudly watching our veterans move into their new homes, without dedicated partners like Thunderbirds Charities.” U.S.VETS will continue in its mission until no one who served our country is left sleeping on our streets. Learn about ways to get involved, volunteer and support local veterans at usvets.org/locations/Phoenix. U.S.Vets—Phoenix This grant is part of the Spring 2021 cycle. View […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Sponsors Online Support Groups for Special Needs Children

In 2021, with the pandemic waning for many mainstream individuals, the special needs community needs a lifeline. While Lions Camp Tatiyee understand the challenges that the broader community has faced as a whole, studies conducted over the last year have shown that special needs children have suffered significantly more trauma and setbacks than their mainstream peers. The pandemic has been devastating for the special needs community, promoting unprecedented levels of depression, trauma, and self-harm. Children with special needs across the State of Arizona remain isolated and excluded due to unique health conditions that make them uniquely vulnerable. As such, Lions Camp Tatiyee is working with Thunderbirds Charities to embark on an aggressive statewide campaign to engage those most isolated and affected by the pandemic, providing them with the tools to connect with peers and feel part of the broader community once again. To address this challenge, Lions Camp Tatiyee is conducting a yearlong Social Connection Campaign to engage 75 children with special needs through our summer session (May 2021 – July 2021), and through biweekly social support sessions from August 2021 to May 2022. This program will participating children cope with, and recover form, the trauma associated with the pandemic. […] More

Elevate Phoenix Receives $25,000 Grant for Work with At-Risk Students Thunderbird Charities Recognizes Phoenix Nonprofit’s Effort in our Community

The grant from Thunderbirds Charities will be used to help students improve their academic skills and help families access needed services. “We are so grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for this opportunity,” said Dalila A. Gamper, Executive Director of Elevate Phoenix. “$25,000 is a lot of money for a local nonprofit and will go a long way in continuing the successful work we are doing.” Elevate Phoenix will use the grant to continue its work in supporting at-risk youth and families, continuing our community outreach and quality of life for our clients and increased educational programs. Specifically, Elevate will: Secure electronic devices for the remaining 200 low-income youth we serve, who otherwise would not be able to afford them. Over the past year, with Covid and homeschooling at the forefront, Elevate has purchased and provided devices for more than 200 youth, yet more are needed. Provide students with backpacks, filled with educational materials and other curriculum need to participate in the Elevate Phoenix program. Arrange for our Teacher-Mentors to conduct reading, life skills and workforce preparedness curriculum virtually or in-person for students in grades 2-12. Provide students and their families with reading subscriptions and encourage them to read every day. Provide […] More