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News
 

It Starts with Junior Golf – JGAA’s Thunderbird Invitational

The game of golf is extremely important to the State of Arizona, and with roughly 200 golf courses in the Phoenix area alone, the game is a defining feature of the Valley of the Sun. The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – are obviously extremely familiar with golf, using the game to raise millions of dollars for charity each year from the proceeds generated from one of the PGA TOUR’s most iconic stops. The Thunderbirds aren’t only interested in the world’s best players who tee it up at TPC Scottsdale each year for “The People’s Open”. The game of golf can only grow through participation of youth who enjoy the game, which is why The Thunderbirds have sponsored the Junior Golf Association of Arizona (JGAA) for decades, and proudly support one of the JGAA’s largest annual events – The Thunderbird Invitational. “As a Thunderbird, our main fundraiser is the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but it really starts with junior golf,” said Alex Clark, Thunderbird and JGAA board chairman. “The game of golf is the greatest connector of all and were so fortunate to be involved.” JGAA Executive Director Scott McNevin echoes Clark’s sentiments about the game […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Awards Zion Institute $80,000 to Expand Its Early Childhood Education Excellence Model in South Phoenix

Thunderbirds Charities awarded the Zion Institute $80,000, funding the replication of its quality educational childcare model. This allows low-income families access to the same level of service private preschools provide. “Zion’s approach reaches beyond childcare, equipping children for entering school, focusing on the holistic health of each family to foster an improved quality of life,” said Zion’s founder and CEO, Shawn Pearson. A twelve-month pilot of Zion’s Preschool Excellence TM model has empowered a startup preschool to become a Quality First, financially sustainable organization. As a result, Zion Early Learning Academy (ZELA) is now in the process of purchasing its building and land. “Quality, accessible early childhood education is an essential facet of an equitable and prosperous community,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “This model, combining the Zion Institute’s expertise with cross-sector community support, will not only benefit South Phoenix families for generations to come but will bring cascading benefits for our entire city.” Funding from Thunderbirds Charities will support the launch of Life Changers, the next preschool implementing the Preschool Excellence TM model. In honor of the gift, Life Changers preschool space will be named “The Thunderbirds Imagination Learning Center.” The Phoenix Police Department and OpenTable are partners with […] More
 

Teach For America Phoenix Launches Innovative Education Response to COVID-19 with Support from Thunderbirds Charities

Thanks to the generous support of Thunderbirds Charities, Teach For America Phoenix’s Innovative Response to COVID-19 project has been able to transform our teacher learning and development program to prepare teachers for effective distance learning, accelerating student academic and personal growth in Arizona. Support from Thunderbirds Charities will directly impact our Teacher Support Team by allowing more frequent 1:1 virtual support for teachers and a differentiated approach to coaching through customized professional development opportunities. Teach For America Phoenix Executive Director, Katie Tennessen Hooten says, “Teach For America Phoenix’s Innovative Response to COVID-19 will continue to expand educational opportunities in Arizona, and we are grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for its partnership to help ensure all children receive an excellent and equitable education.” Over 10,000 students across 55 schools in Maricopa County will benefit from this project during the 2020-2021 school year. Teach for America Phoenix This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More
 

Mesa Arts Center’s Project Lit Program Receives Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

The Thunderbirds Charities grant for the Project Lit program will support direct program costs tied to teaching artists and supplies. In the coming year Project Lit will impact the lives of over 4,000 youth across the Valley by promoting literacy skills through poetry, spoken word and hip hop. “We are grateful for the continued support of Project Lit by Thunderbirds Charities. Project Lit uses poetry, spoken word, and hip hop to promote literacy and activate social and emotional learning with young and emerging adults. The program runs from September through the spring and culminates into a Youth Poetry Festival and our annual Youth Poetry Anthology book,” explained Tomas Stanton, Engagement Manager at Mesa Arts Center. “This year’s Youth Poetry Anthology is our third, and the release date is in April. Much of the poetry in this year’s book is very heartfelt – students are expressing a lot of anxiety and uncertainty because of the pandemic. Writing gives students an outlet to positively communicate their feelings, which starts the process of healing.” Mesa Arts Center This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More
 

Changing the World, One Child at A Time

Leukemia is the leading cause of death by disease among children up to age 19 and though survival rates have improved drastically, it remains a profoundly serious and oftentimes fatal disease. The long-term survival has however afforded the identification of problems that are a result of the very treatments that have allowed these children to live. The medical community therefore encourages that each child undergoes a neuropsychological evaluation and follow-up. Through the support from Thunderbirds Charities, we can continue this life-saving work. The Leukemia Foundation for Arizona’s Children (LFAC) created the “Encircled by Love” program to assist in offsetting the oftentimes prohibitive expense of the evaluations and follow-up to already financially impacted families. When LFAC looks at the children of this world, they see a world of promise and possibility. LFAC is committed to every child treated for childhood leukemia in the state of Arizona, so that their todays can be as bright and full of possibility as their potential tomorrows. Leukemia Foundation for Arizona’s Children (LFAC) This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Gives $25,000 for Bigs and Littles to Stay Connected in 2021

With a generous gift of $25,000 from Thunderbirds Charities, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSAZ) will be able to continue funding its mentoring programs and the virtual initiatives the organization has added during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will ensure that the Littles [youth mentees], in a time of continued uncertainty, will maintain their strong connections with their Bigs [adult volunteer mentors] and have the necessary support aiding their development. “COVID-19 has made it difficult for our mentors to see their Littles in person, but the virtual aspects of our mentorship programs are helping tremendously to continue connecting them to one another,” said Laura Capello, President and CEO of BBBSAZ. “Thanks to the support from Thunderbirds Charities, we will be able to further fund and develop our mentorship work to help empower our Littles.” Virtual learning has taken over schools across the nation throughout the past year, and like many, BBBSAZ has needed to accommodate for this new normal. The organization has moved their mentoring to a virtual space, where Littles are able to continue keeping in touch with their Bigs during a time when physical visits have become difficult. “We are proud to continue supporting Big Brothers […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Awards O’Connor Institute for American Democracy Generous Grant

Thunderbirds Charities has awarded $50,000 to the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy in support of civics education for youth. Two of the Institute’s programs, Camp O’Connor, an interactive civics program and the O’Connor Civics Challenge, an online civics video competition for middle school students, are the beneficiaries. Now in its fifth year, Camp O’Connor is a free, merit-based week-long summer program providing experiential civics education and leadership development for 7th and 8th graders. The camp works to educate, inspire and encourage the next generation of leaders to develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for our democracy and their important role as citizens. Campers develop leadership skills, greater knowledge of our nation’s democracy and experience civics in action, enhanced by field trips to the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government. The O’Connor Civics Challenge, launched in 2020, was created to allow students to participate in an online civics video competition during the pandemic. Geared to 6th through 9th graders the initial year saw participation from students in Arizona and across the country compete for laptops and other electronic educational tools. As a result of the overwhelming response, the Institute will continue the O’Connor Civics Challenge among its […] More
 

Northwest Valley Connect Essential Transport

Northwest Valley Connect (NVC) has recently been awarded a $5,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support the Essential Transport project. This project will assist 500 seniors whose quality of life has been threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical and other services have been put on hold for a large portion of seniors living in the West Valley as the fear of contracting COVID-19 has limited their ability to safely leave their homes for their health care and human service needs. A volunteer leadership team will manage a planned effort that interfaces with and enlists participation by this fragile group of seniors in community resources by using “well check calls,” case managing medical transport, assuring NVC/COVID-19 Health and Safety procedures, and promoting NVC safe transport availability. Kathryn Chandler, Executive Director states, “As community services reopen, it is important to cultivate assurances for fear-based, isolated individuals and in partnership with Thunderbirds Charities, I believe vulnerable seniors will feel secure to re-enter community activities using NVC essential/medical transport services.” Northwest Valley Connect This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Is Supporting Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Native American Connections (NAC) is pleased to announce receipt of a grant award from Thunderbirds Charities. The $50,000 grant will support housing and services at NAC’s HomeBase and Saguaro Ki programs for youth experiencing homelessness. The January 2020 Point in Time (PIT) count indicated 416 youth were experiencing homelessness in the metro Phoenix area. Youth face challenges getting off the streets because of a shortage of emergency and supportive housing dedicated for youth. Native American Connections’ Youth Housing Model of Care is for youth (18-24 years old) and includes two phases: skill development (HomeBase 25-bed Emergency Shelter) and skill application (Saguaro Ki 24-unit Transitional Housing). Each year, NAC helps 140 youth move from crisis to personal development to housing stability; setting them up to thrive and for future success. With safe and secure housing, youth can focus on activities that improve their health, employment, education and social connections. We appreciate having the support of Thunderbirds Charities. Native American Connections This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More
 

Rising Youth Theatre’s Arts Leadership Program Receives Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

Rising Youth Theatre is proud to announce a grant of $10,000 from Thunderbirds Charities, received in December 2020 in support of its Arts Leadership Program. This is a transformative gift for Rising Youth Theatre, who continues to reach, connect, and collaborate with hundreds of young people during the Coronavirus pandemic. Founded in 2011, Rising Youth Theatre is a youth leadership organization that uses theatre and story to position young people in advocacy spaces. The company works with young people and professional adult artists to create socially relevant, original plays that have a positive impact on our community. Our work starts in the community – hearing stories, participating in dialogue, doing research, and engaging young people around a topic. While our process of making theatre looks different this year, these programs are more critical than ever. Hundreds of young people are engaging in transformative arts experiences alongside professional adult artist collaborators. Young people are at the center of the organization’s decision making and growth. And, particularly significant at this moment – all young people who participate in the program are paid for their time. As Transforming Artistic Collaborator Quinn Pursell explained “young people are particularly impacted by the pandemic, especially those […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $85,000 to Local First Arizona’s Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program

Thunderbirds Charities has awarded Local First Arizona an $85,000 grant to help grow their Fuerza Local Business Accelerator program and support entrepreneurship in Arizona. The investment will boost outreach of Local First’s Fuerza Local program to bring this opportunity to more businesses across the Valley and helping to further Thunderbirds Charities’ mission to improve the quality of life for all Arizonans. “Since 2013, Fuerza Local has assisted 453 entrepreneurs in achieving their dreams of becoming business owners. Business graduates have created a total of 624 jobs and have contributed more than $6,991,360 in new sales to our local economy. We strongly believe entrepreneurship is the most effective tool for tackling wealth inequality and building a diverse and resilient economy. We are honored to have Thunderbirds Charities as a partner in this mission,” says Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona Founder. “Fuerza Local is a program that changes the lives of so many in our community by allowing them to follow their dreams,” said Tim Woods, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “Thunderbirds Charities shares a common commitment with Local First Arizona to serve the people in our communities. We’re very proud to be a part of that.” While in the program, students participate […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $18,700 to Sponsor State Spelling Bee

The Arizona Educational Foundation is the recipient of an $18,700 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support the Arizona State Spelling Bee. The student who wins the Arizona State Spelling Bee goes on to represent Arizona as the official Arizona State Spelling Champion in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Arizona has one of the largest spelling bee programs in the nation, with close to 300,000 students competing each year from public, private, and homeschools statewide. “Managing a program of this magnitude is no small feat,” says Matthew Feller, Arizona State Bee Director. “Having support from Thunderbirds Charities will go a long way in ensuring students have an exceptional experience.” Kim Graham, AEF Executive Director, echoes that sentiment. “We are so grateful for the support from Thunderbirds Charities. They do so much to support education in Maricopa and Pinal counties and we are truly honored that they have chosen to support this vital academic opportunity for students.” The Arizona State Spelling Bee is scheduled, COVID conditions permitting, for Saturday, March 20th, at the Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix. To allow for social distancing and COVID safety the event will not be open to the public this year. “We are watching […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Fund Industrial Kitchen Equipment at St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul cooks and distributes 4,000 daily meals in its central kitchen, five dining rooms and over a dozen charity partners across the Valley. Thanks to a $205,000 donation from Thunderbirds Charities, St. Vincent de Paul can continue to operate its meal services with its signature excellence and efficiency, ensuring that donated dollars are stretched to the fullest to provide the best service to people in need. “The generous gift from Thunderbirds Charities is so appreciated, especially as we head into the spring and summer months. The donation will help us run our food operations with efficiency, ensuring that fresh foods are stored and distributed with as little waste as possible,” said Danielle McMahon, St. Vincent de Paul’s director of food services.   St. Vincent de Paul This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More
 

Gompers Expands Readtopia to Peoria Location Thanks to Thunderbirds Charities

The cornerstone of personal growth is literacy. Thanks to Thunderbirds Charities, Gompers expands Readtopia to the Peoria campus. Readtopia is a comprehensive literacy curriculum paired with science and socials studies. It is designed for individuals with moderate to severe disabilities and modified for adults by Gompers. Thunderbirds Charities helped launch this programming at the Phoenix campus in 2019. Readtopia brought members into a volcano in Iceland to introduce them to the book Journey to the Center of the Earth. The primary goal of introducing this curriculum was to increase the members’ engagement and active participation in their day. In one year, 55 members will increase her/his reading level by half a grade level. Plus, in one year, individuals will increase active participation in lessons by 63% using the lesson participation rubric to measure this on all individuals. We greatly appreciate Thunderbirds Charities’ support of Gompers’ programming. Gompers and its employees are passionate about assisting individuals with disabilities to achieve their highest level of independence and productivity in our community. Gompers’ staff helps its members and students accomplish this by living up to Gompers’ mission of developing innovative opportunities for people with disabilities and its seven core values every day. Gompers […] More
 

notMYkid Receives $25,000 from Thunderbirds Charities

notMYkid is pleased to announce Thunderbirds Charities has donated $25,000 to support their new Arizona Youth Thriving program. The funds will be dedicated to supporting the urgent mental health needs of youth and their families by making counseling, peer support, and care coordination available through their new outpatient treatment center. “Thanks to this generous grant from Thunderbirds Charities, over 50 additional families will now have a place to heal and receive quality care and support for mental health and substance use disorders,” said Kristen Polin, CEO of notMYkid. “Thunderbirds Charities is helping our dreams become a reality as we expand to become a full continuum provider of prevention, early intervention, and treatment services. The pandemic has drastically changed the way we provide services, and it was time to do more and be more for families who turn to notMYkid for support. Families looking for mental health services can find help and hope through our telehealth programs or safely in person, regardless of their ability to pay.” notMYkid will continue to increase their capacity through the end of 2021 using cutting edge technology-assisted care, peer to peer mentoring, and strengthening partnerships with local healthcare partners and area schools. New programs include: […] More
 

Impact One Receives $8,000 to Assist Women with Breast Cancer in Arizona with the Hope Box Program

Our Hope in a Box Essentials Project provides the patient with needed items that are in direct relation due to chemotherapy treatment, radiation treatment or any surgery that is related to breast cancer often not covered by insurance. The funding for the Hope Box Project will allow Impact One to ship boxes of items valued up to $500.00 to over 320 women at zero cost to the patients. This key component is the very essence of Impact One’s existence. Our program is designed so that each woman not only receives one-on-one support through outreach but by providing vital essentials needed for recovery. The population of women that are served are women of all ethnic groups as well as those that are insured, underinsured and uninsured. We also serve those recently diagnosed or have already been in treatment and the women that have simply gone without the vital essentials needed after a breast cancer diagnosis in Arizona. Elizabeth Ayers Cluff, Founder of Impact One, personally understands the trials, hardships and lack of resources available and believes “no woman should be forgotten”. “Impact One was founded to empower all women with self-worth, in the comfort of providing a safe community and to […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Gifts $20K to Make-A-Wish Arizona

Make-A-Wish Arizona, the founding chapter of the international wish granting organization is honored to announce a gift of $20,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities. The money will be used to grant life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses in Arizona. Currently, more than 597 children are working with Make-A-Wish Arizona to plan custom and unique wish opportunities, even with COVID-19 safety restrictions in place. “We are excited that Thunderbirds Charities sees the impact a wish can make on a child who is dealing with a critical illness,” said Elizabeth Reich, president and Chief Executive Officer of Make-A-Wish Arizona. “A wish experience provides a child hope and joy when they need it most and this grant will assist us in continuing our mission, even during the pandemic.” Make-A-Wish Arizona was founded in 1980 when one Arizona boy’s wish to be a police officer was granted by the Department of Public Safety. Since that time, almost 7,000 wishes have been granted in Arizona and approximately a half million wishes have been granted worldwide. Make-A-Wish Arizona This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Provides $50K Contribution to Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates, Funds Will Assist Vulnerable AZ Students Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates (JAG) program includes classroom instruction, competency-based project- based learning, adult mentoring, summer employment training, student-led leadership development, job, and post-secondary education placement services, as well as 12-months of follow-up services after high school graduation. Due to COVID-19 and resulting school closures, JAG has pivoted to a virtual model to continue providing uninterrupted services to its participants. JAG Coordinators are Trauma-Informed educators who double as mentors in local schools. Despite the disruption COVID has caused, they are continuing to provide critical JAG services, including the follow-up services and mentorship to their students for a full year after they graduate from high school. This is especially critical for the most recent graduating class – the Class of 2020 – as they face the most significant employment challenges in decades caused by the COVID pandemic. “Thunderbirds Charities recognizes the essential work that Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates is doing and the outstanding results we’re achieving, even amid an unprecedented pandemic. These funds will help more local youth disproportionately impacted by COVID to succeed in school, jobs, and life,” said Graciela Garcia Candia, President of Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates. “We appreciate Thunderbirds Charities, who have donated funds to JAG in […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Grants $75,000 to Local Nonprofit Ryan House

Ryan House announced the receipt of a generous $75,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities today in support of the nonprofit’s Sponsor-A-Stay Program, which offers short-term, overnight respite care stays that help families take a break from the stress of the constant home care needs of their medically fragile children. “We are so grateful for the continued generosity of Thunderbirds Charities,” said Ryan House Executive Director Tracy Leonard-Warner. “Thanks to their support, we will be able to provide 75 sponsored, free-of-charge 24-hour respite stays for children with life-threatening or terminal conditions.” Ryan House’s world-class care will be offered to 200 children and families over the grant term. Ryan House This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More
 

$25,000 Grant from Thunderbirds Charities Awarded to Dress for Success Phoenix to Support Mobile Career Center

The mission of Dress for Success Phoenix is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Our team understands the importance of listening to the women we serve and learning first-hand the challenges they face. Whether they are job seekers, under-employed workers or professionals ready to take that next step, we design and deliver services, programs and a network of support to help women overcome these challenges for every phase of their personal or professional journey. At the Career Center, our clients gain access to the resources, support and education they need to excel in their career. Clients are paired with staff members to create resumes and cover letters, conduct mock interviews and take advantage of our professional skills training course. For many, we know that transportation can be a massive hurdle for women hoping to access Dress for Success programs, so we made our services mobile. The Mobile Career Center provides many of the same great services as the Dress for Success Phoenix boutique, such as providing attire and career coaching. The Mobile Career Center also enhances partnerships with […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Donates $10,000 to the ALS Association Arizona Chapter – Gift Benefits the Association’s Living with ALS Program

ALS is a terminal illness that impacts all aspects of a person’s life, often resulting in decreased quality of life at a time when it matters most. The ALS Association Arizona Chapter employs a multi-dimensional approach to support the physical, emotional, and social needs of people with ALS, and their families. The Chapter’s Living with ALS program helps families maintain a high quality of life by providing the following services: Multi-disciplinary Clinics – Regular visits with ALS specialists who coordinate the clinical management of physical disease progression Support groups -Opportunities to share personal experiences and learn strategies for managing the physical, social, emotional, and mental challenges of living with ALS Counseling – Individualized family counseling to address topics related to coping with the diagnosis, conflict resolution, crisis intervention, and healthcare and end of life decision making Certified Child Life Specialist -Helps children who have a loved one with ALS understand the disease, process complex emotions, and learn coping skills Social Connections – Group leisure activities designed to form bonds with others affected by ALS Family Fun Packs – Activity kits that are designed to facilitate positive family interactions and build memories before their loved one dies “We are so grateful […] More
 

Closing the Opportunity Divide with Year Up

“Thanks to Thunderbirds Charities’ generous investment, Year Up Arizona will further our mission to close the Opportunity Divide for young adults in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. By combining hard and soft skill development, an authentic work experience, and wraparound support services, Year Up positions students for success in the classroom, in the workplace, and in the community,” says Kimberly Allen, Site Director, Year Up Arizona. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of our world, and Year Up Arizona (YUAZ) is working tirelessly to ensure vulnerable young adults in Maricopa County are not left further behind as inequality deepens and as it becomes even more challenging to secure living wage employment. This investment by Thunderbirds Charities will be channeled to support all aspects of Year Up Arizona’s workforce development over the next year as we serve 240 young adults at YUAZ (Mesa/SNHU and PHX sites), which includes ensuring we are able to respond to the shifting needs of our students and emergent challenges throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Prior to COVID-19, the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area was home to 70,300 young adults who were out of school and work. Called Opportunity Youth (OY), these individuals have been systematically […] More
 

Burn Survivors Will Thrive Thanks to Thunderbirds Charities

Arizona Burn Foundation is grateful to receive a $50,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities for the delivery of our Helping Others, Promoting Empowerment (HOPE) Services, which begin the moment a burn patient is admitted to the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise or the Burn Unit at Banner University Medical Center Tucson, and continue until the burn survivor and their family, is 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. Every year, more than 1200 burn patients are admitted to the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise and the Burn Unit at Banner University Medical Center Tucson. Thousands more are admitted to area hospitals. A severe burn injury is catastrophic and lasts a lifetime. In spite of months, and often years, of medical treatment and surgeries, the physical scars may never heal. The emotional scars can cause the victim to feel different and withdraw from the life they led before. Without services and programs that provide emotional healing and hope, a […] More
 

OCJ Kids Receives $30,000 from Thunderbirds Charities for Healing and COVID-19 Recovery for Foster Children

Thunderbirds Charities provided $30,000 to OCJ (Opportunity, Community and Justice for Foster) Kids to help children heal and recover from physical and emotional abuse and to provide hygiene and other items to youth living in foster group homes. When children are physically harmed or did not have their parents’ affection and attention during their formative years, they often have developmental delays. During the pandemic, child abuse cases escalated, but most went unreported because the children were not in school where teachers could detect any problems. Abuse and neglect often cause significant delays in children’s physical, mental and emotional development. “Sometimes the children’s delays are so extensive that they cannot even walk or talk,” said Gary Webb, President and Founder of OCJ Kids. Thunderbirds Charities’ generous grant will enable OCJ Kids to create and provide InterAct Boxes to at least 10 Arizona foster group homes. InterAct Boxes contain activities to help children with delays advance in their development while in foster care. These include stretching, picking up and grasping items, and breathing exercises. The InterAct Boxes were designed in partnership with Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) Occupational Therapy (OT) Department. OCJ Kids and several foster group homes have used the InterAct Boxes […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $60,000 to Assistance League of Phoenix

Thunderbirds Charities recently awarded the Assistance League® of Phoenix a $60,000 grant to support their Operation School Bell®. The DeliveringDreams Bus is the mobile unit of Operation School Bell®, the signature program of Assistance League® of Phoenix, and serves over 8,500 students each school year both through the bus and the satellite dressing center located in Sunnyslope. “This has been a very challenging year for so many nonprofits,” said Aimee Runyon, Chief Executive Officer, Assistance League® of Phoenix. “We are so appreciative of Thunderbirds Charities generous donation. It will help us buy new shoes and clothing to fill our buses. We have been working hard to serve children any way possible during this pandemic. We know many families are counting on us to help outfit their children in the new year.” The Assistance League® of Phoenix has three Delivering Dreams Buses sponsored by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Rotary 100/BHHS Legacy Foundation and Fiesta Bowl Charities/BHHS Legacy Foundation. The donation from Thunderbirds Charities will help purchase clothing/shoes to fill these buses. Typically, Assistance League of Phoenix partners with more than 90 Title I schools throughout the year. Each school can select up to 100 children who qualify for the program (students on […] More
 

Addressing Child Literacy with Research-Based Engagement: Partnership Brings Resources to Families in the Valley

Every Child Reads (ECR) is a research-based family engagement program that provides a crucial connection between parents and schools to support at-home literacy. The program funds and delivers thousands of books every year – both print and digital – to families in need, in addition to family workshops and multiple incentives for children to read. Low reading rates across Arizona present a major obstacle for future economic success – both for families, and for the state. That is why for over 10 years, Stand for Children Arizona has provided parents with at-home resources and support to improve education for their child and all children in Arizona. Stand for Children Arizona partners with more than 20 schools and 2,000 parents to distribute over 6,000 books for families to keep. As the brick-and-mortar education system is evolving and forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECR program is expanding its impact to support children and families through these changes. Stand for Children Arizona’s Executive Director, Rebecca Gau, commented on the importance of this partnership, “The ability to read is critical to a child’s success in school, life-long earning potential, and their ability to contribute to the nation’s economy.” She added, “We are […] More
 

Transformational Partnership to Provide Quality Financial and Economic Education for Arizona Children

Thunderbirds Charities and the Arizona Council on Economic Education (ACEE) are partnering to provide innovative and expedient financial and economic education solutions for Arizona students and teachers. A recent $50,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities will help ACEE reach 300 schools and 75,000 K-12 students, many of whom are from low to moderate income families and rural communities. The global pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for families, students and teachers. Underserved communities are bearing an unequal share of the loss of income, food, education and health. Surviving and thriving through this pandemic will depend on individuals’ level of debt, emergency savings and financial literacy. The grant will enable ACEE to offer more support to underserved communities. ACEE’s program offers both on-demand and real-time synchronous digital learning resources. It will train 500 teachers to use new education technology tools to engage their students in online, in-person and hybrid learning environments. The resources will be the first to align with the new Arizona economics and personal finance standards, and social and emotional learning requirements. “With the continued support from Thunderbirds Charities, ACEE is prepared to support schools, children and families to achieve economic equity and social justice through financial and economic education,” said Elena […] More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Donates $100,000 to U.S.VETS – Phoenix for New Building

Thunderbirds Charities generously awarded $100,000 for U.S.VETS – Phoenix for renovations in their new location. U.S.VETS – Phoenix has proudly served homeless, at-risk, and underserved veterans for nearly 20 years. As the largest nonprofit exclusively dedicated to veterans in Maricopa County and the United States, U.S.VETS provides case management, mental health counseling, career development, meals, and housing. Today, our programs serve more than 180 veterans daily. With the current leased property up for sale, U.S.VETS will be purchasing a new home to relocate to and expand the critical services and housing veterans deserve. With support from Thunderbirds Charities, U.S.VETS – Phoenix’s new home will serve as a therapeutic, residential community that provides veterans the tools they need to regain their dignity and build a stronger future. Michelle Jameson, Executive Director says, “We are so grateful for Thunderbirds Charities’ long term support. They have been friends of ours for years and when we needed help with this move, they generously stepped up.” Keep an eye on U.S.VETS website at usvets.org/locations/Phoenix for more details about the new building and capital campaign. U.S.VETS – Phoenix This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More
 

Thunderbirds Charities Grants $65,000 to Family Promise to Shelter Families Experiencing Homelessness Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic

Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, an organization that serves families with children and pets who are currently homeless or at risk of experiencing homelessness, announced it had received a grant for $65,000 from Thunderbirds Charities to support the nonprofit’s emergency shelter program. Family Promise focuses on resolving the family’s immediate crisis by offering social services, helping parents find employment, and connecting them to daycare and school for their children. During the day, Family Promise hosts families at its day centers across the Valley where parents and children receive shelter, food, clothing, and other basic needs. Overnight, Family Promise relies on its network of volunteer churches and synagogues to shelter and feed the families they serve while Family Promise assists these families on their journey back to self-sufficiency. During the coronavirus pandemic, Family Promise has had to temporarily pause its community-based model to protect their volunteers and families from potential spread of the virus and shelter families at its day centers overnight. Family Promise will use the Thunderbirds Charities grant towards their emergency shelter program which ensures families in crisis will have a safe place to put their kids to bed while they work to regain self-sufficiency. “If a family’s life […] More
 

YWCA Receives Transformational Investment from Thunderbirds Charities

YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix is pleased to announce the receipt of an impactful grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support their ongoing work to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The funds are specifically for the Senior Meals on Wheels program serving the West Valley and for the YWCA Own It! Financial Education program that empowers participants throughout the Valley. “Like so many organizations, COVID-19 has caused unprecedented instability for many we work with,” said Debbie Esparza, YWCA CEO. “From homebound seniors facing food insecurity to women facing financial instability to marginalized communities fighting for equity, this pandemic has significantly increased, not lessened, people’s needs for our services. We are so thankful for the Thunderbirds Charities grant. It couldn’t have come at a more important time in our community.” YWCA’s commitment to social change and community services runs deep. For more than 108 years, they have been at the forefront of most critical social movements, standing against all forms of racism and oppression while working to address the community’s most critical needs. Since March they have served more than 95,000 meals to seniors, and are on pace to serve more than 114,000 meals in a […] More