In the Community – Junior Achievement of Arizona

 As part of The Thunderbirds In the Community Conversations, Tournament Chairman Scott Jenkins recently held a digital chat with President of Junior Achievement of Arizona, Katherine Cecala. The two leaders discussed the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and identify how the community can continue to support local non-profits throughout our communities. “Our mission at Junior Achievement is to prepare students to succeed in work and life,” Cecala said. “We serve about 86,000 primarily low-income kids with the help of 9,000 volunteers. We are in 400 schools and we’re teaching money management and career readiness types of skills to help prepare these kids to succeed in the future.” Cecala talked about how Junior Achievement has had to change and mobilize differently due to the impact of the coronavirus. “Because our programs are in the schools, we actually have had more than three months of classes canceled,” said Cecala. “What we’re doing about it is we are greatly expanding our digital offerings. So this was an opportunity to focus more on something we were already doing so that we can have great programs that we can take to kids in their homes.” Cecala then spoke about some of the specific digital programs offered by […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Donate $60,000 to Desert Voices for Capacity Building

Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of the Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open–recently awarded Desert Voices a $60,000 grant to build capacity. “We could not be more thrilled with the Thunderbird’s extraordinary support of our program that helps children who are born deaf speak oral language,” said Tim Louis, Board Chairman. Thunderbirds Charities has been a supporter of Desert Voices for 20 years. Their generosity has helped Arizona’s only non-profit, private, listening and spoken language program, give voices to hundreds of children. Desert Voices offers two programs: Early Intervention for children 0 to 3 years of age, where a child learns to hear and speak one sound at a time; and Early Education that takes the child from 3 to 5 or 6 when they mainstream to traditional schools speaking about 3,000 words and having experienced a pre-school environment where they learn to read and write. The funding will be used to increase capacity creating more flexibility for the school when scheduling teachers of the deaf and speech language pathologists to most effectively maintain the low teacher/student ratio and therefore the best outcomes for each child.  Desert Voices This grant is part of the Spring […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Donates $5,000 to Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona’s “Angels Among Us”

The project funded is for “Angels Among Us” – an outreach program that starts as soon as a need is identified. Our team visits new birth and/or adoptive parents at the hospital, in the home, or (during the pandemic) online to celebrate their newest family member(s) with Down syndrome. We supply gifts, resources and support for the new family to help them navigate becoming a new Proud Parent of a child with Down syndrome.  Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona This grant is part of the Spring 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

In the Community – The Phoenix Zoo

The Thunderbirds and Thunderbirds Charities has reached out to our amazing charity partners to help spread their messages to the local communities they serve, rally support and secure vital resources so they may continue to help as much as they can. They are on the front lines doing everything in their power to brighten the lives of so many facing overwhelming obstacles during these trying times. As part of their “In the Community Conversations,” Waste Management Phoenix Open 2021 Tournament Chairman Scott Jenkins caught up with Bert Castro, Executive Director of The Phoenix Zoo, to discuss current challenges and how the community can help. “Obviously, with the zoo being closed for business, it’s been a really tough time,” Castro said. “I know we’re not the only ones that have gone through this. We have about 3,000 animals we have to take care of and we make about 5,000 meals a day for those animals. It’s a very, very large infrastructure and facility, so it takes a whole lot to keep the zoo going.” With the park closed, The Phoenix Zoo has incorporated digital and virtual tools to bring the animals and learning environment to children and parents who want to […] More

In the Community – Benevilla

As part of their In the Community Conversations, Thunderbirds’ 2020 Tournament Chairman Tim Woods held a virtual discussion with Joanne Thomson, President and CEO of Benevilla. The two leaders discussed the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and identify how the community can continue to support local non-profits throughout the Valley of the Sun. “We started many years ago by a couple of different congregations that were seeing a need for human services in the area,” said Thomson. “Del Webb built these beautiful communities out here for seniors. We’ve since grown into helping every age in the community and are all about enriching people’s lives.” Thomson shared how COVID-19 has made them change their operations. “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, our during-the-day programs have temporarily closed down,” said Thomson. “But we have staff still on board that are calling our caregivers every week to see how they’re doing and what other resources we could offer.” Thomson also mentioned how virtual access has helped them operate during the crisis. “Anyone can go on our website,, and go to our virtual life enrichment activities,” she said. “And then we have our home services. We’ve expanded this program into anybody who does not […] More

Students Continue Music Learning Online During COVID-19 Thanks to Support from Thunderbirds Charities

Despite Phoenix Conservatory of Music (PCM) closing its doors temporarily due to COVID-19 and not re-opening its facilities until this summer, PCM’s music education lessons and classes haven’t missed a beat. PCM staff and teaching artists got to work immediately setting up and using Zoom for all students enrolled in private lessons and College Prep Program classes, with no disruption in services. Thunderbirds Charities has helped make it possible for these students to continue their learning online, thanks to a $10,000 grant to support PCM’s College Prep Program during the 2019-2020 school year.  In the last two months, PCM provided students in the College Prep Program over 300 hours of online ensembles, music theory classes and enrichment classes, as well as over 200 hours of private music lessons; all online. PCM serves more than 2,000 students annually, mostly from low-income families and Title 1 schools. Music lessons are typically up close and personal, with teaching artists and students sitting in close proximity. Offering professional development to teaching artists so they can continue to provide high-quality music education using new technology and embrace remote learning was the first step. Nearly 90 percent of families have remained enrolled in PCM music lessons […] More

In the Community – Ronald McDonald House

The Thunderbirds are continuing to reach out to local charities during the current health crisis to identify specific needs and rally the community around worthy causes through their “In the Community Conversations” segments. Today’s segment features 2021 WM Phoenix Open Assistant Tournament Chairman Michael Golding and Kerry Schulman, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Phoenix. They discussed the challenges surrounding business operations during the current crisis and the importance of vigilance and community involvement, especially for non-profit organizations in the Valley of the Sun. The families who benefit from Ronald McDonald House travel far from home to receive treatment for their child at world-renowned pediatric centers located in metropolitan Phoenix. Their child’s treatment may last a day, a month, or sometimes even longer. It’s a long time to be away from home and often times commuting or staying at a hotel is either impossible or financially challenging for a family. Ronald McDonald House is able to help families overcome these obstacles by providing low-cost, temporary housing that is near their child’s hospital or medical center. Schulman spoke about the challenges of operating during the current health crisis. “Now, with COVID impacting everything, only one parent is allowed to be on […] More

Thunderbirds Lend a Hand at Local Foodbanks

The Thunderbirds – Hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – are no strangers to charities like St. Mary’s Food Bank and United Food Bank and their mission to alleviate hunger through the gathering and distribution of food. In fact, The Thunderbirds routinely donate to these community-based organizations that improve the quality of life for Arizonans in need. They are one of hundreds of Valley charities that have had to change their business operations to combat the effects of the current health crisis here in the United States and across the world. To lend a hand, 50 Thunderbirds visited St. Mary’s Food Bank and United Food Bank over the weekend to help the staff pack boxes of food to feed hungry Arizonans and people in need. “These vital organizations do an amazing job helping hungry people in our community regardless of the circumstances,” said Thunderbirds Big Chief Chance Cozby. “Obviously, the current health crisis has impacted their ability to serve the community in the same ways they have in the past, but through volunteer support and the backing of the community at large, we know we can come together and provide aid and assistance to these as much as we […] More

In the Community – St. Joseph the Worker

Last year’s WM Phoenix Open tournament chairman Tim Woods continues The Thunderbirds’ “In the Community Conversations” with Brent Downs, Executive Director of St. Joseph the Worker. They talked about the challenges surrounding business operations during the current health crisis and the importance of vigilance and community involvement, especially for non-profit organizations in the Valley of the Sun. “We connect clients with employment and then we try to remove every barrier a client needs to go back to work,” said Downs. “So if it’s tools, bus passes, transportation or certifications, whatever those things are that someone needs to start work right now, we provide all those things.” Downs stated the importance of organizations like St. Joseph the Worker, especially during high unemployment numbers created from stay-at-home orders throughout the country. “When one out of every six Americans are out of work, St. Joseph the Worker is needed more than ever,” said Downs. “The staff at St. Joseph the Worker has made the commitment to stay open during these times. And throughout the crisis, we’ve met clients. We met with them now on a more virtual basis when needed so they’re not wandering around going to 50 different places amidst the COVID-19 […] More

In the Community – Teen Lifeline

In the latest edition of The Thunderbirds’ “In the Community Conversations”,  2021 Tournament Chairman Scott Jenkins held a virtual discussion with Nikki Kontz, Clinical Director of Teen Lifeline. The two leaders discussed the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and identify how the community can continue the fight against teen suicide and provide hope to suffering young people throughout the Valley of the Sun. “Teen Lifeline is probably best known for our crisis hotline services,” said Kontz. “What we do is we take calls and texts from kids and teenagers that are struggling, give them a place to talk – to open up – with no judgment, a place where they are listened to and heard and feel like they can make a connection to hope.” Kontz stated the uncertainty caused by the current health crisis has led to an increase in calls and significant challenges with their operating procedures. “We’re seeing an increase of calls and text messages from kids who are struggling,” said Kontz. “This feeling is exacerbated [by COVID-19] by a feeling of not being able to escape. There’s a certain amount of activity they can do, but they can’t do that in the confines of school […] More

Military Assistance Mission Receives $100,000 from Thunderbirds Charities

It’s rare that our military service men and women would ever reach out for help, but when they do, as a community it is our responsibility to lend our support. Military Assistance Mission (MAM) has recently been awarded $100,000 from Thunderbirds Charities, so that they can continue their mission to provide financial and morale aid to Arizona’s active duty military, their families and post 9/11 Purple Heart Recipients. On average, through donations such as these, MAM provides support to more than 4,500 Military members and families who benefit financially, as well as take part in MAM’s morale programs and event programs annually. “Receiving this grant from Thunderbirds Charities is a game changer for MAM,” said Trey Vineyard, MAM Board President. “I am excited to see how this funding will help us respond even more effectively to the needs of military families. This support will most certainly change the trajectory of their lives and we are humbled by the opportunity to offer programs to those who have given and continue to sacrifice so much for the American way of life we all cherish.” MAM’s financial assistance program is at the heart of their mission of giving back. When the men and […] More

In the Community – Arizona Science Center

As part of The Thunderbirds’ In the Community Conversations, 2021 WM Phoenix Open Tournament Chairman Scott Jenkins connected virtually with Arizona Science Center Chief Scientist and Curiosity Officer Sari Custer (cool title by the way). The two leaders discussed the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and talked about how the community can rally together and support the Arizona Science Center and STEM education throughout the Valley. The Arizona Science Center‘s CREATE Program builds a science and engineering foundation where children of all ages can experience hands-on learning in an interactive space. It teaches collaboration and inspires creativity for the young people in our communities and introduces them to STEM careers and college and career pathways to build a better future. “Every year, we see about 500,000 people come through our building and we normally have about 300,000 people that we impact offsite as well through our teacher professional development programs,” Custer said. “As you can imagine, much like many other businesses, we’ve definitely been impacted. We’ve had to switch gears to doing strictly virtual programming.” Custer spoke about how the Arizona Science Center aims to use the time to help parents and educators during the crisis. “We knew there was […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Supports Community Alliance Against Family Abuse

Community Alliance Against Family Abuse (CAAFA) has received a $10,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities. The grant will be used to provide music therapy for children impacted by domestic and sexual violence.  CAAFA operates a domestic and sexual violence crisis shelter, where, in 2020, they expect to serve 25 children from Maricopa County. For the second year in a row, the funding from Thunderbirds Charities will allow children at CAAFA to participate in music therapy at Higher Octave Healing in Tempe. “CAAFA provides trauma-informed care to adults and their children in our Safe House. While they stay with us, we can help them begin to heal and learn coping skills that they can carry for the rest of their lives,” CAAFA Executive Director, Ray Villa said. “Music therapy is a key feature of our children’s programming, and we are thankful for support from the Thunderbirds Charities support, which enables us to continue this important service.” Studies show that music therapy can help children who have experienced horrific events overcome their post-traumatic stress. CAAFA parents who attend sessions with their children also learn how to engage with them in new ways, and make new memories that will hopefully overshadow the darker ones. […] More

In the Community – Native American Connections

As part of their In the Community Conversations, today Thunderbirds’ 2021 Tournament Chairman Scott Jenkins held a virtual chat with Dede Devine, President and CEO of Native American Connections to talk about the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, identify the immediate needs of the organization and find out how the community at large can help support the mission of Native American Connections. Since 1972, Native American Connections has been changing lives, strengthening families, and building healthy communities. They began as a small grassroots organization operating one program for Native American men in recovery from substance abuse. Today, Native American Connections owns and operates 21 sites throughout Central Phoenix, offering a continuum of affordable housing, behavioral health, and community development services which touch and change the lives of over 10,000 individuals and families each year. “We said two things when COVID started. No one will be evicted and no one will go hungry,” said Devine. “We began really helping our residents understand about rental assistance and utility assistance and how they can apply for federal and state programs that can help them.” Native American Connections also has focused heavily on food distribution and making sure their guests have adequate nourishment […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $50,000 to Assistance League®of Phoenix

Thunderbirds Charities recently awarded the Assistance League® of Phoenix $50,000 grant to support their Operation School Bell. The Delivering Dreams 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. “Thunderbirds Charities has been a longstanding partner of ours,” said Aimee Runyon, Chief Executive Officer, Assistance League® of Phoenix. “Their generous donation provided much needed support to fill our new buses with shoes & clothing. We are thrilled to add the Thunderbirds Charities to our two new buses, as one of our greatest supporters.” The Assistance League of Phoenix recently launched two new buses sponsored with Rotary 100/BHHS Legacy Foundation and Fiesta Bowl Charities/BHHS Legacy Foundation. Thunderbird Charities helped support the clothing & shoes to fill these buses. 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 the free or reduced lunch program). Once on board the Delivering Dream Bus, students work with volunteers to select correct sizes. Each student receives a […] More

Grassroots Parent Engagement Group Receives Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

Stand for Children Leadership Center, a parent engagement group, is pleased to announce they have recently received a $25,000 grant from Thunderbirds. Stand for Children Leadership Center is a leadership development and training organization. They train ordinary people to be effective citizen leaders capable of solving problems facing children, both locally and statewide, by convincing elected officials and voters to invest in and reform vital children’s programs. They provide parents and others concerned about children’s issues with tools to achieve long-lasting improvements for children by joining together in a unified, grassroots voice. “We are honored to receive this award,” Stand for Children Executive Director Rebecca Gau said. “It will enable us to have a greater impact by reaching and empowering more parents. It is our aim to identify and address early literacy issues through our Every Child Reads initiative, and we are excited about the increased opportunities available for the families we serve thanks to this award.” To reach even more families, Stand for Children Leadership Center launched Every Child Reads (ECR), a research-based family engagement program that empowers parents with the skills and knowledge they need to support their child’s learning and prepare them to succeed after graduation. Currently, […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Awards Arizona Housing Inc Comforts of Home Project $50,000

Since 1995, Arizona Housing Inc (AHI) has worked toward its mission to assist individuals and families in attaining self-sufficiency through the provision of dignified, comprehensive housing and services. AHI serves extremely low income, disadvantaged individuals and families; 85% of all tenants are living at or below 30% of area median income ($15,300 or less), and the majority are behaviorally/physically disabled, elderly, veterans, or families with children. Thunderbirds Charities support for the Comforts of Home Project has provided assistance in supplying furniture, fixtures and equipment to 90 individuals at their newly refurbished Steele Commons site and will be used to increase healthy engagement of families and prosocial development of children through play at their North 17 site by enhancing the current outdoor space through installation of a shade structure for the playground and the purchase of indoor/outdoor equipment, toys and games. AHI has a unique long history and expertise in serving extremely low-income individuals with additional challenges such as serious mental illness, physical disabilities, and substance abuse issues. They seek the most difficult to serve with the goal of providing them with a home, supportive services, and a community of support. Through their community-building strategies, AHI helps this diverse and vulnerable […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Grant Supports Kinship Foster Families

Thunderbird Charities has recently awarded $25,000 to Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK) to improve outcomes for foster children who have been removed from their home and placed with a kinship caregiver. More than 5,500 of the nearly 14,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system are placed with relatives – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings. These kinship foster families take immediate placement of children, but don’t get full state support until they become licensed foster parents – a process that can take six months or longer. The goal of the AASK Kinship Care Program is to support kinship foster families as they care for the children of relatives, with a special focus on the first six months of care as the entire family responds to the crisis of children being brought into foster care. This grant makes it possible for AASK to provide support to families before they become licensed. AASK has a unit dedicated to the unique needs of kinship foster families. Each family is assigned a family support specialist who serves as a guide for dealing with the Arizona Department of Child Safety, the courts, the schools and other organizations involved in the life of a child […] More

Act One Receives $50,000 from Thunderbirds Charities to Support Transportation for Arts Field Trips

Thunderbirds Charities recently awarded a $50,000 grant to Act One to support transportation costs for field trips. Act One works with schools that serve a high percentage of students from households that qualify for free or reduced lunch and are part of the Federal Title 1 Schoolwide program. “Act One’s biggest field trip expense is transportation to get students to the arts venues,” said Juliet Martin, vice president of strategies and programs. “Thunderbirds Charities is such an important community partner, and the gift helps Act One meet the incredible demand from schools for arts field trips.” Act One reimburses schools for the cost of using district buses or books and pays for charted buses if district buses are unavailable. Act One also pays the arts organizations for tickets to attend field trips. Each school’s only cost for Act One field trips is a $1 per participant program partnership fee. Thunderbirds Charities is proud to support Act One’s goal to serve students whose families and schools are unlikely to have the means to bring them on educational arts field trips. Act One This grant is part of the Fall 2019 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Be a Leader Foundation Receives $50,000 from Thunderbirds Charities

The Be A Leader Foundation is proud to announce that it has been awarded a $50,000 grant to help support its PIPELINE of College Access, Postsecondary Success and Postsecondary Transition programs which serve over 8,000 students a year. “We are honored to partner with The Thunderbirds again this year,” said Melissa Trujillo, President/CEO and Co-Founder of the Be A Leader Foundation. “This investment will continue to allow us to provide thousands of Arizona students with the tools, resources and mentoring to pursue a higher education.” The Be A Leader Foundation’s (BALF) mission is to increase the number of students who are prepared for and succeed in higher education by empowering them with tools, leadership skills and consistent support, transforming lives and creating life-long opportunities for success. Their vision is a community where all students have the opportunity to succeed in higher education and have the skills and resources to ensure personal success. BALF believes that Arizona’s future is linked to the state’s ability to produce a robust educated workforce; college graduates earn, on average, one and a half times more than high school graduates, adding more revenue back into the economy. “We’re thrilled and so proud to give these grants […] More

In the Community – Special Olympics Arizona

As part of our In the Community Conversations, Thunderbirds’ Big Chief Tim Woods checked in with CEO of Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) Jamie Heckerman via virtual conference call to discuss the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, rally community support and communicate immediate and essential needs so SOAZ can continue to serve the community at large. For people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics Arizona is often the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities and develop belief in themselves. For athletes, Special Olympics sports provide a gateway to empowerment, competence, acceptance and joy. The lessons learned in Special Olympics also impact their life skills. Sports training enhances focus and gives participants a structure for learning important lessons about perseverance, endurance and setting goals. Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – has been a long-time supporter of SOAZ, recently providing a $1 million donation to fund the completion of their new State Competitions Distribution and Training Center. “Normally this is our very busy time of year. We have our summer games that are usually right around the corner. Unfortunately, this year that’s not happening,” said […] More

In the Community – ICAN

As part of the In the Community Conversations, we shift to Thunderbirds’ 2021 Assistant Tournament Chairman Michael Golding checking in with Shelby Peterson of ICAN via virtual conference call to talk about the challenges of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and discussing ways to support ICAN so they can continue to serve the local youth in our community. ICAN is a free, family-centered youth service in the East Valley that helps to combat substance abuse, gang involvement and juvenile delinquency. ICAN goes beyond being just an after-school program for those at-risk by working with youth on the critical skills they need to be productive and responsible members of the community by empowering them through personal and academic success. “The COVID-19 crisis has caused us to have low attendance for the first time in our 32-year history,” said Peterson. “We’ve had fewer kids coming to the program than ever before, so we are really pressed to deliver our mission in a way that isn’t group based. What we’ve had to do is pivot and start developing curriculum that we’re now putting out to the community with family friendly activities packed all in a two-gallon Ziploc bag.” Peterson stated the biggest thing […] More

Children’s Developmental Center Receives $50,000 from Thunderbirds Charities

The Children’s Developmental Center at Southwest Human Development recently received a $50,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support intake coordination services that help families avoid visits to multiple specialists and assists them in navigating an often fragmented and significantly under-resourced service delivery system. The Children’s Developmental Center provides a wide range of disabilities programs and services including assistive technology at its ADAPT Shop, autism services using the DIRFloortime® model, team developmental assessments, feeding services, psychology and counseling, therapy services and more. “We are so grateful for our long-lasting relationship with Thunderbirds Charities and are grateful to have a partner in supporting Arizona’s youngest children and their families,” says Jake Adams, chief development officer of Southwest Human Development. “The Children’s Developmental Center is one of the only places where low-and-middle-income families can get comprehensive developmental evaluations.” Thunderbirds Charities is proud to support Southwest Human Development and their efforts to improve the lives of individuals living with disabilities. Children’s Developmental Center at Southwest Human Development This grant is part of the Fall 2019 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $100,000 to Circle the City

Circle the City, a community health organization dedicated to providing high quality, holistic healthcare to people experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County, was awarded a $100,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support the purchase of a third mobile medical clinic and a portable generator. The grant helps expand Circle the City’s outreach to people facing homelessness in the north Phoenix and Sunnyslope area. The portable generator will provide power at Circle the City’s two medical respite centers in the event of severe weather resulting in power outages. “We’re incredibly grateful for the continued support of Thunderbirds Charities,” added Ross. “Their contributions support our vision of healthier communities without homelessness. ” Transportation is a significant barrier for individuals facing homelessness and needing medical attention, so they often rely on emergency responders and hospital emergency departments for routine, non-emergent healthcare. Mobile medical outreach enables Circle the City to meet and treat individuals where they are – on the streets, at public parks, partner agencies and in other pockets of high-density homelessness. Circle the City believes it must meet patients ‘where they are,’ in a literal sense, but also without judgment or bias, embracing dignity and respect for all patients. The mobile medical clinic […] More

Esperança Receives $25,000 Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

Esperança, a Phoenix-based nonprofit whose mission is to improve health and restore hope both locally and globally, is the proud recipient of a $25,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This grant will be used to further support Esperança’s health literacy programs for at-risk, low-income Latino children, adults, and seniors in the Phoenix area. These health literacy programs include Salud con Sabor Latino (Health with a Latin Flavor), Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP), Platicas (30-minute talks on various health topics), and oral health education for all ages. The grant is projected to serve almost 4,000 participants. “In the local communities where we serve, more than 64 percent of kindergarteners suffer from untreated tooth decay,” says Jeri Royce, President & CEO of Esperança. “This is just one example of how this generous support from Thunderbirds Charities will help us continue our mission to combat poor oral health, obesity and diabetes through our bilingual health education programs.” Over the past two decades, Esperança’s domestic program has served more than 30,000 children, adults and seniors in the most vulnerable communities of Maricopa County, ensuring they receive culturally appropriate preventive health […] More

In the Community – Human Services Campus

Today’s In the Community Conversation is with Thunderbirds Big Chief Chance Cozby and Amy Schwabenlender, executive director of Human Services Campus. Schwabenlender discussed the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, how it has impacted those experiencing homelessness in the Valley and changes Human Services Campus has been forced to make to combat the crisis. The Human Services Campus (HSC) is a collaborative agency on the Human Services Campus and provides resources to individuals experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County. Located near downtown Phoenix, HSC is comprised of a dynamic team committed to assisting individuals with ending their homelessness. We offer a competitive total compensation package including medical, dental, life, paid holidays, vacation and personal time, and the satisfaction of giving hope and transforming lives. Schwabenlender first discussed the importance of having a healthcare provider on the Human Services Campus. “One of the benefits of the Human Services Campus is having a health care provider right here,” said Schwabenlender. “It’s operated by Circle the City and we’ve really leaned on them for medical leadership and their guidance on how to temporarily repurpose our operation to ensure the health and safety of as many people as possible.” Obviously, the current pandemic has created significant challenges […] More

St. Vincent de Paul Completes Major Expansion with Support from Thunderbirds Charities

In 2016, St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) embarked on their first large-scale capital project in nearly 25 years. One of the goals was to fund a major expansion of the SVdP Medical and Dental Clinic. The Clinic faced serious space constraints, and the aging facilities needed upgrades. The campaign allowed SVdP to double the square footage of the Clinic, and significantly increased patient services, volunteer opportunities, and community collaboration. Thunderbirds Charities’ helped with the purchase of much needed, high tech equipment that has the capability to enhance vision for diabetic and other at-risk patients. The treatment of diabetic retinopathy is the most pressing need of current clinic patients. Before, the Clinic was able to diagnose patients but did not have a way of treating them. With the purchase of a visual-field machine, the Clinic is now able to detect glaucoma in patients without referring them to an outside business. Even after the initial campaign, Thunderbirds Charities came back to support the build out of two new operators in their Dental Clinic. This expansion has doubled the number of dental operatories, and significantly increased the capacity to serve adults and children in need of care that alleviates pain, prevents future problems, […] More

In the Community – UMOM

Today, The Thunderbirds checked in with Darlene Newsom, CEO of UMOM, to discuss the current challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, communicate immediate essential needs and spread their messages to the local communities they serve, rally support and secure vital resources so they may continue to help as much as they can. Since its inception in 1964, UMOM has been an innovative provider of shelter, housing and services for people experiencing homelessness. UMOM provides safe shelter and supportive services for hundreds of families across the Valley by providing access to affordable housing and special Program Centers for its residents. Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – has been a long-time supporter of UMOM, providing monetary funds, clothing donations and other basic necessities to combat the effects of homelessness. “It’s not business as usual,” said Newsom. “We are an essential service declared by the Governor, so we will be here no matter what. This last week, our wait list went up by 30 percent, so we have 180 families on our wait list. I feel it’s our responsibility to be able to serve those families, so we are opening up 20 […] More

Experience Matters Awarded $50,000 Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

Experience Matters has received a generous $50,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support expansion of their collaborative Literacy and Mentors Program, a K-3 reading program that addresses the urgent need to increase reading readiness of low-income children in Title I schools in Phoenix, Buckeye and Littleton School Districts. “This grant from the Thunderbirds Charities will give us additional resources to expand our activities into new school districts and provide intergenerational connections,” said Experience Matters Executive Director Wendy Cohen. “Over the past 10 years, Experience Matters has impacted over 600 nonprofit organizations in the greater Phoenix area, matched skilled talent to almost 1,300 capacity building projects, while generating over $43 million in Human Capital.” Experience Matters connects the skills and talents of individuals, age 50+, with social-benefit organizations to enhance their capacity to solve community problems. Objectives include providing resources to nonprofits to more effectively fulfill their mission and preparing older adults with meaningful service work to help improve Arizona. “Thunderbirds Charities is proud to support the Literacy and Mentors Program,” said Chance Cozby, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “Additional resources towards the program will ensure that more students can become equipped with reading readiness.” Experience Matters This grant is part of […] More

Oakwood Creative Care Awarded $8,000 Towards Their Dementia Coach Program

Oakwood Creative Care will offer new Dementia Coach services thanks to a grant from Thunderbirds Charities. Oakwood’s Dementia Coach program will help families navigate these challenges by empowering family caregivers and enhancing the quality of life for their loved ones though one on one coaching and emotional support to minimize care partner strain with advanced care planning, educational workshops, counseling, nurse case management and the coordination of health and community services. Oakwood Creative Care is a non-profit providing innovative senior services while revolutionizing the concept of memory care. Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. After diagnosis, these families often do not know where to turn. Oakwood Dementia Coach program will help families as they face these new challenges by providing expertise in effective care-giving practices. Families will be able to define and set goals for the person with dementia and their caregiver based on values, personhood and preferences. With only 2% of American philanthropic dollar being directed to elderly care, this grant from Thunderbirds Charities is an investment in fulfilling Oakwood’s mission of enhancing the mind, body, and spirit of adults with cognitive and physical challenges. Oakwood Creative Care is committed to helping families keep their […] More