Gabriel’s Angels Receives $15,000 Thunderbirds Charities Grant Award

Gabriel’s Angels Founder and CEO, Pam Gaber explains “we are extremely grateful for the support of the Thunderbirds Charities, especially during these unprecedented times. This generous funding has been utilized to keep our 180 statewide Pet Therapy Teams engaged by providing them the tools to facilitate virtual visits and continue an ongoing, meaningful relationship with the 123 Arizona agencies such Title 1 schools and crisis nurseries that we serve.     Although we are all adjusting to our ‘new normal’, our experience shows that post crisis events such as 9/11, the Great Recession, and now the COVID-19 Pandemic, that weathering the storm is of the utmost importance to be available to the many children that will unfortunately need the support of Gabriel’s Angels in the wake of these traumatic events. When our partner agencies throughout Phoenix, Tucson, and Prescott are ready to reopen, you can guarantee that Gabriel’s Angels Pet Therapy Teams will be there to meet the increased demand and continue to inspire confidence, compassion and best behaviors in Arizona’s at-risk youth through pet therapy.”    Gabriel’s Angels This grant is part of the Spring 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbirds Charities Awards $40,000 to Treasures for Teachers to Power Their T4T on Wheels Program

It is ‘Back-to-School’ and thanks to the generous financial support of Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of the Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open presented by Ak-Chin Indian Community, hundreds of teachers and students from Title 1 schools in metro Phoenix will benefit with a delivery of school supplies from Treasures 4 Teachers – T4T on Wheels. Supporting teachers is critical. “Teaching is the one profession that teaches all others” says Barbara Blalock, Executive Director of Treasures 4 Teachers. “Where would we be if we didn’t have a teacher to educate and inspire us?” Barbara expands by saying, “Treasures 4 Teachers has always been available to educators all over the state, but we often hear that they cannot access the supplies they need because of time, money or distance.” Back-to-School is the perfect time to take school supplies to the teachers and students who need them the most. Thunderbirds Charities has continued their commitment to assist students and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in our communities by providing a $40,000 grant to Treasures 4 Teachers for their T4T on Wheels Program.     This year truckloads of free school supplies […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Grant Overcomes Digital Divide Magnified by COVID-19 for RISE Scholars Headed to ASU

The RISE (Reaching Impact through Student Excellence) Scholars program is a 5-year college prep and job placement scholarship for Pell grant-eligible high school seniors ready to commit to a degree program at Arizona State University in a STEM major. Qualified students receive four years paid tuition and fees at ASU and College Bound AZ serves as the supportive bridge to ensure that their transition to college is successful. Because of computer access challenges due to COVID-19 closing schools this spring, that transition to college for many low-income students was in jeopardy. Essential steps in the college application process, such as submitting scholarship essays and filling out the complex FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, suddenly became major hurdles for students without a computer in their home. Jaleeyeah Arnold, a 19-year-old RISE Scholar and recent graduate of the East Valley Institute of Technology, is one of the deserving recipients of a laptop purchased with the Thunderbirds’ Charities funding. “I’m so thankful that I now don’t have to worry about the expense of buying a laptop for college. I have already used it for taking an ASU placement test for one of my fall courses and to attend my virtual […] More

Friendship Foundation DBA Glencroft Center for Modern Aging

Thunderbird Charities donated $6,000 to the Friendship Foundation to purchase vital medical equipment for residents impacted by COVID-19 at the Glencroft Center for Modern Aging, a continuing care retirement community in Glendale, Ariz.   “This contribution supports our mission to assist children and families, help people in need, and improve quality of life,” said Tim Woods, President of Thunderbirds Charities.  “We are honored to support seniors living at the Glencroft Center for Modern Aging.” Friendship Foundation provides assistance, transportation, and support for programs and projects that empower seniors living at Glencroft Center for Modern Aging. Glencroft Center for Modern Aging This grant is part of the Spring 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbirds Charities Gives Back with $3.8 Million Donation to Valley Non-Profits During COVID-19 Crisis

FALL FUNDING CYCLE IS NOW OPEN THROUGH TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 Click here for information about applying for a grant. Keeping with their mission to support local non-profit organizations here in the Valley, Thunderbirds Charities – the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – awarded more than $3.8 million in grants to 43 Valley charities during its 2020 spring funding cycle. Reaching and serving the community in a meaningful and impactful way, especially during these unusual and unprecedented times, is the chief concern of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Local organizations need support now more than ever and Thunderbirds Charities remains committed to being stewards of our communities and a much-needed source of funds and supplies to our wonderful charity partners who do incredible work for children and families in need right here in Arizona. “The impact we can make in our Arizona communities is far and away the most rewarding thing we do as hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open,” said Tim Woods, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “It’s an honor to be able to assist the missions of these wonderful Valley organizations and help improve the lives of our fellow Arizonans.” The Thunderbirds raised […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Meets Critical Needs for Child Crisis Arizona

Child Crisis Arizona, with 43 years’ experience in Emergency Children’s Shelter services, is pleased to announce the receipt of a $150,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities. This award, to support the agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, will be used to keep children receiving care in the Emergency Children’s Shelter, healthy and safe.   The children residing in the Emergency Children’s Shelter are cared for 24/7.  The agency has continued uninterrupted services throughout the pandemic.  With the advent of COVID-19, Child Crisis Arizona immediately took additional precautions to ensure the health and safety of the children in the shelter program. Steps included scheduling additional qualified staff to supervise smaller groups of children and maintain social distancing, increasing sanitization and disinfecting practices, and providing educational activities to keep children on track academically due to school closures. The additional costs incurred by the agency are being met, in part, by this grant received from Thunderbirds Charities.   Food and other everyday necessities have also been harder to acquire and more and more low-income at-risk children of families the organization serves need help. In addition to ensuring the children in shelter are properly nourished, there is a curbside food program now in place to help […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Supports Drive to End Hunger with $25,000 Grant Awarded to Tempe Community Action Agency

The Thunderbirds Charities is supporting Tempe Community Action Agency’s Drive to End Hunger project to benefit more than 16,050 individuals who are experiencing food insecurity in Tempe. Food insecurity is a continuing problem for more than 14% of Tempe residents and is especially true among children. More than half of students in Tempe elementary schools qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Chronic food insecurity negatively impacts health and productivity for people of all ages. TCAA will offer food boxes at its Food Pantry and deliver food boxes to Tempe and Kyrene K-12 schools for students and their families. For seniors, TCAA will deliver food boxes to their homes and transport seniors between their homes, the grocery store and TCAA’s Food Pantry to help them meet their ongoing nutritional needs. By providing access to food using multiple means, participating adults and families can vastly improve their nutritional intake and lead healthier lives. Thunderbirds Charities grant funds will address a portion of personnel expenses for Food Pantry staff who receive, sort, and distribute food to clients; and expenses for program materials/supplies and transportation. Tempe Community Action Agency This grant is part of the Spring 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Supports Chandler-Based ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth with $75,000 Grant

ICAN’s Positive Youth Development Program is a prevention-focused out-of-school time program with carefully structured activities that teach youth empathy and communication, emotion-management and coping skills, decision-making, social competence, self-regulation, and positive goal setting. As a result, youth are better prepared to navigate adolescence with strong life skills that help them make good choices and avoid pitfalls, such as peer pressure, substance abuse, and violence. Youth also benefit from academic assistance, mentoring, computer skills, STEAM activities, sports and recreation. ICAN’s currently facility serves 200 a day on a year-round basis.    ICAN Positive Youth Development Program This grant is part of the Spring 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Thunderbird Charities Announces $5,000 Grant to Diana Gregory Outreach Services

Diana Gregory Outreach Services (DGOS), a growing non-profit which operates healthy eating and cooking programs for Maricopa County seniors, veterans, and their families, is the recipient of a $5,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities to support fresh produce purchases for its Nourishing Grandkids initiative. CEO and founder Diana Gregory started DGOS in 2009, after retiring from a successful career as a sales and marketing executive at beer giant Anheuser-Busch. Gregory combined her deep expertise in sales, marketing, merchandising, and branding with a strong passion for giving back to the local community to create Gregory’s Fresh Market, a mobile produce market. DGOS and Gregory’s Fresh Market (GFM) quickly grew in popularity and impact, providing more than 120,000 pounds of fresh produce to 8,000 low-income and underserved seniors and veterans last year. In 2017, Diana Gregory identified a new segment of the senior population that impacts senior health: grandparents who act as the primary caregivers of their grandchildren and who lack access to nutritious foods. In Maricopa County, this growing population consists of close to 9,000 seniors on fixed incomes who are caring for one or more grandchildren—many on a permanent basis. Nourishing Grandkids is an intergenerational project through DGOS that provides nutritional […] More

Thunderbird Charities Continue Their Generous Support for Community Gardens

Keep Phoenix Beautiful is honored to be among many local non-profit organizations that have received support from The Thunderbirds Charities, an outstanding philanthropy partnership. Our grant award will be put to great use providing shade, storage and equipment needs at our Mountain View Park Community Garden. “The Thunderbirds have been incredibly generous to Keep Phoenix Beautiful over the years,” says Tom Waldeck, President/CEO of Keep Phoenix Beautiful. “The funds received this year will be used to purchase and install a storage container and a shade sail at our beautiful garden in Sunnyslope.” The storage container will be built to City Parks standards and provide a needed and well-organized way to store all the garden tools, supplies and equipment. The shade sail will provide a much needed and welcome respite for the After-School Program students that come to the garden during the later afternoon to tend to their garden bed. It will also serve as lovely shaded sitting area for community gardeners as well as park visitors who want to just take a moment to enjoy the garden and the beautiful view.     “We are so thankful to the Thunderbird Charities for supporting local initiatives,” Tom continued. “There is no […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Helps MAM Expand, Expedite Services to Military Families in Need Across Arizona

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) was awarded $100,000 from Thunderbirds Charities so that the nonprofit can continue its mission of providing 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 programs include, but are not limited to: Work for Warriors, Seats for Soldiers, GI Gap Grant, Baby Bundle […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Grants Hope Women’s Center $15,000 for Their “Hope Heals” program

The crisis of worldwide pandemic, social distancing, and financial strain are affecting the mind and emotions. This isn’t just a feeling, it’s research. According to the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, 28 percent of Americans are experiencing a decline in their mental health, and 34 percent report a drop in their sense of emotional well-being. Hope Women’s Center is responding to this problem with their “Hope Heals” program, and thanks to a grant award from Thunderbirds Charities, HWC can provide mental health support to women and teen girls in Arizona’s underserved communities. “We know the pandemic has greatly increased the mental health needs of the women we serve, as isolation and job losses have led to increased anxiety, depression, and abuse. We’ve spent 36 years helping women enjoy the best holistic outcomes for their well being. Our ‘Hope Heals’ program expands upon our existing mentoring program to include free crisis counseling, trauma assessment and support,” says Tammy Abernethy, CEO of Hope Women’s Center. “We are so grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for this grant allowing us to provide a therapeutic level of care within the safety and familiarity of Hope Women’s Center.” Abernethy, CEO of Hope Women’s Center, says the funding and support […] More

Thunderbirds Foster Success for Children in Foster Care

The Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation will use these funds to improve the lives of youth in foster care through educational support and financial awards for social, athletic and educational opportunities to help give them the childhood they deserve. “We are so grateful to have been awarded this generous grant from the Thunderbird Charities,” says Kris Jacober, executive director of the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation. “It has always been our mission to support youth in foster care and help them have as normal a childhood as possible despite the very difficult circumstances of foster care — and these funds will help us continue to serve that mission.” Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation This grant is part of the Spring 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Human Services Campus Receives $300,000 Thunderbirds Charities Grant for Critical Client Services

Thunderbirds Charities has awarded the Human Services Campus (HSC, Inc.) a $300,000 grant for critical client services to help individuals experiencing homelessness remove barriers leading to permanent housing. The grant is in addition to a donation earlier this year to use in reacting to the coronavirus pandemic. “Thunderbirds Charities has been a vital partner with the Human Services Campus in our ongoing efforts to provide shelter and critical services to individuals experiencing homelessness at a time that is even more challenging because of the COVID pandemic,” said HSC Executive Director Amy Schwabenlender. “We are incredibly grateful for this generous support.” The Human Services Campus opened in 2005 as a compassionate response to a community problem as well as an economic response to an increase in homelessness in the downtown Phoenix area. HSC, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit agency, owns and operates a 13-acre campus at 12th Avenue and Madison that is home to 16 nonprofit organizations providing services and resources to people experiencing homelessness. “The services, programs and resources at the Human Services Campus are a collective lifeline for individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Tim Woods, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “Thunderbirds Charities is proud to work alongside the dedicated staff and volunteers […] More

Improving Lives Impacted by Pediatric Cancer

There is nothing more frightening for a parent than hearing, “Your child has cancer.” These were the words spoken to Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children’s Founder, Chrisie Funari. Her experience of losing her daughter, Ava, to Stage IV Neuroblastoma left her with the following undaunted words, “I knew my story wasn’t unique; all cancer families face the same struggles.” Since 2014, ACFC has provided continuous support to 700 families affected by pediatric cancer. The generous support from the Thunderbirds Charities will empower an estimated 50 children with cancer and their entire family. We believe the overall financial and emotional stability of a family will determine the state of health and hope for their child battling cancer. The Thunderbirds Charities’ gift to support our Improving Lives Impacted by Pediatric Cancer program ensures families continue to receive individualized support they need and deserve. A diagnosis of pediatric cancer devastatingly impacts families as a whole – socially, emotionally and financially. Our Improving Lives Impacted by Pediatric Cancer Program provides families with financial assistance to cover living and medical expenses associated with a child’s diagnoses, respite support, care packages, canine therapy and mental health counseling. Together we are extending tailored support during a time […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Supports Benevilla Home Services Program COVID-19 Response

Benevilla extends sincere appreciation to Thunderbirds Charities for their generous support to their organization and the people they serve especially during the current COVID-19 crisis. Thunderbirds Charities commitment to serving and improving our communities – backed by a $60,000 grant – will enable Benevilla to continue their Home Services program and provide much needed services to older adults challenged with the daily routine of independent living and staying safe with extra precautions during COVID-19. During the COVID-19 crisis, CDC guidelines advise older adults to stay home as they are at high-risk of serious complications/death from the virus. According to the Census 2018 population estimates, there are 254,000 West Valley residents that are seniors or adults with disabilities and many of them do not have a support network that enables them to stay home. Benevilla has received a surge of requests from older adults in the West Valley in need of assistance with grocery shopping or transportation. Concurrently, Benevilla experienced a drop in volunteers for the program as many of them are retirees that need to take similar precautions for their health. The Benevilla Home Services program provides essential care services helping your neighbors in need maintain their independence. All services […] More

Thunderbirds Charities Supporting the Fight Against Veteran Homelessness

The Veterans Furniture Center is a veteran run, volunteer-based, organization dedicated to assisting formerly homeless veterans’ transition to permanent housing by providing them, free of charge, the furniture and household goods they need to establish a home and successfully return to society. The VFC focus is on transitioning veterans who are moving into permanent housing under the HUD-VASH program.  The Veterans Furniture Center (VFC) is honored to have the support of Thunderbirds Charities. 100% of this donation will go toward purchasing the furniture and household goods the transitioning veterans so desperately need to start a new life and stay off the streets. During this unusual time, the homeless veterans are especially vulnerable to the ravages of COVID-19. It is essential to get them off the streets and safely into permanent housing. Veterans Furniture Center This grant is part of the Spring 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees. More

Court Appointed Special Advocates Receives Funding from Thunderbirds Charities

Funded by Thunderbirds Charities, VOICES will be able to upgrade the quality and access of virtual training and education provided to Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers. A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a specially trained citizen-volunteer that advocates for the best interest of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and within the community. Advocates report that on-going education provides them with critical tools and understanding needed for them to be more effective with the children they serve. Advancing the Education Center with enhanced technology systems, more CASA volunteers will have access to high-quality, live-streaming education from experts in the fields of trauma, child-welfare, justice issues, and so forth. CASAs are appointed by a judge to look out for their best interests, monitor their progress, and address their needs. To ensure advocates are equipped with leading information and insights from within the field of child welfare, VOICES remains committed to providing on-going education and the tools that allow them to be more effective with the children they serve. The Thunderbirds Charities is enabling Voices for CASA Children to invest in the specific technology needed to allow CASAs to continue their educational journey regardless of their geographic location. […] More

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