2022 Thunderbirds Charities Newsletter
The Thunderbirds – hosts of the WM Phoenix Open Presented by Taylor Morrison – announced the 2022 edition of “The People’s Open” raised more than $10 million ($10,500,000) to be awarded to Arizona charities. This marks the fifth time in tournament history The Thunderbirds and the WM Phoenix Open have raised more than $10 million in charitable dollars in a single tournament.
“Our Arizona communities coming together to promote and rally behind this world-class event means so much to us and the hundreds of charities and non-profit organizations it supports,” said Michael Golding, current Big Chief of The Thunderbirds. “We are extraordinarily proud of the $10 million raised for Arizona charities during a major bounce back year for us, which positively shows the commitment and togetherness of WM and the PGA TOUR, as well as our incredible fans, sponsors and volunteers.”
The Thunderbirds and the WM Phoenix Open have now raised more than $110 million ($110,058,224) since 2010 when WM was named title sponsor, and in its 87-year history has raised more than $176 million ($176,104,790) for Arizona charities.
Below are a few highlights from our Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 grantees as well as a complete listing of grant awards made during the 2022 fiscal year.
Hospice of the Valley Dementia Care and Education Campus
To see the impact of their work in action, click here to watch this short video.
Hospice of the Valley’s innovative Dementia Care and Education Campus serves people living with all types of dementia, from the earliest stages through the hospice journey. This vital community resource provides exceptional care, comprehensive education and compassionate support — all in one place. Health professionals, students and caregivers come together at the Community Education Center to learn best practices and be inspired to pursue careers in dementia care.
A unique Memory Café provides engagement for persons living with dementia, as their family members learn to navigate challenges and share experiences in support groups. At the Adult Day Club, participants socialize and enjoy personalized recreation like art, dance and music. An adjacent Child Center provides intergenerational enrichment and stimulating activities for preschoolers. A dementia Hospice Inpatient Home, a small Assisted Living Center and an artfully designed sensory garden and courtyard complete the centrally located campus, near 44th Street and Indianola Avenue in Phoenix.
Together, we are enhancing quality of life, supporting family and professional caregivers, and providing education and training to help our whole community live well with dementia. Visit dementiacampus.org to learn more.
Child Crisis Arizona
For nearly five decades, Child Crisis Arizona has provided emergency shelter, foster care, adoption, counseling, early education, and parenting support services to Arizona’s most vulnerable children, youth and families. With the significant number of children and families in need rise in our community, a new campus is being created for a 38,000 square foot facility titled, The Center for Child & Family Wellness.
“This campus offers additional program space for both Child Crisis Arizona and partner organizations to provide transformational, multi-generational programs focused on impact for underserved children, youth and families. Establishing a new campus centralizes operations and leverages synergies with partner organizations to offer high quality wraparound services in one convenient location” said Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona.
With the help of Thunderbirds Charities, Child Crisis Arizona is on track to build a climate-friendly, net zero energy facility to bring programs together and further support foster children and low-income families. Through this project, the agency will be one of the first nonprofits in Arizona to put sustainability at the forefront and build for the future resiliency of our community. Visit www.childcrisisaz.org to learn more.
Valley Youth Theatre
Since its inception in 1993, Valley Youth Theatre has served over 100,000 elementary aged children from under-resourced Title 1 Valley schools as part of their award-winning, Literacy and the Arts (LTA) program.
LTA’s unique page-to-stage experience was created by Valley Youth Theatre to meet the reading, comprehension and literacy needs of children in K-8 under-resourced and economically disadvantaged schools by using live theatre to boost enthusiasm for reading, improve literacy scores on standardized tests, and provide increased exposure to the performing arts.
The program includes a book for the student to keep and take home, a class field trip to the performance that correlates to the book and in-class activities, assignments and reflections that strengthen the bond between reading and understanding. Support from Thunderbirds Charities directly impacted 400 elementary school children who were able to participate in this exciting educational program. Visit www.vyt.com to learn more.
The Joy Bus
For over a decade, The Joy Bus has been delivering more than a meal to homebound cancer patients around the Valley. Their meals are made with fresh, organic, non-GMO produce and come in eco-friendly and chemical-free packaging. Tucked into each hand-decorated paper bag is an informational sheet on the nutritional power of the ingredients used and how they will support the fight against cancer. Services also include critical home visits and wellness checks by our incredible team of volunteers, many of whom are cancer survivors themselves. Growing from our start as a one-woman operation serving two patients, we are so proud to now serve upwards of 140 patients, caregivers, and family members each week throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and reached our milestone 20,000th meal as an organization in 2022.
With the generosity of Thunderbirds Charities, The Joy Bus, is working to take their program to the next level by dramatically expanding kitchen, pantry, and dining capacity. With remodeling and equipment upgrades in newly secured 4,000 square foot site, this new location will allow them to reach an ultimate goal of over 2,500 meals per week by 2026. “If you know us, you know what The Joy Bus means to us. Every hand that has touched the bags, the flowers, the incredible food, the hugs, the love… all of it has been as important as the medical science that we have been fortunate to receive, said Jenifer Caraway, The Joy Bus Founder and CEO.” Visit www.thejoybusdiner.com to learn more.
Native American Connection
Celebrating its 50th year of service, Native American Connections plays an important role as an integrated partner in the social service delivery system throughout Maricopa County and is recognized as an innovator in developing and operating homeless services and affordable housing for low-income families.
Thunderbirds Charities has been incredibly supportive of NAC’s Homeless Youth Services HomeBase, a residential program for homeless youth ages 18-26. Through street outreach, referrals from community partners, and word of mouth, NAC admits these vulnerable youth into this residential program which assesses physical, mental, and behavioral health, emphasizes educational attainment as a path to financial stability, and develops workforce and life skills. 80% of the HomeBase youth exit into positive, stable housing.
Recently, NAC opened a new shelter service center for homeless youth in the West Valley, Homebase Surprise. This is an expansion of NAC’s services in Central Phoenix and replicates the same metrics of success.
“We are grateful for the support from Thunderbirds Charities, which ensures our delivery of program services to homeless youth, said Dede Devine, Native American Connection, President and CEO. On behalf of NAC and the hundreds of formerly homeless youth who have found safety, stability, and regained independent lives with the support of the HomeBase staff and program services, we thank the Thunderbirds.” Visit www.nativeconnections.org to learn more.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona
Since 1955, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona has been making meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”). These relationships have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people. Youth mentorship has been proven to have a significant impact on the lives of young people. The benefits of youth mentorship are many, and include improved academic performance, increased self-esteem, and reduced involvement in risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse.
With a recent grant from Thunderbirds Charities, BBBS was able to move into a renovated building with a large open space named Thunderbirds Charities Community Room. This room provides a clean, safe space to host mentor/mentee events, graduations, agency-wide meetings, community events and after school activities. More volunteers are needed! You can make a real difference in the life of a young person and help to shape their future in a positive way. Learn more at bbbsaz.org/volunteer.