2023 Thunderbirds Charities Newsletter

Spring 2023 Newsletter


The Thunderbirds – hosts of the WM Phoenix Open presented by Taylor Morrison – announced the 2023 edition of “The People’s Open” raised a record $14.5 million ($14,533,000) for Arizona charities. This marks the sixth time in tournament history The Thunderbirds and the WM Phoenix Open have raised more than $10 million for charity in a single tournament. The previous record was set in 2020 ($14 million). The Thunderbirds raised $10.5 million in 2022.

“Giving back to our wonderful communities and helping people and families in need is easily the best part of being a Thunderbird. We’re immensely proud to once again top our previous record of charitable donations and reaching the $14 million mark for the second time. We understand the vital importance of an incredible support network including the best title sponsor in sports in WM, the resolve and commitment to excellence of the PGA TOUR, and, of course, the greatest fans in golf. Enormous charitable impact doesn’t happen without everyone working together, and we’re incredibly thankful to be a part of something so impactful.”

— Pat Williams, President of Thunderbirds Charities &
2023 WM Phoenix Open Tournament Chairman

The Thunderbirds and the WM Phoenix Open have now raised more than $124 million ($124,558,224) since 2010 when WM was named title sponsor, and more than $190 million ($190,637,790) for Arizona charities in its 88-year history as one of the five longest-running events on the PGA TOUR.


Highlighted Stories:

Central Arizona Shelter services

Founded in 1984, Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) is the largest and longest serving homeless emergency shelter provider in Arizona. Our adult and family shelters operate at full capacity, 365 days of the year. In 2024, we will open up a 170-bed senior hotel shelter (the Haven) to serve the highly vulnerable and growing aging adult population. CASS provides shelter, case management and housing support to a truly vulnerable community, from around the state and beyond. Last fiscal year, we served 6,902 unduplicated individuals and housed 1,587 directly through our internal housing programs.

Thanks to a recent grant from Thunderbirds Charities, CASS Family Shelter was able to renovate its Welcome Center! CASS Family Shelter is a 30-unit converted apartment complex that provides families experiencing homelessness with emergency and transitional shelter, case management, and supportive services that shelters on average 120 family members nightly. The new Thunderbirds Charities Welcome Center serves as a crucial entry point for families seeking refuge and support and thanks to The Thunderbirds’ support now provides a warm, friendly and inviting space for children and families to take the first steps towards ending their homelessness. For more information, please visit our website, www.CASSAZ.org

Positive Coaching Alliance

Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) provides research-based training and resources for coaches, parents, athletes, and leaders to ensure a positive youth development experience for ALL kids, in all communities across the U.S., through sports. PCA ensures sports are ‘done right’ with programming that is research-based and designed to have impact at three levels in a youth sports organization or school:

  • YOUTH experience improved life skills and
    character development.
  • COACHES become more positive and increase
    their focus on using sports to teach life lessons.
    see their cultures become more positive and
    everyone involved has more fun.

“The tremendous impact that Thunderbirds Charities has had on amplifying the mission of PCA over the years has been a big reason why we are so successful in Arizona,” said Rich Tomey, PCA Regional Director. “Without their continued support, PCA would be limited in providing much-needed resources for Arizona’s underserved schools and youth
organizations that see the value in PCA programming. Involvement in sports has been a tremendous predictor for success in school, life and in the business world later in life. Thunderbirds Charities’ support allows us to conduct a wide range of workshops that teach valuable life lessons for coaches, athletes and parents.”

Positive Coaching Alliance

Positive Coaching Alliance

Techie Camps and Techie Labs

Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology (AZ StRUT) was founded in 1997 by Intel and Motorola to address the growing problem of electronics waste. AZ StRUT has collected an average of 400 tons of electronics waste in each of the last three years, keeping the landfill free of toxic waste. After sorting and selecting equipment that can have another life, AZ StRUT refurbishes and distributes renewed computers and other electronics. Over the past 23 years,
they have provided over 100,000 refurbished computers to Arizona schools, non-profits and individuals. AZ StRUT uses a circular economy model to keep valuable technology resources in use.

Techie Camps and Techie Labs facilitate hardware learning and distribute refurbished computers to Title I students and families in a meaningful, hands-on approach. Many students and low-income
families get their first home computer from AZ StRUT and learn how to troubleshoot and maintain it. In 2024 we expect to support 4,000 students on the path to STEM careers in Arizona to build the
diversity and strength of our workforce. AZ StRUT is grateful for Thunderbird Charities’ critical support at a time when the digital divide has become another barrier to equity in education and daily life.

Feeding Matters

Feeding Matters is revolutionizing the lives of Arizona families facing
the agonizing reality of pediatric feeding disorder (PFD). Imagine your infant or toddler struggling with every meal, choking, gagging, and vomiting, leading to malnutrition. You try to get help, but often it is hard to find it and you feel alone. Feeding Matters, founded in 2006 by Shannon Goldwater, emerged as a lifeline for thousands of families, providing the support, education, and comfort they desperately needed. Feeding Matters goes beyond advocacy, offering programs that empower parents through family support and educational workshops, and access to providers. With a generous grant from Thunderbirds Charities, we were able to intensify efforts to reach unreached or underserved Arizona children and families. The initiative prioritized early screening and identification of PFD, ensuring equitable access to resources and supporting families as they navigate complex care systems for their children. The generous grant has been instrumental in positively impacting the health outcomes of Arizona children with PFD, turning the tide for struggling families. We were able to support over 71 families in Arizona and reach 7,400+ families in Arizona online and through presentations in the community. Join us in making a difference with @feedingmatters.

Feeding Matters

Elaine’s Mission

Elaine's Mission

Elaine’s mission is to connect Arizona’s homeless and underserved populations to critical resources by eliminating transportation barriers. Elaine serves homeless, elderly, disabled, low-income, and other vulnerable people age 18+ in the Valley in response to an urgent community need for transportation to locations essential to the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). Eligible services/locations include: healthcare appointments, housing, food access, employment opportunities and many other critical errands. Without Elaine, individuals needing services not covered by Medicare/Medicaid or other traditional funding sources may have no other free, reliable and compassionate alternative for getting to healthcare and social services that are available to them.

Thanks to the generosity of Thunderbirds Charities, Elaine was able to provide 1,000 rides to 347 individuals. Among other outcomes, we confirmed that 13 of those individuals gained stable employment and another five were able to transition out of homelessness into a home of their own because of a ride from Elaine! Support from Thunderbirds Charities in the early stages of our organization has been instrumental in allowing us to build the foundation for what we believe will one day be a program that helps people all over the country. Visit Elaineaz.org to learn more.

Fresh Start Women’s Foundation

Founded in 1992, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation has served more than 50,000 women. Our mission is to provide access and resources that help women achieve self-sufficiency and use their strength to thrive. Through the Impact Program, we offer comprehensive services including workshops, support groups, one-on- one coaching sessions, workforce training programs, and more, focusing on five key areas of women’s lives that are most important to achieving and maintaining self-sufficiency: Family Stability, Health & Well-being, Financial Management, Education & Training, and Careers.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of Thunderbirds Charities, hundreds of women can gain access to life-changing services at Fresh Start’s Family Law Support Center. These services include certified legal document preparation, one-on-one case assessments, educational workshops on legal matters, access to an on-site virtual courtroom, pro-bono attorney referrals, and information and assistance to help women understand Arizona’s Family Court system and laws. Nearly 62 percent of the women Fresh Start serves are single mothers, and 59 percent have an income of less than $25K per year. The Thunderbirds Charities Family Law Support Program is available as a critical resource to help women
advocate for themselves and their children in family court. Together, Fresh Start and Thunderbirds Charities are empowering Arizona women and their families
to build a brighter future.

Fresh Start
Women’s Foundation

Valleywise Health

valleywise health

Valleywise Health, Arizona’s only public teaching healthcare system, serves Arizona’s most critical healthcare needs, compassionately serving the underserved, and teaching tomorrow’s healthcare professionals. It also serves the Southwest region with its world-renowned Arizona Burn Center. Treating some of the most complex and traumatic burn and wound cases, Valleywise Health is one of the nation’s
largest and busiest academic burn centers with approximately 6,000 outpatient visits and more than 1,000 inpatient admissions each year. The new 75,000
square-foot Arizona Burn Center will be a state-of-the-art facility, the epitome of excellence in burn care. Taking care of burn patients is complicated and resource intensive. The goal is for our patients to not only survive their burns, but to thrive in their recovery. With modern and progressive facilities, our care team will be able to treat burn patients both acutely in the hospital and long-term, as survivors continuing their recovery. Through the generosity of Thunderbirds Charities, the new Thunderbirds Charities Pediatric Burn Unit within the Halle Arizona Burn Center- Valleywise Health will be a safe space for children to heal, work through the trauma associated with their injuries, and get back to being a kid. This truly
meaningful gift will help children and families for generations to come.

Thunderbirds Charities



Thanks to the support of the WM Phoenix Open presented by Taylor Morrison, The Thunderbirds have donated more than $190 million to Valley Charities in 88 years. We are extremely proud of the tradition and success of this community event. The positive impact it has on Arizona charities, like Valleywise Health Foundation, is truly remarkable. We look forward to the 2024 edition of “The People’s Open” and are excited to continue giving back in a big way.

— Pat Williams, Big Chief, The Thunderbirds with Westyn, Aspiring Cowboy, Arizona Burn Center-Valleywise Health patient


Xico is one of the oldest ethnic arts organizations in the United States and a leading organization advancing culture, artists, and community. In the spring of 2023, Thunderbirds Charities generously approved a grant in the amount of $10,000 to Xico for the “Say Yes to the Press (SYP)” youth arts program. The Thunderbirds Charities funding pays for staff time, travel, materials, and resources for students.

SYP specifically serves tweens and teens attending Title I schools and youth served by community organizations with a mission to provide after-school and summer programming to at-risk youth. Partnering and collaborating with other organizations allows Xico to build relationships with community members to engage students. In addition, partnerships allow for sharing and leveraging resources to further support community needs.

Xico provides opportunities to engage in various types of visual art. However, its specialty is printmaking, which requires an etching press. The organization is dedicated to art forms that speak to both communities and culture. Historically, printmaking is one of the most significant means of artistic expression for Latino and Indigenous communities.

“Say Yes to the Press” was named for its unique feature, a mobile printmaking program. Printmaking is an artistic discipline not offered through any other mobile engagement program in Arizona. In addition to printmaking, the curriculum for SYP includes painting, drawing, sculpture, and recycled art.

Founded in 1975, Xico is a leading organization promoting Latino and Indigenous culture through art and community engagement. Xico has a rich network of artists, nearly 50 years of experience, and, along with our partners, an active community voice. Xico: Advancing Culture, Advancing Artists, Advancing Community. For more information about Xico, please visit Xico.org.


At-Risk Youth & Families

LEAF (Literacy Elevates Arizona Families)
Embracing Foster, Kinship and Adoptive Families
Fostering Success for Children in Foster Care
School Wardrobes for Low-Income Children
Thunderbirds Charities Community Room at BBBSAZ
Cargo Van for BGCAZ Facilities Maintenance
2021 AZ Mission of Mercy & 2022 Veteran StandDown
Fostering Bright Futures Expansion Campaign
Mariachi Sones del Desierto
Early Education Extended Day Program
Youth Signs of Suicide Program
Capital Expenses for Florence Crittenton Mariposa
SPOT 127 Youth Media Center Program Support
Discover Your Future
Empowering Youth For The Future
Horses Healing Kids Equine Therapy
Thunderbirds Charities Adopt a Home
Career and College Readiness
Afterschool Photography Mentoring & Grads Programs
Expedition Days: Interactive STEM Learning
iLEAD My Generation
Backpack Program ("Hope Packs")
Holistic Youth Transformation Program Expansion
[i]nspired: Peer Support for Teens
Thunderbirds Charities Restoring Dignity Room
Arts Leadership Program
Swift Youth Enrichment Programs
Teen Crisis Hotline/Texline
Be fit. Be healthy. Be kind
Agri-Landscaping Initiative - All Edible Landscaping
Literacy and The Arts
Wigs for Women and Children

Community Outreach / Quality of Life

Prostate On-Site Project
Blood Saves Lives: Sickle Cell Initiative and Minority-focused Blood Drives in Arizona
HVAC Upgrades
Home Away from Home 2.0: Cancer Patient Housing Community
Implantology Program Expansion
DV Survivor Therapy Services
Community Gardens programming
Meals of Joy
Arizona Wolf Trap
Support for USO Arizona Programs and Operations

Domestic Violence / Homeless / Poverty


Pipeline of Postsecondary Access and Success Programs
Adopt a Student Program
Preschool Initiative
College Preparatory Program
Read Better Be Better
Cultural Connections Through the Arts
Comprehensive Music Program for Underprivileged Youth
Workforce Education and Training at Year Up Arizona

Improving the Lives of the Physically & Mentally Challenged