2018 Thunderbirds Charities Newsletter
Another year, another record broken as The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open Presented by the Ak-Chin Indian Community – raised a record $12.2 million ($12,263,207) for local charities through proceeds from the 2018 tournament. This is the highest single-year charitable donation in tournament history, breaking last year’s record total of $10.1 million and the first time eclipsing $12 million in tournament history. It also marks the fourth-consecutive year breaking the tournament record of charitable dollars raised in a single year.
“Each and every year is special when we make this announcement, but this year is extra special and truly a proud moment for The Thunderbirds,” said Carlos Sugich, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “We knew the number would be high, but to reach a new milestone by breaking our own single-year record and in doing so joining only a handful of tournaments in the history of the PGA TOUR to break the $12 million barrier is spectacular. Thanks to our title sponsor Waste Management and to great community and corporate support, we were able to achieve our goals and help out so many children and families in need in the Valley.”
The Thunderbirds and the Waste Management Phoenix Open have raised more than $68 million ($68,417,890) for local charities since 2010 when Waste Management became title sponsor. In its history, dating back to 1932, the Phoenix Open has raised more than $134 million ($134,464,456) for charities in Arizona.
“Waste Management is proud of the positive impact this incredible event continues to have on the community,” said John Morris, Senior Vice President of Field Operations for Waste Management. “Hats off to The Thunderbirds for breaking another tournament record and for making a difference in the lives of so many. The Waste Management Phoenix Open remains a shining example of what is possible when everyone invests in making a difference for the benefit of our environment and community.”
Special Olympics Arizona
A record-breaking $1 million donation to Special Olympics Arizona helped create a new Distribution and Training Center which allows SOAZ the opportunity to serve even more individuals with disabilities across the state, ultimately expanding the number of athletes reached while creating more teams and enhanced competitions for SOAZ athletes.
“We are thrilled to receive this momentous donation from Thunderbirds Charities for the new Special Olympics Arizona Distribution Center,” said Jamie Heckerman, Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics Arizona. “The money donated will allow us to build a state-of-the-art facility, which is a necessary component to our rapid growth as an organization and will be instrumental in allowing Special Olympics Arizona to better serve the community.”
The building will help meet the increased demand for SOAZ’s programs while serving as a home, distribution, uniform production and equipment center, and an efficient facility for youth and inclusive sports in the state of Arizona.
St. Mary’s Food Bank
Thunderbirds Charities recently donated $300,000 to St. Mary’s Food Bank in an effort to bolster their Kids Café Program, which will help purchase two new refrigerated trucks and additional food to help reach more of Arizona’s hungry children.
The expansion of the Kids Café Program will allow St. Mary’s Food Bank to serve more than 8,000 after-school meals at more than 140 locations to at-risk children who may not receive balanced nutritional meals at home.
Many meals are served at after school programs that provide a safe environment for kids not only to eat but work on homework and participate in sports and other activities. But the Thunderbirds are helping St. Mary’s reach even more kids in 2018 by providing food for the new “Grab and Go” program where students receive a meal at the end of the school day before they walk home or get on the bus.
In total, Thunderbirds Charities has given more than $1.5 million to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Arizona, helping to feed thousands of young children who need balanced nutrition to learn and grow.
Child Crisis Arizona
Thunderbirds Charities recently donated $200,000 to Child Crisis Arizona – an organization dedicated to providing Arizona children a safe environment free from abuse and neglect. The funds will be used to renovate two Head-Start Classrooms and a playground which will allow Child Crisis Arizona to serve 40 additional children in their program.
In total, Thunderbirds Charities has given more than $1 million to Child Crisis Arizona and collaborating partners. In addition to the new classrooms and playgrounds, Thunderbirds Charities donated funds to renovate Child Crisis Arizona’s kitchen – now named Thunderbird Kitchen – where they serve more than 45,000 healthy meals each year to children in their program from infants to 10-year-olds.
First Place Arizona
First Place is a residential property for people with Autism and other neurodiversities. The property contains 55 apartments housing 79 people and represents a new wave of thinking behind community life for people with autism. First Place’s big idea is to ensure housing and community options are as available for people with autism or with different abilities as they are for everyone else.
Recently, Thunderbirds Charities donated funds to build a brand-new activity pool where residents can swim, play volleyball, attend aquatics classes or simply hang out.
“We greatly appreciate Thunderbirds Charities for donating our sports pool,” said Denise Resnik, Founder and CEO of First Place AZ. “It encourages residents to get out of their room and connect in a space which is good for themselves, good for their hearts and good for building relationships and friendships.”
Maricopa Health Foundation
Thunderbirds Charities awarded the Maricopa Health Foundation a $50,000 grant to benefit both the Mariposa: Wings to Safety Domestic Violence program and Refugee Women’s Health Clinic at Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS). The grant supports a health provider cross-training bridge program designed to expand the effectiveness and reach of two critical programs for women and children.
The MIHS Refugee Women’s Health Clinic provides access to comprehensive, culturally sensitive care for refugee women in and around Phoenix. The only program of its kind nationwide, the clinic’s mission is to support refugee resettlement and promote self-sufficiency. Approximately half of Arizona’s resettled refugees are women and girls. Since opening in 2008, the clinic has provided access to culturally skilled women’s health care for 5,500 patients from 53 countries, speaking more than 49 different languages.
Wings to Safety is a hospital-based family violence advocacy program raising awareness and providing support to families affected by domestic violence, including child abuse and neglect. The unique program provides crisis intervention, patient education and prevention programs to families throughout Maricopa County. Mariposa: Wings to Safety Advocates are available 365 days-a-year to provide screenings and assistance. During the program’s 12 years, it has served more than 4,800 women and families affected by domestic violence and educated more than 50,000.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona has been awarded $20,000 by Thunderbirds Charities to support the origination’s STARS Mentoring Program which serves children who have a parent who has been incarcerated.
“Having a mom or dad in prison can make growing up difficult,” said Susan Wiltfong, vice president of programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters. “Children with an incarcerated parent often need additional support and guidance.”
This gift from Thunderbirds Charities will enable Big Brothers Big Sisters to sustain the STARS program and continue to match children who, through no fault of their own, are dealing with circumstances that can impact their self-confidence, academic performance and future endeavors. In addition to having a parent who has been incarcerated, 77% are of an ethnic minority, 74% live in a single parent home, 19% live with grandparents or another relative, 63% have a household income under $30,000, 33% have been exposed to abuse or domestic violence, and 27% have a disability.
A recent grant awarded to ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth from Thunderbirds Charities will support the organization’s Youth Development Program. Over 80% of ICAN families report poverty-level incomes and 90% of youth qualify for free/reduced meals. ICAN’s Youth Development Program seeks to accomplish five goals: improve life skills; increase resilience to avoid involvement in risky behaviors; improve academic achievement; prepare teens for college/careers; and increase community attachment through regular service work.
“ICAN is honored to have been chosen by Thunderbirds Charities for support of our Youth Development Program. This program is ICAN’s core focus, providing life skills training to youth with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty and providing them with a brighter future,” stated ICAN’s Chief Executive Officer, Shelby Pedersen.
ICAN welcomes over 500 youth a year with free programs, including meals and transportation. ICAN youth live in low income neighborhoods and face a number of daily risk factors, including chronic poverty, hunger and food insecurity, poor performance in school, and exposure to substance abuse and violence.
Save the Family
Thunderbirds Charities awarded Save the Family $200,000 for its Homeless Families Intervention Project (HFIP) to provide homeless, veteran and working poor families with housing, case coordination services and access to an array of programs and classes to help address and overcome homelessness and poverty.
Funding will also support services Save the Family is providing at Valor on Eighth, a 50-unit first-of-its-kind affordable housing community targeting low income and formerly homeless female veterans with children. Now under construction, and in partnership with Gorman & Company, the City of Tempe and many others, Valor on Eighth is expected to open early in 2018. Several naming opportunities to support Valor on Eighth services and other Save the Family programs are available, and the Early Head Start program at Valor on Eighth will be named for Thunderbirds Charities.
“With the number of homeless veterans rising, there is no more critical time for the community to come together to support the men and women who have served our country,” said Save the Family CEO Jacki Taylor. “Thunderbirds Charities’ support for our focus on female veterans and their families will offer hope and guidance for a highly underserved population. On their behalf, I am deeply grateful to the Thunderbirds.”
At-Risk Youth & Families
Community Outreach / Quality of Life
Domestic Violence / Homeless / Poverty