The Thunderbirds – hosts of the WM Phoenix Open – have been long-time supporters of Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) and were on site this week to celebrate the official grand opening of SOAZ’s new state office and distribution center in Goodyear. The project was made possible thanks to The Thunderbirds who awarded SOAZ a $1 million donation for the project, the largest single gift handed out by Thunderbirds Charities since its inception in 1937.
Additionally, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey was on hand to announce a $1 million grant from the State of Arizona which will be gifted to SOAZ to continue to develop its inclusive health and wellness programs which are crucial for the more than 21,000 SOAZ athletes in Arizona.
Specifically, that $1 million can help in the following ways:
- Ensure vital health screening for an additional 1,000 athletes throughout Arizona
- Provide health education to another 1,500 students
- Provide hands-on provider training and experience opportunities for 300 healthcare students and professionals
- Expand critical mental health provider access, screenings and education for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)
The office and distribution center will provide statewide support for programs and events that are not just for Special Olympic athletes and personnel, but also for the community and sporting events that focus on inclusion. It will provide a center for distribution services, uniform production, equipment, and an efficient facility for youth and inclusive sports in the state of Arizona.
The Arizona Department of Corrections is a partner with Special Olympics Arizona and has created an inmate work crew to benefit SOAZ. The building is being sustained by inmate labor conducting equipment inventory, repair and management, while also providing job skills training for inmates to stop recidivism into the prison system.
Congrats to Special Olympics Arizona and special thanks to Governor Ducey!