Camp O'Connor 2019 Thunderbirds Charities

Thunderbirds Charities Awards O’Connor Institute for American Democracy Generous Grant

Thunderbirds Charities has awarded $50,000 to the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy in support of civics education for youth. Two of the Institute’s programs, Camp O’Connor, an interactive civics program and the O’Connor Civics Challenge, an online civics video competition for middle school students, are the beneficiaries.

Now in its fifth year, Camp O’Connor is a free, merit-based week-long summer program providing experiential civics education and leadership development for 7th and 8th graders. The camp works to educate, inspire and encourage the next generation of leaders to develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for our democracy and their important role as citizens. Campers develop leadership skills, greater knowledge of our nation’s democracy and experience civics in action, enhanced by field trips to the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government.

The O’Connor Civics Challenge, launched in 2020, was created to allow students to participate in an online civics video competition during the pandemic. Geared to 6th through 9th graders the initial year saw participation from students in Arizona and across the country compete for laptops and other electronic educational tools. As a result of the overwhelming response, the Institute will continue the O’Connor Civics Challenge among its regular program offerings.

“Justice O’Connor herself helped to conceive Camp O’Connor several years ago following feedback from our interns,” noted Sarah Suggs, President of the O’Connor Institute. “The Institute is grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for their initial seed funding and continued support of civics education.”

O’Connor Institute Board Chair Matt Feeney stated, “Through its generous grant to the O’Connor Institute, Thunderbirds Charities have once again demonstrated their remarkable civic leadership and philanthropy, spanning over several decades. The O’Connor Institute’s focus on civics education, civic engagement, and civil discourse complements Thunderbirds Charities mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona communities.”

Sandra Day O’Connor Institute For American Democracy

This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees.