PHOENIX, ARIZONA — Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open Presented by The Ak-Chin Indian Community – awarded more than $3.1 million in grants to 51 Valley charities during its 2018 spring funding cycle – including a record one-time donation of $1 million to Special Olympics Arizona for its new State Competitions Distribution and Training Center. Additionally, Thunderbirds Charities awarded grants of more than $100,000 to six Valley Charities; including $300,000 to St. Mary’s Food Bank, $200,000 to Child Crisis Arizona, $150,000 to Homeward Bound, $100,000 to Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and $100,000 to Friendly House.
While the spring funding cycle is in the books, Thunderbirds Charities has announced that its 2018 fall funding cycle is now open. Information about the fall funding cycle can be found at www.ThunderbirdsCharities.org.
“Without a doubt, giving back to our communities is the most rewarding thing about what we do as tournament hosts,” said Carlos Sugich, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “We’re thrilled and so proud to give these grants to deserving organizations around the Valley. It’s an honor to see where all the money goes from the WM Phoenix Open and how it impacts those in need in our community.”
The $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 honored to receive this momentous donation from Thunderbirds Charities for the new Special Olympics Arizona Distribution Center,” said Jamie Heckerman, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics Arizona. “This donation will allow us to build a one-of-a-kind 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 $200,000 donation to Child Crisis Arizona went toward its Head Start Expansion Renovation Project, which included a remodel of its Mesa facility to house two additional classroom spaces for 40 children, as well as child-sized bathrooms and additional Head Start staff offices.
“We could not be more thankful to Thunderbird Charities for their ongoing support,” said Child Crisis Arizona Chief Executive Officer Torrie Taj. “Their generous gift is allowing us to expand our education programs, and provide valuable services to families, many of whom lack access to quality early childhood education and parenting resources.”
The $150,000 grant to Homeward Bound went to Empowering Homeless Families with Children, a project that not only provides housing, but also offers parents access to financial resources and the ability to emotionally support and advocate for their children, while the children receive high-quality education and enrichment experiences.
“I continue to feel astonished by the generosity and commitment of The Thunderbirds to our children,” said Homeward Bound President & CEO Becky Jackson. “We get the pleasure of seeing the transformation first-hand, and know that each day, they are breaking the cycle of poverty, and learning to thrive. We are truly inspired by Thunderbird Charities.”