Thunderbirds Charities Donates Nearly $3 Million to Valley Nonprofits During Spring Funding Cycle

Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the WM Phoenix Open Presented by Taylor Morrison – awarded close to $3 million in grants to 43 Valley nonprofits during its 2022 spring funding cycle.

Some of the notable grants included $1 million to Child Crisis Arizona, $100,000 to The Joy Bus and $90,000 to Local First Arizona.  In total, Thunderbirds Charities awarded 17 grants of $100,000 or more and eight grants of $50,000 or more to Valley charities during this most recent funding cycle.

With the spring funding cycle in the books, Thunderbirds Charities has now opened its 2022 fall funding cycle online at

“With 2022 bringing back a sense of normalcy, it is an honor to get back to giving back in a big way,” said Michael Golding, President of Thunderbirds Charities and Big Chief of The Thunderbirds. “It is vital that we continue to lend a helping hand for our communities. Philanthropy and community service are at the forefront of our organization, and we’ll always strive to raise as much money as possible for our charity partners every year.”


The $1 million grant from Thunderbirds Charities will support Child Crisis Arizona’s Fostering Bright Futures Expansion, a new 38,000-square-foot solar powered and sustainability minded Child and Family Wellness Campus that will accommodate continued growth and be home to multiple programs to develop child and family resiliency. The new campus will house Child Crisis Arizona programs (Foster Care and Adoption, Counseling, Family Education, and more) and administrative staff. Additionally, the increased space will allow to expand offerings, many in collaboration with other local organizations, to provide services such as basic needs items distribution, food preparation for programs, medical screenings, therapeutic dance and art classes, job skills and mentoring for foster teens, and more. Partnerships with other local nonprofits will result in children, youth, and families receiving high quality wraparound services in one convenient location, reducing the burden of locating and traveling to multiple agencies to access the resources they need.

“Child Crisis Arizona is truly honored to receive this transformational gift from Thunderbird Charities,” said Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona. “The Thunderbirds have been a strong and dedicated partner of this organization and have a rich history of supporting Child Crisis Arizona’s growth with significant investment in the communities we serve.  This gift will not only help to create an environmentally sustainable building for future generations but creates and supports sustainability for vulnerable children and families to have a safer and brighter future.”

The $100,000 gift to The Joy Bus will help with the renovation of their new facility by expanding the kitchen, commissary, and dining capacity. This will allow The Joy Bus to more than double the number of delivered meals and home visits they currently provide. The Joy Bus provides homebound cancer patients fresh medically tailored meals, a social support system, and nutrition education at no cost to the client, delivered to their door.

“The Joy Bus is so grateful for Thunderbirds Charities and their continued support of our meal delivery program for people going through cancer treatment,” said Megan Norton, Program Director at The Joy Bus.  “This expansion has been years in the making and we are very excited to have Thunderbirds Charities alongside us as we change lives in our community with our newly renovated facility.”

The grant of $90,000 to Local First Arizona will help support two programs – Fuerza Local and the We Rise Program. The programs are aimed at supporting under-resourced community entrepreneurs. Local First Arizona promotes and supports a sustainable Arizona economy by educating citizens about entrepreneurship, social equity, and collaboration.

“Thunderbirds Charities has been instrumental in growing our Spanish language business accelerator, Fuerza Local. At Local First, we believe entrepreneurship is our strongest resource to diminish the wealth gap that has erupted across the country,” said Kimber Lanning, CEO of Local First Arizona. “With more than 800 small business graduates from the program in six years, we now have nearly 10 who are grossing more than $1.25 million in annual sales and hundreds more who are thriving. This program is transforming lives and future generations. Thank you Thunderbirds, we appreciate your “hand up” investment to build opportunity for everyone.”

Additional grants awarded from the spring 2022 cycle:

Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents $10,000 Strengthening Foster, Kinship, Adoptive Families. Foster, kinship, and adoptive parents programming.
Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children $50,000 Improving Lives Impacted by Pediatric Cancer. Family support for those that have a pediatric cancer diagnosis.
Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation $30,000 Fostering Success for Children in Foster Care.
Arizona Museum of Natural History Foundation $10,000 Educational Field Trips at the Museum
Assistance League of East Valley $20,000 Operation School Bell
Aster Aging $25,000 Neighbors Program
Child Crisis Arizona $1 million Fostering Bright Futures Expansion
Desert Sounds Performing Arts $5,000 Mariachi Sones del Desierto
Detour Company Theatre $10,000 Mainstage Season
Educare Arizona $20,000 Early Education Extended Day Program
Friends of Public Radio Arizona $15,000 SPOT 127 Youth Media Center Program Support
Furnishing Dignity $20,000 Program Expansion of Essential Home Furnishings
Generation Justice $5,000 Children’s Law Clinic
Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona $5,000 My Career Matters Campaign
Homeless ID Project, Inc $100,000 ID Empowers Our Community- Secure identification documents
Homeless Youth Connection $50,000 Empowering Youth For The Future
Human Services Campus, Inc $300,000 Critical Client Services
Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates $50,000 Career and College Readiness
Junior Achievement of Arizona $50,000 Providing the JA BizTown Program to 500 Students. It also provides real-world skills to low-income kids.
Kids in Focus $20,000 After-School Photography Mentoring & Grads Program
Kids Need to Read $25,000 The Page Coach- Used to purchase books.
Local First Arizona Foundation $90,000 Fuerza Local and We Rise Business Accelerator Programs
Midwest Food Bank, Arizona Division “The Backpack Program- Hope Packs” $15,000 Purchase Food for Backpack Program
Native American Connections $250,000 Homebase Youth Services in the West Valley
NotMYkid Inc. $50,000 [i]nspired: Peer Support for Teens
OCJ Kids $50,000 Thunderbirds Charities Restoring Dignity Room
Phoenix Community ToolBank, Inc. $10,000 Heat Re-Leaf Program
Prostate On-Site Project $5,000


All Sports Foundation DBA Prostate on-site project.
Rising Youth Theatre $10,000 Arts Leadership Program
Sandra Day O’Connor Institute For American Democracy $50,000 O’Connor Institute Youth Civics Education Programs- for youth civics education program.
Saving Amy, Inc. $20,000 Rolling Forward Program
Special Olympics Arizona $120,000 2022 Special Olympics Arizona State Competitions.
Swift Youth Foundation $5,000 Youth Enrichment Programs
Teen Lifeline $75,000 Teen Crisis Hotline/Texline
Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA) $25,000 Economic Empowerment Initiative
The Joy Bus $100,000 More Than a Meal Capital Campaign
TigerMountain Foundation $15,000 Agri-Landscaping Initiative-all edible landscaping. Purchase a double-axle landscape trailer and program staff support
Treasure House $20,000 Employment and Life Skills Training Program
Treasures 4 Teachers $50,000 T4T on Wheels
United Service Organizations, Incorporated (USO Arizona) $100,000 Support for Military Service Members and Families
Women’s Health Innovations of Arizona $30,000 Strong Families Program
Year Up Arizona $50,000 Young Adult Education through Year Up Arizona. Includes workforce development and education programs.



Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. The Thunderbirds Charities Board consists of 15 board members from varying professional backgrounds. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The organization’s giving is directed toward organizations based or with a significant presence in Arizona. The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 280 “life” members. For more information on The Thunderbirds or Thunderbirds Charities, visit 

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