Thunderbirds Charities Gives $3.85 Million to Valley Charities during Spring Funding Cycle


Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – awarded $3.85 million in grants to 65 Valley charities during its Spring 2019 funding cycle.  Most notably, Thunderbirds Charities granted $265,000 to Teach For America, $250,000 to VOS YMCA (Valley of the Sun), $200,00 to Maricopa Health Foundation, $100,000 to Teen Lifeline, and $100,000 to Homeless ID Project.

Additionally, Thunderbirds Charities announced it has now opened its 2019 fall funding cycle at

“Giving back and providing much-needed support to children and families is the most fulfilling thing about what we do as tournament hosts,” said Chance Cozby, President of Thunderbirds Charities.  “We’re happy to provide these grants to deserving organizations around the Valley. It’s an honor to see how the funds raised  from the Waste Management Phoenix Open impacts those in need in our communities.”

The $265,000 donation to Teach For America will support local recruitment and training of 25 promising leaders in Phoenix. As a result of The Thunderbirds investment, the TFA Phoenix 2019 corps will increase educational access and opportunity for more than 5,700 students across the valley.

“I’m already so impressed with this group of leaders. They’re bright, ambitious and driven,” said TFA Regional Board Chair Jim Swanson. “With the support of Thunderbirds Charities, they will now have the opportunity to serve in the communities that need it the most, and to change the lives of students growing up in Arizona.”

The $250,000 donation to VOS YMCA will go towards Camp Sky-Y renovation; specifically renovation of cabin and bathhouse facilities and additional improvements to the camp experience that include a new pavilion, technology and creative arts centers, an updated ropes course, expansion of the dining hall, and an upgraded water system. This project also includes acquisition of 16 acres of National Forest Service land, doubling camper capacity so they can serve more than 3,000 children each year at Camp Sky-Y.

The $200,000 grant to Maricopa Health Foundation and Maricopa Integrated Health System (soon to be Valleywise Health) will help build a Family Learning Center in their new comprehensive health center in Peoria, scheduled to open next summer. Family Learning Centers are libraries for patients, their families and the community that provide health information, community referrals, classes, literacy activities and program enrollment assistance.

“We are incredibly grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for making the fifth MIHS Family Learning Center possible,” said Maricopa Health Foundation CEO Nate Lowrie. “Access to health education, children’s activities and parenting resources, all located in a community health clinic setting, is making a powerfully positive impact on the health and well-being of underserved families in the Valley.”

The $100,000 grant to Teen Lifeline supports the Teen Peer Counseling Hotline/Text Line, a free, confidential peer-supported hotline available to troubled teens 365 days a year to call or text in to receive support, counseling and resources. For every one in three teens that reach out, this call for help could be the difference between finding help and hope, or giving up.

“We have one goal at Teen Lifeline, to prevent teen suicide in Arizona,” said Nikki Kontz, Teen Lifeline Clinical Director. “We are incredibly grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for their incredible commitment to Arizona youth. It is only through working together we can reduce the rate of Teen Suicide in our state.”

The $100,000 donation towards the Homeless ID Project will help individuals and families to end their homelessness and rebuild their lives by providing the critical first step of identification replacement services. The need for replacement documents can result from loss, theft, eviction, or even fleeing a domestic violence situation.

“The Homeless ID Project is honored to receive this grant,” said Homeless ID Project Executive Director Rick Mitchell. “With this ongoing support from Thunderbirds Charities, we can help those seeking to end their homelessness to get a start on what can be a very difficult journey. A life rebuilt provides a real benefit to the person, to the family, and to our entire community as people reengage and become productive.”

Additional grants awarded from the Spring 2019 cycle:

Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center Ability360 Youth Continuum of Services $100,000
Agua Fria Food And Clothing Bank New refrigerated trucks $20,000
American Cancer Society Transportation support for cancer patients $25,000
American Heart Association Mobile Market $25,000
American Red Cross SW States Home fire alarms for vulnerable neighborhoods $10,000
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association-Arizona Chapter ALS Youth & Children Support Program $35,000
Arizona Friends Of Foster Children Foundation Fostering Success for Children in Foster Care $25,000
Arizona Science Center CREATE on Wheels $60,000
Assistance League of East Valley Arizona Operation School Bell $20,000
Banner Health Foundation Cancer Patient Housing Assistance Program $100,000
Billys Place Grief support for youth $5,000
Chrysalis Shelter For Victims Of Domestic Violence Transportation advocate and vehicle $90,000
Duet: Partners in Health & Aging Grandparents Raising Grandchildren $15,000
East Valley Senior Services Assistance for Independent Living Volunteer Services $20,000
Educare Arizona Early Education Extended Day Program $25,000
Elevate Phoenix Vehicle for program $30,000
Franciscan Renewal Center Kitchen Equipment $25,000
Girl Scouts Council Arizona Cactus-Pine Social Impact Programs $50,000
Gompers Habilitation Center Readtopia $25,000
Homeless ID Project Securing identification $100,000
Homeless Youth Connection Empowering Youth For The Future (EYFTF) $50,000
Homeward Bound Family and Children Services/new roof $250,000
Hope Women’s Center Empower Her Mentoring Program $10,000
House Of Refuge Adopt-A-Home Program $25,000
House Of Refuge Sunnyslope Renovation of Homeless Women’s Program Housing $13,000
Human Services Campus Critical Client Services $300,000
ICAN ICAN’s Youth Development Program $50,000
Joy Bus Meal delivery to cancer homebound cancer patients $20,000
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Community Outreach Program $15,000
K2 Adventures Foundation youth programming $10,000
Keep Phoenix Beautiful Community Gardens and Recycling Initiatives $15,000
Kids In Focus Sequoia Deaf School Photography Mentoring Program $4,000
Kids Need To Read The Page Coach $25,000
Literacy Volunteers Of Maricopa County Technology upgrades $40,000
Local First Arizona Foundation Fuerza Local Business Accelerator $80,000
Maggies Place Family Success Center Services $40,000
Maricopa Health Foundation West Valley Family Learning Center $200,000
Matthews Crossing Meals to Grow $5,000
Mentorkids Usa South Phoenix Student Success Program $10,000
Mitchell Swaback Charities Harvest Compassion Center $25,000
Muscular Dystrophy Association 2019 MDA Arizona Care Centers $10,000
Neighborhood Ministries Katy’s Kids Early Childhood Development Preschool $25,000
One Small Step Expansion of Regional Facility $50,000
Phoenix Children’s Chorus Music camp retreat $10,000
Power Paws Assistance Dogs Volunteer Engagement $20,000
Prostate On-Site Project Prostate On-Site Project $10,000
Read Better Be Better After-School 3rd Grade Literacy Program $13,000
Sandra Day O’Connor Institute Camp O’Connor $50,000
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA) Arizona Wolf Trap Program $25,000
Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona LOVE BEYOND MEASURE $15,000
Shoebox Ministry Boxes for Youth $25,000
Soldiers Best Friend The Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program $20,000
Southwest Kids Cancer Foundation Arizona Camp Sunrise and Camp Sidekicks $15,000
Special Olympics Arizona State Competitions $200,000
St Mary’s Food Bank Alliance Kids Café Trucks/grab&go meals $300,000
Teach For America Bring Teachers to Phoenix $265,000
Teen Lifeline Hotline/Textline $100,000
Treasure House Shade cover/outdoor furniture $30,000
Treasures 4 Teachers T4T on Wheels $35,000
UMOM New Day Centers Direct Client Assistance for Homeless Families & Youth $300,000
USO Arizona family programming $25,000
Veterans Furniture Center furniture $25,000
VOS YMCA Camp Sky-Y project $250,000
Waste Not Feeding Children, Youth & Families $30,000
YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix Senior Meals on wheels $15,000



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 our communities. 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 285 “life” members. For more information on Thunderbirds Charities, visit

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