Thunderbirds Charities Wraps Up Spring Funding Cycle, Awards More Than $2.9 Million to 55 Valley Charities

Thunderbirds Charities Wraps Up Spring Funding Cycle, Awards More Than $2.9 Million to 55 Valley Charities

PHOENIX, Ariz. Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of the Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – awarded more than $2.9 million in grants to 55 Valley charities during its spring funding cycle. Most notably, Thunderbirds Charities granted $300,000 to UMOM New Day Centers, $250,000 to VOS YMCA, $150,000 to Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) and $80,000 to Desert Voices Oral Learning Center.

“The most rewarding part of this job is this time of year when we get to hand out much-needed money to deserving charities in our community,” said Andy Markham, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “We are proud of what the Waste Management Phoenix Open has become and even more proud to be able to assist so many in need in our Arizona communities.”

The donation to Special Olympics Arizona helps SOAZ to host its state competitions in 2017, increasing awareness for the Special Olympics movement while championing inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

“As a community partner, The Thunderbirds have diligently supported Special Olympics Arizona in our efforts to bring all persons with intellectual disabilities and closely-related developmental disabilities into the larger society where they are accepted, respected, and given the chance to become useful and productive citizens,” said Tim Martin, Executive Director of Special Olympics Arizona. “The Thunderbird’s outstanding commitment to our organization extends beyond dollar donations, with generous in-kind support for events, partnering with law enforcement agencies in support of SOAZ, and a continuing enthusiasm to partner with Special Olympics Arizona on campaigns supporting our organization.”

The donation to UMOM assists the families and youth client assistance program to help end homelessness.

“This extraordinary and generous gift provides critical resources for families, as well as the youth we’re now caring for through the former Tumbleweed programs,” said UMOM New Day Centers CEO Darlene Newsom. “The best part of working with The Thunderbirds is the fact that we’re building on a relationship that goes back decades. Since the mid-1990s, they’ve consistently given us a big boost on projects of all sizes – everything from opening an emergency shelter to supporting our new family facility to underwriting critical improvements like flooring and lighting in several of our facilities. We are deeply grateful for their unfailing commitment to the priorities we share.”

The gift to VOS YMCA helps support their water safety program and its day and afterschool camps, and the award to Desert Voices Learning Center was used for their Toddler Room program.

Additional grants were awarded to the following charities:

About Care Inc. – $15,000 to the Volunteer Management Program.

ACCEL – $25,000 for upgrades to east campus facility, sports court and outdoor therapy area

Act One Foundation – $50,000 to the Act One Field Trip Program

Aid to Adoption of Special Kids – $25,000 to Kinship Foster Care, Social Work and Outreach

Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter – $20,000 to the Family Support Program

Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels – $50,000 to the Comfort and Care Program

Arizona Council on Economic Education – $30,000 for Economics for Everyday Living Program

Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation – $15,000 to Fostering Success for Children

Assistance League of East Valley Arizona – $15,000 to Operation School Bell

Audubon Arizona – $25,000 to Nature in your Neighborhood program

Campus of Human Services – $150,000 to the Campus Engagement Program

Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation – $10,000 to Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy

Childhelp, Inc. – $100,000 for Specialized Therapy service enhancements

Chrysalis Shelter – $67,500 to Counseling for Child and Adult Victims of Domestic Violence

Civitan Foundation – $80,000 to Tot Turf Renovation

Cortney’s Foundation – $17,000 to Quality of Life Programs for Individuals with Special Needs

Desert Voices Oral Learning Center – $80,000 for Thunderbirds Toddler Room

Duet: Partners in Health and Aging – $10,000 for Grandparents Raising Kids program

East Valley Senior Services – $7,500 to Assistance for Independent Living Volunteer Services

Expect More Arizona – $25,000 to Engaging Parents in Student Success

Family Promise of Greater Phoenix – $50,000 to Whole and Healthy Families Emergency Shelter

Florence Crittenton Services of Arizona – $35,000 to provide safety for at-risk young women

Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona – $10,000 for Free Arts Programs for children

Future for Kids – $13,000 to the Discover Your Future – NAC Coral Canyon Complex

Gabriel’s Angels – $20,000 to its Pet Therapy Program

Girls Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine – $50,000 to its Family Engagement efforts

Higher Octave Healing – $10,000 to Social Connections

Homeless ID Project – $40,000 to ID Empowers Our Community program

Homeless Youth Connection – $25,000 to Empowering Youth for the Future program

Homeward Bound – $200,000 to Empowering Homeless Families with Children program

House of Refuge – $55,000 to Adopt a Home program

Joy Bus – $10,000 to Meal Delivery program

Labors Community Service Agency – $5,000 to Family Stabilization Project

Leukemia Foundation of Arizona – $10,000 to Home is Where the Heart is program

Local First Arizona Foundation – $40,000 to Fuerza Local

MentorKids USA – $7,500 to Student Success program

Mitchell Swaback Charities – $20,000 to Harvest Compassion Center Phoenix

Musical Instrument Museum – $50,000 to A World of Musical Journeys

Neighborhood Ministries – $25,000 to Katy’s Kids Early Childhood Development Preschool

notMyKid – $37,500 to Prevention Program for Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley

One Step Beyond – $50,000 to One Step Beyond Catering Expansion

Phoenix Art Museum – $50,000 to its Teen Engagement Initiative

Phoenix Children’s Chorus – $8,000 to Enriching Children’s Lives Through Music program

Special Olympics Arizona – $150,000 for 2017 Special Olympics Arizona State Competitions

St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance – $300,000 to Kids Café Program, Vehicles and Food

Stand for Children Leadership Center – $10,000 to Family Engagement program

Stardust Non-Profit Building Supplies – $10,000 for Gifts in Kind

Take Charge America – $7,500 to Financial Literacy and Life Skills for at-risk youth

Teach for America – $50,000 for recruitment, development and retention of teachers

Treasures 4 Teachers – $25,000 to Treasures 4 Teachers on Wheels

UMOM New Day Centers – $300,000 to Ending Homelessness for Families and Youth program

United States Veterans Initiative – $100,000 to provide housing and services for homeless vets

Valley Youth Theatre – $10,000 to Literacy and the Arts programming

Voices for Case Children – $50,000 for CASA Companion program

VOS YMCA – $250,000 for Water Safety and Camp Quality improvement



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 250 “life” members. For more information on Thunderbirds Charities, visit

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