Thunderbirds Charities – the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds, hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – recently awarded Special Olympics Arizona $120,000 to help support and fund its “Return to Activities” initiative coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Special Olympics Arizona has only hosted a few in-person events since the pandemic shut down programming in March of 2020, but is planning to bring back its year-round sports training, competitions and support programs starting this Fall, including its Phoenix Breakfast With Champions in September and Fall Games in October.

“In-person competition is incredibly important to Special Olympics Arizona and we’re obviously thrilled to help bring these athletes back to the playing field after what has been an extremely tough year,” said Scott Jenkins, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “The Thunderbirds and Special Olympics Arizona have a longstanding relationship and we’re very proud to continue our support of the organization and their athletes who give it their all every chance they get.”

Fundraising was extremely limited this past year, and this grant from Thunderbirds Charities will help financially support SOAZ and its athletes as it prepares to safely return to in-person activities, programs and competitions. It also will help SOAZ expand opportunities to empower the Arizonans with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to be healthy, productive and respected members of society while breaking down barriers they face and the increased isolation and challenges brought on by the pandemic.