GRANT WILL HELP FUND SOAZ’S COMPETITIONS FOR 2022-23 SEASON, INCLUDING ITS THREE MAJOR STATEWIDE COMPETITIONS IN FALL, SPRING AND SUMMER
President and CEO Jamie Heckerman announced today that Special Olympics Arizona received a $120,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the WM Phoenix Open – during the 2022 Spring Funding Cycle. The funds will be used to support SOAZ’s 2022-2023 athletic season that will include area and regional competitions, as well as its three major statewide competitions in the Fall of 2022 and Spring/Summer of 2023 that will feature more than 1,000 athletes from all across the state of Arizona.
“We always appreciate the tremendous support that we get from our partnership with Thunderbirds Charities,” Heckerman said. “Generous grants like this one are integral in helping Special Olympics Arizona serve our more than 21,000 athletes throughout the state. We can’t thank The Thunderbirds and Thunderbirds Charities enough for their continued support.”
With this grant from Thunderbirds Charities, Special Olympics athletes will have more opportunities to demonstrate excellence, improve their physical fitness, and create relationships through sports. In 2022, Special Olympics Arizona was finally able to return to a full season of high-quality, state-level events that celebrate all abilities through athletic competition, ceremonies, awards, entertainment, health screenings and education, social interaction, and community engagement.
“Thunderbirds Charities is proud to be a long-time supporter of Special Olympics Arizona, and to see this organization grow and prosper as much as it has over the years is very rewarding,” said Michael Golding, President of Thunderbirds Charities and Big Chief of The Thunderbirds. “Special Olympics Arizona has created an amazing platform and support system for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to pursue a healthy lifestyle and fight for Inclusion. The Thunderbirds are honored to help contribute to this important cause and we look forward to seeing these great athletes out there competing next year.”
Special Olympics Arizona strives to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.
With an emphasis on acceptance, respect and inclusion, SOAZ operates under the assumption that people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are capable of participation in all aspects of life by focusing on abilities rather than limitations. Special Olympics is often the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities and develop belief in themselves.
Special Olympics programs provide a gateway to empowerment, competence, acceptance and joy, and the lessons learned in Special Olympics impact their life skills as well.
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.
The purpose of Special Olympics Arizona is to empower children and adults with intellectual disabilities to live healthy, fulfilling and meaningful lives. This vision of acceptance and inclusion is realized through health, leadership and advocacy programs, as well as providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving more opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.