grant will help fund soaz’s competitions for 2023-24 season
President and CEO Jamie Heckerman announced today that Special Olympics Arizona received a $130,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable giving arm of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the WM Phoenix Open – during the 2023 Spring Funding Cycle. The funds will be used to support SOAZ’s 2023-2024 athletic season that will include area and regional competitions, as well as its four major statewide competitions in the Fall of 2023 and Spring/Summer of 2024 that will feature more than 1,000 athletes from all across the state of Arizona participating in each state competition.
“We have had an outstanding partnership with Thunderbirds Charities, and we can’t thank them enough once again for such a generous grant,” Heckerman said. “Their continued support goes a long way to helping Special Olympics Arizona serve our more than 14,000 athletes all across the state of Arizona, with specialized programming and more importantly, with our statewide competitions. We are excited for the upcoming 2023-24 competition season.”
With this grant from Thunderbirds Charities, SOAZ athletes will have more opportunities to demonstrate excellence, improve their physical fitness, and create relationships through sports.
“Special Olympics Arizona holds a special place in the heart of The Thunderbirds, and witnessing the remarkable growth and success of this organization over the years fills us with immense gratitude,” said Pat Williams, President of Thunderbirds Charities and Big Chief of The Thunderbirds. “By providing an outstanding platform and support network, Special Olympics
Arizona empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities to embrace a healthy lifestyle and champion inclusivity. It is an absolute honor for The Thunderbirds to play a part in advancing this significant mission, and we eagerly anticipate witnessing these extraordinary athletes compete in the upcoming 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 inthemselves.
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. For more information on Special Olympics Arizona visit www.specialolympicsarizona.org.