The Thunderbirds --- hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open --- announced the 2021 edition of “The People’s Open” raised more than $3.8 million that will be awarded to Arizona charities.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, through the help of a strong community, The Thunderbirds were still able to put on “The Greatest Show on Grass”, along with generating a significant amount of money for the community at a time when it is needed most, officials there say.
“Our Arizona communities prove time and time again they are willing to rally behind this event and the hundreds of charities and non-profit organizations it supports --- especially in times of crisis when charitable organizations have been hit extremely hard,” said Scott Jenkins, Tournament Chairman for the 2021 WM Phoenix Open and current Big Chief of The Thunderbirds, in a prepared statement.
“We are exceptionally proud of this $3.8 million raised for Arizona charities during this challenging year, which is proof positive of the commitment and togetherness of Waste Management and the PGA TOUR, as well as our incredible fans, sponsors and volunteers.”
The Thunderbirds and the WM Phoenix Open have raised nearly $100 million since 2010 when Waste Management was named title sponsor, and in its history, dating back to 1932, the Phoenix Open has raised more than $165 million for Arizona charities, a press release states.
“We applaud and congratulate, The Thunderbirds for their unwavering commitment to charities across the state of Arizona,” said WM President and CEO Jim Fish, in the release. “It’s truly amazing to make this big of an impact despite a scaled-back 2021 tournament. It’s a privilege to be the title sponsor of this world-class event, and WM remains proud of what we continue to accomplish together with The Thunderbirds and the PGA TOUR to support our communities and the environment.”
The announcement was made alongside one of its longtime charity partners, Boys and Girls Clubs of Scottsdale — Thunderbirds Branch, where members of The Thunderbirds interacted with the kids and even played a few games of dodgeball, pitting “Big Birds” vs. “Little Birds.”
“A light-hearted dodgeball game with kids who reap the benefits of their charitable giving seemed like a great way to celebrate the success of The Thunderbirds and the 2021 WM Phoenix Open,” said Ivan Gilreath, BGCS President and CEO at the event.
“The special ThunderDodge event also gave us the opportunity to say thank you and show them the impact of their giving at our Thunderbirds Branch.”
The 2022 WM Phoenix Open will take place Feb. 7-13 at TPC Scottsdale.
“The People’s Open” has been named the Tournament of the Year by the PGA TOUR four times in the past seven years (2014, 2015, 2018, 2019) to acknowledge the tournament’s legendary status as one the most unique events in golf.
The 2022 edition will mark the 87th playing of the event --- which is one of the five oldest events on the PGA TOUR --- and the 13th with Waste Management as title sponsor.
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 280 “life” members who have helped the tournament eclipse $165 million in charitable giving since its inception in 1932.
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