Phoenix Art Museum and Musical Instrument Museum Win Thunderibird Charities Grants

The Phoenix Art Museum and the Musical Instrument Museum recently received $50,000 grants from Thunderbirds Charities. Thunderbirds Charities is a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization founded in 1986 that provides grants to help children and families, help those in need, and improve the quality of life in Arizona communities.

Thunderbirds Charities awarded a total of more than $2.9 million in grants to 55 organizations during its spring granting cycle. The Act One Foundation, which provides arts and cultural excursions for low-income students, also received a $50,000 prize.

Other arts and culture organizations included in the nonprofit’s latest funding round include Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona and Valley Youth Theater. Each received a $10,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities. The Phoenix Children’s Chorus received an $8,000 grant.

The Phoenix Art Museum is donating its grant to a teen engagement program, says Kaela Hoskings, the museum’s director of education. Since 2009, the museum has received nine donations totaling $261,000 from Thunderbirds Charities, she says.

“We’ve worked to make the museum a place of community and activity, so people feel like it’s a place to be,” Hoskings said. “Part of achieving this goal is to engage teenagers.”

The funds will go to the Teen Arts Council, which includes up to 15 teenagers per year. The teens help plan activities for other teens and give the museum ideas on how the museum can involve more young people.

“It creates a pipeline to get involved as an adult and creates a mindset in teens that it’s important to become leaders in their community,” Hoskings says.

The Musical Instrument Museum also uses its Thunderbirds Charities grant to reach young audiences.

“This grant will help with field transportation, training for museum guides, and artists-in-residence who work with students,” said Daniel Allen, education specialist at the Musical Instrument Museum. “In the past, they have supported field trips, summer interns, and special weekend programs.”

Two grant-funded resident artists will perform for several school groups this year inside the MIM Music Theater. “A lot of these kids have never seen a live performance before, and they actually get to interact with the musicians after the show,” Allen said.

Thunderbirds Charities also awards grants through a fall funding round. The application process for this cycle runs from Tuesday August 1 to Friday September 1.

“We are grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for helping us bring musical experiences to so many students,” Allen said.

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