Two Phoenix Museums Won $50K Grants from Thunderbirds Charities

Teens spending time at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Teens spending time at the Musical Instrument Museum. Musical Instrument Museum
Phoenix Art Museum and the Musical Instrument Museum recently received $50,000 grants from Thunderbirds Charities. Thunderbirds Charities is a Phoenix-based nonprofit founded in 1986 that provides grants to assist children and families, help people 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 grant cycle. Act One Foundation, which provides arts and culture field trips for low-income students, also received a $50,000 award.

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

Phoenix Art Museum is putting its grant towards a teen engagement program, says Kaela Hoskings, education director for the museum. Since 2009, the museum has received nine gifts totaling $261,000 from Thunderbirds Charities, she says.

"We've been working to make the museum a place for community and activities, so people feel like it's a place you just have to be," Hoskings says. "Part of making that happen is getting teens involved."

Funds will go towards the Teen Arts Council, which includes up to 15 teens a year. The teens help plan activities for other teens, and give the museum input about ways the museum can engage more youth.

"It creates a pipeline for being 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 is also using its Thunderbirds Charities grant to reach young audiences.

"This grant will help with field trip transportation, museum guide training, and artists-in residence who work with students," says Daniel Allen, education specialist for the Musical Instrument Museum. "In the past, they've supported field trips, summer interns, and special weekend programs."

Two resident artists funded by the grant will perform for several school groups this year inside the MIM Music Theater. "Many of these kids have never been to a live performance before, and they actually get the opportunity to interact with the musicians after the show," Allen says.

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

"We're grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for helping us bring musical experiences to so many students," Allen says.

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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble