Thunderbirds Branch teen named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale 2022 Youth of the Year

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ (Feb. 15, 2022) – Sydney F., 15-year-old Thunderbirds Branch Club member, was named the 2022 Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) Youth of the Year at a celebration held at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts Virginia G. Piper Theater on February 10. Sydney was awarded $25,000 in post-secondary education scholarship funds and will represent BGCS at the Arizona State Youth of the Year competition in April.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale receives Now is the Moment grant award from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ (September 15, 2021) – On Monday, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) was among 71 organizations selected to receive funding through the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust’s Now is the Moment Grants Commemoration, a single-day investment in Maricopa County’s nonprofit community.

The grant was presented to BGCS as a complete surprise on September 13. Trustees of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust personally met with Ivan Gilreath, BGCS President and CEO, and Janet Caldarelli, BGCS Board of Governors Chair, to announce the award and thank them for their leadership and work in the community.

“We were floored when we learned of the funding,” said Gilreath. “It truly is a game-changer for our organization and will make a substantial impact as we begin implementing several strategic initiatives to strengthen our team, programs and partnerships.”

The Now is the Moment Grants Commemoration draws on Virginia Piper’s visionary statement: “Managing the stewardship of charitable giving is a moment-to-moment dignified responsibility of a truly high calling in human affairs and human relations.”

The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has been a supporter of BGCS for 28 years, with more than $5 million of philanthropic investment in programs that promote academic success, good character and leadership, and healthy lifestyles.

Virginia G. Piper was instrumental in helping BGCS expand its reach in the Greater Scottsdale area. Virginia G. Piper personally invested in building the Clubhouse in the Scottsdale Ranch Neighborhood more than 30 years ago, giving youth in that area access to nationally tested programs that help kids succeed.

“Virginia Piper’s investments have created a legacy in Greater Scottsdale that will live on with this substantial grant,” added Gilreath. “We are so very grateful for her life-changing generosity.”

BGCS’s Clubhouses in Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, North Phoenix, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and the Hualapai Nation in Peach Springs are open to all youth, ages five to 18. No child is turned away for inability to pay and BGCS provides more than $1.2 million in program assistance annually.

Thunderbirds Charities awards $50,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale to support local youth

Grant will fund programming for youth and training for staff

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) was awarded $50,000 from Thunderbirds Charities—the charitable giving arm of the Thunderbirds, host of the Waste Management Phoenix Open—to support community youth academically and emotionally.

The grant will help the youth development organization combat the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth in the communities BGCS serves in the northeast Valley.

“The challenges our youth are facing today loom heavy and test their resiliency,” said Ivan Gilreath, BGCS President and CEO. “Our Clubs are well-equipped to provide the support and assistance youth need to bounce back. Thunderbirds Charities’ funding is so important in our ability to do what we do best under these new circumstances, help kids succeed.”

The Club uses fun, project-based learning that engages its members in discovery, creative expression and group work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Thunderbirds Charities funding will also support emotional wellness programs that help kids become resilient with positive coping strategies, and provide emotional wellness training for Club staff.

“Every kid can benefit from the safe environment, our caring youth development professionals, and our award-winning programming. Parents also find comfort in knowing they have a partner in helping their child find success. After this past year, kids need us more than ever.” said Gilreath.

BGCS’s Clubhouses in Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, North Phoenix, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Haulapai Nation in Peach Springs are open to all youth ages five to 18. No child is turned away for inability to pay and BGCS provides more than $1.2 million in program assistance annually.

Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale at www.bgcs.org.




Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) serves thousands of youth at eight Clubs located within the communities of Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Fountain Hills, Mesa, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Hualapai Nation, and an outreach site in Anthem. Research shows that when compared to their peers, Club members have a higher interest in pursuing STEM careers, volunteer more in their local communities and are more physically active. No matter the circumstances that bring a child to us, our youth development professionals help them set and achieve personal, academic and creative goals. We work to prove that every kid has what it takes. Great futures start here.


Thunderbirds Charities was established in 1986 as the charitable arm of the Phoenix Thunderbirds. Its purpose is to grant funds generated by the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to support organizations that assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Each year, Thunderbirds Charities solicits grant proposals that support at-risk youth and families, community outreach/quality of life, education, improving the lives of the physically and mentally challenged or works to eliminate domestic violence, homelessness and poverty.

312 kids and teens take part in Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s annual back to school shopping events

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ – Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale held its annual back-to-school shopping events last week at Kohl’s in Desert Ridge providing an opportunity for 272 valley club members selected by need to purchase new clothes, shoes, and backpacks. Youth members received $125 and teens were allotted $150 to shop for essentials. Next weekend another 40 club members at the BGCS Peach Springs branch will shop at the Flagstaff Kohl’s.

Through the program, youth ages 5 through 18 who qualify for free or reduced lunch or are in Foster Care are invited to participate in what the youth development organization calls its annual Kid Spree. Funding for this program comes from donations including a $15,000 lead donation from the Scottsdale Active 20/30 Club.

“The kids are excited to have this opportunity to shop for the latest styles to start the school year out on the right foot,” said Ivan Gilreath, BGCS President and CEO. “I think we can all remember the feeling we had with a brand new pair of jeans and sneakers for that first day of school. This program gives our kids who need us most a huge boost of confidence.”

Kohl’s opens its doors early for the events so that the kids have the store to themselves while they shop. To make the day even more special, Ralph the Sneaky Big Studios raccoon was on hand to cheer the young shoppers on and pose for photos.

BGCS is open to kids and teens at nine locations with after-school programming that includes homework help; cutting-edge learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math in their brand new STEAM Makerspace Studios; leadership and good citizenship; and fitness and healthy choices.

Learn more about BGCS after-school programs at www.bgcs.org.


Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale celebrates 30th anniversary of Virginia G. Piper Branch

Open house features a look back at the Piper Branch beginnings along with showcasing the world-class programs offered today

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ (June 4, 2021) – On Friday, June 4, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) marked the 30th Anniversary of the opening of its Virginia G. Piper Branch with a community open house.

Among the more than 125 guests at the event were Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega, Virginia G. Piper’s nephew Paul Critchfield, philanthropist and the first woman BGCS Board Member Mary Ellen McKee.

The Piper Branch, located in the Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood, is now the oldest of the organization’s current nine sites located throughout the northeast valley and up to Peach Springs.

After three decades in the community, the Club has impacted the lives of thousands of youth and teens who have spent their out of school hours building life-long friendships, playing games, participating in sports, making art, working on STEM projects, getting homework help, and building resiliency and confidence with the help of caring adult mentors.

As part of BGCS’s commitment to building great futures, this past November, construction was completed on a space within the Piper Club focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM).

Inside the Ellie & Michael Ziegler STEAM Makerspace, Club members take part in projects with connections to real-world applications using equipment like 3D printers, laser engravers, electronics, robotics, drones, and circuitry.

BGCS dates its beginnings back to 1957 with the opening of a Boys Club at East Osborn Road and 75th Street. The first Scottsdale Girls Club opened in 1961. It wasn’t until 1992 that the Boys Clubs and Girls Club would merge to become Boys & Girls Clubs of Scottsdale.

For more information about the STEAM Makerspace Studios or other Club programming, please call 480-344-5520 or visit www.bgcs.org.

Ivan Gilreath to take the helm as BGCS President and CEO

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS), a youth development organization serving thousands of kids and teens at nine locations in and around the north Valley, announced that Ivan Gilreath will fill the role of President and Chief Executive Officer beginning Monday, Feb. 1.

“The BGCS Board of Governors is excited to begin this new chapter with Ivan in the top executive spot,” said Janet Caldarelli, Chair of the BGCS Board of Governors. “His more than two decades of corporate executive experience including success in strategic planning, growth, and community engagement will be an asset as we continue to expand our community alliances and strive to serve more kids and teens with an exceptional Club experience.”

Gilreath is relocating to the Valley from Omaha, Nebraska, where he served for 10 years as President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of The Midlands. Prior to that, he spent five years as President of ING’s Employee Benefits Division and 20 years in Mutual of Omaha’s Group Insurance Division, respectively.

“I am excited to join BGC of Greater Scottsdale and work with the team and Board of Governors to bring quality, safe programming and to grow our membership in the Greater Scottsdale area,” said Gilreath. “I am very familiar with the area from my many trips to visit my children here, but I am looking forward to digging even deeper into what we can do to be even more effective in serving our community.”

Over the past year in response to COVID-19, BGCS adapted its youth development model to provide childcare and a place for kids to do their distance learning—an essential service for parents/guardians who are not able to stay home with their children.

Amidst the service adaptations and new comprehensive safety measures put in place, Caldarelli explained that the nonprofit also opened a community impact site in the north Phoenix community of Anthem and completed construction on its first dedicated makerspace focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) in the Virginia G. Piper Branch located in the Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood.

“Our board was unanimous in the selection of Ivan to be the next Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale President and CEO as we focus on impactful youth development programming and strengthening our community engagement,” said Caldarelli.

In Nebraska, Gilreath served on the University of Nebraska – Omaha College of Business National Advisory Board, the Jesuit Academy Board of Directors, the University of Nebraska Board of Trustees, the College of Saint Mary Board of Directors, and the University of Nebraska Foundation Governance Committee.

He received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MBA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.