The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation has announced a $288,000 grant to the Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council to expand its Girl Scouts Beyond Bars (GSBB) program. The groundbreaking initiative empowers girls to connect with their incarcerated mothers and thereby break intergenerational cycles of imprisonment. Children who have a parent in jail or prison are five to seven times more likely to be incarcerated themselves later in life, making them highly at-risk. About 96,000 Arizona children currently have a parent behind bars.
GSBB encourages bonding to mitigate the impact of parental separation during some of the most crucial years for mental development. Through the program, girls regularly see their mothers. At these meetings, mothers and daughters engage in activities designed to build confidence and provide the skills needed to make positive life decisions.
The GSBB program is offered at no cost. Participants are encouraged to attend troop meetings and become engaged with the larger Girl Scout community. Last year, the program served 75 girls and their mothers. With the new grant, the program plans to expand to 100 girls and train dozens of new volunteers.
In June 2014, Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson rallied thousands of riders for a grand re-opening to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi (BGCNMS). Together with The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson organized a massive party that brought together rock legends Black Oak Arkansas and Molly Hatchett for an evening of fun and celebration. Thanks to a $100,000 donation from Bob Parsons himself, the event brought in more than $110,000 for the local Boys & Girls Clubs chapter.
To attend the festival, riders could submit a motorcycle endorsement that covered both the rider and one passenger. Non-riders could also attend the festival for a suggested donation of $20. All proceeds from T-shirt and ticket sales went directly to BGCNMS, along with 20 percent of all vendor sales at the event. The organization will use the money to expand its after-school and summer programs, which provide a safe space for thousands of children and teens across North Mississippi.
In April 2014, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation made a $500,000 gift to the Arizona Burn Foundation (ABF), the largest gift to the organization in its nearly 50-year history. ABF recently undertook a $5 million strategic growth campaign to fund its expansion throughout the state. The only organization of its kind in Arizona, ABF offers emotional and financial support for individuals who have survived critical burns. The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation gift, which contributes to the campaign, will allow ABF to undertake new prevention and outreach programs for the benefit of individuals throughout Arizona.
A crucial part of ABF’s plan for the future is a new Foundation Center in Phoenix. This center will provide indispensable infrastructure as the organization expands its programs. Individuals will be able to come to the center for volunteer training. In addition, the center will house educational programs about proper smoke-alarm installation and burn-camp counseling. The recent gift has allowed ABF to begin construction of the Foundation Center.
Recently, the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS held its annual Night for Life Gala in cooperation with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Richard P. Stahl. During the event, Bob and Renee Parsons announced that their foundation would match, dollar for dollar, every donation made over the course of the program.
The event included the personal stories of seven courageous individuals who revealed their HIV status and personal stories for the first time. Moved by their bravery, Bob and Renee Parsons pledged an additional million dollars to the organization.
Bob Parsons, who lost two cousins to AIDS in the 1980s, wished to commemorate their lives and to emphasize the need to break the stigma that surrounds HIV.
Support for the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS is more important than ever, as rates of HIV in Arizona continue to rise. A 2012 study estimated that 17,000 individuals in Arizona were living with the disease, about 18 percent of whom were unaware of the infection. The center serves more than 30,000 HIV-positive and at-risk individuals in the state.
A prominent nonprofit organization located in Phoenix, Arizona, Circle the City delivers valuable medical care and human services to individuals in need in the greater Phoenix area. Through its Medical Respite Center for men and women in need, Circle the City provides a place for patients to recover from a full range of medical procedures and avoid having to return to the streets to recover.
A 50-bed facility with medical professionals from many different specialties, the Circle the City Medical Respite Center assigns every incoming patient to a case manager who connects patients with employment resources, benefits, and permanent housing opportunities. Patients benefit from access to services such as substance abuse treatment, psychiatric consultations, AA groups, and mental health therapy. The Medical Respite Center at Circle the City also offers a community reintegration program, which uses activities such as sporting events and local museum trips to support the healing process. After their treatment is complete, more than 75 percent of all patients at the Medical Respite Center find permanent or transitional housing.
Over the first few months of 2014, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has donated more than $3.5 million to charities and institutions in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. These donations have gone to support a wide range of philanthropic efforts, such as Birdies for Breast Cancer. This organization, founded by LPGA golfer Cristie Kerr, funds breast cancer research and has undertaken various preventative programs in Phoenix. Birdies for Breast Cancer received $100,000 from the foundation.
Bob Parsons and his wife also pledged $1 million to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix and $2 million to Make-A-Wish Arizona on the occasion of its annual Wish Ball. The Parkinson Center grant will fund research on treatment options for people living with Parkinson’s disease and provide support for them and their families. The donation to Make-A-Wish Arizona will help the organization improve the quality of life for children with catastrophic illnesses.
Another Phoenix-area beneficiary is the Arizona Burn Foundation, which received $500,000, the largest gift in the organization’s history. This foundation provides emotional and financial support to people with burns.
Since GoDaddy.com founder and executive chairman Bob Parsons became the owner of Mississippi’s Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson, placing it within Scottsdale, Arizona-based YAM Worldwide, Inc.’s family of businesses, he has sought ways to not only celebrate local motorcycle clubs and culture, but also to work with them in order to create better communities.
Earlier this year, Bob Parsons commenced planning for a major event that will take place on June 7 in Southaven, Mississippi, the home of Southern Thunder. The event will celebrate the dealership’s reopening with food, libations, and musical performances by local acts such as 714, Nuttin Fancy, and Trullie Brae. While the event will be free with a motorcycle endorsement, donations will be accepted to support Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi, which maintains five clubhouses benefiting over 2,000 youth in the area. Ticket and T-shirt sales, as well as a portion of vendor proceeds, will also benefit the organization.