Borowsky: The benevolence of Scottsdale’s big event season

In just a few weeks Barrett-Jackson will kick-off an extraordinary run of impressive special events in Scottsdale, followed by the Waste Management Phoenix Open and spring training at Scottsdale Stadium.

Lisa Borowsky

Most of the time when discussing these events, the focus is on their tourism and economic impact, and rightfully so. But there is another very important element to each: Benevolence.

Let’s start with the “world’s greatest collector car auction.”

Last year, Barrett-Jackson raised $6.21 million for charity at its Scottsdale auction. The company focuses on causes associated with the military, children and health care. While some of the money raised goes to national organizations some stays right here too. Either way, the company’s achievement of raising over $100 million for charity is staggering, especially for a for-profit company.

And, that brings us to the most attended golf tournament in the world, held a couple of weeks after Barrett-Jackson. The nonprofit Phoenix Thunderbirds put on the PGA event.

The biggest crowds in the world of golf generate huge sums for local charities. Because that’s the mission of the Thunderbirds. Last year, the event and organization contributed $12 million, mostly to local charities such as Boys and Girls Clubs of Scottsdale, Arizona Helping Hands, and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona.

Several weeks later the energy heads south in Scottsdale for Scottsdale Stadium and spring training. There, the Scottsdale Charros, like the Thunderbirds, put on baseball games with the San Francisco Giants similar to what happens with the golf tournament.

The result is an atmosphere and attendance like few others in Major League Baseball. In return, the nonprofit Charros contribute over $1 million per year, primarily to local charities, including big contributions to students, teachers and programs in the Scottsdale Unified School District. The Charros have been hosting spring training here for decades, its volunteers being a primary reason spring training in Scottsdale is so special and impactful.

In each of these cases a big-time event uses city-owned facilities: WestWorld. TPC Scottsdale. Scottsdale Stadium. Rent is paid and economic impact certainly occurs. But in Scottsdale, with these events, there is a major ancillary benefit. Massive charitable contributions.

Each event does it a little differently. But each contributes mightily to those in need.
We’re lucky to have Barrett-Jackson, Phoenix Thunderbirds, Scottsdale Charros and their events for a lot of reasons, but millions to charity is chief among them.

Editor’s note: Ms. Borowsky served on Scottsdale City Council from 2009-13 and is the owner of the Scottsdale Law Group, a firm that focuses on general business and civil litigation

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