Darren Chapman, founder of the TigerMountain Foundation (TMF), is quick with a 100-watt smile. When someone finds their passion, it shows, and it is contagious. Coasting on a wave of positivity, Darren’s staff work hard and laugh easily. It is easy to observe that the team cares deeply about the community and are actively making it a better place.
Established in 2007, TMF empowers people by building community gardens, providing job skills and workforce development, and doing neighborhood revitalization and beautification. They have planted a flag in South Phoenix, and work tirelessly daily to combat recidivism, resolve wholesome food scarcity, and educate participants on job skills to learn a living wage. T*I*G*E*R stands for Tenacity, Integrity, Greatness, Empowerment, Resiliency-- and the organization focuses on giving the community a hand up, not a handout.
TigerMountain Foundation proved a natural partner during the pandemic shutdown. The Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center was shuttered, and without volunteer workdays the grounds became overgrown and unwelcoming. Because TMF employs local residents and provides workforce, experiential and service learning in Agri-landscaping practices, they were a perfect choice. Almost 2.5 year ago, Audubon reached out to TMF for help, and we were amazed at the transformation our center experienced—and the influx of our neighbors seeing the site for the first time. Walking and talking with the workers revealed genuine interest in birds and plants, and a willingness to help Audubon build the center into a true community resource.
With the untimely passing of Center Director Genaro Ruiz, Audubon again has reached out to the TigerMountain Foundation for assistance in Rio Salado’s day-to-day operations. We are pleased to announce that they have a fun-loving and hard-working team posted at the center, and they are giving the grounds the loving care it deserves. If you’ve not stopped by for a while, perhaps now is the time! Monsoon rains have brought a welcome green up and cool down, a perfect time to stroll the trails and say hi to TigerMountain!