Arizona’s Fiesta Bowl grants “Wishes for Teachers”

Scottsdale, AZ | Submitted by Scott Leightman

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Now in its third year, the Fiesta Bowl Charities’ Wishes for Teachers program is impacting more students than ever. What began with a desire to support Arizona educators, the Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers program donated half a million dollars directly to teachers in its first year alone.

“Teachers work so hard and have such an amazing impact,” noted Steven Leach, Chairman of the Board of the Fiesta Bowl. “We wanted to recognize their hard work, but also do something meaningful and individualized to support their work.”

For educators, it begins with a simple question: “If you had $5,000 for your classroom, what would you do with it?” Those who answer that question are eligible to win a grant that can make their dreams a reality.

Wishes have included items as simple as chairs and backpacks, to more unique resources, such as iPads, smart boards and exercise balls. Some teachers used the grant to fund STEM-related field trips, while one purchased eyeglasses for those students who needed them yet couldn’t afford them. Funds used for classroom supplies or learning experiences went a long way to helping teachers keep children engaged and inspired.

In the second year of the program, Fiesta Bowl Charities was joined by azcentral and, in total, more than $700,000 was distributed to more than 140 deserving teachers throughout the state of Arizona. The goal for the coming year will be to drive that figure over $1 million.

And it’s easy for teachers – an online application is all it takes. Visit for more information.

“We love being able to provide teachers this gift,” added Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl executive director. “It might not solve all of their challenges, but the grant makes a big difference and we’re amazed at how much teachers can do with it.”

The program is simple and impactful. It honors teachers and the invaluable work they do, while giving them a chance to enrich learning experiences of their students. Wishes for Teachers recognizes all of their applicants with a ticket to the Cactus Bowl and a tribute on the field during the game. At a time when school budgets are tighter than ever, honoring and appreciating teachers by giving them much-needed resources is more important than ever, and the Fiesta Bowl team is doing just that.

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