Southern Arizona McDonald’s Locations Bolstering Schools’ Communities and Budgets

Sierra Vista, AZ | Submitted by LeAnn Richards

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The principal greeted families at the door as teachers chatted with parents and students at tables. Children greeted their friends while their parents exchanged stories with others. It might have looked like a run-of-the-mill elementary school open house, but it was all unfolding in a McDonald’s in southern Arizona. And it was going to have big benefits for the school.

Every spring, elementary schools in Benson, Douglas, Nogales and Sierra Vista benefit from the McTeacher’s Night Challenge, an annual event held by local McDonald’s locations. It’s not uncommon for schools to hold fundraisers at local restaurants, but the McTeacher’s Night Challenge takes it one step further, by encouraging school faculty and staff to serve the food and interact with families who attend. The result is a lively and informal open house atmosphere, where even parents who don’t usually attend events at the school are willing to join in.

And the school walks away with 20 percent of the sales for the evening. They’re even able to set up “tip” jars to encourage parents to give more. Some schools earn more in “tips” than they do from the sales, and school that earns the most from each community gets a $500 or $1,000 matching grant from the McDonald’s franchisor, LeAnn Richards.

To make the events even more engaging for the kids, the schools provide fun, educational activities that are tailored to the individual events. These activities cover everything from math to nutrition.

Every year, McDonald’s donates close to $22,000 to elementary schools in these rural communities. The funds are used for everything from technology upgrades to PTO projects. But beyond the funds, the events are a great community asset where families can bond with teachers and administrators in a light-hearted environment.

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