Most charitable bowl in nation focuses on youth programs during COVID-19

The most charitable college football bowl in the nation, Arizona’s own Fiesta Bowl, is donating $1 million in emergency relief to nonprofits across the state with a focus on feeding children and providing youth programming where it’s needed most during the coronavirus. 

Fiesta Bowl Charities also has officially opened its annual 2020-21 grant program to award funding and support to organizations dedicated to three pillars: youth, sports and education. In September, it will open applications for its Wishes for Teachers program. 

In all, the charity will donate $4 million this fiscal year, it’s highest amount since it was founded almost a half century ago. 

One million to fill gaps for food and youth programs  

The charity is providing $1 million to 18 nonprofits to help fill the gaps for food services and youth programming that are their biggest shortfalls right now, said Patrick Barkley, chair of the Fiesta Bowl of Directors. 

“When we started thinking about how we could best help, we picked up the phones and asked charities what their most urgent needs are,” Barkley said. “Overwhelmingly, they said the biggest impact would be made in providing the increasing numbers they are now serving with enough food to eat and helping them manage the larger amounts of emergency programming for children and single-parent families.”

With schools closed down, organizations need food to feed families and more youth programming as parents perform essential jobs. Organizations in the Phoenix metro region, Tucson, Nogales, southern Arizona, Casa Grande, Prescott, Flagstaff and the Navajo Nation are recipients.

Here are some of the organizations found to be most in need that are receiving funds:

Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels in Phoenix: Amanda Hope’s financial assistance requests from families have doubled as schools have shut down and parents have been laid off. Now, it will be able to provide families with groceries for the next four months.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley in metro Phoenix: Operating expenses more than tripled overnight between staffing costs and extended hours. Now serving as many as 1,115 kids per day with extended hours at 12 sites across the Valley, the goal is to extend to additional sites as needed. Clubs are now operating with expanded hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., instead of its usual after-school schedule. Normally, it operates at a 1-to-20 ratio of staff-to-child, but current rules require a 1-to-9 ratio. 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Casa Grande: One branch is operating specifically for health care professionals and essential workers, serving 60 kids. The donation will allow the branch to provide the necessary programming for nearly three months.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Flagstaff: Of the five locations, one will be open to severely impacted families and essential workers. Funding will be used for new needs across the branches including paying for added staff and cleaners for six weeks.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson: The club is opening up more academic programming at some sites for children who do not have access to online tools. The funds will serve over-and-above costs for up to two months.

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona: Numbers served have more than doubled, despite reduction in staffing and volunteer hours, and the donation will go directly to feed families in April and May. The Tucson warehouse food cooling system’s compressor went out, so the warehouse is getting new equipment.  

Maggie’s Place in Phoenix: With no donations coming in for diapers and wipes, the stock was almost entirely exhausted. Food donations were also down. The donation will help to pay for  emergency food boxes, food for the homes and shelters, diapers, and wipes over the next several months.

St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix and the Navajo Nation: Donations will provide nearly 15,000 backpacks for food to last every weekend for a month for children in Maricopa County and Navajo Nation in Apache County, one of the most food insecure counties in the U.S. 

Fiesta Bowl 2020-21 grant applications being accepted now

Fiesta Bowl Charities also has opened up its 2020-21 grant season for non-profits that support youth, sports and education. 

Arizona nonprofits can submit applications through May 26. Recipients will be honored at the Arizona Bank & Trust Fiesta Bowl Kickoff Luncheon August 25.

There are three levels of grants: Spirit of the Fiesta Bowl Grant at $100,000, Touchdown Grant at $50,000 and the Field Goal Grant at $25,000. 

For more information, go to: Fiesta Bowl Grants

Wishes for Teachers grants to open in September

In addition, the Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers program will once again give $5,000 grants each to 200 teachers during its annual Draft Day. Applications for the 2020-21 program. Applications are set to open in mid-September.

Most charitable college football bowl  

For almost 50 years, the Fiesta Bowl has been focused on charitable giving in between hosting several events each year including the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, the Cheez-It Bowl and the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade.

“Charitable giving is at the Fiesta Bowl Organization’s core and it’s inspiring to see how the nonprofits utilize the grant funds they receive,” Barkley said. “From creating a mobile science center to developing anti-bullying programs, we take great pride in our giving and serving our state through youth, sports and education.”For more information about the Fiesta Bowl, go to: Fiesta Bowl.

Victoria Harker

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