Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers delivers $500,000 to Arizona teachers - AZEdNews
Sections    Friday March 24th, 2023

Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers delivers $500,000 to Arizona teachers

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  • Diane Meehl   |   Desert Financial

Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl

In what has become an annual tradition to honor, support and celebrate Arizona’s teachers, the Fiesta Bowl Organization is proud to award $500,000 to teachers through the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program.

As part of its mission to benefit Arizonans through youth, sports and education, the Fiesta Bowl granted 200 K-12 public and charter school teachers a $2,500 wish to be implemented in their classrooms.

The 200 teachers represented 161 schools across the state, teaching more than 70,000 students, from 177 schools, 67 School Districts and 45 cities.

“Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers has been built into the preeminent program for teacher support,” said Patrick Barkley, Chairman of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. “My mom was a teacher and we all know teachers who inspire us with selfless work, shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.”

Each fall, Arizona K-12 public or charter school teachers are invited to fill out an online application detailing their school or classroom need and, after meeting the criteria, wishes are selected by random drawing for teachers to receive a grant. Over the five years of the program, Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers granted $3.7 million to Arizona teachers, to nearly 850 teachers, impacting over 225,000 children across the state.

“What’s more fun than granting wishes? Wishes for Teachers is even more meaningful this year as teachers have adapted to extraordinary circumstances,” said Jeff Meshey, President and CEO at Desert Financial. “Desert Financial has made it a practice to support education to honor the legacy of our 15 founders, all teachers. It’s our pleasure to serve as the title partner for this year’s Wishes for Teachers and collaborate with Fiesta Bowl Charities to make those exciting calls to deserving teachers.”

Each of the unique 200 teacher wishes will benefit teachers and schools in technology, reading, music, fitness and more. The need this year was more in line with the circumstances related to COVID-19, with more technology needs, plexiglass dividers and flexible seating equipment than ever before.

“It’s been quite a year for teachers. We are honored to support them as they adjust to today’s circumstances yet still work tirelessly and selflessly every day to help our children on their life journey,” said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director. “Thanks to our partner Desert Financial, Wishes for Teachers helps Arizona’s teachers provide resources they have only wished to have in the past.”


Since 1971, the Fiesta Bowl is a world-class community organization that executes innovative experiences, drives economic growth and champions charitable causes, inspiring pride in all Arizonans during and outside of college football bowl season. As a nonprofit organization, it is driven by its vision for the importance of community outreach and service.