Donor Spotlight: Q & A with Fiesta Bowl Charities
Can you share a little bit about Fiesta Bowl Charities history and its mission?
The Fiesta Bowl organization has been around for over 50 years. While we are known for big-time college football games (including a national semi-final playoff game coming later this year), the core of who we are is our mission. We are “More Than Just a Game.” We live that through our commitment to initiatives that support the Arizona community in youth, sports, and education.
The ways in which we give back vary greatly. We have a grant cycle every year, which is how we’ve most recently supported Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. In a typical grant cycle, we fund anywhere from 40 to 50 organizations and in 2021 we were able to contribute $3.5 million into the community.
We also have what we call “Legacy Projects.” Everything from playground builds to football field installations to resource room construction projects and many more combine to bring about our goal of direct impact in the areas of youth, sports, and education.
One initiative we take great pride in is our Wishes for Teachers program. We know that far too often teachers are dipping into their own pockets to support their classrooms. The Wishes for Teachers program gives back $1 million into Arizona classrooms in the form of $2,500 grants for individual teachers.
And while football is certainly the conduit, given the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and Guaranteed Rate Bowl, the heartbeat behind the Fiesta Bowl brand is really the “More Than Just a Game” motto and how we support the community.
Fiesta Bowl Charities has been a partner of BGCS for over 20 years. What has kept the relationship going strong for so many years?
For us, it’s our focus on our pillars of youth, sports, and education and that’s where we want to live. The best way for us to do that is to work with community organizations that are the experts in those fields, the ones that are moving the needle and are making that direct impact. Certainly, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is doing that and is a game-changer in that space.
We don’t want to be in the business of just writing checks. We want to come alongside and support in a meaningful way. We feel that we get to do that with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. What’s so great about the organization is it’s such a diverse population that is being served by the clubs. From the three clubs on native lands to the newer site up in Anthem, and all the clubs that make up the Scottsdale footprint, we’re happy to be involved and support the mission of BGCS.
What is Fiesta Bowl Charities most excited about as it relates to their most recent grant awarded to BGCS?
With our most recent support, we were really focused on the youth sports piece that BGCS does so well, like Biddy Basketball and their other organized sports leagues that make sure all kids have access to play sports. In the last few years, kids have been through so much navigating the pandemic. It’s important for Fiesta Bowl Charities to find ways to support programs that allow kids to get back to being a kid and learn those critical skills that happen when you’re out on a court or on a field doing a team sport.
We all know, it’s so much bigger than just the sport itself; it’s about teamwork, it’s about learning how to work with others, how to find leadership skills, how to try something new, how to push yourself physically, and to be able to support the sports programming happening at the club meant a lot to us.
The slogan of the grant is “Getting kids back in the game” and that echoes our, “More Than Just a Game” motto. It’s about the life lessons that happen when kids are doing sports. We are honored to be able to support the work and activities for the youth that Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale serves.
Sports are important at BGCS, it’s one of the main ways members are introduced to the club. From Fiesta Bowl Charities perspective, can you speak on the importance of organized sports and the life lessons that come from being in the game?
Sports is one of our pillars, and we really believe that lifelong lessons happen when playing in an organized league. Having an adult influence like a coach that’s able to speak into a child’s life and provide additional support that’s separate from a parent – like what BGCS staff members are doing daily – is so critical. Learning how to work as a team is a skill and attitude that you’re going to need to utilize for the rest of your life. Whether it’s in school, working on a group project, or one day navigating the corporate world, you’re going to be in a team setting and you’re going to need to know how to work with different personalities to find success.