Fiesta Bowl Charities is donating $2.5 million in charitable giving during the 2017-18 Fiesta Bowl season to nonprofit organizations in Arizona – the largest amount in Fiesta Bowl history and more than any college bowl organization.

Through its two annual bowl games in the Valley, the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and the Cactus Bowl, as well as community events throughout the year, Fiesta Bowl Charities has given more than $10 million to the Arizona community in the last seven years.

In partnership with The Be Kind People Project and its Be Fit. Be Healthy. Be Kind. series – a program built through grant funding from Fiesta Bowl Charities – 5,000 students, staff and community members from the Gilbert Public School District were in attendance at the Campo Verde High School football stadium to take part in a record-breaking funding announcement at a record-breaking assembly, the largest school health and wellness assembly in the history of Arizona.

“Fiesta Bowl Charities, our Board of Directors and entire organization are honored that we can enhance the lives of Arizonans through this increased level of funding that sets a new standard,” said Executive Director of the Fiesta Bowl, Mike Nealy. “Our three pillars of youth, sports and education drive everything we do, including determining where this money was distributed. We’ve seen how our state’s nonprofits maximize the funds they receive and we look forward to hearing the stories of how these charities implemented the grants in the year to come.”

In total 67 nonprofit organizations will benefit from this year’s $2.5 million. The expected impact includes:

  • Nearly 1 million people will receive direct benefits from the funding
  • Nearly 400,000 meals served
  • 250,000 underserved youth will receive additional education programming
  • Nearly 100,000 backpacks donated

In addition to the charitable organizations who receive funding, up to $500,000 of the total grant money will be donated through the Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers program. In the program’s inaugural year in 2016, 100 teachers state-wide earned a $5,000 grant to directly benefit students. Applications for the 2017-18 program will open in mid-September.

The announcement was held as part of a Be Fit. Be Healthy. Be Kind. educational assembly at Gilbert Public School District’s Campo Verde High School. The program was made possible as a result of the grant funding from Fiesta Bowl Charities and it teaches how to make proper nutrition choices, improve overall fitness and encourage kind behavior.

“The Be Kind People Project’s vision of building a generation of respectful, responsible, healthy, and caring citizens and leaders aligns perfectly with the values and mission of Fiesta Bowl Charities, and we are thrilled that over 60,000 students statewide will benefit from the support of the Fiesta Bowl grant,” said Marcia Meyer, CEO and Founder of The Be Kind People Project.

The interactive and high-energy assembly was the first of a series of Be Kind. Be Fit. Be Healthy. assemblies that will take place in schools throughout Gilbert Public Schools as part of the Town of Gilbert’s Kindness Campaign. Gilbert School District is the fourth-largest in the state of Arizona with more than 35,000 students and earned an A rating from the Arizona Department of Education. Campo Verde High School was named one of “America’s Best High Schools” by U.S. News & World Report. Six teachers from Gilbert Public Schools benefited from the Wishes for Teachers program in its inaugural year.

“Gilbert School District and the greater community celebrate the shared values of tradition, loyalty, family and academic excellence, all within a culture of kindness, respect and unity,” said Gilbert Public Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Zenter said. “We’re honored to be selected as the site for this record-breaking event, where the generosity of Fiesta Bowl Charities has directly supported our mission of community, honor and scholarship.”