Editor’s note: Jeff Meshey is president and CEO of Desert Financial, and Mike Nealy is executive director of the Fiesta Bowl organization.

Jeff’s take:

As the President and CEO of a financial institution, I know something about the value of money. And yet, the currency that gets my attention the most is kindness. It’s why we started the Kindness Revolution beginning with the 2018 Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade.

As the single most attended event in Phoenix, the annual parade captured the pride of our state. When Desert Financial signed on as title sponsor of the parade in 2018, it proved an ideal vehicle for sharing Random Acts of Kindness.

READ ALSO: Desert Financial, Fiesta Bowl create Kindness Arizona

In this time of social distancing, kindness feels like a luxury. But after a year of isolation, community connections can’t wait and the needs across the state have only increased. So along with the Fiesta Bowl, two brands that symbolize the vibrant spirit of the Valley of the Sun, an idea to drive goodwill across the state — literally — was born. Kindness Arizona Caravan will hit the road with a four-city bus tour between March 22nd and March 26th with stops in Metro Phoenix, Prescott, Flagstaff and Tucson.

The Kindness Arizona Caravan lends financial resources and a helping hand to support education, youth and front-line workers, who’ve been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. As our partners at the Fiesta Bowl organization often say, “it’s more than just a game.” By taking Kindness Arizona to some deserving nonprofits, schools and individuals, we’re making sure kindness wins.

Mike’s turn: 

Football is a team game, where the sum of its parts combine to make a powerful force. At the Fiesta Bowl, we look for the same synergy in our partners, for change agents whose focus is to enrich our communities through service, volunteerism and impact. Desert Financial shares our servant leadership philosophy, with a mission to help those in our community who need it.

That’s exactly what has happened repeatedly when Desert Financial and the Fiesta Bowl have pushed our chips in together. The newest initiative we created, Kindness Arizona, takes our collective goodwill and parades across the state to deliver funds, equipment, supplies and cheer directly to communities where it’s essential.

We have big plans with 25 stops that will include teachers’ lounge makeovers, hygiene kit deliveries, donations to nonprofits, book drop-offs, new shoes for children and Random Acts of Kindness to schools, restaurants and other locations where we can spread some goodness. 

In 2018, Desert Financial became more deeply involved with the Fiesta Bowl as title sponsor for the annual parade. It has been a perfect match, as our two organizations share a strong call to be stewards and give back to the local communities we serve. Through the Parade, we celebrate what makes Arizona such an ideal place to live, work and play.

Mostly, we hope you, too, are inspired to spread kindness to your company, family or friends. You can also help by sharing #KindnessArizona on social media. Each time you do, a $10 donation will be made to the Be Kind People Project, up to $5,000. Follow the journey on social media @desertfinancial and @Fiesta_Bowl, and we’ll see you on the road, or online.