Fiesta Bowl Charities donates $1.5M to local communities

A view of a donation made by the Fiesta Bowl Charities (submitted photo)

A view of a donation made by the Fiesta Bowl Charities (submitted photo)

After record attendance numbers from both the 45th Annual Fiesta Bowl and 27th Annual Cactus Bowl and a successful bowl season, Fiesta Bowl Charities concluded its term by rounding up total beneficiaries from local state nonprofits and charities.

The largest portion of community giving, which totaled $1.5 million in grants to 60 nonprofit organizations, provided more than 600,000 children and youth with various essential resources and opportunities to grow, housed more than 20,000 low-income families in the Phoenix area and fed more than 300,000 children and families in immediate need.

In addition to the 2016 grants provided to organizations through its annual application process, Fiesta Bowl Charities surpassed all expectations of giving back by further donating personal time, both from Fiesta Bowl representatives and teams, and in game resources, to deserving causes across the state, according to a press release.

Charitable giving by the numbers:

  • Fiesta Bowl staff, board members, committee members and ambassadors volunteered more than 16,500 hours of time across different initiatives throughout the 2015-16 bowl season;
  • In total, Fiesta Bowl Charities donated approximately 8,112 game tickets to local nonprofits and charities, an estimated value of $448,860;
  • Fiesta Bowl Charities hosted more than 3,000 local veterans and 5,000 youth to the Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl games from nonprofit organizations spanning Military Assistance Mission, Fighter Country Foundation, 100 Club, Marine League Charities, VetTix, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Playworks, YMCA, HopeKids, OCJ Kids, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boys Scouts, Ronald McDonald House and many more;
  • Fiesta Bowl Charities raised $161,130, which went back into the community through several signature outreach programs throughout the year. These events included a Helicopter Ball Drop, ongoing 50/50 raffle, charity reception and more;
  • For the Fiesta Bowl Charities grant recipients, $6 million has been contributed to Arizona nonprofits over the past five years, with $1.5 million distributed to more than 60 organizations during the 2015-16 season alone. This amount is more than any other college football bowl game in the country, the release stated.

“We are more than just a football game. Positively impacting lives across the state of Arizona is at the core of who we are,” stated Mike Nealy, executive director at the Fiesta Bowl, in the release “Through the four pillars of Fiesta Bowl Charities – youth, sports, education and human services – we strive daily to make a difference in Arizona communities.”

Compared with previous years, Fiesta Bowl Charities has increasingly multiplied its influence across benefiting communities.

Just from the previous bowl season, Fiesta Bowl Charities tripled the number of its community outreach events and tripled the number of Spirit, the Fiesta Bowl mascot, appearances locally. Spirit events included visiting more than 50 nonprofits, accompanying Fiesta Bowl board members and staff at 20 check presentations and entertaining more than 100,000 fans between both bowl games.

Fiesta Bowl staff volunteered out in the community each month to show support for local nonprofit organizations, committing more time to charitable groups than ever before.

The 2016-17 grant cycle opened and will be accepting applications until June 6, the release stated. For more information on the great work being done locally by Fiesta Bowl Charities, or to apply for future seasons, visit

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