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Desert Financial Credit Union Joins Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers as Title Sponsor
By Lisa Padilla - Tuesday Sep 15, 2020
More than 80 years after being founded by 15 Arizona educators with $78.75, Desert Financial has joined with the Fiesta Bowl to become title sponsor of the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Fiesta Bowl Organization will honor, celebrate and support Arizona teachers with the opening of applications for the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program.

After several years as a participating sponsor, Desert Financial Credit Union has elevated its involvement to become title partner, tying into its mission of supporting schools, teachers and students to build strong communities.

"Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers is our way of giving a heart-felt 'Thank you' and recognition to teachers for the unsung work they do with our communities' youth. Now more than ever we are seeing the sacrifices teachers make on a daily basis," said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director. "This year we are proud to have Desert Financial Credit Union as our title sponsor after working with their amazing team during the duration of the program."

All Arizona K-12 public and charter school teachers are eligible, with the application period open through October 16. Fill out the online application at, detailing the teacher's school or classroom need. After meeting the criteria, wishes are selected at random for 200 teachers to each receive a $2,500 grant.

"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 had a long history of supporting 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."

Wishes for Teachers Draft Day will be a virtual experience on November 10. Local community heroes and celebrities will select teachers at random and personally notify each of the 200 teachers who will receive a grant. Over the past four years, wishes have ranged from new computers for classrooms to special education sensory and manipulative materials, vision testing and glasses for students, laundry machines and everything in between.

"Every year we get to see our teachers enhance their classrooms in ways that they know best," said Patrick Barkley, Chair of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. "Much like the Fiesta Bowl is More Than Just A Game®, teachers are more than just educators. They are heroes for hope and champions of change. Seeing how they use the Wishes for Teachers grant money is always inspiring."

Fast Facts about Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers:

• 200 teachers will receive a $2,500 grant, totaling $500,000
• Applications open on September 14 and close at 5 p.m. on October 16
• $3.2 million granted over the last four years to nearly 650 teachers through Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers
• 300,000+ students at 400 schools across the state have been impacted through Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers over the last four years
• Open to all K-12 public and charter school teachers
• College Football Playoff Foundation has been a financial and supporting partner in all five years of the program
• CFP Foundation Extra Yard for Teachers BIG DAY is September 14 - the largest single-day effort of community impact ever undertaken by the extended college football family
• Fiesta Bowl Charities donated $4 million in charitable giving for 2019-20 season
• Fiesta Bowl Charities donated $16.5 million in charitable giving over last nine years

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. Through the PlayStation® Fiesta Bowl, Cactus Bowl and its year-round events, such as the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, presented by Cheez-It®, corporate partnerships and numerous community events throughout the year, the organization provides charitable giving to enhance Arizona nonprofit organizations that serve communities through youth, sports and education.

Celebrating 81 years in Arizona, Desert Financial is the state's largest local credit union with $6 billion in assets, more than 330,000 members and 47 locations across the Valley. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Financial takes pride in sharing success. In 2019, Desert Financial gave nearly $11 million to Valley nonprofits, the community and members. Learn more at Desert Financial Credit Union

Provided by Fiesta Bowl Communications