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Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers Delivers $1 Million to Arizona Teachers
By Alison Bailin - Monday Nov 15, 2021
In what has become an annual tradition to honor, support and celebrate Arizona’s teachers, the Fiesta Bowl Organization is proud to award $1 million to teachers through the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program.

A three-day Virtual Draft Day presented by Salt River Project (SRP) granted 400 K-12 public and charter school teachers a $2,500 wish to be implemented in their classrooms.

“I love Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Draft Day presented by SRP, it is so exciting when we call each teacher to let them know their name was selected as a grant recipient,” said Patrick Barkley, Chairman of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. “Wishes for Teachers is well-known around the state as the preeminent program for teacher support. My mom was a teacher, and we all know teachers who inspire us with their selfless work.”

The 400 teachers represent 300 schools in 63 cities across the state, teaching more than 200,000 students in 84 districts over 75 subjects, from social studies to special education, literature to leadership, music to math.

“They may not wear capes, but teachers are real-life superheroes. They give tirelessly to their students and Wishes for Teachers is our opportunity to reward them for their efforts,” said Jeff Meshey, President and CEO at Desert Financial. “Desert Financial was founded by teachers—we continue their legacy by returning as the title partner for this year’s Wishes for Teachers, in partnership with Fiesta Bowl Charities. Teachers often pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, so there’s no greater way to express our gratitude than by granting their classroom wishes.”

Each fall, Arizona K-12 public or charter school teachers are invited to fill out an online application detailing a school or classroom need. Thee wishes are verified and selected by random drawing for teachers to receive a grant. Over the six years of the program, Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers granted $4.7 million to more than 1,200 Arizona teachers, impacting more than 500,000 children across the state.

“Helping teachers, supporting children in the classroom and improving our overall community is what we strive for and do daily at SRP, which is a not-for-profit, community-based utility,” said Andrea Moreno, manager of SRP Community Stewardship. “SRP contributes more than $1.3 million to education initiatives, grants and partnerships throughout Arizona, in addition to providing free training and resources to educators throughout the state, but draft day is special because of the element of surprise and the joy it gives our sacrificial educators.”

Each of the 400 unique wishes will benefit teachers, schools and students by providing technology, classroom furniture, fitness equipment, reading materials and much more.

“Teachers are our unsung heroes, who give so much to our students in helping them become tomorrow’s leaders. Giving them a spotlight for their selfless work and support them with extra resources is an important part of the Fiesta Bowl’s commitment to our community,” said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director. “Thanks to our partners Desert Financial and SRP, Wishes for Teachers help rewards Arizona’s teachers and give them a step forward in ways they may have only wished.”


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, Guaranteed Rate Bowl and its year-round events, such as the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, 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 more than 80 years in Arizona, Desert Financial is the state's most trusted local credit union with over $7.5 billion in assets, 375,000+ members and 47 branches. Membership eligibility is open across most of Arizona with contactless solutions via eBranch, making it easy to click, call or come in. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Financial takes pride in sharing success. In 2020, members received $14 million in dividends via the Member Giveback Bonus, and Desert Financial gave more than $5 million in COVID-19 relief plus donations, scholarships and Random Acts of Kindness to our members, community and team. Learn more at


SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 750,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users. To learn more, visit