Homerun Hometown Heroes

The Tempe Diablos Support the City, One Game at a Time

Diablo might be Spanish for “devil,” but the Tempe Diablos are anything but when it comes to their impactful, transformative work within the community.

“We were formed in 1968 when the Tempe Chamber of Commerce put together a team of like-minded business leaders to help attract a Spring Training team to the city,” says Greg Garcia, president of the Tempe Diablos and an active member of the organization since 2008. “Through our founding members, the Tempe Diablos succeeded in attracting the Seattle Pilots—now the Milwaukee Brewers—to town in 1969.”

But, according to Garcia, that was just the beginning.

“In the years since—which has included hosting and volunteer duties in partnership with the Fiesta Bowl when it was in Tempe, as well as a host of other bowl games, and of course, our current work with the Anaheim Angels to host their Spring Training season at Tempe Diablo Stadium—we evolved into a premier fundraising and philanthropic group in Arizona,” says Garcia. “At our core, we focus on providing leadership and resources that create worthwhile opportunities, especially for our youth.”

Today, the organization has 44 active Tempe Diablos. Together, the team volunteers its time and raises funds for good via Spring Training but also hosts several signature events in the Southeast Valley, including the Diablos College Tennis Invitational Presented by Dan Treon Law, a three-day tournament in partnership with Arizona State University Men’s Tennis held annually in March; LPGA Ford Championship, also held in March; multiple charity golf tournaments; and Ignite the Night Safari Party, set this year for April 20 at the Phoenix Zoo.

“Ignite the Night is a re-imagined take on our longtime signature spring event, Casino Capers,” says Bill Ottinger, a Tempe Diablo since 2011, past president, and the event co-chair. “At its heart, it is an epic celebration of the work we are able to accomplish and a way to honor our many partners and supporters, as well as a fundraiser in its own right.”

According to Ottinger, by moving the event to the Zoo for the first time ever this year, they are able to have some fun with the theme.

“It will be a roaring good time—literally, if the lion habitat has anything to say about it—with a full safari vibe from the decor to the dress code. Except, no loincloths, please!” says Ottinger. “Guests can delight in amazing food and drink, live music, dancing, and other ‘wild’ surprises.”

The funds from each of the fundraising events collectively benefit the community in myriad ways. 

“Thanks to our tireless volunteers, not to mention sponsors including McCarthy Construction, Blue Cross Blue Shield, People’s Mortgage, and more, we were able to donate nearly $500,000 in grants to 70 nonprofits in the past year,” says Ottinger.

Among the organizations that have benefited from the Tempe Diablos in recent years are Ballet Arizona, Lily’s Pad, Amanda’s Hope Rainbow Angels, EMPACT Suicide Prevention, Best Buddies, Village 360, ACCEL, Child Crisis Arizona, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Raising Special Kids, Save the Family Foundation, the City of Tempe, and more.

“We also provide approximately $240,000 in local college, trade school, and continuing education scholarships. And in May, we will honor the top educators in our community at our annual Excellence in Education Awards, a black-tie affair that rivals any in the Valley,” says Garcia, noting the organization also sets aside funds for active volunteer events, including providing Thanksgiving meals for families in need.

“In the years since … we evolved into a premier fundraising and philanthropic group in Arizona.”

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