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More Than a Game

Ahwatukee resident Jim Kebert scores touchdown for community through volunteerism with Fiesta Bowl

There are few things Jim Kebert loves more than living in Ahwatukee, where he has been a resident since 1986. At the top of his list is being a Fiesta Bowl Yellow Jacket Committee Member since 1999. Named the Fiesta Bowl’s Frank Snell Lifetime Achievement Award Winner for his two-decade dedication to the organization, Kebert is proud of the philanthropic impact the Fiesta Bowl has had across Arizona.

In honor of the upcoming PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, which will take place on Jan. 1. 2022, at State Farm Stadium, Kebert shares some of the lesser-known community projects he and his committee have accomplished in recent years:

Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers

In what has become an annual tradition to honor, support and celebrate Arizona’s teachers, this program has granted $4.7 million to more than 1,200 Arizona teachers, impacting over 500,000 children across the state since its inception. The 2021 Virtual Draft Day event presented by SRP, which took place over three days in November, granted 400 K-12 public and charter school teachers each a $2,500 wish to implement in their classrooms.

Fiesta Bowl Charitable Giving Program

At the heart of the Fiesta Bowl is a simple mission: to enhance organizations that contribute to the success of their communities through youth, sports and education. In 2021 alone, Fiesta Bowl Charities selected 51 Arizona nonprofits to receive grants, including A New Leaf, Ability360, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley, Gabrielle’s Angels, HopeKids, Playworks and Ryan House, impacting more than 575,000 individuals in the process.

Fiesta Bowl KABOOM Playground Builds

In 2016, the Bowl partnered with KABOOM!, a national nonprofit that builds playgrounds in underserved communities, and committed to building two local playgrounds a year, with the goal of providing a safe space for kids throughout the entire state of Arizona. To date, they’ve built 10 playgrounds statewide, including the most recent build to support A New Leaf’s East Valley After School Program.

Arizona Milk Producers Fiesta Bowl Youth Football Clinic

Each year, kids ages 7-14 participate in this free noncontact clinic to learn more than just the fundamentals (though those are taught as well). Participants spent the day learning, practicing and going through various drills while developing confidence, a strong work ethic and motivation that will help them succeed on and off the field.

Pandemic Relief

Amid COVID-19, Fiesta Bowl Charities donated 50,000-plus pieces of personal protective equipment, provided nearly 3.75 million meals to those in need, supported more than 688,000 youth through grant programs and personally touched nearly 50 local nonprofits via time and financial contributions.

For more information on Kebert’s work with the Fiesta Bowl and its impact, visit fiestabowl.org.

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