D-backs Raise Bar With $150,000 Back-To-School Challenge

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks announced today that due to the overwhelming response from the “D-backs $100,000 School Challenge” launched this past spring, the team is once again partnering with the University of Phoenix to raise the bar and will donate an additional $150,000 to benefit schools across the state of Arizona.

“With more than 700 applicants from the first round, we had to up the ante and increase the amount to $150,000 to be able to help more schools,” said D-backs’ President and CEO Derrick Hall. “The D-backs realize there is a great need in our community and we could not wait until next spring to make an impact, we knew we had to get this going again right away.”

The Arizona Diamondbacks have dubbed the fall program as the “D-backs $150,000 Back-to-School Challenge” because of the timeliness of the program re-launch with the new school year. Thirty schools will receive $5,000 each from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and University of Phoenix to improve their school or classroom, as teachers and faculty are encouraged to “make their best pitch” on why they deserve to receive this important funding.

During the first round of the program, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and University of Phoenix were able to assist 20 schools from across the state with needs such as educational supplies, books, updated computer programs, a mobile computer lab and an anti-cyberbullying program.

With the $5,000 grant, St. Louis the King Catholic School was able to remove asbestos in a second grade classroom to ensure a healthy environment for students and teachers. Desert Valley Elementary School was able to purchase four Xbox Kinect systems to help autistic children with hand-eye coordination, social skills and improve muscle strength. These are just a few of the impactful stories that developed from the first-time program.

Submissions from teachers and faculty will be accepted until September 14, 2012 at dbacks.com/schoolchallenge. The program is open to all Arizona public, private, and nonprofit charter schools, Grades K-12, with up to $150,000 in grants to be distributed.

“We are truly honored to be involved in a program that will directly benefit the youth of Arizona in such an important way,” said University of Phoenix President Dr. Bill Pepicello. “We all know how tight budgets are in our schools today and, therefore, how critical it is for Arizona’s organizations to ‘step up to the plate.’ We are proud to join the Arizona Diamondbacks in that effort.”

The $150,000 Back-to-School Challenge is part of the D-backs’ overall charitable efforts and earlier this season, the team and its charitable arm, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, surpassed $30 million in combined donations since their inception in 1998, including more than $4 million in 2011.