Diamondbacks Foundation Logo

CASA GRANDE — Two Pinal County schools will receive money through a special Diamondbacks grant program.

The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation announced this week that it will award funds from its D-Backs $100,000 School Challenge program to 20 schools statewide.

Casa Grande Middle School will receive $5,000 for Google Chromebooks.

Tyler Bruso, a teacher at CGMS, applied for the award.

“I applied for this grant when the CGMS principal, Mr. Laughland, shared that our school had given out all of our available devices to students and families. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a big need for computer devices and I was hopeful this grant could have an immediate impact on our students," Bruso said. "As a first-year teacher with CGESD, I wanted to show my support and commitment to the success of my students right off the bat. I'm extremely thankful for the D-backs support of education throughout our state and honored they awarded our school with this grant.”

Walker Butte Elementary School in San Tan Valley will also receive a portion of the funding for its Outdoor Ecosystems and Biological Phenomenon program.

The D-Backs School Challenge program is presented by University of Phoenix.

With more than 250 submissions from Arizona schools, the winning grants go all around the state and will fund projects ranging in need from school improvements to innovative educational programs, the press release said

Through the School Challenge program, the D-Backs have provided more than 240 schools with grants for an overall monetary commitment of more than $1.1 million since the program launched in 2012, the press release said.

“Winning schools will use the grant money to satisfy an array of needs, ranging from a music technology program which combines STEM and music concepts; a Sports Content Club where students can create videos, graphic designs and similar promotions to highlight the hundreds of student athletes on campus; and a Construction Class to design and build an outdoor space using STEM concepts complete with solar panel shade areas,” the press release said.

Other projects include updating school library programs, a cooking class focused on healthy eating, a community garden, equipment for science experiments and additional technology to assist with distance learning.

“The School Challenge is a longstanding part of our partnership with the D-Backs,” University of Phoenix Provost and Chief Academic Officer John Woods said in the press release. “Together we get to support teachers and schools who apply for grants to do innovative things that improve education across the entire state of Arizona. I’m always amazed by the great ideas put forth by Arizona’s teachers and proud to partner with the D-Backs in support of those efforts.”

The school challenge is part of the organization’s charitable efforts.

All public, private and nonprofit charter schools were eligible and the winning schools sought to bring in funds to assist in one of four categories: educational programs, innovation and technology, nutrition and fitness, and school/campus improvements.


Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.