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Cool philanthropy you should copy: Arizona’s Four Peaks Brewing is donating school supplies to 10,000 teachers this summer

This article was originally published in Craft Brewing Business.

Four Peaks Brewing Co., Arizona’s largest brewery, just announced the 2020 launch of Four Peaks For Teachers, the brewery’s annual fundraiser to support teachers by providing them with free kits full of school supplies.

Created in 2011 by Four Peaks cofounder Jim Scussel, Four Peaks For Teachers was conceived to help reduce the financial burden on teachers in the Southwest, many of whom spend hundreds of dollars on school supplies each year without reimbursement. Using direct donations and funds raised through beer sales, Four Peaks purchases the supplies teachers need most, from scissors and staplers to pencils and paper, and builds kits to hand out for free in multiple cities and states. This year, the brewery’s goal is to distribute 10,000 kits to teachers in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

“It’s humbling to see how Four Peaks For Teachers has grown to impact more and more teachers over the years,” Scussel said. “But it’s also frustrating that the financial burden on teachers only keeps growing. Teachers have one of the toughest and most important jobs in the country, and it’s hard to believe they’re asked to do that job without the supplies they need. They need support now more than ever.”

Starting in July, Four Peaks will set aside a portion of sales of its flagship Scottish ale, Kilt Lifter, for the Four Peaks for Teachers program. Customers located outside Four Peaks’ distribution footprint can also make a direct, tax-deductible donation to the program at fourpeaksforteachers.org. In August, the funds raised will be used to purchase, fill and distribute kits of school supplies to 10,000 teachers. The more Kilt Lifter sold and the more direct donations made, the more supplies that can be included in each kit.

After expanding Four Peaks For Teachers outside Arizona for the first time last year, Four Peaks has added even more kit pickup locations in 2020. Teachers will be able to pick up supplies in the following cities:

  • Arizona: Flagstaff, Havasu, Kingman, Laveen Village, Litchfield Park, Marana, Mesa, Phoenix, Prescott Valley, Scottsdale, Sierra Vista, Tempe, Tucson, Yuma
  • Nevada: Las Vegas
  • New Mexico: Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Farmington, Santa Fe

Teachers interested in reserving a free school supply kit can do so at fourpeaksforteachers.org.

Jess Neill, a teacher and instructional coach for the Laveen Elementary School District, has participated in Four Peaks for Teachers since the program’s inception nine years ago. She says the program is vital — especially for new teachers.

“First-year teachers legitimately have nothing,” Neill said. “They don’t realize they need things like staplers, or scissors, and their school districts might not provide them.”

Part of why Four Peaks for Teachers is so great, she says, is because the kits that are donated come with those things young teachers assume they’re automatically given. And the costs of those items adds up. Neill says that she spent $1,000 on supplies during a nine-month period early in her teaching career, and though the school district she’s in currently is much better about providing equipment for teachers, she still spends hundreds of dollars a year on extra supplies for her students.

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need Four Peaks for Teachers,” said Neill. “But it’s good to know we have it.”

More information about Four Peaks For Teachers can be found at fourpeaksforteachers.org.

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