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Coaches for Charity gives back as another school season begins

Posted at 10:36 PM, Aug 22, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Tuesday morning, Ed Ackerley is presenting a $2,321 check to Manzo Elementary School on behalf of Coaches for Charity.

The organization's name may not sound local, but it very much is.

"Homegrown," said Ackerley. "We did it to try and celebrate Tucson, and it's really grown into something unique and different.

Ackerley, who is president, and Janet Hare, who is vice president, started Coaches for Charity fifteen years ago. The 501(c)(3) was initially organized to raise money offering access to play golf at a tournament with a University of Arizona coach.

"It metamorphosed into something else," said Ackerley.

The money presented Tuesday comes from a recent Bowl-a-Thon. Coaches for Charity is most known from its two biggest events. One is the annual Martin Luther King Day High School Basketball Classic at McKale Center.

"I would say the Kickoff Classic is the powerful event."

The Kickoff Classic has become the unofficial start to the high school football season. The Desert View Jaguars will play in one of two games later this week. It's their second straight year in the event.

"I've had any number of players and cheer team members comes up to me over the years and say the Kickoff Classic or the MLK Classic most exciting times in their athletic career.

Money is also raised through donations, or for example, sponsoring a table at its Kickoff Classic banquet.

Coaches for Charity works with Gap Ministries to provide holiday food baskets for those in need. Manzo Elementary administration says Tuesday's funds will go toward athletic supplies.

"To be able to help with athletic supplies and the other things we've done, it's a great way to pass my time," said Hare.

"We're really proud that we've been able to be sustainable for fifteen years and still doing what we're doing," said Ackerley.

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Jason Barr is a sports anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Jason's stories have won KGUN four prestigious regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for sports reporting. He has also won two Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards for sports reporting. Share your story ideas with Jason by emailing jason.barr@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.