Buzzer-beating shots. Cinderella stories. One shining moment. If you’re a college basketball fan, there’s already a lot to feel good about during March Madness.
But this spring, why not feel good by participating in a different type of bracket challenge? With Brackets for Good, the basketball teams are replaced with nonprofits, which go head-to-head to raise money for their respective cause. The charity that earns the most “points” — one point equals one dollar — advances to the next round in the tournament.
This year, 64 organizations are included in the bracket and there are prizes for teams as they advance through the rounds, as well as a grand price of $10,000, courtesy of Valeo Financial Advisors, the sponsor of Brackets for Good. “The concept of competitive or gamified giving attracts new donors,” Matt Duncan, one of Brackets for Good’s founders, told Fast Co.Exist. “It’s a different way for a nonprofit to ask for dollars, and it’s a different way for a donor to give and have their dollars amplified through the tournament.”
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Duncan, along with his friend and coworker Matt McIntyre, dreamed up Brackets for Good as they watched their beloved Butler University Bulldogs get walloped by the University of Connecticut’s Huskies in the 2011 championship game. The Indianapolis residents were moved by the excitement that had overtaken their city and wondered how they could bottle that energy for a good cause. After what they called an “impromptu brainstorming session” they settled on a rough idea for Brackets for Good. They approached fellow coworker Dave Cornelius and asked him to build them a bracket. And with that, Brackets for Good was born.
The first Bracket was launched in March 2012 and included eight Indiana nonprofits. Together, these teams raised around $32,000, with an average of $3,600 for each charity. Last year, they expanded the bracket to 24 “teams,” which included both local groups and ones from the Washington, D.C. area. Together, they raised almost $113,000, with an average per nonprofit of around $4,290. This year, with 64 teams competing, McIntyre and Duncan expect the charities to raise around $500,000. Sure, it seems unlikely that sports fans will get as jazzed up about Brackets for Good as they will for their March Madness picks. But think of it this way: In the game of charitable giving, everyone wins.
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