March Madness is upon us, and one Indianapolis organization is working to harness the enthusiasm hoops fans have for their teams, benefiting charity in the process.
Brackets for Good has engaged 64 local not-for-profits in an online fundraising tournament that runs through April 4. Participants rack up points by collecting donations (which they get to keep), and winners advance round by round by raising more than their opponents. The ultimate victor gets an additional $10,000 from presenting sponsor Valeo Financial Advisors.
Launched in 2012 by two Butler University grads who were inspired by community support for the Bulldogs’ oh-so-close championship run the previous year, Brackets for Good aims to help organizations build awareness and attract new donors.
Eight organizations participated the first year, raising nearly $35,000. In 2013, 24 charities raised $113,000.
This year, “awareness skyrocketed,” said Executive Director and co-founder Matt McIntyre, so the field expanded to a more NCAA-like 64.
In the first 24 hours after the 2014 tournament tipped off, donors contributed $11,200 to participating charities. McIntyre expects fundraising to reach $250,000.
Not-for-profits don’t pay to participate, but they are subjected to what McIntyre called a rigorous evaluation before being selected. This year’s competitors run the gamut from the Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative to the Humane Society for Hamilton County. (Find the full lineup at bracketsforgood.org.)
Shepherd Community Center won last year, raising almost $41,500, including the $5,000 grand prize.