A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

‘Brackets For Good’ competition pits area nonprofits against each other in tourney where everyone wins

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By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

It’s February outside but there was a feeling of March Madness inside Rhinegheist Brewery in Over-the-Rhine Wednesday night.

Carol Buckout, left, and Krista Brown of MASTER Povisions in Florence talk with Reid McDowell of Brackets for Good at Rhinegeist Brewery in Over-the-Rhine Wednesday (photos by Mark Hansel).

A total of 57 Greater Cincinnati nonprofits, including several from Northern Kentucky, will participate in a bracket-style tournament to raise money for their organizations and compete for a $10,000 championship grant.

Local residents have the opportunity to rally their favorite charitable causes to victory in an online bracket-style competitive giving tournament, Brackets For Good Cincinnati 2017.

Indianapolis-based Brackets For Good pairs with corporate and nonprofit sponsors to host online, bracket-style fundraising tournaments in philanthropic communities around the United States. Brackets for Good has raised more than $2.75 million for local charities since its 2012 kick-off contest in Indianapolis.

“Thousands of people will learn about and support charitable organizations for the first time which has a profound and lasting impact on that individual, the organization receiving support, and the community as a whole,” said Matt McIntyre, co-founder & executive director of Brackets for Good.

Representatives from the local nonprofits participating in the event came together at Rhinegeist Brewery Wdnesday as pairings were revealed on the big board.

Click to enlarge

Carol Buckout of MASTER Provisions in Florence said the organization received an email inviting it to participate in the tournament and said it is very exciting.

“This is the first time that we have been involved in a social media, online type of fundraising program,” Buckout said. “The $10,000 grand prize would mean a lot for MASTER Provisions, it would allow them to do a lot throughout Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. There would definitely be a ripple effect because we help out so many other nonprofits.”

Participating nonprofits rally enthusiastic donors to out-fundraise their opponents in order to advance.

Through the excitement, localized marketing, and corporate involvement; nonprofits earn increased exposure, gain access to free fundraising tools, raise funds, and meet new donors. Dollars from donors translate to points, giving participants the opportunity to advance in each market bracket.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Brackets for Good,” said Karen Williams, vice president of development, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati. “For us, winning the tournament would allow us to serve more youth throughout Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Clermont County.”

The competition runs concurrent with the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. Competing nonprofits keep donations received during tournament play, no matter how many rounds they advance. The winning organization receives the additional $10,000 Championship grant.

A total of 57 area nonprofits will compete in the Brackets for Good competition.

Robyn Radomski, chief business development & marketing officer, for sponsor Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP said the combined efforts of its attorneys help more than 100 nonprofit organizations across Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

“Supporting Brackets For Good amplifies our impact on nonprofit organizations, allows us to empower numerous organizations with one investment, and is a fun way to create social good,” Radomski said. “We’ve been longtime partners of Brackets For Good and are excited about the impact we’ll make in the communities in which we collaborate.”

The idea for Brackets For Good came about because of Butler University’s run in the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournamant, which fell just short.

McIntyre a Butler alum, invited Matt Duncan over to watch the Bulldogs compete in the finals against the University of Connecticut Huskies.

As the game, and Butler’s quest for a championship came to a close, the two men talked about how the city of Indianapolis had rallied around the Bulldogs and the tournament.

They wonder if that enthusiasm could be put toward a stronger purpose. After many meetings and the enlistment of another partner, web-guru Dave Cornelius, the Brackets For Good concept was developed.

Reid McDowell, partnerships and marketing director for Brackets For Good, said five cities hosted tournaments last year and that has grown to 11 this year. He said Brackets For good is competitive, but in the end, everyone wins.

“The organizations that don’t get the $10,000 will meet new donors and raise funds for their organization, so they will win just by participating,” McDowell said. “Every year we hear stories about organizations that were competitors, or didn’t know that another nonprofit existed and they become partners and they do programming together because they met through Brackets For Good.”

The Brackets For Good mascot also made an appearance at Rhinegeist.

Nonprofits advance through the tournament in much the same was as teams participating in the NCAA Basketball tournaments. Teams are paired up and advanced through the “Supported Sixteen,” “Engaged Eight” and “Philanthropic Four” to the championship match between the last two nonprofits standing.

Nationwide, more than 680 nonprofits will be participating in Brackets For Good tournaments in 2017.

“Due to the collaborative spirit of the Cincinnati nonprofit community and the city’s proximity to our home base in Indianapolis, Cincinnati has been on our short list for expansion cities,” said McDowell. “We’re really excited about the inaugural Cincinnati Brackets For Good tournament and for all the good that will come from raising awareness and funds for organizations that are serving the local community.”

How to Get in the Game

Starting Feb. 24, online donations to help your favorite nonprofit organization advance in Brackets For Good and get one step closer to the $10,000 championship grant can be made by visiting https://cincinnati.bfg.org and making a donation. $1 equals 1 point.

For more information on Brackets For Good, visit bfg.org.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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