Author Archives: Reid Mcdowell

Announcing the 2018 Brackets For Good Champions

Posted on April 12, 2018 by Reid McDowell

And just like that, the 2018 Brackets For Good Tournaments have come to an end!! It’s been a blast here at BFG headquarters watching these past five weeks unfold. We’ve been on the edge of our seats watching the multiple Cinderella stories occurring in the tournaments as well as the innovative and engaging fundraising tactics participating nonprofits have created. It’s all led up to this past week. We were down to 26 nonprofits and each matchup provided a different challenge. Though it was a tough race, following the three day championship round, 13 nonprofits managed to make it out on top.

L'Arche Atlanta logo

From Atlanta, champs L’Arche Atlanta fought hard to bring home the $10,000 in order to help adults with and without intellectual disabilities share life and friendships in community. Throughout the tournament, they were able to raise $71,554 to further their mission! Way to go L’Arche Atlanta! View Full Atlanta Bracket


4 Paws for Ability logo

Cincinnati champions 4 Paws for Ability brought the heat in their final round to win $10,000. Overall, 4 Paws for Ability raised $82,569 to enrich the lives of children with disabilities and the lives of veterans from recent conflicts whom have lost the use of their limbs or their hearing while in active combat. They also plan to use these funds to help educate the public to accept the use of service dogs in public places. High five, 4 Paws for Ability! View Full Cincinnati Bracket


The First Tee of Connecticut logo

Connecticut’s champion, The First Tee of Connecticut, strives to impact the lives of young people throughout Connecticut by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. This is how they plan to use their $10,000 winnings, plus the $46,982 they raised throughout the entire tournament. Congratulations First Tee of Connecticut! View Full Connecticut Bracket

Aberg Center for Literacy logo

Aberg Center for Literacy, the championship winner from Dallas, got so much support from donors that they quadrupled their $10,000 championship prize. They raised $60,665 to be exact! The Aberg Center for Literacy is building richer lives, stronger families, and better communities through programs in English fluency, preparation for high school equivalency in English and Spanish, early childhood education, and family literacy. Mad props Aberg Center for Literacy!
View Full Dallas Bracket

Colorado Children's Chorale logo

Denver champion, Colorado Children’s Chorale fought in one of the closest championship rounds in the 2018 tournament out-scoring their competitor by $252. Raising a total of $39,677 Colorado Children’s Chorale strives to serve children of all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds by providing an engaging, disciplined, and nurturing environment in which they receive outstanding performance and music training, as well as the skills, experiences, and confidence to succeed wherever their lives may take them. What a way to spend that extra $10,000! Whoop whoop! View Full Denver Bracket

Golden Retriever Rescue and Community Education Inc logo

Indiana’s champion Golden Retriever Rescue & Community Education brought out the big guns for to snag the $10,000 in their final round. GRRACE is dedicated to the rescue and re-homing of Golden Retrievers in need, as well as to the education of the public about responsible pet ownership and the special qualities of the Golden Retriever breed. Can’t wait to see how many good boys they are able to help with the incredible $121,830 they raised from the tournament! Keep up the great work GRRACE! View Full Indiana Bracket

NeuroHope of Indiana logo

Neurohope, Indianapolis’ champion, works hard to make long-term access to cutting-edge rehabilitation an affordable reality for individuals recovering from neurologic injury. They will be able to continue providing access to those services with the $10,000 prize plus much more with the $94,215 they raised in the tournament! Solid job Neurohope! View Full Indianapolis Bracket

 Louisville Parks Foundation logo

Kentucky champion Louisville Parks Foundation had amazing help from donors giving $31,965 to support their mission. Louisville Parks encourages supporters to invest in their 120+ public parks and recreational facilities, for both present and future generations. They have a vision of a City of Parks where everyone has the opportunity to Give. Plant. Play. With an additional $10,000 there’s no doubt that they will be able to get closer to making that vision a reality. Sensational job Louisville Parks Foundation!
View Full Kentucky Bracket

Special Olympics Maryland logo

From Maryland, champion Special Olympics Maryland rallied donors and raised $30,015 to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The $10,000 prize will also help in giving their athletes more opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. Thumbs way up Special Olympics Maryland! View Full Maryland Bracket

A Vision of Redemption, Inc. logo

Miami’s champion, A Vision of Redemption, raised $38,631 to support its mission to enhance the quality of life of children/families affected by incarceration. The BFG crew as well as the donors are looking forward to seeing how AVOR will use the $10,000 prize to encourage, uplift and strengthen the hope of men and women who are and were incarcerated, abandoned, abused, and are reentering society through job training, family counseling, social services, and rehabilitation. You rock AVOR! View Full Miami Bracket

Dodge Nature Center logo

From Minnesota, Dodge Nature Center got donors engaged enough to raise a mind-blowing $125,859. Along with their $10,000 prize, these funds will help to continue to provide exceptional experiences in nature through environmental education. Unbeleafable work Dodge Nature Center! View Full Minnesota Bracket


Park Center logo

Nashville champion, the Park Center empowers people who have mental illness and substance use disorders to live and work in their communities. With the combination of their $10,000 prize and the $40,854 donated by supporters, they will be able to continue providing services like housing, psychiatric rehabilitation day programs, homeless outreach, SSI/SSDI applications, substance abuse treatment, and employment services. Keep spreading the good Park Center! View Full Nashville Bracket

Brace for Impact 46 logo

From St. Louis, champion Brace For Impact 46 had strong support from donors raising $100,863. Brace For Impact 46 can now continue to provide daily care for the 40+ thriving children who have been abandoned or orphaned in Cap Haitien, Haiti. Brace for Impact 46 provides a hot meal every school day to 200 students and staff. Think about the impact the extra $10,000 will make on their mission! Epic work Brace For Impact 46! View Full St. Louis Bracket

These champions did a fantastic job of engaging donors, but let’s not forget the other 592 fantastic organizations that participated in the 2018 tournament!! Here’s a round of applause for all the spectacular nonprofits that competed *Claps hands in a circle*. And here’s a round of applause for the empowered donors that contributed to the total $2,987,679 raised for all 605 charities *claps hands in a circle again*. Here’s a special shout out to the first-time donors to those organizations! We hope this tournament has inspired you to stay involved with an organization, or two, that you love! High five friends and keep doing good!

Posted in BFG History, Brackets For Good, Fundraising

All Star Spotlight: Outreach International

Posted on May 26, 2017 by Reid McDowell


Outreach International Brackets For Good Highlight Reel

2017 will go down in the record books as a very special year for Brackets For Good. 2017 marked the first year that the fundraising madness stretched nationwide with nonprofits from 31 different states participating in the first-ever nationwide tournament, Brackets For Good USA. Additionally, the 2017 tournaments raised more money for charities than the previous 5 year history of Brackets For Good. To gain a unique perspective on the monumental year, we connected with BFG USA participant and world change maker, Outreach International who is working to ending chronic poverty worldwide.

What led you to register for the tournament?

Here at Outreach, we are always keeping an eye out for new experiences that allow us to share our mission, build relationships, and have fun doing both. When we heard about the nation-wide competitive giving tournament that is BFG, we just had to apply! The idea of being involved with organizations across the country was exciting and inspiring.

How did your team prepare for the tournament? 

LOTS of burpees . . . just kidding. Our staff loved preparing for this tournament; it was a new way for us to come together and engage with other organizations. We built a webpage specifically for the tournament and sprinkled the address throughout our electronic communications with supporters throughout March.

We also reached out to local Kansas City businesses, sports companies, and our beloved basketball-boosting fans for support in the competition. Although we couldn’t make it to D.C. for the pre-tournament Pep Rally, we held a viewing party in our conference room as our first-round competitor was announced.

Did you leverage the use of volunteers or board members for the tournament in any way?

Yes! We are fortunate to have an engaged, enthusiastic, competition-loving Board of Directors. We relied on them to spread the word throughout the tournament and recruit their peers to join our team.

What kind of response did you expect to see from the tournament vs. what you experienced? 

We were pleasantly surprised to see how involved donors were in BFG, both for us and for other organizations. We did not expect to have as formidable an opponent as we did, but were glad that BFG generated so much attention and raised so much money for many world-changing organizations.

Have you ever participated in any other ‘competitive’-style fundraising in the past? If so, what was that experience like?

This was our first time, but I don’t think it will be our last!

Did you use the funds you raised on a particular initiative or program? If so, what was it?

All the funds that we raised went into our General Fund – the contributions will go directly to our most pressing needs as an organization. In our particular area of concentration, unrestricted funds are a necessity, as the spectrum of countries, communities, issues, and initiatives related to our work make predictive budget allocations pretty tricky.  We’re thankful for the flexibility afforded us by these funds, and can assure you that they were used thoughtfully.

In your pre-tournament survey, your organization listed “Not Enough Fundraising Through Individual Donations” as limiting to your ability to serve your recipients. Did this tournament help you gain new supporters or funds?

Unfortunately, we did not gain any new supporters directly through Brackets For Good, but we did raise over $4,000 that we most likely wouldn’t have generated without this tournament!

Do you plan to register for next year? Any goals or plans that you’d like to share?

Absolutely! All of us enjoyed experiencing the intensity and excitement of the tournament, and have developed a taste for it. After being thoroughly routed in this year’s tournament, we’re keeping next year’s game plan close to the vest. Buckle up!

What did you learn being part of BFG USA? Any big surprises?

We learned that a little competition really does inspire our team! All of us had a great time psyching each other up for the tournament, and all our enthusiasm seemed to really invigorate our supporters, as well. The spirit of teamwork and the overall response of BFG donors were really wonderful, and we’re excited to be a part of the tournament again next year.

How do you plan to follow-up with both new and existing donors now that the tournament is over?

Once the tournament was over, we mailed a personal postcard to each donor who gave through BFG to thank them for their gifts. They’ve also been added to our list of supporters so we can keep them updated on all the promise and progress their gifts make possible!

Posted in Brackets For Good, Fundraising, Nonprofit Story

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