Tag Archives: Twin Cities

Local Giving, Global Impact: Food For His Children

Posted on July 27, 2017 by Jen Marcuson

Food For His Children

Minnesota’s Food for His Children (FFHC) fought their way through 4 tough rounds to finish as one of the Philanthropic Four organizations in the Twin Cities tournament.  While the team was 100% volunteer-run in the US and one of the smaller organizations to participate in BFG17, they are likely the only organization to have board members and staff on the ground in Tanzania!

FFHC provides holistic community development to families living in material poverty in rural Tanzania.  Since their launch in 2008, they have served over 225 families. Through their program, which costs about $21 per month per family, recipients learn new ways of farming, caring for livestock, how to run businesses, and about saving money and providing for their families. Often, this is done through a program of sustainable goat farming.

While they did have a valiant tournament run, and earned over $16,000 for their program, serving a community outside the local community did prove to be a challenge. Co-founder and Executive Director Kerrie Holschbach reflected, “I think it was harder for us to compete against organizations that serve locally because the people they impact are right here. The 1,500 people we are directly impacting are a world away.” Ultimately, their global status offered a differentiation from some of the other organizations. Kerrie added, “We have much to offer people who want to give locally, but impact globally. Many who know they have the ability to transform generations with just $21 per month are fervently passionate about giving and want to do anything they can to make an impact.”

Being a fairly new organization, the exposure provided by participating in BFG was invaluable to FFHC.  They were featured in a BFG Top 10 Video, utilized the training tools provided, and their team in Tanzania learned creative ways to share their work via short video clips. They gained online fundraising experience and attracted new supporters, some of whom have started volunteering with them since the tournament. As a result, their confidence in fundraising has grown. In the pre-tournament survey, FFHC had stated that they felt they had been only ‘moderately successful’ in online fundraising to date. After their BFG run, Kerri stated, “Today, I would say that we have been very successful in online fundraising!”  She added, “One comment we heard from our donors in the last rounds was that they were ‘pulling for the little guy’ because we were up against organizations that have million dollar budgets and paid staff who can focus on fundraising and communications. The nitty-gritty work for BFG was done with just three volunteers, which should encourage all nonprofits to give BFG a shot.”

While Kerri won’t reveal her top-secret tournament strategies, she said that upon reflecting on their 2017 performance, one thing she would change was the temptation to hold back asking for donations in the earlier rounds due to fear of exhausting their supporter base. She believes they would do just as well if they encouraged supporters to give from the beginning, not to wait until the end of the round or until the later rounds.  Next time, she says, “we will operate from a different mindset and our opponent will be blessed by also raising more money in order to keep up with us!”

Posted in Brackets For Good, Fundraising, Nonprofit Story | Tagged Twin Cities

Tournament Competitors; Now Community Collaborators

Posted on November 14, 2016 by Jen Marcuson

logo-brackets-for-good-2016-twin-cities-1The final round of the 2016 BFG Twin Cities tournament came down to Spare Key and The Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA). Spare Key is an organization that provides assistance to families in crisis with critically ill or seriously injured children. LEMA supports families of fallen law enforcement officers when they have lost their lives in the line of duty. Despite similar missions to assist Minnesota families in need, the two organizations had only a limited knowledge of each other’s work before they found themselves head-to-head, battling it out to become the first Twin Cities champion.

In what was the highest-scoring final round of all the 2016 city tournaments, Spare Key edged out LEMA to win, but their match-up didn’t end there. After the tournament, LEMA President Jeff Beahen reached out to Spare Key. In the spirit of shared excitement for the successes both organizations experienced, a dialogue formed about how they could leverage the momentum of the tournament and create a partnership.

spare-key-logoSpare Key Executive Director, Erich Mische, noted that many people on their Board of Directors had been involved in government and public policy and had the privilege of working with the men and women of law enforcement throughout their careers. Because of that body of knowledge, they were pleased to learn of the profound work that LEMA does on behalf of those who are committed to protecting and serving communities throughout Minnesota.

lema_logoJeff said on behalf of LEMA that while they didn’t know Spare Key before the tournament, the more they learned, the more interest they had in their organization. He noted, “toward the end, we mentioned that if we had to lose, at least it would be to Spare Key, as we admired their mission and their passion for those they served.”

The outcome of the conversations between the two organizations was the creation of a program to provide housing grants to Minnesota Law Enforcement families with critically ill or seriously injured children in the hospital. Spare Key designated their $10,000 prize from winning the tournament toward this program and LEMA donated an additional $5,000 to Spare Key to be used for the initiative.

Erich said, “we believe it has made many families who might not otherwise know of Spare Key aware of our program and services. Equally important, those families have shared information about our program to others which we believe will ultimately result in Spare Key being an important resource to law enforcement families who have sick and injured children in the hospital.” He added, “one of our strategic goals and objectives for 2017 is to increasingly highlight the relationship with LEMA and more proactively promote our program to law enforcement families throughout Minnesota.”

Jeff stated that the new relationship, “truly opened our eyes to the value of working with other non-profits toward common goals. We have a whole new approach to our marketing and branding after Brackets for Good, and we are so extremely grateful for this experience.” The feeling is mutual for Erich, who said, “we are privileged to have come to know the individuals leading LEMA, and the families they serve”.

Congratulations to both Spare Key and LEMA for this incredible endeavor. Friendly competition is an incredibly powerful force for GOOD. We look forward to seeing what these two champion organizations can do together in their community.

It’s Competitive Giving. Everybody Wins.

Posted in Nonprofit Story, Twin Cities | Tagged 2016, champion, Nonprofit Interview, Twin Cities

TWIN CITIES: National fundraising organization activates new local donors, offers $10,000 grand prize to top Twin Cities nonprofit competitor in bracket-based tournament

Posted on October 14, 2016 by Rachel Purviance

Brackets For Good 2017 Twin Cities presented by Western Refining and Super America

Presenting sponsor Western Refining & SuperAmerica brings fundraising contest back to Twin Cities nonprofits for a second year

Calling all Twin Cities nonprofits: Charitable organization, Brackets For Good, again challenges your organization to friendly competition and a chance to win $10,000!

Indianapolis-based Brackets For Good hosts online, bracket-style fundraising tournaments every March in communities around the United States. 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, and are introduced to new donors.

In 2016, the Twin Cities tournament garnered 2,167 donations, 45 percent of which were first-time donations. Donors gave $281,184 total, and tournament champion Spare Key brought in $75,225.

Since Brackets For Good’s kickoff contest in 2012, it has raised more than $2.75 million for local charities. Due to the overwhelming success, the tournaments have since expanded from Indianapolis, Louisville, Ann Arbor, St. Louis, and Minneapolis and will break into several other markets in 2017, including Cincinnati, Miami, Denver, Nashville, Hartford, and Baltimore.

To participate, charities should register free at https://twincities.bfg.org/city by Oct. 28, 2016. 116 Twin Cities nonprofits have already registered to be considered to play in the 2017 tournament, which starts Feb. 24.

The positive impact of the Brackets For Good tournament on the Twin Cities-area is only made possible due to the support of local businesses dedicated to the community.

“It’s important to us that we have a positive and ongoing impact on the lives of our neighbors and provide meaningful support to the community at large,” said Matt Sieh, Food Service Manager, SuperAmerica of presenting sponsor Western Refining. Supporting Brackets For Good is a fun way for us to do exactly that. With a single investment in our community we support 64 nonprofits and help thousands of community members learn about and support the nonprofits that serve the Twin Cities area.”

Brackets For Good 2017 Twin Cities sponsors include: Western Refining & SuperAmerica, Legal for Good, and Lids.

“We’re excited to be returning to host a Twin Cities Brackets For Good tournament, co-founder Matt McIntyre said. “This past March, $281,184 was raised for nonprofits in the Twin Cities area. We’re confident this year’s tournament will be even more successful at raising awareness and funds for local nonprofits.”

For more information, visit https://twincities.bfg.org/city.


Brackets For Good is an Indianapolis, IN based 501(c)3 charitable organization focused on activating new donors, and increasing awareness for other nonprofit organizations through competitive, online fundraising at no cost.

Media contact:
Jaymie Shook
317.602.7137 ext. 2066

Posted in Brackets For Good, Twin Cities | Tagged 2017, press release, Twin Cities

2016 Brackets for Good Celebrates Spare Key of Minnesota

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Rachel Purviance

Minneapolis nonprofit Spare Key edged out the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association in the final round of the Brackets For Good tournament. Spare Key raised a grand total of $75,225, on top of the $10,000 prize awarded for Northern Tier Family of Businesses.

Spare Key hosted a “banner hanging” ceremony on Thursday, April 14 to celebrate following the April 10 Pacers game in Indianapolis in which Spare Key was honored with a $10,000 check presentation at half time.

In the spirit of Brackets For Good, Spare Key will designate the $10,000 award to be used for critically ill and seriously injured children of Minnesota Law Enforcement professionals. The organization is currently working with tournament sponsors and other partners in an attempt to double or even triple that commitment.


Posted in Nonprofit Story, Twin Cities | Tagged champion, Twin Cities

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