Just like the real deal, our Knock Out Poverty bracket challenge came right down to the wire. A last second 3-pointer tossed to the skies brought one nonprofit from behind to win BIG BUCKS. That heart-stopping throw came from a donor who made an $8,000 gift at the buzzer to Columbus Early Learning Centers (CELC), pushing the organization to the top of the bracket challenge’s Team Orange.
“We were all on a conference call with him and when it turned grey, we thought for sure that his gift hadn’t made it in,” shared Gina Ginn, the Center’s executive director. “But then it had, and we won. You would have thought we had won the NCAA tournament! Thank you, it was fun but really nerve racking!”
Donors gave a total of $5,984 to CELC during the first week of the challenge. That was enough to put the nonprofit in the top four of Team Orange along with Gladden Community House, Godman Guild Association and Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio. When all was said and done, CELC took home $31,436 from generous supporters PLUS the $20,000 prize, for a total of $51,436 to help our community’s youngest learners.
Team Blue experienced similar wild lead swings as Jewish Family Services (JFS) finished out the tournament on top with $11,547 in week one and $19,315 in week two over Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center (CRC), Community Shelter Board and Columbus Speech & Hearing Center. The $20,000 prize gave JFS a total of $50,862 to meet the needs of individuals and families in our community.
Through videos, emails, mailers and social media, each of United Way’s 39 funded partners participated in the tournament to some degree and took home a portion of the $222,244 in donations.
Thank you to Columbia Gas of Ohio and Nationwide for their generous support of the tournament. And thank you to the thousands of generous donors in our community who helped us exceed all expectations with our wildly successful first Knock Out Poverty bracket challenge. We’ll see you next year!