Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Centers in Avon, Bloomington, and soon Terre Haute, Indiana have been selected as one of 64 nonprofit organizations to compete in the Indianapolis “Brackets for Good” tournament.
Originally developed in Indianapolis, Brackets for Good is a $1-per-point donor tournament where select organizations compete to advance as tournament champions. Brackets for Good currently operates in 11 cities in the US, including Cincinnati, Louisville, and St. Louis.
“We’re thrilled because it’s not easy to get selected,” said Emily Perry, Executive Director of Susie’s Place. In 2012 when Brackets for Good launched just eight organizations participated. Since then they’ve added slots for 64 “teams” and winners routinely receive several thousands of dollars and a $10,000 bonus grand prize. In 2016 hundreds of organizations submitted requests to play in this year’s Brackets for Good.
“We’ve been strategizing and thinking about how we’re going to approach this. We believe we’ve got a solid plan to get people excited,” said Lynn Clinton, Associate Director at Susie’s Place. That plan, which they’re keeping under wraps until the tournament starts on February 24, kicks off with a pep rally Thursday, February 15th at the Country Club of Indianapolis.
“It was the biggest venue we could find, and we want everyone interested in protecting and nurturing children to come,” said Perry. The event opens at 5:30 pm and includes a cash bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres.
Susie’s Place isn’t alone in their endeavor. The insurance professionals at Gibson have teamed up with Susie’s Place as the role of coach and cheerleader to provide support and help garner more points. “We’re getting all of our offices mobilized behind Susie’s Place to make sure they raise money and advance,” said Katie Tryniecki, Marketing Specialist at Gibson.
Susie’s Place is up against stiff competition, including previous years’ winners and final four contenders like the Humane Society of Hamilton County, Trusted Mentors, Girls Inc., and more.
Donors pledge $1 for a single point for the charity of their choice. Even if a team is knocked out of the brackets early, they still get to keep the money they raised. Winners of each round advance each week for three weeks until the playoffs, which lasts three days per round until the final team advances on March 24.
The fundraising effort comes at a time when Susie’s Place needs them the most to keep pace with demand. Susie’s Place staff conducted over 1,000 interviews in 2016 across two current locations in Avon and Bloomington. A third location is opening this year in Terre Haute, expanding their service area to nearly two dozen Indiana counties in west-central Indiana.
You can learn more about Susie’s Place at susiesplace.org or donate directly to their team at bracketsforgood.com starting February 24. “We need everyone to give, even if it’s just a few dollars. Real basketball games are won or lost by just a point or two,” said Perry.