BTN LiveBIG: Maryland completes the Do Good Challenge

“Doing good is really the point of our lives.  If we can do well and do good, that’s certainly a goal that we would like to accomplish.”  — Nick Henninger, Community Pipeline

When UMD alumnus and pro football legend Boomer Esiason was asked to judge entrants in Maryland’s 2014 Do Good Challenge, he didn’t hesitate.

“The Do Good Challenge is something you can really be proud of as an alum.  You come back and [you] see all these kids with all these great ideas, and what a great incubator for the next generation to hopefully do great things for so many other people,” said Esiason.

And just what is this “Do Good Challenge?”  Since 2012, Maryland’s School of Public Policy Center for Philanthropy and Non Profit Leadership has partnered with UMD’s Robert H. Smith School of Business Center for Social Value Creation to invite students to tackle social problems through innovative initiatives and projects.

“We have so many problems in society.  What we want to do here is develop a culture here at the UMD in which students are developing solutions to those type of problems, and the Do Good Challenge is a key part of that,” explained Robert Grimm, UMD’s Director of the Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership.

This year, teams were able to enter their projects during the competition period, between Feb. 10 and April 6.  Open to all UMD undergrads and graduate students, 58 teams applied.  Each project was judged on impact, leverage, and creativity.

From the 58 teams, six finalists in two areas (projects and ventures) were chosen to be judged by a celebrity panel.

“Projects” challenged students to “do as much good as possible over the 8-week competition.”  “Ventures” invited social enterprises to “scale their impact.”

Projects Students Helping Honduras, Terps Against Hunger, Terp KIDS, JustLikeYou.org, Community Pipeline and Recovered Food CSA were the six finalists, with Students Helping Honduras (project track) and JustLikeYou.org (venture track) coming out on top.

The two first place winners received prizes of $6,000, while second place finishers earned $2,500 and third place, $1,000.  The prizes were sponsored by Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management and go toward expanding each of the programs’ reach.

In addition to Esiason, sports agent David Falk of FAME and Bob Seaberg of Morgan Stanley judged entries.

Falk stressed how important the Terrapins’ enthusiasm for their projects was.  “When you try to raise money for a philanthropic cause, you’ve gotta let people know you’re passionate about it – that you really care about it,” he said.

Evan Lutz explained his impetus for participating in Do Good.  “College is not all about getting a job and getting an education – it’s also about how big an impact you can make on the environment, on other people, and in the world in total.”

In two years, students have volunteered 7,500 hours and raised $160,000 for their causes.

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