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March Madness Brings Project Goodwill

March 15, 2017

David Cornelius

Up For A Challenge: David Cornelius (right) brought his web and tournament bracket development experiences to help co-found Brackets For Good, a charitable project supporting several nonprofit organizations across the country.

The nation’s elite college basketball teams will not be the only winners in this year’s March Madness. A bracket challenge developed by 2006 Rose-Hulman computer science alumnus David Cornelius and two Indiana-based entrepreneurs will help hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout the nation.

Brackets For Good uses the popular NCAA tournament model, but instead of college teams, the bracket is filled with groups that include the Boys & Girls Club, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Indiana FIRST Inc. Like-sized groups are paired with one another in the early rounds, and they rally donors to raise money over the course of one week. Every dollar raised equals one tournament point. The group earning the most points wins each round.

The six-round tournament continues through March. Participating nonprofits keep the donations raised, regardless of how far they advance in the tournament.

Since its inception with one tournament in Indianapolis in 2012, Brackets For Good has raised more than $2.75 million in communities across the country. Tournaments have been organized this year in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Baltimore; Cincinnati; Denver; Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; Louisville; Miami; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Nashville; and St. Louis. The winning organization in each city is expected to receive a $10,000 grand prize.

AT&T has partnered this year to introduce the first nationwide tournament featuring 64 national nonprofits. In addition to raising awareness and money for each organization, the winner will receive $100,000.

Learn more about Brackets For Good and this year’s tournament at bfg.org.

Cornelius has played a key role in the enterprise’s success, through his expertise in web development and experience developing brackets for office recreational tournaments. He built challonge.com, a successful tournaments and events platform. It is one of the few online bracket generator programs available on the market.

“Structuring a seeded double-elimination tournament was surprisingly difficult, but difficult problems are the fun ones for engineers,” he says.