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Six Teams Showcase Impact in Unique Virtual Do Good Challenge

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Do Good Challenge Virtual

More than $20,000 Awarded during Awards Premiere

Did you miss the Premiere? You can watch the full show on YouTube at any time. 

The 2021 Do Good Challenge was unlike any other. While this year’s Do Good Challenge was totally virtual, the student teams and the impact they made was as impressive as ever. After months of work and preparation, the Do Good Institute is pleased to announce that ROOTS Africa and Chat Health were each awarded the first place prize of $5,000 for their Do Good project and venture; and Audelia Community Response Team was awarded the $2,500 Neilom Foundation Audience Choice Award.

In a typical year, selected finalists deliver a pitch to a panel of expert judges on stage in front of an audience of 600 for the chance to win a share of the $20,000 in prizes. This year, instead of pitching in-person, students were sent personal production packages with spotlights, lapel mics, and tripods. Using computer and phone platforms, teams conducted personal interviews, delivered their pitch, and engaged in a judge Q&A - all from home!   

With each challenge and barrier faced this last year, Terps thought critically, rose to the occasion, and proved to be changemakers. Meet this year’s finalists teams: 

Project Track Finalists

  • Audelia Community Response Team is a mutual aid group that provides food and other essential resources to those in need in Langley Park and the surrounding community, with a focus on immigrant and Latinx communities that face additional barriers to access resources. Since April 2020, ACRT has been consistently feeding 1,000+ families; raised $40,000; received donations of toys, food, household products; and helped schools with supply distribution and academic support.
  • Public Health Beyond Borders is a student-led organization consisting of more than 200 students from diverse majors with a mission to reduce health disparities in partner communities while attaining leadership skills and global awareness through a sustainable model of cross-cultural learning. Since the pandemic, the group maintained their support to partner sites abroad via virtual training and services; advocated for increased federal funding for communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in tandem with the Fund for Global Health; and partnered on a town hall with U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.
  • ROOTS Africa is a nonprofit organization that works with agriculture students in Africa and the U.S. to increase crop yields and socioeconomic conditions for farming communities in Africa. The team raised $20,000 to support 1,000 families to stay home and safe during the pandemic, trained more than 400 farmers, and has five university chapters working in six villages and three high schools in Uganda and Liberia. 

Venture Track Finalists

  • Chat Health is a nonprofit organization that is bridging the gap between college students and medically-accurate health information through accessible SMS chatbots, which use artificial intelligence to mimic human conversation. More than 4,000 students have used their chat service that is managed by 40 volunteers, and the organization has signed an MOU with the University Health Center for sustained partnership and support. 
  • Corona Connects is an online platform that helps anyone nationwide find a volunteer opportunity, whether you are in high school, college, or a professional looking to volunteer individually or as a group. More than 13,000 volunteers explored hundreds of opportunities from 300 different organizations across the U.S., with at least 6,000 volunteer connections made. This effort has been featured in more than 45 news outlets including US News & World Report and the Washington Post, and received international attention. 
  • STEPS (Student Teachers Enriching Proficiency Through Service) is a nonprofit that connects volunteers with K-12 families seeking personalized, one-on-one, long-term, and affordable tutoring and college advising services, while donating nearly 100 percent of profits in the form of grants and scholarships to support low-income youth and other nonprofits. Their model has attracted 40 volunteer tutors, a growing paying client base, and has generated $15,000 in revenue to date. STEPS’ first grant of $2,500 provided free tutoring to 100 students in Baltimore area programs.

Virtual Do Good Challenge: How it Worked

Throughout the month of April, a series of videos were released, beginning with the Kickoff on April 1 followed by the Finalist Pitches on April 8, which included select moments from judge Q&A sessions. Between April 8 and April 15, our Audience Choice Vote video encouraged viewers to vote for their favorite team to win the Neilom Foundation Audience Choice Award. 

The month-long series of virtual events culminated in the Awards Premiere, which aired April 29, to celebrate the six finalist teams' impactful and innovative work and announce this year’s winners. The Awards Premiere featured special messages from President Pines, Do Good Challenge alumni, family, friends, and other members of the Do Good community. Audience viewers were able to meet the teams in exclusive interviews, see select clips of the finalist pitches and judge Q&A, and vote live for their favorite project and venture teams.

The Judges

Project Track judges brought with them a wealth of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy, and public service, working in areas such as advancing racial equity, encouraging volunteerism, and establishing community partnerships. Judges include Rosie Allen-Herring, President and CEO, United Way of the National Capital Area; Nicky Goren, President and CEO, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation; Paul Monteiro, Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice President of External Affairs, Howard University. 

The Venture Track judge panel brought extensive experience working in impact investing, social venture development, and corporate responsibility, advocating for a world where businesses are actively engaged in building better communities. The Venture Track judges include Michelle Gilliard, Director, US Education and Workforce Development, FHI360; Kahlil Kettering, Bezos Earth Fund Project Director, The Nature Conservancy; and Lily Trager, Director of Investing with Impact and Head of Impact Solutions, Morgan Stanley. 

Project Track Awards

Our project finalists, Audelia Community Response Team, Public Health Beyond Borders, and ROOTS Africa were able to achieve such incredible impact this year. After some tough deliberations, the judges selected this year’s first, second and third place Project teams. 

  • First Place Project Team ($5,000): ROOTS Africa
  • Second Place Project Team ($2,500): Audelia Community Response Team
  • Third Place Project Team ($1,000): Public Health Beyond Borders

On the first place selection of ROOTS Africa, judge Rosie Allen-Herring shared that the team was selected, “for your sustainable, global effort that has been now replicated in multiple countries. The sustainability and innovative solutions that you brought to a very tough challenge certainly qualifies you as this year’s winner. We wish you the absolute best as you continue to expand the great work. And here’s to even greater impact.”

In a surprise video, Jennifer Carolyn King and Timothy Fredel from the Rugged Elegance Foundation, supporters of ROOTS Africa, pledged to match dollar for dollar whatever the team won, bringing the team’s winning total to $10,000 in one night.

Venture Track Awards

Our venture finalists, Chat Health, Corona Connects, and STEPS, created positive change with their innovative solutions during such a challenging year. The judges spent time discussing in depth each team and ultimately decided on this year’s first, second and third place Venture teams:

  • First Place Venture Team ($5,000): Chat Health
  • Second Place Venture Team ($2,500): STEPS
  • Third Place Venture Team ($1,000): Corona Connects

When awarding first place to Chat Health, judge Lily Trager said, “We are so excited for you and this incredible honor. We were really Inspired by the issue you’re seeking to solve and by the traction you’ve had from launching in March of 2020 to really seeking deep engagement across UMD with 4,000 members engaged at this point. We’re really excited about your ability to articulate a clear business model…and use of funds in the future. We’re excited to see where you take this - there is an opportunity nationally to make a big difference.”

Audience Choice Awards

After watching the finalist pitches earlier this month, the Do Good community had the opportunity to vote for their favorite overall team to win an additional $2,500 for their team. Voting was open for one week and more than 1,500 individuals from around the world cast their vote. The winner of this year’s audience choice awards are:

In addition to the other prizes, the 500+ live viewers had the opportunity to text-to-vote for their favorite Project and Venture Track teams during the Awards Premiere. The winners of this year’s live audience text-to-vote prizes are: 

  • $1,000 Project Community Award: Audelia Community Response Team
  • $1,000 Venture Innovation Award: STEPS

The Do Good Challenge was founded by the University of Maryland School of Public Policy’s Do Good Institute in 2012. This year's Challenge Finals was sponsored by Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, The Rothschild Foundations, CTIA Wireless Foundation, the UMD Center for Engineering Concepts Development, and the Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott Foundation. We'd like to especially thank Morgan Stanley for their decade-long support of the Do Good Challenge.

You can learn more about the Do Good Challenge here. Save the date for the 10th anniversary of the Do Good Challenge taking place April 21, 2022. 

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A special thanks to Do Good Video Production for producing our videos. Learn more about them at www.dogoodvideo.com.


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