Student teams working to prevent opioid overdoses and protect the mental health of health-care workers each took the $5,000 first-place prize in the 10th annual do Good Challenge last night.
The Challenge, held in person for the first time in three years at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, celebrated Terps making a social impact, including presentations from this year’s six finalist teams and cameos from alum participants from the past decade.
Combating Overdoses in Rural Areas (CORA), founded at UMD, now has eight chapters and 100-plus members nationwide providing opioid education, resources and harm-reduction support. It was the victor among project-track teams, which seek to maximize impact for a cause or existing organization through volunteering, fundraising and advocacy.
Vitalize is building a clinician-centric app and digital dashboard for hospital leadership to support their employees’ mental health, including a library of 100+ mindfulness meditations addressing the unique challenges of working in health care. It won in the venture-track category for social enterprises that tackle important societal challenges with innovative business models.
Kesem at University of Maryland was awarded the $2,500 second prize on the project track and the $2,500 Neilom Foundation Audience Choice Award. It provides care packages, monthly calls and more to children ages 6-18 who have been impacted by cancer in the DMV and hosts a free weeklong summer camp. To date, student volunteers have raised $300,000 and supported 120 unique campers, with plans to host 100 this summer.
“Terps have found many ways to make a difference, from fundraising and advocacy to innovation,” university President Darryll J. Pines said to the audience. “These students are dreaming up the fearless ideas that will move us fearlessly forward. Their imagination, motivation and determination are examples to all of us on how to pursue excellence and advance the public good.”
Other finalists were North Star Creations, which offers games and other products to help preschoolers develop emotional intelligence ($2,500 second prize, venture track); Get Ovary It, which advocates for accessible and affordable menstrual health products, services and education ($1,000 third prize, project track); and TeleShadowing, a virtual shadowing program for pre-health students ($1,000 third prize, venture track).
The Project judges included Michelle Gilliard, director, U.S. Education and Workforce Department at FHI 360; Kahlil Kettering M.P.M. ‘15, Bezos Earth Fund program director, the Nature Conservancy; and Paul Monteiro ‘02, chief of staff and assistant vice president of external affairs at Howard University.
“It is not easy being up here,” Kettering told the students. “It is scary, it’s intimidating, but it’s a powerful experience. And I guarantee you that no matter what happens tonight, you will take the lessons from this experience with you into your professional life, and it’s gonna make you a better person and a better professional.”
The Venture track judges were Chike Aguh, 2020 Tech and Human Rights Fellow, Harvard Carr Center, and chief innovation officer, U.S. Department of Labor; Chad Bolick, executive director, head of philanthropy management, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management; and Kirsten Craft, MBA/M.P.P. ‘17, president of innovation, strategy and operations, Potomac Debate Academy.
After making “lightning pitches” to the audience, Lean on Me, an emotional support text line for college students, and Game Changers New York, a nonprofit that donates gently used sports equipment to underserved youth, took home the $750 and $500 Showcase Audience Choice Awards, respectively.
This year's Challenge finals was sponsored by Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, The Rothschild Foundations, the Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott Foundation, the UMD Center for Engineering Concepts Development, the Neilom Foundation and Freed Photography.
See “where are they now” stories from former Do Good Challenge competitors to mark the 10th anniversary of the event.
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