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Student Teams Vie for $20,000-plus to ‘Do Good’

Do Good Challenge Asks Students to Put Their Best Philanthropic Foot Forward

By Lucy Hubbard ’24

collage of Do Good Challenge finalists

The six finalists in the 2024 Do Good Challenge are (clockwise from top left) Dawn Collins of the 2nd Lt. Richard W. Collins III Foundation, Abby Oseguera and Takiyah Roberts of Dare to Dream, Elias Laskey and Meghna Pandey of Public Health Beyond Borders, Sara Blau of Game Changers, Ebenezer Mensah and Luke Kues of True Community, and Matthewos Gashaw and Samai Patel of the App Dev Club.

Photos courtesy of the Do Good Institute

Whether fighting health disparities locally and overseas, collecting equipment to support youth sports programs or helping low-income youths learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, Terps making a difference can aim to amp up their efforts at this year’s Do Good Challenge.

The six finalists teams have spent the last year researching, advocating and creating solutions to social issues, culminating in the final stage of the Do Good Challenge, where they will compete for a share of over $20,000 in funding, pitching their ideas to a panel of expert judges in a “Shark Tank”-style setting.

“These are all students that are really ambitious with their goals,” said Catherine Curtis, program coordinator at the Do Good Institute, host of the event. “They want to see tangible social change. They're not necessarily going for what is easy to implement, they're going for what will create the most impact.”

Teams compete in two tracks: The project track features teams that aim to maximize impact for a cause or existing organization through efforts like fundraising, volunteering or awareness campaigns; while the venture track exists for student-created social enterprises and nonprofits focused on making a social impact.

First place in both the project and venture tracks will receive $5,000, with second and third place teams winning $2,500 and $1,000, respectively. Additionally, one team will win the $2,500 audience choice award, voted on at the challenge.

The 2024 project track finalists are:

App Dev Club, a first-time competitor, has created more than $500,000 worth of software and development tools for social impact organizations and nonprofit organizations including Children’s National Hospital. The club’s 350 members’ work on socially impactful projects that equip them with the experience needed to find internships and jobs in the tech industry.

Dare to Dream empowers K-12 students and young adults in marginalized communities by helping them build entrepreneurial skills. The group of 25 students created an eight-week entrepreneurial development curriculum, and also worked with Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission to create a three-week version for young people from families that receive housing support. The group is also partnering with UMD’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and Junior Achievement to help local high schoolers launch their own companies. “I wanted to make something that can help support other founders take their dreams to the next level,”said Takiyah Roberts ’25, founder and co-executive director.

Public Health Beyond Borders (PHBB) is working to reduce health disparities locally and globally through educational workshops and advocacy. The organization has been active on UMD’s campus and in communities around the world for the last decade, working with over 1,000 students and impacting over 2,500 children. Members can participate in global development through PHBB partnerships in India, Peru, Sierra Leone and Kenya.

The 2024 venture track finalists are:

The 2nd Lt. Richard W. Collins III Foundation was established in honor of a Bowie State University student who was killed in 2017 on the UMD campus. The foundation, headed by his mother, Dawn Collins, who is pursuing a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and leadership at UMD, aims to fight intolerance through scholarships for students at Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and through outdoor leadership activities that unite ROTC students at primarily white institutions with those from HBCUs to foster community. The foundation successfully lobbied the Maryland General Assembly to enact a hate crime law and a program that has provided $1 million in scholarships for over 700 HBCU students in Maryland.

Game Changers helps facilitate athletic equipment drives for children’s sports programs across the world through their online database that connect donors and recipients. Founded in 2016 by Sara Blau ’24, Game Changers has donated over 100,000 pieces of sports equipment, totalling over $2.5 million, to 130 partner organizations across nine countries including India, Kenya and Uganda, helping nearly a half-million children become athletes.

True Community provides free CPR, AED and first aid training locally and globally to expand access to lifesaving skills and boost health literacy in marginalized communities, where cardiac incidents are far more likely to end in death than in white communities. Since its founding, the organization has facilitated more than 8,000 CPR and other certifications in 18 major cities nationwide. True Community also trained more than 1,000 people in Ghana in summer 2023. “Already, we've gotten feedback from those 1,000 people that we've been able to save nine lives as a result,” said founder and Executive Director Luke Kues M.P.H. ’24.

Schools & Departments:

School of Public Policy

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