Maryland Today | Do Good Challenge teams will share $20,000 in prizes

Student teams working to prevent opioid overdoses and protect the mental health of healthcare workers each won the $5,000 first place awards at the 10th

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 contestants from the past decade.

Combating Overdoses in Rural Areas (CORA), founded at UMD, now has eight chapters nationwide and more than 100 members providing opioid education, resources and harm reduction support. It was the winner among project teams trying to maximize impact for a cause or an existing organization through volunteerism, fundraising and advocacy.

Vitalize is building a clinician-focused app and digital dashboard for hospital leaders to support their staff’s mental health, including a library of over 100 mindfulness meditations addressing the unique challenges of working in healthcare. It won in the venture track category for social enterprises that face important social challenges with innovative business models.

Kesem from the University of Maryland received the $2,500 second prize in the project track and the $2,500 Audience Choice Award from the Neilom Foundation. It provides care packages, monthly calls and more for children ages 6 to 18 affected by cancer in the DMV and hosts a free week-long 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 told the audience. “These students dream of the fearless ideas that will drive us forward fearlessly. Their imagination, motivation and determination are examples for all of us to strive for excellence and advance the common good.”

Other finalists included 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 champions accessible and affordable menstrual health products, services and education (Third prize $1,000, project track); and TeleShadowing, a virtual shadowing program for preschoolers (Third Prize $1,000, Venture Track).

The project’s judges included Michelle Gilliard, Director of the US Education and Workforce Department at FHI 360; Kahlil Kettering MPM ’15, Program Director, Bezos Earth Fund, Nature Conservancy; and Paul Monteiro ’02, chief of staff and associate vice president for foreign affairs at Howard University.

“It’s not easy being up here,” Kettering told the students. “It’s scary, it’s intimidating, but it’s a powerful experience. And I guarantee that no matter what happens tonight, you will take the lessons of this experience into your professional life, and it will 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, US Department of Labor; Chad Bolick, Executive Director, Head of Philanthropy Management, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management; and Kirsten Craft, MBA/MPP ’17, President of Innovation, Strategy and Operations, Potomac Debate Academy.

After Lean on Me, a line of emotional support for college students, and Game Changers New York, a nonprofit that donates gently used exercise equipment to underserved youth, made “flashing pitches” to audiences, they took on the Showcase Audience Choice im $750 value and $500 with home awards, respectively.

This year’s Challenge Final 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 by former Do Good Challenge participants to mark the 10th anniversary of the event.

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