Americans love to fill out brackets this time of year. And most of us who try to forecast the outcome of a certain college basketball tournament wind up disappointed.
But there's another way.
In each market 64 good causes are selected and paired up in a bracket that works like the college basketball one. You can help your favorite charitable group advance by making a donation – $1 contributed equals 1 point in the standings.
This year's giving started on Feb. 24 and each round lasts a week. On Friday evenings at 8 p.m. the winners are determined and the next round of competition starts. Find real-time results on the Twin Cities bracket here.
Competitors became partners
Brackets for Good started in Indianapolis in 2012 and last year was the first time they had a Twin Cites bracket.
The winning group was Spare Key, which helps families with critically ill children pay for housing costs. They raised more than $75,000 in donations, edging out the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association, which supports families of officers killed in the line of duty.
Brackets for Good says it was the highest-scoring final in any of the cities with competitions. And an interesting thing happened between the finalists: the groups started talking to each other and joined forces by creating a program that provides housing grants to Minnesota law enforcement families with ill or hospitalized kids.
Brackets for Good says the total amount donated during last year's Twin Cities competition was $281,184.
This year whichever group wins the competition will get an extra $10,000 from an anonymous corporate sponsor.
Note that a 4.7 percent credit card processing and administrative fee comes out of each donation. In addition, Brackets for Good charges a 30-cent fee for each donation.