Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

UW-W alumni create ‘Brackets for Hope’

The month of March heralds the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and this year it means the realization of a dream for five UW-Whitewater alumni.

The group created Brackets for Hope to channel the passion and excitement generated by the tournament into a non-profit effort to raise money for cancer research.

Tory Hutchison came up with the idea while watching the tournament with his friends almost two years ago. He reached out to Amanda Donahue, Andy Schmidt, Erik Torgeson and Korryn Vail to launch this endeavor.

“We have a close group of friends that get together every year to watch the tournament,” Hutchison said. “We decided to create something that uses people’s passion for the tournament to help raise money for cancer research.”

Hutchison asked Torgeson first if he would be interested in helping.

“Tory called me up, ran the idea by me and I wanted in immediately,” Torgeson said. “Instantly it clicked and I was like we have to do this.”

All proceeds will go to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

More than $5,000 has been raised so far, and Hutchison said reactions from friends, family and potential sponsors have been positive.

“Everyone we’ve shared this idea with has been excited and eager to help,” Hutchison said. “We’ve partnered with several sponsors around the state and have had ESPN radio stations all over the country running our story.”

In order to participate in the competition, all it takes is an entry form found on Ten prizes will be given out to the top brackets with the winner receiving a 50-inch television. It is possible to play for free, but participants are encouraged to donate since the proceeds will benefit a worthy cause.

The five alumni will receive no compensation for their work, but Hutchison said all of the long hours are worth it.

“This has been a significant time investment for all of us, and while there will not be a financial payoff, it’s very rewarding work,” Hutchison said. “Just the opportunity to give something back to the community has been very exciting, especially now that it’s all coming together.”

Torgeson agreed the experience has been rewarding, and also said it’s hard to believe the amount of support they have received.

“This idea has been a couple years in the making and it’s surreal to see so many people get behind this,” Torgeson said. “I mean we have radio stations from Salt Lake City, New Jersey, Madison and Denver running our stuff.”

Support continues to grow for Brackets for Hope on Twitter and Facebook. The group has been so impressed with the response that it has discussed structuring similar fundraisers around other sporting events.

Anyone with questions or interest in volunteering can contact Hutchison or Torgeson, or go to the group’s website.

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Founded 1901
UW-W alumni create ‘Brackets for Hope’