Every year MBA students organize fundraising events for the Duke MBA Games, a charity benefiting the Special Olympics of North Carolina. Students are registered via an online platform, teams are assembled, and fundraisers are planned. I have to give the MBAs some credit, for the past 25 years they have hosted all the events, including the finale — the MBA Games Weekend — and run one well-oiled fundraising machine.

And I’d be willing to bet that the MMS class can, too.

MMS Dream Team

MMS Student Life Chair, Josh Connor, who truly has a heart for community service and charitable endeavors, was tasked with forming a team of 12-15 MMSers to participate in the MBA Games. As team captain, Josh assembled a diverse group of students to spearhead the fundraising efforts of our class and to represent a Special Olympics team during the weekend event. The final, capstone fundraising event, the MBA Games Weekend, will be on April 12 – 13, and attracts teams from across Duke, and other top B-Schools. Each team is paired with a Special Olympics’ athlete, and compete in various games.

There’s just one itsy bitsy problem: most of us don’t have a clue where to begin championing such a mammoth cause. This year, Fuqua has pledged to raise a whopping total of $50,000. Our class has pledged to raise $3,000 of that total donation. Some students have been stellar at motivating people to give to the cause. Others … are having a bit more difficulty getting their fledgling fundraising sites off the ground. Check out the MMS team’s fundraising site, and the site for all of the MBA Games’ teams. I believe that I was in last place in our efforts, and had only raised $10 for a while, but I’m now focusing on doing more. Here’s my fundraising page. If you’re interested, please consider supporting this great effort — any donations will be really appreciated.

Fundraising Push

At a recent team meeting, MMS Associate Director Kevin Hoch handed us the reins to come up with a more effective fundraising plan. Since it was a working lunch, pizza was provided, and initially, the room was silent except for the hungry gulps of cheesy bread. Then we sat staring awkwardly at each other. I thought I would bring a lot of knowledge about fundraising to the table, having served as my sorority’s philanthropy chair in college, but I was drawing a blank. I had never taken on such a big cause.

Thank goodness for seasoned fundraiser, Kourtney Kellin, who threw out the idea of a possible yogurt night at one of the local eateries. Hmmm, we all grunted with full stomachs. Everybody likes yogurt. Then another person piped up, and I took to the board with a red dry-erase marker to document the genius ideas that were flowing from our dream team, and pretty soon the board was filled. The MMS master plan for fundraising domination was complete! (Insert evil laugh.) Here are the events we are hosting to raise money for the Special Olympics — some events are open to the public:

MMS Fundraising Events

  • March Madness Brackets — We are accepting brackets from MMSers on the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
  • ‘80s Party — Get your leg warmers, brick phones, leotards, punk gear, and fanny packs ready, because this Friday, March 22, there will be an ‘80s themed costume party at The Republic. We joined forces with the MMS Association to rent out the entire bar. Donations at the door will go directly to our Special Olympics team.
  • LOYO Day — If you buy yogurt at Local Yogurt on Erwin Road on Tuesday, March 26, our team will receive 10% of the profits!
  • Trivia Night — We’ll be at Fullsteam Brewery on Thursday, April 4, at 9 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the MMS team.
  • Dodge Ball Tournament — TBA

If these crazy events aren’t enough to entice you to support the cause, I have one more juicy tidbit that will definitely change your mind. At the opening ceremonies of the MBA Games Weekend, on April 12, starting at 7:30 p.m., each team must perform in a dance competition. This might be an issue for some of us, because I have seen most of my teammates cutting a rug on the Shooters dance floor, and it is a hilarious sight to behold. And although in my head I truly believe I could give all of the contestants on So You Think You Can Dance a run for their money, I’ve been told that I definitely don’t have moves like Jagger. You know you’re dying to see this!

What our team may lack in synchronized dancing skills, we make up in tenacity and spirit. And although the games are in good fun and for a great cause, the competition could get pretty heated, especially in my favorite event called the Hash Run, in which people dress up in costumes and run a race with several rest stops along the course. At each rest stop you must drink a beer. Then when you finish the race, breathless and bloated, it’s tradition for people to tell funny stories about you and come up with nicknames for the Hash Run veterans. It’s a tough job … but I’m willing to bite the bullet and do it!

So in the spirit of the Special Olympics and healthy competition, let the games begin, good luck to all the participating teams, and to invoke the words of Effie Trinket, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”