by: Gray Weaver
March to the Madness (M2M) is a multi-week, bracket-style fundraiser hosted by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Foundation. Modeled after the NCAA March Madness Tournament, M2M matches up different chapters to see who can raise the most money in each round.
All funds raised benefit the Annual Loyalty Fund, which supports leadership development, educational programming, and scholarships, as well as the upkeep and operations of the Levere Memorial Temple. Additionally, during the last four rounds of the Tournament, the winning Chapters are awarded a percentage of the money they raise to their Chapter Education Fund (CEF), which are chapter-specific endowed funds. CEFs provide a wide array of educational support to a chapter, including local scholarships and tuition for national SAE educational programs.
Chapters go all out for the competition and have a great time playing the game. The M2M trophy is displayed at the Levere Memorial Temple and recognizes the Tournament Champion. Also recognized are each year’s runner-up, the team with the most overall donors, and the team with the most overall dollars raised. But most of all, teams play for bragging rights over other Chapters!
“MARCH TO THE MADNESS IS AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FOR ALUMNI TO RECONNECT WITH EACH OTHER AND BAND TOGETHER FOR A GOOD CAUSE.”
March to the Madness is an excellent opportunity for alumni to reconnect with each other and band together for a good cause. This event encourages alumni to re-engage with their Chapter and the Fraternity.
Since its start in 2019, March to the Madness has raised over $264,135 all in support of the next generation of True Gentleman. Below are the 2023 Tournament highlights.
2023 M2M HIGHLIGHTS
ROUND OF 64
This year’s Tournament tipped off with several bracket-busters. No.14 East Tennessee State beat No.3 Winthrop in the Cockrell Region. Additionally, No.13 Bowling Green beat No.4 Kent State in the DeVotie Region. The first three rounds include a Wild Card, where the highest-donating losing team in the whole bracket replaces the lowest-donating winning team. Wild Cards incentivize teams to raise more money and not be at the bottom of the bracket. No.5 Arizona State won the Wild Card in this round, allowing them to participate for two more rounds. The Round of 64 raised over $14,200 for the Annual Loyalty Fund.
ROUND OF 32
Multiple teams completely swept the floor in this round, leaving their opponents in the dust. A couple of close games kept teams on their toes and pushed them to continue donating to make it out on top. Congratulations to Tom LaMantia (Arizona ‘87), who was the MVP of this round! The Round of 32 raised over $16,500 for the Annual Loyalty Fund.
This round was quite exciting and kept teams watching until the last minute. There were a lot of really good games throughout the day. One, in particular, was No.1 Oklahoma vs. No.5 Texas Rho. The game was high-scoring and neck and neck throughout the day, raising over $15,000. Ultimately, the reigning champion, Oklahoma, came out on top, but Emerging Chapter, Texas Rho, held its own. The Sweet 16 raised over $28,400 for the Annual Loyalty Fund.
This year’s Elite 8 was record-breaking, with over $22,200 raised. The round started hot and heavy, raising almost $4,000 by 11:00 a.m. At the end of the night, many teams made large buzzer-beater gifts to win and advance to the Final Four. Ryan Fry (Mount Union ‘96) was the MVP of this round. Congratulations!
The Final Four ended very familiarly this year, with Oklahoma and Indiana advancing to the Championship round. North Dakota put up a good fight against Oklahoma, trying their best to stay in the game all day. Ultimately, they fell short with a final score of $6,904 vs. $3,145. Indiana triumphed over Nebraska with a final score of $4,785 vs. $1,525. $1,168 was awarded to two CEFs, and over $16,300 was raised in this round.
This year’s Championship was very familiar to many, with the reigning Champion, Oklahoma, vs. Indiana. It was a neck-and-neck game all day, with 165 individual donations. This round raised over $40,000. In the end, Oklahoma came out on top once again with $20,682 in donations, and Indiana was not far behind with $19,645! Congratulations to Jack Counts, Oklahoma’s Team Captain! In addition to leading his team to victory, Jack was also the Round MVP and Leading Scorer. The SAE Foundation will award $6,506.70 to Oklahoma’s Chapter Education Fund!
Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s March to the Madness Tournament, and congratulations to this year’s Champion, Oklahoma! The event set records in nearly every round, including the Championship, which raised $40,327. We established a new Tournament record of $138,176, which is 28% above last year, had 547 individual donors, and generated new levels of fun, participation, and engagement across the Realm.
The SAE Foundation thanks and congratulates all of the teams who participated. Your generosity supports undergraduate members by providing educational programming and scholarships. Fundraising is a TEAM sport, and we appreciate everyone’s effort throughout the Tournament!
M2M CAPTAINS ARE TEAM LEADERS WHO ENCOURAGE BROTHERS TO DONATE. THEY SPARK ENTHUSIASM THROUGH EMAILS, TEXT MESSAGES, AND SOCIAL MEDIA AND UPDATE THEIR TEAM ON EACH ROUND’S STATUS. MANY CAPTAINS LOVE THE ROLE, AND IN SPEAKING WITH A FEW, THEY HAD THESE THOUGHTS ABOUT MARCH TO THE MADNESS.
GRAHAM HILL (TEXAS RHO ‘71)
TEXAS RHO CHAPTER CAPTAIN
“[March to the Madness] is really a lot of fun… and it’s not just about raising the money, it’s about connecting SAE’s to the fraternity and to each other.”
ROB ELLIS (GEORGIA ‘80)
GEORGIA CHAPTER CAPTAIN
“Georgia was aptly seeded as a 10. First time for our Chapter formally participating…Captain’s stress aside, this is a creative and fun campaign allowing us to connect with our alumni base several times over a few weeks. Many of our donors were first-time contributors to the Foundation.”
JIM KRAPNEC (MOUNT UNION ‘95)
MOUNT UNION CHAPTER CAPTAIN
“I think the March to the Madness campaign is an engaging opportunity for the Foundation to reach new donors who might not respond to a traditional advancement campaign. Having been so remote from my chapter for so long…this was a great opportunity for me to reconnect with brothers who I knew as an undergrad and generations of brothers who share so many of the same experiences and memories as I do. I’ve deepened a couple friendships and began so many more. This experience gained me a stronger connection to my chapter and my fraternity than I’d had in years.”
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
Are you interested in getting your Chapter involved or volunteering as a Captain or Co-Captain for next year’s March to the Madness Tournament? Can you rally your Brothers to raise money for a great cause? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.