The Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, raised nearly $12,000 during its fourth annual March Madness Bracket Challenge.

The closely contested, online pick ‘em competition drew a record 221 bracket submissions. Participants tried to predict winners for each game of the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

“The suggested minimum donation was $25, but many of our generous supporters contributed additional amounts. They recognize the challenges we’re facing after canceling in-person fundraising events this spring,” said Jessica Stanfield, executive director of the foundation. “Proceeds from the Bracket Challenge will help fund programs that serve abused, neglected, and abandoned children in Southwest Florida.”

Supporter Dan Downing finished in the first place and received a $500 Amazon gift card. He correctly picked three Final Four teams, a perfect championship game matchup, and the ultimate winner, Baylor. Downing edged second-place finisher Sandy Gerber, who received a $300 Amazon gift card, by a single point. Gary Dyer finished third and received a $200 Amazon gift card.

IBERIABANK and First Horizon Bank presented the Bracket Challenge. The foundation managed the fundraiser through the NCAA’s official tournament website.

Proceeds will help the foundation recruit, train, and support volunteer child advocates. Volunteer child advocates serve as the voice for children as they navigate the judicial, education, and child welfare systems. The 20th Judicial Circuit serves Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades counties.

Additionally, the foundation also provides financial assistance to help meet a child’s basic and developmental needs. The Children’s Needs Program, for instance, provides funding for “extras” like:

  • Birthday parties
  • Tutoring
  • Summer camp programs
  • Movie tickets
  • Theme park tickets
  • Registration fees for clubs and sports

Supporters unable to participate in the March Madness Bracket Challenge can still help by mailing a check to:

Guardian ad Litem Foundation

1700 Monroe St., Suite #600

Fort Myers, FL 33901


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