Skip to main content

Do Good Challenge

Back to All Projects
Two students on stage in white shirts speaking

Share your social impact and compete for a chance to win a share of more than $20,000

Students from across campus spend the year advocating, fundraising, volunteering and developing solutions for pressing social issues. The Challenge culminates in a Finals event where six teams pitch their project or venture and the impact they've made for the chance to win a share of more than $20,000.

Can't Make it Tonight? Watch Live Here

Meet This Year's Finalist Teams

Project-Track Teams

App Dev Club (ADC) is a University of Maryland student organization with more than 350 registered members that bridges the gap between academic learning and real-world software development. The organization adopts a dual approach to social good, equipping UMD students with practical experience crucial for securing internships in the saturated tech industry and developing software for socially impactful corporate projects. In one semester, ADC gave 46 underclassmen and three juniors invaluable tech and networking experience between bootcamps and projects; 28 of these students landed summer 2024 internships.

  • Matthewos Gashaw, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences; Honors College (Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students) (pictured top left) 
  • Samai Patel, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences; Honors College (Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students) (pictured top left) 

Dare to Dream (DTD)  is a nonprofit organization that empowers marginalized communities to chase their dreams unapologetically through entrepreneurship. Their team of 25 interdisciplinary students created an eight-week entrepreneurial development curriculum; secured a contract with the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, where youth with families who receive housing support engaged in a three-week program to kick-off their knowledge of entrepreneurship and dream chasing; and is conducting a full academic year contract with the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship and Junior Achievement to teach their first-ever cohorts of high school students in Prince George’s County how to launch their own LLCs, obtain capital and investors, and liquidate their businesses.

  • Abby Oseguera, A. James Clark School of Engineering (pictured top middle)
  • Takiyah Roberts, Undergraduate Studies; College Park Scholars (Science, Technology and Society) (pictured top middle)

Public Health Beyond Borders (PHBB) empowers families and communities, both locally and globally, to achieve their best health through health education workshops and advocacy. The organization works to reduce health disparities around the world and increase awareness about good health practices, while providing undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities for responsible global development work. Since its inception 10+ years ago, PHBB has actively collaborated with partner communities in India, Peru, Sierra Leone, and Kenya and has completed 10+ interventions globally, involving more than 1,000 undergraduates and positively impacting 2,500+ children.

  • Elias Laskey, College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences; Honors College (Global Public Health Scholars) (pictured top right)
  • Meghna Pandey, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences; Honors College (Integrated Life Sciences) (pictured top right)

Venture-Track Teams

Game Changers aims to empower disadvantaged youth around the world by providing them the opportunity to become athletes. Game Changers facilitates connections between sports equipment donors and children’s sports programs globally through an online database. Since its founding in 2016, Game Changers has donated 100,000+ pieces of sports equipment worth more than $2.5 million to 130 partner organizations in nine countries. These collective efforts have enabled the organization to impact the lives of more than 440,000 children worldwide.

  • Sara Blau, Robert H. Smith School of Business; College Park Scholars (International Studies) (pictured bottom middle) 

The 2nd LT Richard W. Collins III Foundation was established to defeat the intolerance and fear that robbed the Collins family of their beloved son, and promote scholarship and mentoring to ensure the success of young people of color. The Foundation successfully lobbied the Maryland General Assembly for the enactment of the 2nd LT Richard W. Collins III Hate Crime Law as well as the 2nd LT Richard W. Collins III Scholarship Program Legislation, which provides $1 million in annual scholarships, with 700+ Maryland HBCU students receiving scholarship funding since 2018. Through partnerships with Bowie State University and the Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School, the Foundation brings together ROTC students from historically Black colleges and predominately white institutions for outdoor leadership exercises aimed at fostering community. 

  • Dawn Collins, School of Public Policy (pictured bottom left) 
  • Anna Wietrecki, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (not pictured)

True Community works to save lives, increase health literacy, provide meaningful work and empower people to give care in emergencies – the organization aims to inspire people to transform the well-being of their communities. True Community provides wellness education and training in lifesaving skills including first aid, CPR and AED to traditionally marginalized communities. Research shows that incidences of cardiac arrest in Black communities are five times more likely to end as a fatality than in primarily white communities. Since its inception, True Community has provided more than 8,000 first aid, CPR, AED certifications across 18 major cities in the United States.

  • Ebenezer Mensah, College of Education (pictured bottom right)
  • Luke Kues, School of Public Health (pictured bottom right)

Meet This Year's Judges


Michelle Gilliard, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Leader, IBM Americas

Working across the United States, Canada and Latin America Gilliard is responsible for regional IBM corporate social responsibility representation and execution of key programs and initiatives to continue advancing IBM’s performance and global recognition as a socially responsible and sustainable company. Her portfolio includes growing and advancing IBM’s global education and workforce development initiatives including IBM SkillsBuild and P-TECH, ESG/Sustainability, Volunteerism and Employee Engagement and CSR/ESG Communications across the Americas. She also helps to represent the company in external corporate social responsibility and sustainability organizations, initiatives, collaborations and events.

Gilliard is a national leader in expanding educational and occupational opportunities for underrepresented and underserved communities. Prior to joining IBM, she was director, US Education and Workforce Department at FHI360 an international human development organization working to improve the health and well-being of people in the United States and around the globe. Previously, Gilliard was a partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), a high engagement philanthropic investment firm focused on improving educational and social outcomes for children and youth in the Greater Washington, DC region. Additional positions held include senior director at the Walmart Foundation where she led the Foundation’s national postsecondary education and workforce development CSR partnerships and giving programs. 

Postsecondary education strategies included a focus on partnerships with minority serving institutions (HBCUs, HSIs, TCUs and AANAPISIs). She has also held executive level positions in higher education at the Foundation for Independent Higher Education and the Council of Independent Colleges. Gilliard holds degrees from the University of Michigan (PhD), Brown University (AM), American University (MIS), and the University of Dayton (BA). Current board appointments include the American Youth Policy Forum, Goodwill Excel Center Adult Public Charter School in Washington, DC, and Higher Achievement. This is Gilliard’s fifth time judging the Do Good Challenge Finals. 

Ian Gordon, Vice President, Community Impact & Engagement United Way of the National Capital Area

Ian Gordon is an executive leader with 25 years of experience in youth and workforce development, social science research, project management and entrepreneurship. As an expert in human development, Ian seamlessly applies social science theory, research, and best practice to develop and implement programs that result in improved health, education and economic outcomes for individuals who have not been afforded equity of opportunity and access. 

Ian leverages the financial resources of public and private stakeholders to catalyze innovative interventions for young people and families in underserved communities. He has a unique combination of creative and analytical skills that have been honed through a successful career in Federal contracting, non-profit management, and business. As Vice President of Community Impact and Engagement at United Way NCA, Ian identifies partnership opportunities that scales positive health, education, and economic opportunity outcomes.  He ensures strategic, data-driven, results-based, and collaborative approaches that connect community organizations, local governments, and philanthropy. This has resulted in improved individual and community level outcomes.

Ian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from Howard University, and a Master of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. Ian is a resident of Prince George’s County and an advocate for reducing disparities and inequities in the region and creating a more equitable future.

Cedric Nwafor ’18, CNML ’21, Chief Executive Officer, Roots Africa

A passion for agriculture and its people drives Cedric Nwafor. He believes that engaging younger generations in agriculture is vital to the future of the African continent and the socio-economic well-being of its people. Nwafor co-founded and serves as the CEO of Roots Africa, an organization dedicated to combating hunger, poverty and exclusion by connecting academic institutions and agricultural experts in the U.S. and around the world to African farmers, educators and families. 

Through his work as a social entrepreneur, civic activist and keynote speaker, Nwafor has worked with African youth in cities and rural communities across the African continent. He has taken his message of global engagement around the United States, as well as to Canada and Europe. Nwafor received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland. After graduation, he continued his affiliation with the university, developing the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program for AGNR, co-developing and co-teaching a course on Global Agriculture for the College and received a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the School of Public Policy. Along with SPP Lecturer Meg Brindle, he was recently named as a co-recipient of a Do Good Campus Fund grant for Roots Africa: Training Farmers in Intellectual Property Business Strategies for Improved Income.

Nwafor, who was born and raised in Cameroon, immigrated to the United States in 2010. He now calls the Washington, DC, area home, where he resides with his wife and two daughters. Nwafor is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Technology Access and Training (CETAT). Leadership Idaho Agriculture has recognized his work by naming him an Honorary Lifetime Affiliate Member and the University of Maryland Alumni Association named him the 2022 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award winner at the Maryland Awards. As a student at UMD, Nwafor received an award for Most Innovative Project from Universitas 21 and competed in the Do Good Challenge; ultimately taking home the first-place Project prize in the 2021 Virtual Do Good Challenge. He returned to the Challenge Finals in 2022 as an alumni feature and in 2023 as a judge for the first time. This will be Nwafor’s second time judging the Challenge. 


Kahlil Kettering, MPM ’15, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy Maryland/DC Chapter

As executive director, Kahlil provides overall management and leadership for TNC Maryland/DC Chapter’s conservation and policy work across the state and district.

He previously provided strategic management and oversaw all TNC deliverables associated with the $100M Bezos Earth Fund gift to TNC. He served as the point person working with project teams around the globe to collaboratively deploy and scale natural climate solutions to capture greenhouse gas emissions.

Kettering started his career at TNC as the inaugural Urban Conservation Program director for Maryland/DC Chapter from 2015-2021, where he developed conservation strategies in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, centered on implementing projects that elevate the intersection of protecting nature in urban areas and the benefits nature provides people in cities. This involved building momentum for the first-ever Stormwater Retention Credit market in DC by using natural solutions, like rain gardens and bioswales, that absorb stormwater and reduce runoff pollution into the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. 

Kettering holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from American University, a master’s degree in global environmental policy from American University, and a master’s degree in nonprofit management and leadership from the University of Maryland. Not only did Kettering compete in the Do Good Challenge as a student at UMD, this is his fifth time judging the Challenge Finals. 

Megan O’Neill, Senior Program Manager, UN and International Organizations, Microsoft

Megan is representing Morgan Stanley on the judge panel this year. 

O’Neill is a senior program manager in Microsoft’s UN and International Organizations team in New York City. In this role she leads the development and implementation of programs and policy engagement at the intersection of digital technologies and sustainable economic development. She advocates for multi-stakeholder solutions and leveraging technology at the UN to help solve global challenges. 

O’Neill came to Microsoft with experiences in the U.S. Senate in Senator Chris Coons’ office, the private sector in the Office of Corporate Engagement at Goldman Sachs, in multilateral institutions in the Secretariat’s UN75 initiative, and at the UN Foundation. O’Neill holds an MPA in international security policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and a BA in economics and international relations from the University of Delaware.

Veeraj Shah ’21, Co-Founder and CEO, Vitalize Care

Veeraj Shah is a recent alumnus of the University of Maryland (Class of ’21), and the co-founder + CEO of Vitalize Care, where he is leveraging technology to solve some of the most critical workforce challenges in healthcare.  

After spending most of his early life as a patient, Shah began building software for hospitals at the age of 15. He is a two-time winner of the Do Good Challenge himself, and co-founded both Chat Health and Public Health Beyond Borders during his time at the University of Maryland. Upon graduation, Shah won a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a PhD in public health at the University of Cambridge, where his research focused on developing and validating software that improved the efficiency and efficacy of cancer screening programs in the UK National Health Service. Shah left his PhD program and moved to San Francisco in January 2023 after getting accepted to Y-Combinator. Since then, Vitalize Care has grown over 10 times in revenue, raised millions in venture funding, and scaled its technology to hospital systems around the country.


Armani McMillan, a first-generation graduate and passionate education advocate, has made significant strides in empowering communities through her work. With experience as a student advocate, collegiate consultant, and director of talent acquisition, she has utilized her skills in student counseling, talent acquisition, and career growth to foster educational excellence and professional development. Her rise from a working-class background has ignited her passion for tearing down the barriers in higher education and career advancement, driving her commitment to creating a more accessible future for all.

Leading the development of IMPACTdmv, McMillan has been pivotal in nurturing personal and professional growth among underserved youth in the DC metro area. Through IMPACTdmv's innovative leadership program: IMPACT Your Acceptance (IYA), 60 high school seniors secured over 500 college acceptances and over $20M in scholarships, demonstrating the organization's dedication to expanding opportunities for the ambitious yet under-resourced. McMillan's work not only showcases her multifaceted skill set but also her relentless effort to promote educational equity and career readiness.

McMillan stands as a testament to the transformative power of education and the impact of dedicated leadership on community development. As she continues to break barriers and make a positive impact, McMillan serves as a role model for individuals from all walks of life, encouraging them to strive towards their unique potential and contribute to society in meaningful ways.

Program Details

The Do Good Challenge is a social impact pitch competition in two tracks - projects and ventures. Students compete by first submitting a written application to share the impact that you or your team has created. Applicants are reviewed and advanced to Semi-Finals if they have created the most significant social impact. For Semi-Finals, competitors develop a 5-minute pitch that summarizes the issue or community they are focused on, their strategy for addressing it, the impact they’ve created, and their plan for the future. Semi-finalists will also answer impromptu questions from a panel of judges. Semi-Finals judges recommend the top competitors to advance to Finals. Finalists work closely with a coach to refine and develop their pitch. At the Finals event, the top six teams make their pitch and answer questions on stage from a panel of expert judges.


The Do Good Challenge and the Do Good Institute are made possible by the support and commitment of our dedicated partners, donors and community.

We are grateful to the Karen and Bruce Levenson Family Foundation for its visionary leadership and partnership since 2010. Today, thousands of student leaders are making a deep impact in their communities through UMD's Do Good Campus. 

A special thank you to Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management for its decade-plus lead sponsorship of the Do Good Challenge; The Rothschild Foundation for its transformative partnership with the Do Good Institute and Do Good Challenge; Freed Photography for capturing every in-person Do Good Challenge Finals; and our newest Do Good Challenge Finals partner, Equitable Foundation.

Group of logos

Students and teams that advance to the Finals of the Do Good Challenge will be able to: 

  • Compete for up to $5,000 in prize funding as well as additional Audience Choice awards during the Finals event 
  • Share the impact that they’ve made with campus and community leaders 
  • Spread the word about their project or venture through Do Good Institute social media platforms and web stories 
  • Receive coaching on how to craft an effective and engaging pitch presentation and build public speaking skills with help from the Do Good Institute  

This Do Good Challenge is open to any student or student groups at the University of Maryland, College Park. The specific requirements include the following: 

  • Applicants may apply as an individual or a team. Teams may be new or existing (such as student organizations, fraternities or sororities, or academic programs).
  • Teams must have a designated lead applicant. Lead applicants must be full- or part-time, degree-seeking students at the University of Maryland, College Park when they apply. Lead applicants will be the main contact person for all ​communications​, notifications and questions, and take primary responsibility for receiving and responding to all correspondence. Lead applicants typically hold leadership roles for the organization, project, or venture and are highly familiar with its work and activities. 
  • Applicants must be full- or part-time, degree-seeking students at the University of Maryland, College. At least 50% of the team must be UMD students.
  • Applicants' proposals, projects, or ventures must be student-led and student-run. Faculty, staff and external partners should serve strictly as advisors or mentors.
  • Applicants authorize the Do Good Institute to edit and publish proposal, project, or venture information – including team member information (including names, colleges, majors and other affiliations), impact data, photos, videos, testimonials and success stories – in web and printed materials. Some teams may be profiled on our website and may appear in Do Good Institute, School of Public Policy, and University of Maryland publications and other promotional materials.

Students interested in the Do Good Challenge will need to apply using our application portal. Please submit your application before 11:59pm on January 14, 2024. 

Have questions about how to write a compelling application? Join our virtual Challenge Application Q&A Sessions to learn more about what makes a great application, the facts and figures you want to include, what you need before submitting, and so much more. There will also be plenty of time to ask questions! 

Challenge Application Q&A Session Dates:

  • December 4, 2023 at 11-11:30am EST
  • December 7, 2023 at 1-1:30pm EST
  • January 5, 2024 at 10-10:30am EST
  • January 10, 2024 at 2-2:30pm EST

Check out past teams and winners from the Do Good Challenge!

  • 2023: Kesem at UMD (Projects) and Sustainabli (Ventures)
  • 2022: Combating Overdoses in Rural Areas (Projects) and Vitalize (Ventures)
  • 2021: Roots Africa (Projects) and Chat Health (Ventures)
  • 2019: FLAME (Projects) and Hydraze (Ventures)
  • 2018: TerpThon (Projects) and Symbiont Health (Ventures)
  • 2017: Vintage Voices (Projects) and James Hollister Wellness Foundation (Ventures)
  • 2016: Terps Against Hunger (Projects) and MedFund (Ventures)
  • 2015: Miles for Smiles (Projects) and Press Uncuffed (Ventures)
  • 2014: Students Helping Honduras (Projects) and (Ventures)
  • 2013: Microjusticia
  • 2012: Food Recovery Network


Explore the tabs below to find answers to your most frequently asked questions.

More than $20,000 will be awarded during the Do Good Challenge! Expert judges will select prizes based on issue, idea, impact, and potential shared in the team pitches and Q&A. Each of the three finalist teams in each track compete for a $5,000 first place prize, a $2,500 second place award, and a $1,000 third place prize. There will also be additional Audience Choice awards given out during the Finals event. 

Semi-finalist teams will also have the opportunity to compete for funding. During the Finals event, semi-finalist teams will participate in a Showcase to highlight their work. The audience’s two favorite teams will get on stage to deliver a lightning pitch for the chance to win a $750 Audience Choice prize

The Venture Track is designed for students that are addressing an issue by creating a novel, innovative, or creative solution through a new or improved product, process, or service. The Project Track is for students that are addressing an issue through continued action, like fundraising, advocacy, volunteering, or community events and programs. Applicants also have the option in their application to request that we place you in the appropriate track if you are unsure which track to compete in.

The Do Good Challenge is a competitive opportunity. Past finalists have been well into the implementation phase of their development and are already seeing significant and measurable impact from their Project or Venture. Teams in the idea stage or that are just starting to implement may be better suited for Mini-Grants or being an Accelerator Fellow.

Check our Do Good Student Teams page to see the past teams that have participated in the Do Good Challenge as both Semi-Finalists and Finalists. You can also watch the 2023 Do Good Challenge Finals event and the 2022 Do Good Challenge Finals event to see the full program, including students’ pitches.

This year’s Finals event will take place on April 30, 2024. The event is typically attended by at least 400 people. The audience will include other UMD students, local high school students, campus leaders including President Pines, deans, returning alumni, university donors, social impact professionals, and any of your invited friends and family.   

The event starts with a Private Reception for invited guests with refreshments, followed by a Showcase highlighting the work of the semi-finalist teams, and then the main Finals event where students will take the stage to make their pitches.

We will hold a Finalist Orientation Meeting on March 26, 2024 to go over the basics of the event and the preparation we recommend. All finalist teams will be assigned a coach to help them further develop their pitch presentation and their pitch deck. All finalist teams should expect to meet with their coach at least three times before the event. On the day of the Finals event, Do Good Institute staff will lead a tour of the event space and hold a dry run rehearsal so that everyone feels comfortable when they get on stage.

Watch Here: Do Good Challenge Live Streams

Contact the Program Staff