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Local nonprofit gets its ‘game on’ for city’s first ever online giving tournament

Vicky D'Agostino;Guest Contributor Maryland New Directions | 2/24/2017, 6 a.m. | Updated on 2/23/2017, 3:05 p.m.
Four of Maryland New Direction’s most recent graduates (January 2017) of the Maritime Transportation Distribution and Logistics (MTDL) training program.
Four of Maryland New Direction’s most recent graduates (January 2017) of the Maritime Transportation Distribution and Logistics (MTDL) training program

MND prepares to go head-to-head

against 55 other local nonprofits

Maryland New Directions (MND) and Brackets for Good 2017 have teamed up for a March Madness fundraiser in Baltimore’s first ever online tournament, which tips off on February 24, 2017.

MND is an award winning nonprofit.

MND is an award winning nonprofit employment training and job placement agency dedicated to assisting low-income individuals to become self-sustaining members of the community.

Founded in 1973, nearly 140,000 clients have made significant life changes through MND.

In this bracket style online tournament, nonprofits must score enough points to advance to the next round. Donations translate into points— one point equals one dollar. MND will retain the donations raised throughout the six-round tournament. At the end of each round, the nonprofit with the most points in the individual match-up advances to the next round, the points are reset, and the fundraising continues until a champion is crowned. The Championship round commences March 31. The Baltimore tournament champion will also receive a grand prize donation of $10,000.

“Our team is in game mode for the competition. We’ve drafted some local businesses to support our tournament and coordinated fundraising events for the six-week tournament. Everyone from volunteers to board members is being put through their paces in order to spread the word, plan and man special events, and connect with their supporters,” said Barbara Reed, development manager for MND.

Serving low-income Baltimore residents for 44 years, MND offers, no-cost employment training and career counseling. The programs’ holistic and motivating approach gets measurable results

through continuous training, personalized coaching and ongoing support, equipping clients with the skills and confidence to overcome their obstacles and succeed.

MND’s Career Focus Program offers job readiness training to Baltimore residents who are struggling with significant barriers to employment. In one-on-one appointments, clients are assisted with writing resumes, practice interviewing and receive career counseling. Workshops are offered to help clients think like an employer, identify skills, set goals, search for jobs online and more. A fully equipped 32-station computer lab is also available to enhance computer literacy and conduct job searches. Job Ready clients are often connected with MND partner employers who are seeking workers.

Specialized training, such as the Maritime Transportation Distribution & Logistics Training Program offers industry specific education and preparedness while partnering with employers at, and near, the Port of Baltimore to provide motivated jobseekers with a comprehensive program and long-term career opportunity. Program participants have the opportunity to tour the Port of Baltimore, receive assistance in applying for their Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card and obtain forklift certification and/or additional industry certifications as desired.

MND provides services to hundreds of Baltimore area residents annually, with 358 clients receiving services in fiscal year 2016. While some attend only individualized services, 298 (83 percent) completed training and 211 have already secured employment. The average annual starting wage for an MND graduate is $12.25, forty percent higher than the minimum wage of $8.75. Additionally, MND’s ongoing supportive services with clients allows them to gauge an employment success and retention rate, currently reflecting an impressive 82.5percent for clients maintaining employment for one year or longer.

“MND is very fiscally responsible. Our costs per participant is one of the lowest in the workforce development field,” cited Grace Lee, executive director.

Local businesses are joining the ‘team’ to host events that support MND’s Jump Shot for Jobs campaign. Such events will include The Lord Baltimore Hotel’s Happy Hour (Feb 28, 4-7 p.m.), On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina’s Give Back (March 7, 5-9 p.m.), and the Mt. Washington Tavern’s Hang Time (March 9, 4-8 p.m.), with a portion of evenings’ proceeds donated to score points in hopes to advance MND forward through the brackets.

The public is invited to join the “fundraising” for MND and help improve the economic future for our city and its residents.

“If you’re interested in having a blast while supporting families and economic growth, we invite you to be part of our Jump Shots for Job Team. There are many ways to help raise awareness,

become a partner and participate in the giving,” said Reed.

To learn more about MND, visit: www.mdnewdirections.org or https://www.facebook.com/MNDBaltimore/. To donate and learn more about the Maryland New Directions 2017 Brackets for Good Tournament visit, https://baltimore.bfg.org/city.