2014 Welcome Letter



Winter at last recedes and spring is coming indeed! March Madness is here! Welcome back friends and contributors! Rolling through our second decade indeed! Thanks to your continued support, we are still here, providing weeks of basketball delight and your chance to participate in the finest basketball pool in the land. Additionally, the real winners are the charities we support each year and with continued good fortune, an endowed fund, that will continue to grow and contribute to future worthwhile organizations. Currently and only after a several years of the institution of the March Madness Endowment Fund, the current fund balance, thanks again to your generous contributions over the years, is over $ 40,000! Although your nominal contribution for all this fun is again a requested $ 20 (no change over many years), over 75% of all our charity money raised comes from your additional contributions. Year after year, individuals contribute from five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, and for some of you, several hundred dollars in additional funding. This of course continues to be the reason for our being. If you havenʼt before, consider this, and drop some extra cash with your entry donation! Feel good about yourself and help us out. This promises to be an exciting year for the tournament. Enjoy it!. See your name in lights. Tell your family and friends. Spread the word. Multiple entries are encouraged!

There are NO format changes to this yearʼs pool, once again. NCAA basketball tournament selections and seedings will come out Sunday evening, March 16th. Entry into the tournament closes with the tip off of the first round games beginning Thursday morning, March 20th. For each entry, fill out the form all the way through to the finals, selecting the winner of each game. Donʼt worry about the play-in games. They donʼt count to the standings. Just see the entry once available come Sunday night. Same as always. No surprises.

Each entry donation is $20 (twenty dollars). $4 (four dollars) of every fee will be donated to charity. Again, we encourage you to make an additional contribution, (as the majority of you so kindly do). Remember any additional moneys donated qualify as a tax-deduction, so if you desire proof of such, enclose a separate check made out to the charity (The March Madness Endowment Fund or , Patchwork Central or Covenant House). I will forward the check (as is) with the rest of the donations.

The remainder of the pool will be distributed to the winners as follows:

1st --- 40%     6th --- 4%

2nd --- 20%    7th --- 3%

3rd --- 10%      8th --- 3%

4th --- 7%        9th --- 2%

5th --- 5%      10th --- 2% 

Last Place --- 4%

$100 bonus for the place finish of the total score of the championship game

(Final score Cincinnati 82 Wichita State 79 means 161st place takes home $100) You donʼt need to pick a final score, it will just happen!

Also: Bonus award again for 2014. (Judges discretion and no disputes!) $100 bonus for the GOAT. He (or she) who has the worst bracket who actually tried to win, not tried to come in last place)

The website has been updated. (Annual thanks goes to Gary Gurtcheff, our webmaster.) Additionally, we will maintain an index page for you to review rules, interim letters, charity information, periodic updates, and other items of interest, in addition to the standings. We hope you will take the time to peruse the site. Please especially review our charity page.

2014 Charity Information

Seventeen years, thousands of dollars to charity, and our recent endowed fund which has a value currently over $ 40,000. Through this fund, we are able to make small cash contributions to local endeavors in need. This year, in addition to the March Madness Endowment Fund, we will be making two additional contributions. These two charities are: Patchwork Central (Evansville) and Covenant House (branching out to St. Louis, the nearest locale)

Patchwork Central

Patchwork Central began in 1977 as a faith‐ based neighborhood outreach organization for an inner city neighborhood in need. Today, Patchwork Central continues its outreach to Evansville area neighborhoods with a food pantry and many unique children's programs. As part of the community fabric, Patchwork Central changes the lives of those it serves by giving them a sense of hope, a place of acceptance, and a bright outlook for the future.

Since its founding, Patchwork has worked to serve its neighborhood through flexible and innovative programming that matches the talents and interests of those involved to the needs of our community. Today, Patchwork serves individuals and families with a food pantry (since 1982), neighborhood hospitality (a cup of coffee, telephone usage, someone to listen, etc.), a community garden (created in 1995), low‐rent facilities for other community organizations, an artists' teaching studio and cooperative gallery, a bicycle program for the homeless, and unique art/education programs (Arts & Smarts) that have been available free of charge to at‐risk children and youth since 1980. 

In a single year, approximately 5000 people come through our doors to receive services directly from Patchwork. Many additional people attended special events, meetings, workdays, arts events, and Patchwork celebrations. Additional people visited with the other organizations that use space in our buildings. As part of the community fabric, Patchwork Central changes the lives of those it serves by giving them a sense of hope, a place of acceptance, and a bright outlook for the future. Please take the time to learn more about this organization by visiting their website. www.patchwork.org

Covenant House

Covenant House is vision is to help homeless kids. Covenant House doesn't forget about all the kids who are no longer here because no one cared. They have the right to a home; the right to food; the right to guidance and an education; the right to be free from sexual, emotional, or physical abuse; and the right to be free from exploitation. These kids have the right to be safe and, most important, to be loved. Homeless kids come to Covenant House in crisis. Immediately and without question, we meet their basic human needs ‐ a nourishing meal, a shower, clean clothes, medical attention, and a safe place away from the dangers of the street. Covenant House protects the children from the perils of the street and offers that important sense of security.

Covenant House is dedicated to serving all God's children with absolute respect and unconditional love … to help suffering homeless kids ... and to protect and safeguard all children in need. Learn more about this worthwhile organization, in several locations about the US, by visiting their website. www.covenanthouse.org

© Gary M. Gurtcheff 2013