The Bloc -MBA DePaul Cohort Summer 21′

1) Brief description of the project 

For our project, we decided to raise money for The Bloc and use the funds to wrap one of their vans in their organization’s marketing materials. In addition, we conducted in-person interviews with their boxers to allow the athletes to practice on-camera, as well as create testimonial videos for the organization to better market themselves.

The first phase of our project was to fundraise enough money so the organization could wrap one of their vans in large decals with their marketing materials. Recently, The Bloc was robbed and they had laptops, credit cards, and one of their vans stolen during the robbery. Wrapping their vans would detract from future burglaries, but it also gives them an opportunity to market themselves as they are driving their fighters to and from practice. After doing some research, we learned that wrapping a van would cost around $4,000. Even though our class was only a five-week course, we really wanted to reach that goal so we could fully fund wrapping one of their vans. We knew this goal was aggressive, but we made it our best-case scenario and created a fundraising page on their website with that goal advertised. After creating the page, we reached out to our network through email and social media asking for donations, and we were able to surpass our best-case scenario and, as of July 16, raised a total of $4,437! We were shocked by the generosity of our network, especially since our fundraising window was open for less than two weeks.

In the second phase of our project we conducted an in-person event during one of their practices, where we filmed testimonials with the fighters to have them practice speaking publicly about their experiences with The Bloc. The Bloc’s main form of marketing is through these testimonial videos of their fighters speaking about how The Bloc has made a positive impact on their lives and how it has helped them navigate their community. Although these videos can be very powerful, the fighters often need help practicing before giving these testimonials. Our in-person event was created to give them an opportunity to practice their pitch and hopefully create some good content that The Bloc could use right away. Our event was held on Saturday July 10th, 2021 at their main facility in West Humboldt Park. While the group was practicing their boxing, we created three zones where we interviewed the fighters. Over the course of two hours, we interviewed nine of their selected boxers for about six minutes each. We found that the interviews were most successful when we interviewed them one at a time, as there was too much noise in the background when we had multiple interview sessions occurring at the same time. Overall, the event went better than expected and the children blew us away by their testimonials and natural abilities to speak on camera.

2) Brief description of the charity

The Bloc is a nonprofit boxing club located in Chicago, Illinois. The Bloc spreads the love of boxing to provide resources and opportunities to Chicago’s youth.  The organization’s main objective is to provide mentorship for their boxers. Whether it is prepping them for job interviews, helping them achieve their academic goals or frequently checking in with them to provide advice, The Bloc has become a second home for many kids.  The Bloc provides opportunity for no cost to youth or their families with the intention of expanding their boxer’s horizons with college trips and explorational learning. Since 2016 when they opened, they have maintained 100% high school graduation and college acceptance rates. Whoever enrolls in The Bloc learns to fight and ultimately learns how to fight for their success.

3) Factual analysis of success in terms of project objectives

  • Exceeded fundraising goal: $4,400+ raised with a goal of $4,000
  • Mentored boxers at The Bloc: 9 of 10 boxers prepped for future interviews
  • Spread awareness of The Bloc organization: 2,909+ of 90 social media impressions


 4) Two or three lessons learned about managing projects


1) Plan dedicated time for trial and error!

– Although we did test our camera volume at the beginning, we did not test the volume when there were boxing classes going on in the background.  In our first couple of interviews, we had trouble hearing them in our recorded videos as the organization also had actives going on at that time. As the interviews went on, we developed ways to solve the video volume issue and eventually got great footage.

2) Don’t be afraid to set your goals high!

-We originally had the goal of raising $2,000 and eventually changed our goal to $4,000 halfway through the project.  At times $4,000 didn’t seem realistic but as the project went on, we started to develop more and more passion towards the organization and as a team we continued to push for more donations.


5) Advice for future teams doing similar projects

Be sure at the beginning to focus on narrowing your scope down to a realistic project with the time you have.  At the beginning, we had many ideas on how we could help the organization and wanted to do as much as we could for them.  Realistically, we only had 4 weeks to complete this project and our entire team was working full time. Be sure to find the right balance early in the project by developing a realistic scope for your team and the organization.  Communication with the organization is key so be sure to identify an organization that is willing to work with your schedule. Once you narrow down your scope developing a critical path to achieve your goals will always help the team.


6) Photos related to the project

The Bloc | Chicago Nonprofit Boxing Club (


Project Team:

PM: Claire Kaufman

Sara Hetland

Theresa Harkey

Gabe Di Fecchio

Joe Piwowarczyk

Mike Thomas

Karaoke for a Cause – a fundraiser benefiting Make-A-Wish Illinois

The project:

For our summer 2021 project management MBA course, our group planned a fundraiser to benefit Make-A-Wish Illinois. The event itself was an in-person karaoke night, hosted at Hopsmith bar in downtown Chicago on July 8, 2021. Our project aimed to raise money for Make-A-Wish in two main ways; first through ticket sales for the event itself, and secondly through an online donation portal to capture donations from those who were unable to attend the event.

We marketed the event to our personal and professional networks frequently and aggressively. To attend the event, attendees could pre-order a ticket for $25, or pay $30 at the door (both options included a welcome drink). We also raised funds by selling raffle tickets, which were $5 for 5 tickets or $5 for 3 tickets and a karaoke song. We continually pushed the online donation page, which became our mainstream of revenue in the end.

About the charity:

The charity we raised funds for was Make-A-Wish Illinois, which grants wishes for children in Illinois fighting critical illness. In 2020, many wishes were put on hold because of COVID-19, yet Make-A-Wish IL was still able to grant 390 wishes and raise $9.4 million in cash, and an additional $4.8 million in donated goods and services. 2021 is already projected to far surpass 2020’s fiscal earnings, and this event was one way we could contribute to that.

Analysis of success measures:

Although we had just short of four weeks total to plan and execute this event, we were extremely successful in raising funds for Make-A-Wish. Our total donations were just about $4,900 (before expenses), through a combination of online donations and raffle/ticket sales from the event itself. Our net revenue after $519.89 in expenses was $4,385.11.

While we had set a goal of 50 attendees at the event, we did not have that many people attend. However, our revenue goal for Make-A-Wish was $2,250, so we far surpassed our goal in the end, even despite not having as many attendees as we had originally planned for. This was due in large part to the extensive marketing of the online donation page, which was the bulk of our revenue.

Feedback from attendees and donors was extremely positive – everyone was thankful for a chance to give back and was thankful that our instructions to donate and attend were both very clear. Additionally, we had built an extensive risk management plan for potential risks and were able to mitigate all of them and have a smooth event – a great sign of a successful event!

Lessons learned:

One of our most important lessons learned was to have a contingency plan in place for every potential risk that could occur. We did this early on, and as risks came up, we were able to mitigate them appropriately. If we had not had a contingency plan in place, hitting roadblocks could have easily thrown our very condensed timeline off track, resulting in a failed project.

Another important lesson learned was to lean into the networks and connections that each individual person had. Since our timeline was so short, we quickly tapped into resources we had, so that we could leverage those existing connections and move on quicky. This helped us secure a venue, charity, and overall plan very quickly – something that was extremely necessary with such a short timeline.

Advice for future teams:

One piece of advice to share for future teams doing a similar project fundraiser is to have multiple streams for revenue – this is something we did (ticket sales, raffle and online donation site). This allowed us to be able to hit the needs of multiple different people, which resulted in such a high net revenue in the end. We recommend future teams think this through as well, as it provides multiple ways for people to support.

Additionally, be sure to communicate early and often. We had a constant Teams chat running each day so that we could quickly make decisions and move forward on different aspects of the project. Again, since we had such a short timeline, time was of the essence. Waiting for our virtual or in-person touch points to talk through things was not efficient, so we made sure to be in constant communication.


Photos from the event: