Kimmel vs. Cruz charity basketball game raises nearly $50K for Texas Children’s

July 5, 2018

When late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel faced off against Senator Ted Cruz in a one-on-one charity basketball game in Houston last month, the event brought in nearly $50,000 benefiting Texas Children’s Hospital – which was a lot more fundraising dollars than expected.

At the beginning of the competition, the loser of the game would contribute $5,000 to the winner’s charity of choice. Although Kimmel lost the game to Cruz, Kimmel personally donated $10,000 to Texas Children’s. His team worked closely with Texas Children’s Philanthropy to raise even more money.

Besides including a link to the Texas Children’s donation form on the ticket registration website, both teams explored other strategies to encourage more people to participate in this fundraising effort.

“We suggested Kimmel’s team use a Facebook fundraising application similar to a Go Fund Me page that subsequently helped us raise more than $14,000 in donations alone to Texas Children’s,” said Philanthropy Services Director Stacey Cook. “Once Kimmel’s team set up the site, people could share the fundraising page on their social media pages and encourage their family and friends to donate to Texas Children’s.”

In addition to leveraging the Facebook fundraising app, Philanthropy offered other opportunities for people to donate, including a text to give option and collecting onsite donations at the game. Also, half of the proceeds from the event’s merchandise sales, amounting to $7,500, went directly to Texas Children’s.

Generating over 883 million media impressions, Texas Children’s Public Relations and Social Media teams worked with Philanthropy to raise awareness about the charity basketball game. Many of our employees also helped spread the word through social media, and others donated to the fundraiser.

“Anyone can have a meaningful impact on fundraising at Texas Children’s,” Cook said. “In this case, every donation counted and helped us raise more than we ever anticipated for this event.”