Charity Challenge 2013: Help Me And Others Out!

I like fun. I like Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I like raising money for worthy causes. You can help me with all three – and get yourself some cool prizes while you’re at it.

I want to challenge myself for a good cause this year. For every tournament match I win in 2013, I have decided to donate $10 to the Women’s Debate Institute and to another charity. That’s the first place you come in: what should the second charity be?

[Charity Candidates] [How You Can Help] [What Can I Win?] [How Do I Win?] [FAQ]


All of these are great causes, and two of them I’ve given money to before. But like Highlander, THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

You can vote for what charity you think should win by replying to this thread, or in the comments thread on my blog. I’ll tabulate the results and keep you posted. One person, one vote, with one exception: if you share this link on your Facebook page, I’ll count your vote twice. So cast your vote for …

1. All As One: They help war orphans and abandoned children in Sierra Leone. Heavy but amazing.

2. RAINN: America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, helping survivors and working to prevent rape and other forms of sex abuse.

3. The George Pendergrass Foundation: A BJJ charity supporting cancer research. 

4. Wounded Warrior Project: Providing services to injured veterans.

5. Other Charities To Be Named Later: I’m taking nominations. Leave your picks in the comments!

“These all sound like great causes,” you’re saying, “but what can I do to help? How can I support this project?” Yes indeed!

(There’s more detail on ways to help below)

1. Vote for the other charity you want me to support: There are four candidates I’ve identified, and you can also suggest your own. Vote by posting in this thread or in the comments on my Facebook post if you’re my Facebook friend.

2. Pledge to support me by donating yourself based on the matches I win: Fill out this Google Form and you can pledge to donate either on a per-match basis, or just to drop a flat donation to the wonderful Women’s Debate Institute.

3. Share this post on Facebook and Twitter: The more people that see this, the more potential supporters. Tell your friends!

4. Start your own fundraising challenge: I’m doing this to challenge myself, and to help myself improve at something I love. I’m sure there’s something you love, and a lot of great charities you could support. Why not try it out? I have a few ideas…

For every way you participate, you’ll earn points.

What’s the use of points? You could win some of this stuff! Are you are winner? I thought so.


Note: these are ideas based on the things I own and the skills I have. If there’s something else you want from me – something embarrassing you’d like me to do, or some task you need done around your house, like washing your car – feel free to throw it out there and I’ll set a point value for it. Seriously. I have no shame when it comes to fundraising.

  • Custom Photoshop image of your choice: I make Photoshops like this and this and this. If you get this reward, I’ll take your direction to create an image of your choice, funny or serious. Always wanted a picture of yourself on the cover of Gracie Magazine? Always wanted a friend’s face on Justin Bieber’s body? Need an animated GIF of you doing a judo throw? Now’s your chance. COSTS 11 POINTS
  • You pick my gi patch: I will wear a gi patch of your choice on my competition gi. It could be a patch of your business, your school, your nonprofit causewhatever you want. This patch has to already exist so it’s easy to sew on and rock out. COSTS 20 POINTS
  • Private BJJ lesson for novices (one hour): Look, I’m only a blue belt, so take this for what it’s worth. But if you are a beginner, or have a friend who is interested in learning some basics, I’ll spend an hour with you and/or some friends on BJJ fundamentals. Get as many people as you want together for this and I’m yours for an hour to go over whatever you want. If you’re better than me and just want to whoop on me for an hour, that works, too. COSTS 30 POINTS
  • Private Photoshop lesson (one hour): I’m not the greatest Photoshop guy in the world, either: I’d say I’m about a blue belt with maybe a stripe or two. But I’m happy to teach the basics, and if you get this reward, I’ll have you putting heads in places they weren’t meant to be in no time. Wait, I didn’t mean that like it sounded. COSTS 35 POINTS
  • Private photography session (one hour): I’ve been taking pictures for a long time. Want some great shots of your kid’s soccer game? A portrait series? High-quality images of you with Royce Gracie when he comes to your school? You name it, I’m on it. No porn. COSTS 35 POINTS
  • I create a custom gi patch from your idea and wear it on my competition gi. If you want to make me wear a CUSTOM gi patch, get this reward. I’ll design it to your specs, have it printed and sewn on the gi, all at my expense. I’ll also make you one for your own gi if you want. To give you an idea of how I’ve handled this in the past, check out this patch I made for a friend. COSTS 40 POINTS
  • Private media consultation (one hour): Okay, this is actually what I do for a living, so I’ve got some chops. If you need a press release written, anything edited, to be trained on social media, or any type of communications consultation, I’m your guy – for an hour at least. This is great if you have a business or a nonprofit. COSTS 45 POINTS
  • Bottle of the rarest, best beer in the world: For the first time ever, and for a few short hours, Belgian monks allowed Westvleteren 12 to be sold in the U.S. Ranked as the best beer in the world as well as the rarest, I’ve got a bottle that can be yours. You can’t buy this anywhere else unless you travel to the monastery in Belgium. I’ve tasted this beer, and let me tell you: it lives up to the hype. More info about the beer here.Warning: I only have one of these left, so first come, first served. Better get your points up fast. COSTS 50 POINTS.

Finally: If you have the most points out of any of my friends, at the end of the year: I will match the donations you were able to get, up to $500. I hope you raise a lot more, but hey, I work at a non-profit, so I’ve gotta set a stop-loss here.

“But wait,” you’re say. “How do I earn these points I can use to buy these rewards?”


  • Post in this thread on the blog/comment on my Facebook post (only one point per person): I need feedback on what charity y’all want the funds to go to, so I need comments. Feel free to post as many times as you want to lobby for your favorite charity, but you only get one point for all of those posts. ONE POINT.
  • Share this post on Facebook: To make this work best, I need a bunch of people to see it. Click “share” down below and blast it out to your friends. FIVE POINTS.
  • Tweet the blog post out and tag me (@jeffshaw) in it: To make this work, I need a bunch of people to see it. No, I don’t care how many followers you have, although if you add the #BJJ hashtag and/or the #BJJ4Good hashtag, that’d be awesome. FIVE POINTS.In fact, here’s are some suggested tweets, complete with shortened links:

Help @jeffshaw raise money for charities like @TheWDI, @wwpinc, @SupportRAINN & more via #BJJ tournies

Support @jeffshaw ‘s #BJJ4good project, which raises funds for charities like @TheWDI via #BJJ tourneys

This guy @jeffshaw is donating money to charity for every #BJJ match he wins. Should he donate to @wwpinc, @SupportRAINN or … ? You decide.

  • Fill out the pledge form to donate yourself: There are two ways you can pledge: you can donate based on the matches I win, or you can just pledge to donate a certain amount. Either way, if you fill out the form, you get the points. It doesn’t matter how much you pledge – you still get the points – but please give generously. TEN POINTS.
  • Donate money to WDI: The Women’s Debate Institute changes lives for the better. For every $10 you donate to WDI, you’ll get 1 point. (Yes, you can double-dip with the filling out the pledge form points, so if you donate $100 and fill out the pledge form, you’ll get 20 points total). 1 POINT FOR EVERY $10.
  • Start your own fundraising challenge: At the end of the day, I’m doing this because it’s fun and to do some good. Don’t you want to get in on that? I like BJJ, so that’s how I chose my own personal challenge. Maybe yours is rock climbing, or knitting, or showtunes. Whatever works for you, I want to encourage. For example, if someone does something like my BJJ challenge, but says they will donate $10 for every 100 rows of knitting they do or every $30 miles they run (or whatever), they automatically get ten points. TEN POINTS.

Pro Tip: If you were to start your own fundraising challenge and then use that challenge to raise money for WDI, that’s how you could really rack up the points.



Good question. By my count, I had about 50 tournament Brazilian jiu-jitsu matches in 2012, and I hope to do about the same this year. I’d guess I won about 35 matches, but I didn’t keep great records, which is one reason this project will be cool: it’ll help me keep better track.

I’m an over 30 blue belt, so I can compete in all of the divisions. Some tournaments I get in a ton of matches (once, I had more than 20!): others, I’m one-and-done.


I may add or subtract some depend on schedule/finances/sloth, but here’s the dream list:

3/2/2013 – US Grappling, Wake Forest, NC
3/20/2013: IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship
4/13/2013 – US Grappling Submission Only, Greensboro, NC
5/29-6/2/2013 – Mundials
6/22/2013 – US Grappling, Richmond, VA
7/20/2013 – US Grappling, Henderson, NC
9/28/2012: IBJJF Pan No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championship
10/19/2013 – US Grappling, Raleigh, NC
10/27/2013: IBJJF Asian Open
12/7/2013 – US Grappling Submission Only, Richmond, VA


Of course, although unless you’re my mom (hi mom!) I can’t see why you would. I’ll be posting them on my blog.


Email me. Keep track of what you did and let me know how many points you have. I trust you.

Remember that I only have the one bottle of fancy beer, but all of the other rewards can be duplicated.


Partly to challenge myself, partly to do some good. Like Shirley Chisholm said, service to others is the rent we play for staying on the planet.

The idea started when I decided to set goals for this year. Yeah, I want to win some matches, but I also wanted to make those matches matter. BJJ has been a powerful tool for me in terms of improving my life, and I wanted to use it to improve the lives of others as well.

If this makes people feel guilty for beating me in tournaments this year, hey, all the better. (That’s a joke, folks).

In all seriousness, BJJ has been an immensely positive force in my life and the lives of my friends. It’s what I do, and I wanted to use that as a tool to help out the causes I care about. I thank you for reading, and I invite you to do the same.


3 responses to “Charity Challenge 2013: Help Me And Others Out!

  1. Sean Zorio ⋅

    Jeff- This is awesome. I’ll throw some money in on this as well, to whichever org wins. Obviously I’m partial to the GP Foundation based on my affiliation.

  2. kate ⋅

    I’ll pledge! I’m interested in nominating RSF ( for support – it’s hard to choose a charity, of course, but any one of the named would be awesome!

  3. Pingback: Charity Challenge 2014 | Dirty White Belt: A BJJ Blog

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