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I'm excited about today because Free Money Finance continues has the 2011 March Madness contest and like every year, it's looks to be a great competition.

For those not familiar with it, the March Madness contest is a wonderful way to promote awareness on some wonderful blogs AND raise money for fantastic charities.

Charities Win with March Madness

FMF is kind enough to make contributions to the charities of the top four winners' choices as follows:

  • First Place donation — $500
  • Second Place donation — $300
  • Third Place donation — $100
  • Fourth Place donation — $100

Something that you may not know about Free Money Finance is the extraordinary commitment the site has for charities.

All proceeds of the site goes to charities! It managed to give almost $300k to various charities over the years and this contest is a reflection of that giving spirit.

Couple Money's Entry and Charity

Debt Reduction Strategies – I decided to share how we were able to eliminate my credit card debt and pay off our car loan early.

I also rallied other personal finance bloggers to share their secrets to success. It's a practical guide for everyone motivated to meet their goals.

It's probably no surprise to long time readers; I'm supporting Charity: Water in the March Madness contest. Why do I support this charity? It's because of my genuine belief and desire to have safe, clean drinking water available all around the world. A donation of $20 can make a big difference in someone's life.

100% of donations goes directly towards that goal. How is that possible? Here's the explanation from Charity Water:

When we started charity: water, we made a bold promise to the general public — 100% of their donations would go directly to the field to fund water projects. We'd find another way to cover our operating expenses. And we'd even reimburse credit card fees when donations were made online.

We depend on private donors, foundations and sponsors to cover everything from staff salaries to basic office systems to office rent and supplies.

These donors are some of our most dedicated: their investment fuels our long-term mission, our ability to scale as an organization and our mission to continue using 100% of public donations for water projects.

This was a huge factor for me  in deciding what charity to support for March Madness.

How You Can Support!

You have control over the contest as your votes count in each bracket. Everyday, there will be two wonderful personal finance posts on Free Money Finance. After you've read the two posts, please vote for your favorite one in the comments.

I would love it if you would vote for my entry when it comes up (I'll tweet, post, and share it on Facebook) and spread the word to others. I appreciate it even more if you take a few minutes and support the contest itself – it's a wonderful and fun way to raise awareness about some great causes.

Yakezie Scholarship

Speaking of good causes, not to be forgotten is the Yakezie Scholarship. The second one is open for essay entries until January 22, 2011.

The Second Yakezie Scholarship Questions

* Tell us about a world event that had a profound impact on you.  What changed in you for the better?  What changed in you for the worse?  Why couldn’t you realize the better changes before the event happened?  Why did an event have to happen in order for you to see the world a little differently?

* If you won a $20 million dollar lottery, who would be the first person you’d call?  Would you call anybody?  Describe in detail what you would do with the money.  How long do you think your happiness from winning the lottery will last?  Why do you think so many wealthy athletes and other famous figures go broke?

* Do you believe in second chances or even third chances?  Please explain why. Is there an extent to how bad an act you do before there are no more second chances?  Tell us about a second chance you got or did not get. What have you changed about yourself to make you a better person?

* What are the attributes that makes someone a success?  What does success mean to you?  Describe a time where you thought you were successful, but in reality, it turned into a failure.  What were the lessons learned?  Do we really need to focus on success to be happy?  Can we be happy without being successful?

Length: 700-1000 words.

Please check the site site for more details and share it with a high school or college student who could use th money.

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..