Inside How the Dunn Brothers Started the "Team 2020 Campaign"

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Kocorowski

Jack and Bobby should be concentrating on routes, blocks, schemes, and for the latter, definitely cutting up film for Wisconsin spring football practices. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has halted any team organized activities for the program until at least May. More pressing, it has also created additional needs within the community.

Now, the brothers have partnered up to help address one in particular with their Team 2020 Campaign. Announced on Tuesday via press release and its GoFundMe page, the goal is "to raise funds to support up to 2,020 meals a month to families in desperate need during COVID-19 crisis."

That project involves working with The Edgewater Hotel and Madison Community Foundation to help Agrace HospiceCare Service provide meals to the in-home patients it serves and their respective families while the state continues its "Safer at Home" order.

Agrace began in 1978 and "is a nonprofit, community-supported health care organization dedicated to providing high-quality, compassionate care and support to people who are aging, ill or dying." Within southern Wisconsin, the press release stated it provides for almost 1,000 patients each day.

The monetary goal to reach currently sits at $100,000. According to Jack Dunn, Agrace initially spoke with The Edgewater about the need. The connection that led the brothers to this comes from Robert Dunn, their father who developed the current iteration of the hotel in downtown Madison. The would-be redshirt senior wide receiver heard there was an issue in helping to raise funds in hopes to prepare and deliver the food to the organization's patients.

"When I heard about it, I said, 'Me and my brother and all my teammates have such an amazing platform that football provides us to be able to reach a lot of people and gain support for a cause like this,'" Jack Dunn said on Tuesday afternoon. "That's where we came in and thought, 'We can reach a lot of people and do some good here.' That's kind of where the idea came from, and how we got involved. 

"It's obviously evolved into a sort of social media campaign that we're trying to get going. Then we're also in the process of reaching out to prominent UW alums and people who are engaged in the Madison community trying to gain some more traction right now."

According to Bobby, who currently works as one of the graduate assistants for Wisconsin's football program, the premise really started about two weeks ago when Agrace reached out to the hotel. Within the last week, that is when the brothers worked more on their roles. Jack noted the support received from UW director of brand communications Brian Lucas and Katie Smith, associate athletic for compliance & senior woman administrator, to ensure the project would not hit any snags in its launch. 

With a student-athlete like Jack involved, compliance helped ensure particular steps are acceptable.

"If it had just been me on the screen in the video, it wouldn't have been any problem," Bobby Dunn said. "Since Jack was in the video, too, he can't use his name, image and likeness to directly market for a business, but we're not representing a for-profit business itself."

Other issues needing to be vetted by compliance included press release information, social media posts and saying with whom they are working with, and how the funds would be distributed and where they are going, 

That last part is acknowledged in both the press release and the GoFundMe page:

Monies raised through the Team 2020 Campaign’s Go Fund Me page will be directed to a fund at Madison Community Foundation. From there, Madison Community Foundation will provide funding to Agrace, and depending on the success of the initiative, other organizations to fund the expenses incurred from the meal production and delivery. 

"Then from there, it was just working with the people at the Edgewater, working with the people at Agrace and Madison Community Foundation to sort out the details of everything," Jack Dunn said. "Where the funds are going to be directed and how that's all going to work, how the meals be delivered and all that stuff. 

"It's been probably a little over a week or so of us organizing everything and making sure that we were prepared and good to go once we put things out on social media. We finally got to that point kind of last night/this morning where we were ready to go. That's why we decided to launch today, and then we got a lot of work to keep doing here before we hit our goal."

Assistant football video coordinator Colin Ludema produced the video that has been displayed on social media. They also contacted Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, who according to Jack stated "couldn't have been more supportive."

"He said, 'I'll put you in contact with whoever you need to be in contact with and help out in any way I can,'" Jack Dunn said. "We've had a lot of good support, and here's hoping that can continue and we can keep growing this thing and gaining some traction."

As the press release stated, The Edgewater's executive chef, Juan Martinez, will run the initiative while the hotel's employees will help bring meals to Agrace's patients and families.

“In-home meal delivery is typically done around the holidays, but due to the virus and many families’ inability to get out and get groceries or receive visitors, we are seeing a great need to expand our support,” Lynne Sexten, Agrace President and CEO, said in the press release. “Thanks to the generous donations and support from Team 2020 we are able to begin this program and are asking for additional community support and donations to help us build this program through the month of April and potentially beyond.”

Support has come not just from the administration but from the team. Several current Badgers have already shared the campaign on social media or even given to the cause already. As of 7:30 p.m. CT on March 31, the fund has already raised over $10,700. 

"People are already starting to donate in small increments, and I've seen some of Jack's teammates donate already," Bobby Dunn said. "Some of them have reposted the content on their own on social media. So I think it's just as it starts to pick up steam -- and granted this is only the first day -- so hopefully as we continue to go, more of the players hear about it, are willing to help out with it, are engaged and keep circulating the content as best they can. Because I think as awareness continues to grow, people will continue to be generous, continue to rally to the cause. I think our impact will grow with time, the more people hear about it."

To view or potentially donate to the Team 2020 Campaign, go to this link.

Ed. note: reached out to The Edgewater Hotel for comment on Tuesday evening. We will update this article as needed.