Franklin’s Johnson Bests Ackman to Take Basketball Crown

Franklin Templeton Chief Executive Officer Jenny Johnson picked three of the four finalists in U.S. college basketball’s premier tournament to cap off a dominant streak that made her the first woman to win in a Bloomberg charity challenge.

Johnson, who’s been at the helm of the money manager for a little over a year, chose Baylor University to beat Gonzaga University to win this year’s men’s NCAA basketball championship, giving her the victory over fellow business and finance heads in Bloomberg’s Brackets for a Cause.

The NCAA Tournament, also known as March Madness, is a single-elimination competition and currently features 68 college teams. Bloomberg users are able to make their predictions on the Terminal, and the company’s Brackets for a Cause challenge pits a group of industry titans against one another with donations to the charity of their choosing.

Franklin’s Johnson Bests Ackman to Take Basketball Crown

Johnson had the best bracket on the Bloomberg Terminal out of over 8,000 entrants and correctly picked three members of the Final Four. Her dominance from the Sweet Sixteen onwards set her up to finish with 174 points, outpacing billionaire investor Bill Ackman’s 159 points and Atlanta Hawks owner and private equity billionaire Tony Ressler who had 150.

Each participant donated $10,000, with the $520,000 pot going to the charities selected by the three best finishers. Johnson chose New York-based Girls Who Invest, while Ackman was playing for Rethink Food and Ressler’s charity was Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the largest non-profit center for Black entrepreneurs in the nation.

“I’m thrilled about finishing in 1st place because it provides a significant donation to Girls Who Invest and brings additional awareness to their organization and its important mission to get more women into the asset management industry,” the victorious Johnson said in an email. “Anyone who has ever filled out a bracket knows that it takes a little bit of research, a few flip of a coin decisions, and a lot of luck.”

Franklin’s Johnson Bests Ackman to Take Basketball Crown

Ackman said he was proud to support Rethink Food after the organization “stepped in to provide grants to local restaurants in New York City in exchange for preparing healthy meals for food-insecure members of the community.” The organization has “supported over 40 independent restaurants and provided 2.5 million meals to underserved New Yorkers,” he said in an email.

Baylor, which led the nation in three-point shooting, dominated Gonzaga from the start in Monday’s title game to win its first NCAA tournament 86-70. The Zags were the consensus pick in the Bloomberg challenge with half of the participants betting the team would go a perfect 32-0, while the University of Illinois was the second-most loved.

They were bounced in the second round by in-state Loyola University Chicago. Baylor was the third-most picked team to cut down the nets in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Representatives for Ressler weren’t immediately available to comment.

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