Special Feature: Dance Marathon 2013

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Record-breaking Dance Marathon Raises $1.2 Million

Dancers benefit Danny Did Foundation and Evanston Community Foundation

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March 11, 2013 | by Judy Moore
Video produced by Matt Paolelli

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The efforts of more than 1,000 dedicated undergraduate students who danced for 30 hours for two worthy groups paid off big this past weekend (March 8-10).

Northwestern University’s Dance Marathon (NUDM) 2013 broke records by raising a total of  $1,214,632 in cash and in-kind donations -- the highest amount in the organization’s 39-year history.

Thanks to the Northwestern students, an online silent auction, a 5K run, a Kids Fair, and thousands of generous local and national donors, including alumni who helped support the 2013 fundraiser, Dance Marathon executive co-chairs Matt Larsen and Katie Amys were able to present a check for $741,394.10 to this year’s primary beneficiary, the Danny Did Foundation. The group provides epilepsy education.

Another check for $82,377.12  -- 10 percent of the net proceeds -- went to the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF), which has been Dance Marathon’s secondary beneficiary for 16 years.

“It has been an unbelievable partnership from the day we were selected one year ago,” said Tom Stanton, executive director of The Danny Did Foundation. “The dedication and passion of the executive committee and the dancers all translate into more resources and more hope for families who face epilepsy.”

In addition to providing epilepsy education and awareness, the Danny Did Foundation, subsidizes seizure detection devices for families in need. Founded in 2010 by Chicagoans Mike and Mariann Stanton after the Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) of their 4-year-old son Danny, the foundation is dedicated to preventing deaths caused by seizures. Nearly three million people in the United States and 65 million people globally are afflicted by epilepsy. For more on the foundation, visit www.dannydid.org.

“Dance Marathon was really successful in engaging the campus community in the important work of the Danny Did Foundation and enthusiastic about making an impact in Evanston,” said Sara Schastok, the president and CEO of ECF, “and we are most grateful for their support.”

The Evanston Community Foundation since 1998 has received a total of more than $1 million from NUDM. Dance Marathon’s contributions support the ECF grants made to roughly 25 Evanston organizations each year. For more information, visit www.evanstonforever.org.

Dance Marathon marked the culmination of a 10-month campaign to raise funds and awareness for its beneficiaries. Special fundraising events earlier in the year included Trivia nights, a talent show starring Northwestern athletes, a Valentine’s Day party, a Top Chef event held at Norris Center, a comedy night, canning for cash donations on Evanston area streets and a student letter writing campaign soliciting funds from family, friends, acquaintances and alumni.

Each year, Dance Marathon selects a primary and secondary beneficiary to receive proceeds (minus expenses and in-kind gifts) collected after months of fundraising. Fundraising concludes in early March after 30 hours of dancing takes place on the Evanston campus at Norris Center. Since Dance Marathon launched in 1975, the event has raised more than $14 million for more than 30 charities. 

Last year, NUDM raised $1,107,670 in total gifts and in-kind donations, for the second record-breaking year in a row. As a result, Dance Marathon 2012 co-chairs presented checks for $717,770.29 to The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation for childhood cancer, and $80,752 to the Evanston Community Foundation.

For more about Dance Marathon visit www.nudm.org.