NUDM nominated for national Classy Award

Kris Anne Bonifacio

Four months after breaking the $1 million mark last March, Northwestern’s Dance Marathon is still making headlines, as the organization announced this week that they recently gained national recognition.

0 is one of the national finalists for the Most Influential College Student or College Organization in the Classy Awards, the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country.

The organization is up against 24 other finalists, ranging from individual college students, such as University of California, Los Angeles’ Rachel Shim, who is fighting the stigma of mental illness, to sororities like Elon University’s Tri Delta, and even other dance marathon organizations like University of Connecticut’s HuskyTHON.

“We were so, so excited to have been chosen as a national finalist,” said Maura Brannigan, public relations co-chair for DM’s 2012 executive board. “We saw it as a fantastic opportunity to not only keep fighting childhood cancer but demonstrate to everyone the unity of the student body.”

StayClassy, an organization that provides fundraising and communication tools to nonprofit organizations, sponsors the Classy Awards, which is now in its third year. Last year, The Dream Program, Inc. of Boston won the Most Influential College Student or College Organization award.

Classy Awards also gives awards in 11 other categories for charities, individuals, organizations and even businesses.

Brannigan said to her knowledge, it’s the first time an NU organization was nominated for a Classy Award.

“It’s not only such an honor, but it has so much potential for us,” Brannigan said. “To be recognized at a national level and see other people looking at us and taking us seriously is very exciting.”

Out of the 25 finalists, the top 10 organizations that receive the most votes by Aug. 26 will move on to the next round. From there, the winner will be chosen by a panel of judges and will be announced at the awards ceremony on Sept. 17 in San Diego.

The winner will receive $10,000, and Brannigan said it will go towards DM 2012’s beneficiary, The Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation, which funds medical research for childhood cancers.

To spread the word, Brannigan said DM members are reaching out to their connections, whether its past or current beneficiaries, students and even the Evanston community.

“DM operates almost as a family, and we’re getting the entire family involved, then getting each of our own families involved as well,” Brannigan said.

Though there is a large pool of competitors in their category, Brannigan said she hopes voters and judges will notice DM’s unique ability to bring everyone together.

“It’s more of a campus-wide effort,” she said. “It’s something that involves the whole school and the whole community of Evanston and the Chicagoland area. We have an advantage in that respect.”

[email protected]