Dance Marathon 2019 raises over $1.1 million for CIS Chicago, Evanston Community Foundation

Kristina Karisch, Digital Projects Editor

Northwestern University Dance Marathon 2019 raised $1,144,515, reaching a total of more than $1 million for the ninth consecutive year.

The finance committee announced early Sunday morning that Communities In Schools Chicago, the event’s primary beneficiary, will receive a check of $911,681. The money will go toward helping Chicago Public Schools with dropout prevention.

“Chicago has a dropout crisis,” said Simone Woods, a student supports manager at CIS who spoke during the block, with just one hour to go. “Our job is to change that. CIS equips youth with skills to start and the support to finish. All of your hard work, your amazing stamina and your efforts and the money that you raised will help put more people like myself into Chicago Public Schools — adults that care and support. You all should be so proud.”

NUDM presented the Evanston Community Foundation, the organization’s secondary beneficiary of 22 years, with $101,297 to help them continue supporting community initiatives and projects.

Weinberg first-year Olivia Braun told The Daily her 30 hours in the tent have ranged from “really rough” to “super, super fun.”

Seeing the final fundraising total revealed onstage was “kind of incredible, which sounds really cheesy,” she said, but that the amount of money DM raised “shows how much of an impact we can make together.”

In the final block, dancers felt a sense of community and tearful euphoria as their time in the tent came to a close. The block featured the last practice and performance of this year’s 30-hour dance, set to “Pon de Replay,” by Rihanna, and dancers played with beach balls and chugged Gatorade during various parts of the block.

SESP senior Sophie Despins, who danced her first year at Northwestern and is doing NUDM again as a senior, shared some words of wisdom heading into the block. She said staying hydrated and positive is crucial and that “once you go through it the first time, you know you can make it through.”

The highest fundraisers for the large, medium and small team categories were announced during the block. The Delta Gamma and Zeta Beta Tau team raised over $138,000, the highest in the large team category. The highest fundraisers for the medium team category were the Chi Omega Lambda Chi Delta Upsilon team, who raised over $37,000. Delta Delta Delta came in with over $29,000 to top the small team category.

Towards the end of the block, NUDM honored members of the 120-hour club, or those who participated four years in a row with a slideshow of pictures. When the final total was revealed near the end of the block, dancers locked arms and danced together after celebratory balloons dropped from the top of the tent.

DM co-chairs CJ Patel and Justin Savin spoke to dancers before the final reveal. Savin said DM is an “imperfect organization made up of imperfect people in an imperfect world” but that as long as “the desire to pick each other up, cheer each other on and create communities remains,” they will continue to empower.

“Learn from this community that we have created within this tent, and that CIS creates every single day and go make more like it in the world,” Patel said. “We need them now more than ever.”

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Twitter: @kristinakarisch

Correction: A previous article misidentified the primary beneficiary. The Daily regrets the error.