Foster care nonprofit Children’s Home & Aid selected as NUDM primary beneficiary


Caroline Megerian/The Daily Northwestern

Keith Polan, the director of residential services at the Rice Center. The Center will be the primary beneficiary for Northwestern University Dance Marathon this year.

Josiah Bonifant, Assistant Campus Editor

Chicago-based nonprofit Children’s Home & Aid will be the primary beneficiary of the 2020 Northwestern University Dance Marathon.

Children’s Home & Aid has been supporting children, youth and families in Illinois since its creation in 1883. The agency was also one of the founding members of the Children’s Home Society of America. They serve over 40,000 children, 1,000 of whom are in foster care. Some of these youth are serviced through the agency’s Daniel F. and Ada L Rice Child and Family Center in Evanston.

Funding from NUDM will specifically go to the Rice Child and Family Center, where staff from Children’s Home & Aid provide therapy, counseling and mentoring programs for over 60 children in the foster care system each year.

“This year, we wanted to take NUDM in a new direction,” said Rachel Cantor, one of the NUDM 2020 Executive Co-Chairs, in an NUDM release. “NUDM has never selected a primary beneficiary that provides support and resources to children in foster care who have experienced abuse and neglect. Every child deserves a home, and I’m excited to both help fund the therapy, counseling, and mentoring programs Children’s Home & Aid provides as well as discuss a topic that NUDM has never really touched upon before.”

Children’s Home & Aid was unanimously selected as primary beneficiary by the NUDM Executive Board. Part of the appeal to Board members was the opportunities NU students have available to them to be directly involved before Dance Marathon. These potential opportunities include trick-or-treating with the youth during Halloween at Norris and painting murals for the foster center.

NUDM will also support the Evanston Community Foundation as the secondary beneficiary for the 23rd consecutive year. One of the two NUDM marketing and media co-chairs, Sam Schmaier, said partnering with both Evanston groups is a good way to pay back “the community that’s lovingly and gracefully housed Northwestern for so many years.”

“I’m so excited for NUDM’s partnership with Children’s Home & Aid,” said Eliana Scobey, the other NUDM 2020 Executive Co-Chair, in the release. “With the Rice Center being in Evanston, we can’t wait to see how Northwestern students will be able to build an especially close relationship with the beneficiary and grow their love for our surrounding community.”
Schmaier said one way NUDM would be fostering the partnership early on would be the Executive Board’s Community Engagement Committee hosting and advertising volunteering trips. The SESP junior said because Northwestern students tend to be so busy, the convenient location would incentivize students to become directly involved.

Schmaier told The Daily that Children’s Home & Aid is an especially impactful organization to Northwestern because many college students struggle to find a sense of belonging away from family.

“We’ve all struggled to find our home at Northwestern and to leave our home behind us to come here,” Schmaier said. “It’ll be a really rewarding experience to give the gift of home to these children who haven’t been as fortunate as some students at Northwestern have been to find a home on campus or off.”

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