Dance Marathon raises more than $1 million despite 30-hour event cancelation

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Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Students dancing at Dance Marathon 2019.

Yunkyo Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Even though the white tent next to Norris University Center remained empty over the weekend, Northwestern Dance Marathon 2020 organizers announced the organization raised more than $1 million in donations, according to a University release.

At a total of $1,029,366, this year’s donation marks the 10th consecutive year to exceed the million-dollar threshold. The money was raised on behalf of Children’s Home and Aid and Evanston Community Foundation, and the amount was divided among both foundations.

University President Morton Schapiro announced that the 30-hour event was canceled on March 4 due to concerns and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus. It was one of the first times, if not the only time, that the dancing portion of the event was canceled by a University mandate since the event’s inception more than 40 years ago.

Still, this year’s fundraising garnered more than 10,000 unique donors and NUDM organizers spent 689 collective hours in educational mentoring and service in partnership with Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Center, a therapeutic center which aids children with mental and behavioral issues.

“What we’ve done isn’t special because of the final total of funds we raised. NUDM is special because it’s a culmination of hours, days, weeks and months of hard work,” said NUDM 2020 executive co-chair Eliana Scobey. “NUDM represents so much more than a number. It represents the passion we have for giving children the experience of family, love, trust and safety.”

Due to its cancelation, Dance Marathon organizers opted to host a digital event through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter platforms. The virtual event included speeches from beneficiaries and alumni, such as Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell. If the event had gone on as planned, the speeches would have been delivered during the 30 hours.

Organizers said that despite not being able to hold a physical event, NUDM was able to come together as a community to serve the children that the center aids.

“Children’s Home & Aid’s partnership with NUDM has done so much immeasurable good for our children, our families and our community,” Dance Marathon beneficiary liaison Lucy Clements from Children’s Home & Aid said. “In spite of the 30 hours being canceled, NUDM has already given the children at the Rice Child & Family Center something that lasts far beyond any dollars raised or event held. What our children have gained through the relationships the dancers have formed with them is never going away.”

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