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Northwestern University Dance Marathon Announces Chicago Youth Programs as its 2022 Primary Beneficiary

The 48th annual NUDM will be held March 4-6, 2022

students arm in arm in the Dance Marathon tent
Northwestern University Dance Marathon

Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) announced last night (May 26), the primary beneficiary for 2022. Chicago Youth Programs (CYP) is a nonprofit organization striving to improve the life opportunities and health of youth in low-income neighborhoods, primarily on the south and west sides of Chicago, through long-term academic, emotional and mental support.

CYP supports youth navigating environments where poverty is compounded by a variety of societal, economic and racial barriers. The organization works to mitigate the impact of “social service deserts” in neighborhoods that lack mental health services and nonprofit aid, by promoting the development of cognitive, behavioral and social capabilities for youth populations.

“I chose this mission because it is a long-term investment for life-changing outcomes,” said CYP Executive Director Cinaiya Stubbs. “I got involved with CYP because I believe that your zip code should not determine your path,” she said.

CYP provides comprehensive support for youth ages 3 to 25 and focuses on four target communities: Washington Park, Cabrini Green, Rogers Park/Uptown and North Lawndale. The organization aims for each CYP participant to pursue opportunities in higher education; from their “Read to Me” program that fosters young children’s interest in written language to providing organized SAT prep for high school students, CYP’s academic support options are extensive.

“At CYP, we like to bring youth into our programs early and try to retain them year over year,” said Stubbs. “This approach allows us to track the long-term outcomes of youth and also means we can provide services to support participants at all stages in their life.”

CYP is also a trauma-informed agency using the best practices to help youth identify and articulate their emotions in a productive way. CYP gives their participants the tools for self-regulation, empathy and communication, while also enriching their passions through socializing programs in arts and culture. This year, NUDM and CYP are working together to help Chicago’s youth overcome systemic inequities and obtain the higher education necessary to break the cycle of poverty.

“In a year with not one, but two pandemics, CYP stood tall by adapting their services amid COVID-19 and the fight against systemic anti-Black racism,” said Dan Birmingham, one of the executive co-chairs of NUDM 2022. “We are so fortunate to be partnering with an organization with as much enthusiasm, devotion and drive as CYP has in their fight to break the cycle of poverty for youth.”

NUDM’s financial donations will help CYP further develop and expand their services on the west and south sides of Chicago, including early literacy programming, academic tutoring, crisis intervention and restorative justice programming. CYP will also be able to add staff positions, which will ensure the organization’s volunteer and trauma-informed base, as well as fundraising efforts, are secure and successful.

“Being NUDM’s primary beneficiary will catapult CYP to the next level of service,” said Stubbs. “NUDM 2022 gives us the opportunity to scale smartly while advancing strategy. For me, personally, it means triumph and the manifestation of continued effort and strong faith.”

This year, the beneficiary reveal event was sponsored by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the top-ranked children’s hospital in Illinois and one of the top-ranked in the nation. Lurie Children’s Hospital delivers high-quality, family-centered care and high-impact research. The hospital cares for more than 200,000 patients annually and has more than 1,600 physicians in 70 pediatric specialties on staff.

“We have worked with Chicago Youth Programs for more than 30 years to improve the health of children and adolescents,” said Mary Kate Daly, vice president of Lurie Children’s Healthy Communities. “We are confident that their partnership with Northwestern University’s Dance Marathon will significantly increase the impact they can have on children and adolescents in under-resourced communities.”

For the 25th consecutive year, the Evanston Community Foundation will serve as NUDM’s secondary beneficiary, funding a variety of local grants to deserving individuals, families and organizations with the goal of helping Evanston thrive.

NUDM 2022 will be held March 4-6 on the Norris University Center East Lawn, 1999 Campus Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. NUDM is one of the largest independent student-run philanthropies in the country, raising more than $1 million for its beneficiaries in each of the past nine in-person events. Last year, while COVID-19 stopped students from the traditional 30 hours of dancing, it did not deter NUDM from hosting its first virtual event and raising well over a half a million dollars for its beneficiaries.

About Northwestern University Dance Marathon:

Now in its 48th year, NUDM is one of the largest entirely student-run philanthropies in the nation. Since 1975, NUDM has raised more than $20 million for more than 30 different charities. Last year, in its first virtual event, NUDM raised over half a million dollars in support of Compass to Care, a leading service agency working to eliminate the monetary burden of cancer-related travel costs, remove the stress of planning a trip and traveling with a child who is ill and give hope for their child’s cure from cancer. 

For more information contact NUDM 2022 marketing and media co-chairs Samara Lipman 646-714-1515 and Julia Mencher 301-580-3652 or

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