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Surprises planned for Dance Marathon’s golden anniversary

As the student-run event turns 50 next spring, money raised will support Ronald McDonald House
dance marathon
In 2024, hundreds of Northwestern students will dance for 30 hours to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.

Northwestern University Dance Marathon returns to campus in the spring of 2024 to celebrate its golden anniversary. For the last 50 years, Dance Marathon has been a staple on the Evanston campus.  Since its inception, the event has raised more than $22 million for more than 30 different charitable organizations. 

Next year, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana will be the primary beneficiary of Dance Marathon. The nonprofit organization houses and supports families with children in need of critical medical care. 

“NUDM could not be more excited to be partnering with Ronald McDonald House for the 50th year of this historic event,” said Grace Dyer, executive director of Dance Marathon. “I see so much potential in this year, through both our partnership with Ronald McDonald House and the unique opportunity to celebrate 50 years of NUDM.” 

NUDM is one of the largest independent student-run philanthropies in the country. It sustains yearlong fundraising and service campaigns that ultimately culminate in a 30-hour dance marathon, in which several hundred dancers round out their collective efforts.  

In March of this year, NUDM announced it had raised $434,455 in support of Little Heroes League, a nonprofit organization striving to improve the care of medically complex babies born in the Chicago area and beyond, both in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and after they are discharged to outpatient status. 

Holly Buckendahl, chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana said financial donations raised by Dance Marathon will help the organization expand their in-hospital programs. 

“The money raised through the Dance Marathon will enable us to increase healthcare access, service delivery and family touch points by more than 10,000, providing thousands of meals and snacks for families as they support their child’s medical journey,” Buckendahl said. 

Dyer promises big announcements are coming relating to how Dance Marathon will officially mark its 50th anniversary next spring.  

“We already have some exciting changes in the works for this anniversary, so stay tuned, because 50 is going to be a big year for NUDM,” said Dyer.

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