It was another historic year for Northwestern’s Dance Marathon. Not only did NUDM celebrate its 40th anniversary, but the annual student-run event also raised a record-breaking $1.39 million in cash and in-kind donations.

This year’s 30-hour dance party, held March 7–9, marked the fourth consecutive year that the fundraising total surpassed $1 million. Cash fundraising topped $1 million for the first time ever this year, representing an increase of more than $210,000 from 2013 — the largest increase in cash fundraising in NUDM history.

This year’s NUDM beneficiaries were a Michigan-based organization that battles a devastating muscular disease and a local foundation that strengthens Evanston through grant-making and community engagement.

President Barack Obama even joined in the fun, recording a surprise video message of encouragement to the students that kicked off the evening.

“Your hard work has made this one of the biggest student-run philanthropies in America,” Obama said in the video. “Chicago is proud of you, and I’m proud of you. And I know Michelle would be proud of you, too.”

“Thank you for making a difference to the life of your community and your country,” he went on to say. “And now, after months of effort, here’s the fun part. Get dancing, good luck, and Go ’Cats!”

More than 1,000 Northwestern undergraduates danced this year, supported by more than 300 committee members, fundraising events that were held throughout the year, and thousands of generous local and national donors, including alumni.

Thanks to that effort, Dance Marathon executive co-chairs Josh Parish and Anna Radoff presented a check for $931,289.21 to Team Joseph founder Marissa Penrod. The nonprofit organization funds cutting-edge research to find a treatment or cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal degenerative genetic muscle disease affecting 1 in every 3,500 boys. The life expectancy for those afflicted is in the early 20s.

The Evanston Community Foundation (ECF), NUDM’s secondary beneficiary for the 17th consecutive year, received a check for $103,476.58 – 10 percent of this year’s net proceeds.

The foundation builds, connects, and distributes resources and knowledge for the common good through local organizations.


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