Northwestern University Dance Marathon announced Starlight Children’s Foundation Midwest as the primary beneficiary of DM 2015, which will be held March 6 to 8. The secondary beneficiary is the Evanston Community Foundation.
Starlight Midwest’s mission is to “improve the lives and health of chronically ill children and their families across the four state region of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin,” according to the NUDM press release. They were founded in 1982 and are a Chicago-based organization.
NUDM Executive Co-Chairs Ander Aretakis and David Ryan selected the organization as a finalist, and the 20 members of the executive board unanimously chose it as the primary beneficiary.
“Starlight stood out as special to us because it will help any child facing a chronic or critical illness, so everyone we’ve helped through NUDM in the past can benefit from Starlight’s work, now and for many years to come,” Aretakis said.
Starlight Midwest has worked to better hospital life in both inpatient and outpatient settings for children with illnesses such as leukemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, severe asthma, congenital heart disease and epilepsy.
“Given the breadth of support that Starlight provides, there is a real opportunity for the Northwestern community to connect with a lot of unique and meaningful examples of the impact we have,” Ryan said. “We are honored to help Starlight Midwest spread awareness about their organization so that any family visiting a hospital will have the chance to provide their child with an environment that will aid in the healing process.”
The proceeds of NUDM 2015 will go toward building up to 10 Starlight Sites, or Treatment Rooms, Teen Lounges and Playrooms called “no white coat zones.” The proceeds help Starlight Midwest reach almost two million children and family members and will fund a planned site in Evanston’s NorthShore Hospital.
“Being chosen as the 2015 beneficiary by Northwestern University Dance Marathon is a dream come true for the entire Starlight family – and a game changer,” said Joan Steltmann, executive director of Starlight Midwest and graduate of Kellogg Graduate School of Management. “Not only will we be able to undertake unprecedented levels of projects and programming to help us reach the one in 11 kids who need Starlight, but we also have the chance to work with this amazing group of students who have been so impactful to their community.”
Steltmann helped the organization more than double in size since she joined in 2010.
For the eighteenth consecutive year, NUDM is also proud to support the Evanston Community Foundation as the secondary beneficiary. ECF is a charity that focuses on meeting a variety of local needs from financial services to endowment funds in Evanston and surrounding areas.
This will be the 41st annual Dance Marathon, and it is one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the nation. NUDM has raised more than $15 million for more than 30 charities since 1975. Last year NUDM raised $1,385,273 for Team Joseph, an organization that funds research to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.