COLUMBIA — Dancing 13.1 hours was a big task, but it got big results.
On Saturday, Mizzou Dance Marathon raised more than $150,000 “for the kids” to become the largest student-run philanthropy at MU.
"It was completely and totally unreal," said Annie Bastida, the group's executive director. "I had a Children's Miracle Network rep sitting next to me, and he told me that we were going to be the 18th-largest dance marathon in the country, and I just started crying in a silent room."
The announced donation of $152,402.44 is the minimum amount that will be given to MU Children’s Hospital. The organization’s online donation portal will remain open and accept donations until April 1.
This year’s donation will dwarf those of previous years. Last year, the organization donated $59,000 of the more than $76,000 it raised. The money raised this year came from a variety of sources including a silent auction and merchandise sales, but fundraising made up the bulk of it.
“Everyone put in so much effort to make this year the success it was,” Kate McIntyre, head of public relations for the group, said. “Now, we're looking forward to supporting more Miracle Kids and raising even more money for the children's hospital at the 2014 main event.”
The group has also made a $75,000 yearly pledge to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals that will fund music therapy, the salaries of part-time teachers and a program that gives active duty soldiers the opportunity to see their children via a video chat.
Dance Marathon’s participation grew this year to 934 registered participants, almost doubling last year’s mark of 557. This boom in membership was a result of a new leadership structure and expanded recruiting efforts.
“Mizzou Dance Marathon has focused a lot on recruitment this year, reaching out to all of the MU student organizations, Greek members and residence halls,” McIntyre said. “We also started recruiting a lot earlier this year beginning with Summer Welcome.”
The organization’s new approach allowed more people to become involved by splitting up duties and allowing members to take on more specialized roles, Bastida said. For example, public relations and recruitment were both handled by a single committee in the old structure.
“It just didn’t really make sense,” Bastida said. “So we separated things out this year and added more specialized steering committee members.”
Mizzou Dance Marathon’s main event for 2013 is over now, but the group is already looking to build on its successes.
“We’re trying to encourage people to stay with it,” Bastida said. “We’re working to make a culture of Dance Marathon at Mizzou.”
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