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Miracle Network Dance Marathon Honored on National Philanthropy Day

Congratulations to the Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs of Central Florida, who have been selected as one of five honorees on National Philanthropy Day by the Association on Fundraising Professionals – Central Florida Chapter

Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs were featured in the Orange Appeal magazine with other National Philanthropy Day honorees.

The rallying cry for Miracle Network Dance Marathon is “this generation fighting for the next.” Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs are student-run organizations that help young leaders gain leadership, teamwork, and nonprofit business experience while raising funds and awareness for their local Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

Dance Marathon is project-based learning at its best, where hands-on experience helps students develop leadership and social skills through this unique service-learning opportunity. Students spend all year promoting, fundraising, and planning for an event that celebrates their community, local children’s hospital and the patients and families it serves. Throughout the process, students are gaining valuable experience in leadership, marketing, event planning, peer management, budget planning, community relations and more.

Historically, K-12 and collegiate students leading these programs on their campus spend the school year working toward their main event where they celebrate, face-to-face, the thousands of dollars their program has raised to support Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. These multi-hour events honor the patients and families they serve by dancing, listening to inspirational stories of hope from patients, and participating in different event activities.

Traditionally, these events take place in early Spring. When this reality became less likely for some of these Dance Marathon programs in March of 2020, including Knight-Thon at the University of Central Florida, the young leaders sprang into action.

In a matter of weeks, these students created new strategic communication plans, worked with local and national companies on amended sponsor benefits to retain partnership revenue and created a brand-new virtual experience for their participants to deliver a special event that participants work all year to enjoy. They led the way for our organization to be at the front of the line of virtual fundraising events and peer-to-peer campaigns.

The Dance Marathon programs were nominated by Jessica Layne of the Orlando Health Foundation – her submission (above) was featured in an e-mail to all Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Central Florida Members, the programs will be honored during the annual National Philanthropy Day celebration (virtual this year), and the foundation is sharing this honor on their social media pages. We encourage all hospital advisors and members of AFP to consider nominating their Dance Marathon partners for this prestigious honor with their local chapter for philanthropy day each fall. Find more information about your local chapter here.