Dance Marathon rebrands itself Carolina For the Kids

North Carolina’s largest student-run fundraising organization gets new name to better reflect its year-round mission.

Dance Marathon rebrands itself Carolina For the Kids click to enlarge Carolina For the Kids raised more than $550K for UNC Children's last academic year.

Organizers of the UNC Dance Marathon, the largest student-run philanthropic organization in North Carolina, came to a worrisome conclusion last school year: they had outgrown their famous moniker.

“Whenever I’d go out in the community talking about who we are, there was always a lot of general confusion about what we do because our name doesn’t point you in any particular direction of who we’re supporting or what we’re helping or who we’re helping,” explained executive director, Evan Sherwood, in a recent interview with the Daily Tar Heel.

Since being founded in 1997, the organization has raised nearly $4 million to benefit UNC’s Children’s. It is best known for its 24-hour “Stand For the Kids,” also known as the Dance Marathon, where revelers stay on their feet 24 hours straight in a show of solidarity for the patients and families they support, but in the 17 years since its inception, the organization has grown to encompass much more than that.

“We are a year-long fundraising effort,” says supply and logistics chair, Rachel Daniel. “We are a benefit reception, we are multiple benefit nights, we are a 10K, and we are a 5K.”

Student participants also host weekly dinners at the Children’s Hospital, an event called Parents Night Out, and they volunteer at the hospital throughout the year in various capacities. Student leaders decided a new name might better reflect its year-round activities and mission to support the patients and families of N.C. Children’s Hospital.

They established a renaming committee to examine the issue. Six months later, the seven-member group—which included past alumni, community members, and the current executive board—presented two options to the 2015 Executive Board and Board of Directors. The Carolina For the Kids Foundation was chosen by a unanimous vote.

Sherwood says the most important thing to know about the rebranding is that the cause remains the same.

“We’re always going to be ‘for the kids,’ and now that’s reflected in our official name, so it’s even more connected to what we do,” says Sherwood. “The name change will clarify our mission to the public and also help distinguish the organization from its biggest event, the Dance Marathon.”

Publicity chair, Brendan Leonard, echoes Sherwood’s sentiment.

“The most important thing going through this rebranding is making sure that everyone knows that we will always support UNC Children’s,” says Leonard. “Our cause is not changing, our mission is not changing. We still do what we do, and the new name is going to help us do it even better.”

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