Riley Dance Marathons engage student leaders across the state to drive year-round fundraising for Riley Hospital For Children in Indianapolis. This commitment culminates in a continuous, multi-hour fundraising event that blends games, music, dancing, and philanthropy into one experience. The event to benefit Riley began in 1991 when Jill Stewart started Indiana University Dance Marathon to commemorate the loss of her friend, AIDS activist Ryan White. What began as a small student organization at IU now has 60 collegiate and high school events state-wide, as well as a dedicated support team within the Riley Children’s Foundation.

Dance Marathon has become the largest student-run philanthropy in the nation. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN), a nonprofit organization that raises money for children’s hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, adopted the idea for the 170 hospitals in its network. Nationally, CMN raises over $4 million every year through Dance Marathon events.

A large group of people are gathered together. Sections of people are wearing the same color shirts.
Riley Dance Marathon at IUPUI, 2017 Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source

The Indiana University Dance Marathon claims the nation’s top spot among the fundraisers sponsored by the Children’s Miracle Network. Indiana events include two marathons, one held at Indiana University, Bloomington, and another a Purdue University, that gross over $1 million annually. Indiana also boasts the nation’s largest High School Dance Marathon in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel; Carmel High School raises over $400k annually.

Supported by a dedicated Riley Children’s Foundation team, Riley Dance Marathons have grossed over $63.6 million for the pediatric hospital since 1991. Alumni from collegiate Dance Marathon programs continue their commitment to Riley by fundraising at events, galas, and golf outings, many of which take place in Indianapolis and Chicago. Dance Marathon has expanded to over 300 college and high school campuses nationwide, grossing $300 million for children’s hospitals across the US and Canada since IUDM began in 1991.

Revised December 2022

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