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Primary Beneficiary Spotlight: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana

Updated: Jan 28

NUDM shares plans for engagement events with RMHC-CNI

Lili King

January 9, 2024

Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) has officially partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) as the 2024 primary beneficiary! The organization is Chicagoland’s branch of Ronald McDonald House Charities, a global nonprofit with locations in 62 countries and regions and over 690 core programs worldwide.

RMHC-CNI’s mission is to provide families with a temporary living space near the hospital when their child is sick. The houses’ private rooms, warm food and immense community built between other families who know what it's like to fight pediatric illness create a supportive and comforting atmosphere where families can get better together. RMHC-CNI allows families to be by their child’s side in the hospital without concerns about travel or living costs.

The Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana program keeps 177 families close to the care and resources they need each night. This is made possible through six Ronald McDonald Houses and four Ronald McDonald Family Rooms located in the area, enabling families to save over $9 million in hotel and food expenses each year.

NUDM is committed to ensuring that Northwestern students feel connected to RMHC-CNI’s cause all year long, not just in Welsh-Ryan Arena on the day of the marathon. The organization has coordinated three types of events that it will host at least once per quarter to promote engagement from the Northwestern community: BUILD, education and service events.

Bridge, Uplift, Inspire, Learn, Dance (BUILD) events will bring RMHC-CNI’s mission to the Northwestern campus. During fall quarter, NUDM made care kits on campus to send to the Ronald McDonald House, said Beneficiary Chair Ashley Berson. NUDM also plans to create videos with Northwestern’s a capella groups to be added to RMHC’s On-Demand, a service that provides entertaining videos families can watch to unwind.

NUDM committee members make care packages for RMHC-CNI families during NUDM's Fall BUILD event

Education events help students learn about the mission of the beneficiary and take the form of a speaker series or comprehensive social media post. These events spread awareness about the issues at the heart of the beneficiary’s mission, such as the social determinants of health, to make the Northwestern community more informed.

Service events bring NUDM’s assistance to RMHC-CNI’s locations. During winter quarter, NUDM will host a takeover day at one of the Ronald McDonald Houses in Chicago, where students will make and serve lunch, snacks and dinner to RMHC-CNI  families, Berson said. NUDM will also facilitate nighttime activities during the takeover to promote a fun and safe environment for families.

NUDM and RMHC-CNI’s partnership will provide ways for dancers to get involved in RMHC-CNI’s cause. NUDM is proud to have such an amazing organization as the primary beneficiary for the 2024 season.

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