Dance Marathon announces the Little Heroes League as its main beneficiary in 2023


For nearly five decades, the Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) has raised more than $23 million for various charities in Evanston and Chicago. Next year, students will tie up their shoes and dance the night away March 3-5 to raise vital funds for Little Heroes League, NUDM’s top recipient for 2023. The nonprofit organization provides coordinating services care for the most medically complex babies born in Chicagoland.

“Given the current health care system, it is very difficult for families to be able to afford quality care, even for those who have health insurance. The Little Heroes League ensures these families have care coordination services, which is why NUDM is so proud to partner with them,” said Amy Fan, one of the 2023 NUDM Executive Co-Chairs. “Relieving the financial burden of coordinating care is enormous and gives families the security of knowing that their children are receiving the best care, which leads to the best possible outcomes.”

Little Heroes League Care Coordinators act as a “quarterback,” managing medical and social services that ensure the best possible outcomes for patients and their families. The organization provides streamlined care in both inpatient and outpatient settings, resulting in earlier hospital discharge and lower readmission rates.

“Our goal is to bring home all medically complex children,” said Little Heroes League Executive Director Brenden Etue. “During our journey with our medically complex daughter, Livi, it became apparent to us very quickly that there was a big gap in care for children like her. It was up to my wife and I to manage Livi’s care both outside and inside the hospital, where you would assume there is a care coordinator or someone in charge . The reality is that there is none, at least not without our philanthropy.

Helping babies and their families thrive

Beginning with hospital care while the child is in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Little Heroes League care coordinators act as a single point of contact between the family and various care providers. of the hospital. They help organize clinical activities, procedures and care conferences with several specialists. Coordinators also connect with non-clinical hospital support, such as social workers and child life specialists.

Care Coordinators not only prepare Little Hero families for discharge, they also administer outpatient services. After the little hero returns, Care Coordinators help schedule and attend appointments, identify community and government resources, and administer home support if needed.

Little Heroes League strives to provide care coordination for underserved families with significant medical expenses. Approximately 90% of Little Hero families are on Medicaid and therefore benefit significantly from free, high-quality care services.

Expand program reach

Financial donations from NUDM will help Little Heroes League grow and expand its services to more families in the Chicago area and beyond. The NUDM grant will go directly to fund an additional care coordinator for Little Heroes League, who will be able to serve up to 30 new babies per year.

“We are so excited about this, and it will ensure that we will maintain this program for years to come,” Etue said. “We are always looking for ways to expose this gap in care coordination services to more people, so they understand why the service is needed and why our philanthropy ensures that these children and their families live better.”

The beneficiary reveal event on June 3, 2022 was sponsored by Cottingham & Butler, the 25th largest insurance broker in the United States, and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the premier children’s hospital in Illinois and one of the highest ranked in the country.

“Lurie Children’s has been a proud partner for [Little Heroes League’s] creation, and we are thrilled with the impact this generous gift will have on the lives of all little heroes,” said Brian Stahulak, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

The Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) will serve as a sub-grantee of NUDM for its 26th consecutive year. ECF ensures that Evanston thrives by funding local grants to deserving individuals, families and organizations.

About the Northwestern University Dance Marathon

The 49th Annual NUDM will be held March 3-5, 2023 on Norris University’s Center East Lawn at 1999 Campus Drive on Northwestern’s Evanston Campus. NUDM is one of the largest independent student-run philanthropies in the country, raising over $23 million for over 30 different charities. Last year, in its first in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic began, NUDM raised more than half a million dollars to support Chicago Youth Programs, a nonprofit organization nonprofit that works to improve the life opportunities and health of young people in low-income countries. high-income neighborhoods, primarily in south and west Chicago, through long-term academic, emotional, and mental support.


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