Exhausted and emotional after 30 hours of dancing, more than 1,000 undergraduate students who had just completed the final hour of the 44th annual NU Dance Marathon stood in suspense as members of the executive committee announced the total funds raised through their collective efforts.

Holding a large board, Northwestern University Dance Marathon’s finance committee revealed that the student philanthropists had successfully raised $1,175,709. The cash and in-kind donations for Cradles to Crayons will provide kids with the essentials they need, free of charge, so they can thrive at home, school, and play.

Cradles to Crayons will receive 90% of the net proceeds and Evanston Community Foundation will receive 10%.

The year-long effort required students to solicit pledges and sponsors, staff a phone bank, go “canning” on street corners, plan an online auction, and organize a 5K and 10K run. It concluded with the high-energy test of endurance and generosity that is Dance Marathon, which began at 7 p.m. on March 9 and concluded at 1 a.m. on March 11 at Norris University Center.

The funds will help Cradles to Crayons benefit local children by expanding the non-profit’s presence in the Chicagoland area. With the help of the Dance Marathon’s secondary beneficiary, the Evanston Community Foundation, Cradles to Crayons will expand into Evanston, leaving lasting impact in Northwestern’s backyard. NUDM also hopes to increase Cradles to Crayons’ capacity to fulfill its community requests, doubling the number of children they can serve.