The organization, founded in 1997, has been named UNC Dance Marathon since its inception. This year, it’s changing its name to Carolina For the Kids Foundation.
Senior Evan Sherwood, the program’s executive director, said the name Dance Marathon didn’t give the community a clear idea of its purpose.
“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,” he said.
Corporate marketing chairwoman Christina Lewis said the name often presented the wrong idea about the group’s mission.
“One of the most commonly asked questions is, ‘Oh, you’re the dance people?’ And so a lot of people recognize us as being a dance group, which we’re not, or they recognize us as just being our one event in March, which we are not,” she said. “We’re a yearlong fundraising event.”
Carolina For the Kids’ mission is to provide emotional and financial support for the patients and families served by N.C. Children’s Hospital.
Morale and recruitment chairman Jean-Luc Rivera said the new name will help fundraising efforts.
“By introducing ourselves as Carolina For the Kids, it will be much clearer what we actually do, and we’ll be interacting with the community, so that will hopefully help us with our fundraising goals,” he said.
The organization is best known for its 24-hour dance-a-thon held every spring, but leaders of Carolina For the Kids like Sherwood want to emphasize that it’s by no means the only event held each year.
“UNC Dance Marathon is just one of the many events that we do,” Sherwood said. “We also have a 5K and a 10K now this year called Kilometers for the Kids, a program that we put on, and we also have a big benefit reception that we put on every year.”
Freshman Emily Venturi, who was unfamiliar with the group’s mission before the name change, said the new name is more informative but also has some disadvantages.
“So if you’re looking at raising awareness on what the organization is raising money for, I think that’s fantastic because it also incorporates the other events,” she said. “But at the same time, it would take some explaining because you’re taking the big event out of the name. There’s good and bad, I guess.”
Sherwood is optimistic that the name change will bring some much-needed recognition to the cause.
“We’re hoping this new name kind of turns over a new leaf for us and really reminds everyone why we’re doing what we’re doing — for the kids, as the name really states now,” he said.