The original version of this article contained an error and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for additional information.
Dance Marathon, an event where participants stand or dance for 26 hours straight to raise money for pediatrics AIDS, will have a different name this year, after the Pediatric AIDS Coalition at UCLA received the largest donation in its history to fund this weekend’s event.
The student discount website CollegeBudget.com donated $30,000 – more than a third of the event’s cost, said Lesley Girkins, director of public relations for the Pediatric AIDS Coalition, a student-run committee that coordinates charity events, including Dance Marathon. This year’s event will be named “Dance Marathon presented by CollegeBudget.com.”
The donation from the company, which negotiates deals with businesses around the country and offers discounts to college students nationwide, is among about 40 others the Pediatric AIDS Coalition received this year, said Joshua Won, director of finance for the Pediatric AIDS Coalition.
Mike Moradian, president of CollegeBudget.com and a UCLA alumnus, founded the student discount site in 2010.
Having participated in Dance Marathon, Moradian said he knows the impact Dance Marathon has campus-wide.
“I’m a UCLA alumni myself, so it’s a cause I wanted to rally around,” he said.
Dance Marathon typically costs between $75,000 and $80,000, Won said.
The money covers the expenses for sound systems and tables for meals, among many other operational necessities, Girkins said.
The coalition pays for expenses through annual committee fundraising, on-campus funding, goods and services donations, and committee member contributions, Won said.
Students are required to raise $250 to dance in Dance Marathon, but none of this money is used to finance the event, said Andrew Ho, president of the coalition.
All of the money raised from Dance Marathon 2013 will benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Camp Kindle and the UCLA AIDS Institute, according to a press release by the coalition.
A sponsor must donate at least $25,000 for its name to be added to the name of Dance Marathon, Ho said. Last year, Bank of the West donated $25,000, he added. If multiple donors exceed this amount, all of their names would be represented in the event title, Girkins said.
Until 2011, Dance Marathon received between $12,000 and $18,000 of funding from the Undergraduate Students Association Board of Directors programming fund, in addition to the free rent of Ackerman facilities, said Roy Champawat, director of the UCLA Student Union.
Champawat said the event’s use of Ackerman is still free, but pressure to fund all campus organizations led the Undergraduate Students Association Council to realize that UCLA funding guidelines do not state that student fees can be used to fund charities.
To compensate for this loss in funds from USAC, the coalition now has to rely more on corporate funds, Girkins said.
Champawat added that since Dance Marathon charges a fee for people to participate, it technically has the finances to pay for operational expenses, whereas many campus events that do not charge entrance fees do not. USAC funding now directs funds to these events that cannot afford operational charges, Champawat said.
“The funding crisis is a big part of this story,” he said. “This is why it changed.”
Associated Students UCLA can still help with funds for operational fees, but according to the student government’s guidelines, the money would have to be reimbursed after the event, Champawat said.
As event organizers work to accommodate changes in the event’s funding, Ho and Girkins said they are excited about the donation from CollegeBudget.com.
For a relatively new, small company to donate to the cause means it has faith in the event, Girkins said.
“It’s an important UCLA tradition that we want to help enhance,” Moradian said.
“It’s something that we hope to be involved with for years to come.”
Email Edwards at [email protected].
Correction: Last year, Bank of the West donated $25,000 to Dance Marathon.