FAU’s OwlThon Raised over $100,000 for The Children’s Miracle Network
Typically, OwlThon is a 13.1-hour Dance Marathon held on Florida Atlantic University’s campus that directly benefits the 170 member hospitals of The Children’s Miracle Network. But, like every other facet of life, this year looked a little different due to COVID-19.
OwlThon was founded in 2013 with the first event in 2014 generating $6,000 for The Children’s Miracle Network. The next year, this event raised $66,000.
“This incredible increase made our organization the fastest growing program in the Northeast region,” said Angelique Ramirez, executive director for OwlThon 2021. “Since its inception, OwlThon has raised over $1.2 million for our local hospital.”
The 2021 event took place on the weekend of March 20 at the Boca Campus’ Student Recreation Center and had over 100 attendees split into small groups to attend throughout the weekend.
“Not only was our event untraditional but due to the pandemic, we faced a few fundraising challenges,” said Kaitlyn Gorczyca, morale captain for OwlThon 2021. “With being unable to host large-scale in-person events, local businesses feeling the impact of COVID-19 and being unable to sponsor us, and participants facing economic challenges of their own, this year was challenging.”
The University of Florida Shands Children’s Hospital commended FAU and OwlThon’s successful, and safe, event. In their press release, they congratulated their team on their ability to raise a total of $105,475.83 with over $21,671 being raised in 26 hours.
“This year’s event was non-traditional, to say the least! In a “normal” year, over 150 participants would be gathered in the FAU Campus Recreation Center at one time,” Gorczyca said. “Traditionally, our event is one day, where participants stand for 13.1 hours straight. This year, participants attended the event in 3.5-5 hour shifts in order to accommodate capacity restrictions and promote social distancing.”
In face of all the unique challenges of COVID-19, OwlThon was still able to raise over $100,000 for the cause through their fundraising portal “Donor Drive”. It works as a tool where either individuals or groups can create fundraising pages to donate toward a specific cause. Other than through Donor Drive, money is raised with small events throughout the year, sponsorship from local businesses and “giveback” nights with local restaurants.
“Despite it all, we could not be more proud of our community and the amount of miracles we were able to make,” Ramirez said. “Our local hospital has felt a tremendous impact due to the pandemic and being able to offset that impact, even in the slightest way, while providing hope for the families we support is something we will always cherish.”