A $5 Million Pledge

Three dance marathon students volunteering at children's hospital

The University of Iowa Dance Marathon will provide $5 million in support over the next 10 years for the new University of Iowa Children's Hospital building, UI and Dance Marathon officials announced today during a public celebration at the Iowa Memorial Union.

Dance Marathon's commitment is the first leadership gift to the hospital's building campaign, and is in addition to Dance Marathon's ongoing funding of programs that support pediatric oncology and bone marrow transplant patients and their families treated at UI Children's Hospital.

"The support provided by Dance Marathon for the new University of Iowa Children's Hospital is truly visionary," said Thomas D. Scholz, MD, Children's Miracle Network Professor of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief at UI Children's Hospital. "They have looked into the future and identified a way to provide a nurturing and healing environment for sick and injured children and their families for decades to come.

"This is the lead gift for the new UI Children's Hospital, and the fact that it is coming from this amazing group of students could not be more appropriate and will set the bar for others," added Scholz, who also is interim head of the Department of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology in the UI Carver College of Medicine.

Elyse Meardon, executive director of the 2012 Dance Marathon, is also a member of the Dance Marathon Allocations Committee, a 15-member board consisting of Dance Marathon student leaders and alumni, UI Children's Hospital and university officials and community members charged with reviewing funding proposals and selecting projects to which Dance Marathon funds are directed. The committee voted unanimously on April 29, 2011, in favor of the $5 million commitment.

"It is truly amazing that, as students, we are able to make such a significant investment in the UI community that supports our organization on so many levels," Meardon said. "With this new building will come state-of-the-art equipment, passionate staff and a safe, kid-friendly environment where children can grow and heal.

"This gift is an investment in the future of all children being treated at our hospital. Thousands of UI college students, UI employees and Iowa City community members have joined together through Dance Marathon for the past 18 years to provide steadfast financial and emotional support for pediatric cancer patients and families treated at University of Iowa Children's Hospital. We are empowered beyond words through giving back to these children and that is the greatest gift of all."

Groundbreaking for the new UI Children's Hospital will be fall 2012, with anticipated completion of the 11-story tower in December 2015.

The new UI Children's Hospital will be a dedicated tower for children's health care, consolidating under one roof services that currently are spread throughout the hospital complex. The new tower will be designed as a healing environment that improves the health and well-being of children and their families. In addition to fostering excellent clinical care, the new facility will support the teaching mission of the institution by providing an optimal environment for the education of pediatric physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other medical staff.