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I think many young professionals are intimidated by the term philanthropy. For me it traditionally conjured images of Rockefellers and Carnegies and 7-figure-plus donations; thats not the game I play. The word philanthropy comes from two Greek words meaning ‘love’ and ‘human being.’ At the core philanthropy is nothing more than love for one’s fellow man. Each Friday I plan to dedicate this space to discuss a cause I am passionate about, an upcoming event, or new ideas in the space of giving. The feature is not meant to always be a blind plea for support (read: it will sometimes be a blind plea for support). My hope is that it will inspire you to give back in ways that are meaningful to you.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of a dance marathon then you are not alone. When Keri Lockett reached out to me to see if I would be interested in partnering with the Chicago Dance Marathon I  wasn’t sure what to expect – I certainly wasn’t expecting to stumble upon a cultural phenomena dating back to the 1920s. While this event is a bit lighter on the dancing, and the time commitment, the dedication to having fun and raising funds are just as strong.

The 2010 Chicago Dance Marathon has been formed as a partnership between Children’s Miracle Network and Children’s Memorial Hospital. In case you are not familiar with Children’s Memorial Hospital, they are one of the largest pediatric medical centers in the U.S. serving more than 140,000 seriously ill children from throughout the Chicago region, all 50 states and 36 countries around the world in 2009 alone. They offer a complete range of health care services for children, from newborns to young adults. They are also home to one of the leading centers for pediatric research in the world.

I encourage you to get involved with the event in any way you can. Register as a ‘dancer’ to solicit donations, alone or in a team (I still have a few slots on the YPC/CNP team). You will have a blast on the day of the event dancing, Wii-ing, bagging, and doing whatever else you like from a standing position for 13.1 hours; contact me if you would like to join our team or you can sign up right on the Chicago DM website  If that seems a bit intense for you or if you are otherwise engaged on March 6th I hope you will consider donating to the YPC/CNP team on this page.