Giving Tuesday turned into a campuswide fundraising effort for UCF Knight-Thon, as the philanthropy more than doubled its 24-hour donation goal.

More than 2,300 registered dancers surpassed the goal of $20,000 by earning $41,500.47 to benefit the Greater Orlando Children's Miracle Network Hospitals for G1VE TODAY 20K, the second-annual dare day for UCF's official philanthropy.

Knight-Thon challenged dance marathon participants to raise $100 each from 8 a.m. Tuesday to 8 a.m. Wednesday, and they did not disappoint.

"People want to give on a global day of giving back, and it really encourages people who don't really know what Dance Marathon might be to give to a cause," said Kirstin Leineke, Knight-Thon communications manager.

Last year, Knight-Thon raised more than $8,000 during the 24-hour fundraising event that took place over winter break, and while Leineke said she was expecting to meet the 20K goal this year, she was surprised the total doubled.

"I think it really helped how we advertised it the right way. We really reached out to our dancers, [and] we told our team captains ahead of time," said Leineke, a senior pre-clinical health sciences major. "We gave them a lot of ideas and fundraising tips, we allowed them to bucket, we allowed them throughout the day to come talk to us and get any ideas and we gave them suggestions."

Online donations were a big factor in raising the funds, but some dancers earned their $100 through the traditional bucketing around campus, she said.

With an overall goal of $820,000, the Knight-Thon dancers have their work cut out for them through the dance marathon itself on April 2, 2016. But Leineke has hopes that the students will succeed.

The spring semester will bring a slew of new fundraising challenges and motivational days to encourage participants to earn more donations, but the exact events are not available to the public yet, Leineke said.

"We're just going to continue what we're doing and keep working toward that goal, and hopefully we'll hit it," she said.


Paige Wilson is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @ByPaigeWilson or email her at

Read or Share this story: