Vanderbilt Wins Community Service Award

Dancing Dores program earns national recognition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the Fiesta Bowl have announced Vanderbilt University as the winner of its 2020 Community Service Award.

Vanderbilt received the award for its Dancing Dores program and Vanderbilt University Dance Marathon.

Pending fall competition schedules, the Community Service Award will be presented to Vanderbilt at an on-campus event later this year.

“I am very proud of our student-athletes for this well-earned honor and the recognition is especially deserving when you consider the many lives they impacted in such a positive way while partnering with Vanderbilt University Dance Marathon and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt,” Vanderbilt vice chancellor of athletics and university affairs and athletic director Candice Storey Lee said.



The award was designed to recognize NACDA member institutions in Division I honoring exceptional athletics departments that make volunteerism and community service a way of life. A five-person committee consisting of athletics directors across the country and representatives from the Fiesta Bowl and NACDA aided in selecting Vanderbilt as this year’s award winner.

Vanderbilt will receive a trophy from the Fiesta Bowl for permanent display.

“Among an inspiring collection of applications, Vanderbilt student-athletes showed that giving back to their community is an important part of being a student-athlete and makes a longstanding impact on others,” Fiesta Bowl executive director Mike Nealy said. “It’s inspiring to see all the applications and how athletics departments are contributing to their campus and overall communities. Dancing Dores is an exemplary program that Candice Storey Lee and the entire Vanderbilt Athletics family should be proud of.”

Said NACDA chief executive officer Bob Vecchione, “College athletics is all about the people and Vanderbilt University athletics proved this through the relationships they have built through their Dancing Dores program. The Miracle Families at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, as well as student-athlete peers across the country, are fortunate to have these young men and women of Vanderbilt as role models and partners in hope for a bright future.”



Vanderbilt’s Dancing Dores program is centered around student-athletes connecting and building meaningful relationships with local children and families served at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital all while making an impact through their efforts to raise awareness and fundraise. The money raised directly impacts local children by making sure they have access to the best healthcare.

Each Vanderbilt athletics team assigns a Dancing Dores captain. A captain orientation takes place to make sure teams register on the Vanderbilt University Dance Marathon online platform. Once registered, each team has a unique dance marathon link they can use to fundraise and raise awareness.

Vanderbilt football senior Andre Mintze created the initiative to get more student-athletes involved in the program. In his first year involved with Dancing Dores the event raised more than $21,000.

The student-athletes can share the link via text, social media, email, etc., to receive donations on their team page – they are encouraged to ask family, friends, former teachers and coaches. All donations are received via the dance marathon’s online platform.

Once at least five representatives from each team register under the team page, they are assigned a Miracle Kid and family. With the help of the dance marathon’s family relations personnel, teams host the Miracle Kid and family. This year Miracle Kids and their families were invited to events and recognized with on-field and in-game presentations, game ball delivery, practices, facility tours, movie nights, dinners, etc.

The Dance Marathon Big Event takes place in February in Vanderbilt’s David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center. This is a 13.1-hour event where past and present Miracle Families unite with Vanderbilt students and through this program they are able to meet, play games and spend time with the student-athletes.

This event is also a means for a last push for donations before the deadline at midnight. There is a “Student-Athlete Hour” dedicated to Vanderbilt athletics teams to recognize and present the money raised to the Miracle Families.

Leading up to the big event, Vanderbilt athletics has a match day where the student-athletes push to raise as much money possible in 24 hours for it to be matched. This year, a total of $17,849.82 was raised in 24 hours for match day.



Vanderbilt Athletics will be co-presenting with Vanderbilt University Dance Marathon at the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference in July. The presentation will serve to help other institutions’ Dance Marathon chapters establish a relationship with their athletic department.