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Celebrating our 2023 Class of Next Generation Philanthropists

Dance Marathon participants
Dance Marathon participants

Riley Children’s Foundation is proud to announce the Next Generation Philanthropists Class of 2023. This graduating class of high school seniors displayed exceptional leadership and character through their contributions to their school’s Riley Dance Marathon or Kids Caring & Sharing™ program.

This sixth-annual class includes students from across the state. They serve as shining representatives of the students at dozens of high schools who fundraised for Riley Dance Marathon and Kids Caring & Sharing™ during the 2022-23 school year. They have been a part of established Riley fundraising programs and started new fundraising efforts. They are Riley kids and Riley siblings. They have spent hundreds of hours raising thousands of dollars—all for the kids and families who depend on Riley Children’s Health.

Introducing the Next Generation Philanthropists Class of 2023:

Alexis Clark, Carmel High School (Carmel, IN) – As an executive board member, Alexis created surveys to learn what participants enjoyed most about the dance marathon. By incorporating feedback about activities, the group saw student participation increase to pre-pandemic numbers. “We were able to revamp the look and feel of our Dance Marathon so that more of our school’s population would be enticed to participate and contribute,” she said.

Jimmy Dapp, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School (Indianapolis, IN) – Jimmy led the creation of his school’s Dance Marathon program, using his experience as a Riley patient to motivate fundraising and storytelling. “When I met a fellow student who had a Riley story to tell, I encouraged him to share his experience with others. Though hesitant at first, he was inspired by my example and ended up becoming our second highest fundraiser,” he said.

Lila James, Westfield High School (Westfield, IN) – As the Co-Chair of Sponsorship, Lila helped raise a record amount in sponsorships, which also established new connections with many local businesses. “I believe everyone should experience this wonderful cause to be impacted just as I have been,” she said.

Alaina Koley, Fishers High School (Fishers, IN) – Alexis spearheaded the creation of a new event, the Run for Riley competitive 5K, to boost fundraising earlier in the year and engage the local community. “I learned that for every challenge you face throughout the process of planning an event, the payoff and reward at the end is always worth it,” she said.

Markie Lance, Boonville High School (Boonville, IN) – Markie doubled her fundraising total this year by creating her own fundraising letter to share with family, friends, and local businesses. “As a student leader, it is your responsibility to set the tone for others to follow. If you show that you are dedicated to reaching goals for your team, they will be inspired to do the same,” she said.

Mena Morcos, University High School (Carmel, IN) – Mena helped to organize and promote “Faculty Night Live,” an evening of skits performed by faculty and staff. Over 200 people attended the show, and set a new fundraising record for an event leading up to the dance marathon. “I choose to be a part of this organization for the feeling you are helping kids beat the odds,” he said.

Abigail Pahls, Westfield High School (Westfield, IN) – As Event Operations Co-Chair, Abigail led her committee to expand an annual “fun run” event into a Halloween festival, resulting in greater attendance and fundraising. “Dance Marathon gave me a community that allowed me to fully embrace my enthusiastic and extroverted personality,” she said.

Brandon Rodriguez-Salas, Seymour High School (Seymour, IN) – Brandon brought new leadership and efficiency to the marketing committee by giving each committee member an important role to play. This contributed to a fundraising total that surpassed their original goal and set a new school record. “I would like to be able to be a role model for kids, especially the kids at Riley so they can know that there are people in this world who wish to help them in whatever way they can,” he said.

Samantha Schleeter, Carmel High School (Carmel, IN) – As Dance Marathon Chair, Samantha led efforts to increase recruitment and improve participants’ experience at the event, resulting in new attendance and fundraising records. “Helping others excel is such a great feeling,” she said.

Laura Shupe, Westfield High School (Westfield, IN) – As Vice President of School Relations, Laura organized a silent auction to engage the local community and give more leadership opportunities to their interns. “Fundraising for Riley has changed my perspective on leadership in the best way possible,” she said.

Allison Wolf, Carmel High School – As part of the Executive Council, Allie helped to increase participant numbers to the highest numbers since before the pandemic by changing the event timeline and introducing more activity choices. “Philanthropy is about devoting your time, energy, and resources to spread a message of hope,” she said.

On behalf of all of us at Riley Children’s Foundation, congratulations and thank you for all you’ve done for Riley kids and families!