The Interfraternity Council started Dance Marathon in 1973. At the time, THON was a competition that split proceeds between the winning dancers and a charity of the year. Right around the same time, an organization called The Four Diamonds Fund started in Hershey, PA with the aim of helping all children who were diagnosed with cancer at the Penn State Children’s Hospital. In 1977, with the competition aspect of THON on its way out, THON began donating to this little known fund. In 1978 the partnership with The Four Diamonds Fund was made permanent. Now after 38 years, IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon has raised more than $100 million dollars.
The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) is currently the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. All of the donations raised by canning, letter writing, and other fundraising options benefit The Four Diamonds Fund at the Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Students begin fundraising in early fall and gather at the Bryce Jordan Center in February for a 46 hour no sitting, no sleeping Dance Marathon with fun filled events for dancers, families (especially the kids), and everyone in attendance. THON 2017’s theme is Igniting Hope Within!
Since it started THON has raised over 100 million dollars FTK!