Looking Toward a World Without Alzheimer’s

Let me say for the record that I can’t stand most non-profit organizations.


Having been involved with more than my fair share of organizations over the years – religious, political, social, cultural, medical, etc. – I find the vast majority of these groups to be overtly self-serving, often forgetting what they were created for in the first place.


What can I say?  I have high standards for philanthropic involvement.


Alzheimer's Association LogoThis is why I love the Alzheimer’s Association, and I am so proud to be a part of it.  What I have seen over the last six years – a wonderful six years, to be sure – is a group of humble, focused, and committed individuals, dedicated to eradicating Alzheimer’s and to providing badly needed support to those suffering from this disease.


It starts with the culture.  Many of the individuals working for the Association, including the CEO and much of the national board, have family members who either have Alzheimer’s or have already died from it.  They know the stakes.


On the ground level, the Alzheimer’s Association is lean and mean.  Where many other organizations devote huge sums of money to staff and administrative costs, many of the Association’s programs are volunteer driven, drastically reducing overhead and putting money in the hands of researchers and expanding vital programs.


As an example, the California Southland Chapter (my chapter), runs five separate Walk to End Alzheimer’s events with a mere two staff members for all five Walks.


That, my friends, is how you run an organization – with a few incredibly dedicated individuals.  It’s also how you inspire those who come in contact with your group to have faith in its efforts.


The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest private source of fundraising for Alzheimer’s disease.  In fact, the Association has had a role to play in every major research advancement of the past 30 years.


The Association advances research through four major avenues:


  • Advancing the understanding of Alzheimer’s through the peer-reviewed research grant program, which as awarded more than $300 million to 2,100 researchers since 1982.
  • The annual Alzheimer’s International Conference brings together thousands of researchers to share information and findings.
  • The Association’s scientific journal, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, provides a single publication for the global scientific community to share its diverse knowledge.
  • The Association’s professional society, the Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART), is the only professional society designed exclusively for individuals dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia science.


Alzheimers Elderly CoupleBeyond research, the Association understands the need for quality care and support of those suffering from the disease, as well as their caregivers and loved ones.  Their vast array of support programs includes:


  • Professionally staffed 24/7 Helpline
  • More than 4,500 support groups nationwide
  • TrialMatch, which helps patients find clinical trials
  • 20,000 education programs in 17 languages
  • Step-by-guidance for patients and their caregivers


The Alzheimer’s Association is also the leading advocate for victims of Alzheimer’s, focusing on securing funds for research, as well as fighting for prevention and care initiatives at both the state and federal level.  These efforts include:


  • Developing policy resources to educate decision makers
  • Engagement of elected officials
  • Efforts to pass legislation at the federal, state, and local levels


There’s only so much I can say in a blog post.  But take my advice, the Alzheimer’s Association is not like other organizations.  Whether you are a patient, caregiver, or someone looking to get involved, the Alzheimer’s Association deserves your attention.


Visit them today at:  www.alz.org

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