Who knew getting people to pour cold water over their heads could be so profitable? It may be hard to believe, but the ALS Association took in $115 million over the summer thanks to the ice-bucket challenge clogging your Facebook newsfeed. Deciding what to do with the windfall presented a challenge to the Association as last year the organization received $64 million, far less than the amount it took in just over this summer.
After the board met to consider different options and spoke with multiple advisers, including a panel of individuals living with ALS, the Association recently announced how at least some of the money will be allocated. $21.7 million will support six projects to advance understanding of ALS and to speed the developments of new treatments. Two of the grants will aim to promote understanding of ALS’s genetic basis and to sequence the genomes of about 15,000 patients with ALS.
The Association will release a full spending plan next month, but it is not anticipated that the organization will spend the rest of the funds by the end of its current fiscal year in January. As a sneak preview, spokeswoman Carrie Munk revealed that most of the remaining money will also be used for ALS research. Last year, research spending was 28% of the Association’s budget, second only to education and public policy (32%).
However, Barbara Newhouse, the Association’s president and chief executive, noted that even with this summer’s windfall the organization is still far short of the $1 billion it would need to bring a new drug to market.
What would your organization do with a funding windfall?