So Here’s Where All Your ALS Ice Bucket Money Went…

July 17, 2015  |  

Last summer the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge swept the nation with everyone from your niece in her cute little bathing suit to athletes like Lebron James taking the dunk to help fight the deadly neurodegenerative disease that kills a person’s nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

More than 17 million people participated in the challenge to support ALS research and activism, while 2.5 million people donated a sum of $115 million to the ALS Association. The association says that the challenge may have been one of the largest events of giving outside of an emergency or disaster.

So, where did it all go? Well $47 million has already been spent or budgeted into specific items while the remaining funds will be spread across five spending buckets as told to CNN.

Bucket 1: $77 million for ‘research’

Out of the total funds raised, 67 percent will go to research to find a treatment and hopefully even a cure for ALS.
According to the ALS Association there is no cure and only one drug that “modestly extends survival.”

Bucket 2: $23 million for ‘patient and community services’

The ALS Association will be giving $8.5 million to its 39 local ALS chapters. The initiatives of each chapter vary. Some chapters focus on providing patients with a means to communicate by purchasing iPads or head-mounted laser pointers while others supply canes, wheelchairs and ramps to help with mobilization.

The organization is also budgeting $2.7 million for 48 ALS treatment centers which are certified as the best in the field.

Bucket 3: $10 million for ‘public and professional education’

These funds will go towards educating the public about ALS as well as helping doctors and researchers learn more about best ways to fight for ALS patients.

Bucket 4: $3 million for ‘fund-raising’

The ALS Association will allocate $3 million on items such as communication initiatives  and data analysis in order to keep the support of donors it picked up during the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Bucket #5: $2 million for ‘external processing fees’

In order to pay for running credit and debit card donations, the ALS Association will be using $2 million to process payments and cover overage charges for the site due to the high amount of visitors.

Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, told CNN that the association’s transparency should be applauded.

“I had kind of feared at the time that there would be a lot of pressure on them to spend the money quickly,” said Buchanan. “But that can actually lead to money that’s not well spent.”

Thankfully, the ALS Association has a structured plan in place to make the best use of everyone’s donations.
As August quickly approaches the organization is hoping the challenge takes off just as strongly as it did last year.

“Let’s keep it up this August and every August until there’s a cure,” says a new promotion on the website.

The funds raised last year, a total of  $115 million may seem like a ton, but when it comes to creating treatments in the medical field costs add up quickly.

“By some estimates it takes about a billion dollars to make a new therapy,” Dr. Steven Finkbeiner of the Neurocollaborative told CNN.

While the ALS Association may not be there just yet, last year’s participation certainly shows that the general public and celebrities alike are willing to give their support.

Did you participate last year? If so, will you be up for it again in just a few short weeks?


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