This is a profoundly exciting time for everyone connected to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. 2013 was a record year both for research and fundraising, and 2014 should be even more fulfilling. Recent breakthroughs we’ve made in understanding the genetics and mechanisms of Alzheimer’s now have positioned us for a quantum leap in research aimed at stopping it.
The researchers, of course, have the really difficult task. But it’s also a welcome challenge to efficiently manage your incoming generosity to support our scientists. Let me give you an overview of our approach to this challenge. We received in 2013 the largest amount of contributions for research in our nine-year history—$7.3 million, which enabled us to distribute about $1 million more to research than in the previous year. That growth in our research funding was made possible by a significant increase in the number of donors.
Specifically, we enjoyed the support of about 3,000 donors in 2012, and 5,500 donors in 2013, an 83% increase in the number of people supporting research through Cure Alzheimer’s Fund! And we achieved all this with about a 5% drop in total operating expenses from 2012 to 2013.
The accompanying charts tell the story in the aggregate—marked increases in both contributions and research support over the last two years.
If you look closely at the chart, you’ll probably ask yourself one big question: we’ve raised approximately $38 million, but have distributed only approximately $23 million. What about the other $15 million?
The answer has two parts. First, approximately $8 million of that money comes directly from our founders and board members over the last nine years in order to pay all administrative expenses. This represents a tremendous and rare commitment on the part of the founders and board to fund all expenses so that every dollar of every other contributor can go directly to research.
As for the other $7 million, we’ve come to realize how important it is to assure our researchers that our support will be steadfast, regardless of potential peaks and valleys in our fundraising. So we’ve established a target for reserves—a “rainy day” fund, if you will. We have also, in our nine years of funding research, skewed toward bigger, longer, more complex projects. (Two examples: Our Whole Genome Sequencing project, which we committed in 2012 to fund for $5.4 million, and our Stem Cell Consortium, which called for $600,000 in two successive years). These types of projects require larger sums of money that must be saved and distributed over a longer time span that our typical one-year grant. So that’s exactly what we’ve done.
On top of all this, we have built an “accelerator” fund for just this moment. With it, we are ready to provide initial funding to jumpstart progress. This will help get us started, but we also will need more support than ever from our donors in order to accomplish the objective we all hold dear—an end to Alzheimer’s disease.
What the charts and these numbers do not reveal is the level of commitment, passion, impatience and yes, even anger, among the growing number of people supporting this effort.
To those who put their energies into runs, walks, swims, climbs, tournaments and other events to help defeat the disease, we and the researchers we all support together are deeply grateful.
It is rare to have this many donors stay with a cause at such a high level for so long. And it is also affirming to welcome those new donors supporting Cure Alzheimer’s Fund at all levels.This is gratifying, humbling and energizing for all of us who work on this every day. On behalf of the more than 18 researchers who benefited from the help of all those who contributed this year, I thank you. And for those of you who are new to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, we welcome you to this great cause.
Tim Armour, President and CEO