In the summer of 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge inspired 17 million people to upload videos and raised $115 million for The ALS Association. Since then, The ALS Association has committed more than $94 million toward its mission, including over $82 million to fund research, and helped forge nine new global research collaborations.
“The Ice Bucket Challenge was a global phenomenon, thanks to the generosity of millions of people, resulting in a tremendous amount of awareness of the disease and spurring a huge increase in our research spending,” said Calaneet Balas, president and CEO of The ALS Association. “Since 2014, we’ve committed over $82 million to fund diverse, cutting-edge research, including over 150 projects in the last year alone. By its nature and design, research requires time, and people with ALS don’t have a lot of time. But we’ve seen exciting breakthroughs from the research we fund including some that were considered high-risk.”
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations have helped lead to the discovery of four new ALS genes, including NEK1, one of the most common. In addition, scientists who are a part of the Neuro Collaborative, which was started with an initial investment of $5 million from ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations, have developed antisense drugs targeting two of the most common ALS genes, C9orf72 and SOD1. Our investment in this innovative technology also translates to other neurodegenerative diseases, making the impact of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations even greater.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations have also helped spur advancements in assistive technology to develop flexible, accessible devices to help people living with ALS better communicate to improve their quality of life. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations have also helped us increase the number of Certified and Recognized Treatment Centers of Excellence and the size of the grants to those centers.
Prior to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, we supported 34 Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence and had no immediate plans to increase that number. Today, we support 58 Certified centers, in addition to 20 Recognized Treatment Centers. (The primary difference between Certified and Recognized Treatment Centers is that Certified Centers conduct ALS research.)
To see our research accomplishments and highlights for the past year (2017), please click here. To see a specific list of all the projects and project descriptions we have funded since the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, please click here.
“We fight for treatments and a cure for ALS every single day,” Balas said. “We are the largest private funder of ALS research and are currently funding research projects in eight countries. We are also helping ensure people with ALS receive multidisciplinary care that we know enhances and extends life. And we’re amplifying the voices of more than 16,000 ALS advocates to push for better public policies that can help us fight for treatments and a cure.”
The ALS Association is committed to transparency in how donor dollars are fueling efforts to find treatments and a cure for the disease. And we’re committed to maximizing all donations from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and beyond.