August 19, 2014
Guest Blog from the Vice President
I’ve seen multiple posts over the last few days poo-pooing the idea of the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, generally using the argument that it’s a futile exercise. Why not just give money? I sit on the board of a global foundation with the same goal as ALSA – to raise money to advance research and build awareness of the cause. In our case, it’s lung transplants – in their case, ALS.
Do you realize how difficult it is to get people to give money or time? How challenging it is to get people – especially young people – truly engaged in a worthwhile cause? Saying “just give money” misses the entire point. Imagine – someone who can’t afford to give money dumps an ice bucket over their head, but one of their friends who sees it can afford it – so they do give. Both parties have done a mitzvah. ALS has always been a backburner charity. They are not the American Cancer Society or Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Our foundation (The Lung Transplant Foundation) has enough in the coffers to be sustainable, but we can only fund modest grants to this point. Do you have any idea what we would do for that kind of awareness? EVEN IF – let’s just say – the results of the Ice Bucket Challenge were modest at best – people are talking about ALS now. Kids are asking their parents to tell them what ALS is. It forced a wonderful and beneficial conversation. It’s in the national dialogue, which is so important. And by the way, the ALSA has raised 15.6 million in donations compared to 1.8 million during the same time period last year. This includes 307,000 new donors.
Before you poo-poo the Ice Bucket Challenge, first lighten up. Then do something – even if it’s just telling a friend about a charity that’s important to you and why.
Or…g__ forbid….do something silly. You just might make a difference.