My sister McCabria is all wet from taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for Lou Gehrig’s disease. And I said she could tell you all about it. — Candy
Photo Credit: Luis do Carmo (Shinoluigi)
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by McCabria Darque
Everyone is doing the ALS challenge, so it’s no wonder that my little sister, Candy, wanted to participate, too. I have to admit, though, that I wish she had warned me before she dumped a bucket of ice water on my head! Photo Credit: Luis do Carmo (Shinoluigi)
But my ice-frozen brain got curious about this ALS Challenge, so I did a little research.
First, just in case you have never used social media before or watched television, the reason all these people are chilling their brains is to raise awareness (and money) for ALS, the lethal neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The original challenge called for the challenged party to either give $100 to ALS or have dump ice water dumped on his head. Now, however, most people seem to be opting to both donate and get soaked, posting the proof of the soaking on social media.
As usual, anything this big means people are going to complain, say it’s a hoax, or just generally act like a human Grumpy Cat. But it appears these people are wrong. The Ice Bucket Challenge is actually doing Good Work. Here’s what I found out.
First Good Work: The Ice Bucket Challenge Is Actually Raising Money for ALS
One of the first ice-bucket-belittlers stated that it seemed unlikely that the campaign would actually increasing the amount of money being given to ALS – that is, people would post videos, but would not donate.
Will Oremus of Slate wrote, “[I]t’s hard to shake the feeling that, for most of the people posting ice bucket videos of themselves . . . the charity part remains a postscript. . . . [A] lot of the participants are probably spending more money on bagged ice than on ALS research.
Sorry, this is just not true. The ALS Association raised over $100 million in donations from the donors who have contributed since the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral in late July, about four times its annual take. Another ALS charity, Project ALS, told the Washington Post that its donations were fifty times normal. ALS TDI, another ALS charity, says that has raised $580,000 since the beginning of August, ten times what it normally receives.
Second Good Work: About 80% of the Money Goes Directly for Charitable Purposes
Nay-sayers are now arguing that only 28 per cent of the money raised goes to ALS research, raising the spectre of profligate money-wasting activities such as caviar and champagne staff outings. Actually the ALS Association agrees with the first part of that, clearly stating that 28 per cent of funds raised goes to ALS research. What the critics failed to mention is that the ALS Association is not solely a research association.
According to the ALS Association, revenue from all sources for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2014 was $29,102,318. Total expenditures for the fiscal year were $26,204,122. And how was that $26.2 million spent?
The money was spent on 28% on research ($7.2 million), 32% on patient and community services ($5.1 million), education ($8.5 million),14% on fund raising, a necessary evil ($3.6 million); and just 7% on administration, which includes executive salaries, the budgetary item that gets people really upset, ($1.9 million). Photo Credit: ALS Association
To put some of these numbers in perspective, Charity Navigator, an independent assessor of charitable organizations, has stated that the ALS Association has a record of high transparency and ranks high in other areas, receiving an overall 90.73/100 rating and a four out of four stars ranking. It also meets the governance, finance, fund-raising, and effectiveness standards necessary to become a Better Business Bureau accredited charity.
But if you don’t like the proportion of funds spent by the national association on fund-raising or administration, don’t write it all off as a waste. Look for a local ALS organization, or, if you can’t find one, simply donate to another local charity of your choice. Local groups don’t have the extensive infrastructure (or associated high costs) that a national organization develops over time.
I challenged my fellow horror-site editor (and good friend) Terry M. West of Halloween Forevermore to the Ice Bucket Challenge. Terry had already taken the challenge, in true horror fashion. Unfortunately, the video in which he turned the challenge into the prom scene from Carrie is no longer available on YouTube.
Perhaps there is a better use for all those ice cubes than pouring them over your head – like chilling a frosty beverage in this beautiful 2.5 quart acrylic pitcher from Sur La Table. Colorful hibiscus flowers bring a tropical touch to this pitcher that’s great for entertaining, pouring mixed drinks, and everyday use. The pitcher features a gracefully curved handle and a drip-free spout for easy pouring.
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