ALS Association Begins Investing "Ice Bucket Challenge" Funds

This summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge proved a refreshing, and viral, phenomenon, as celebrities, politicians, elite athletes, business executives and plenty of other folks drenched themselves in ice water for a good cause: raising awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and raising funds to find treatments and an eventual cure.

The project raised more than $100 million in donations for the ALS Association (ALSA) and also created another formidable challenge for the organization: How to wisely invest those funds.

Now ALSA's board of trustees has revealed how it will start to spend the windfall - and the emphasis seems to be on research.

On Oct. 31, ALSA announced its board of trustees had "developed a long-term strategy for leveraging the Ice Bucket Challenge donations it has received to advance its integrated mission of leading the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research, care services and public policy.

"This will result in the association tripling the amount of money it spends on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research to ensure the most promising research continues to be funded."

ALSA said it had called upon its staffers, chapter representatives and people with ALS for input on how the money should be spent.

Earlier in October, ALSA said it planned to support six programs and initiatives that would "expedite the search for treatments and a cure for ALS." Four of the projects involved "global research cooperative alliances that would not have moved forward without the funding from the ALS Association and the matching donations it received."

ALSA is also working on a new project to create "an ALS drug development guidance document."

Noting that no such document currently exists, the organization points out that this lack "creates uncertainty and risk for what already is a difficult, lengthy and costly process."

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at