An Open Letter to Our Donors
Recently, we have received several inquiries from our patients and our donors regarding requests for donations that they received from ALS related organizations other than ALS of Michigan. We felt it was our responsibility to help those who have long supported ALS of Michigan's mission with both information about how ALS of Michigan uses your contribution and with pertinent questions that everyone should ask before making a donation, whether $5.00 or $5,000 - to any organization. Please be assured that this is not a request for a donation, but an informative letter that we hope you will find valuable in making your future decisions to contribute.
Your donations are vitally important to us, and they make the difference in our ability to help the ALS community in Michigan. Donating to ALS of Michigan or any organization is a gift that is truly made from the heart and one that we never take for granted. You can donate to ALS of Michigan with confidence knowing that we will use your hard earned money wisely and for the purpose(s) you intend, making a difference in the lives of Michigan pALS and their families.
The following are some critical questions you should ask and receive satisfactory answers to before you make a donation.
- What is the mission of the organization - who/what do they focus on?
- The mission of ALS of Michigan is to help pALS, their families and caregivers live life as fully as possible. We also support research into the cause, treatment and cure of ALS.
- What specific programs and services does the organization offer that support the mission?
- ALS of Michigan has spent almost 30 years identifying, developing and customizing our programs and services to meet the most critical needs of our ALS community. We are the leaders in community service for people with ALS (pALS) and their families in Michigan.
- Direct service programs include Respite Care Assistance, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Social Work, Support Groups, Seminars and Workshops, Durable Medical Equipment Loan Closet, and more.
- ALS of Michigan works closely with some of the finest multidisciplinary clinics in the country - right here in Michigan - to ensure that pALS receive both the highest quality medical care in conjunction with the community services they need to live with ALS.
- How many people are being served by the organization?
- On average, our annual pALS list exceeds 300 patients. Add family members, friends and healthcare professionals to this number and we provide services to over 1,000 people every year.
- Does my donation stay local to help local needs?
- Many local agencies are part of national organizations, and are required to send a portion of their revenues outside of Michigan to support their national organization's overhead. Ask where your donation is going to be spent - in total. You may be surprised to learn how much money actually leaves our State.
- In June 2006, ALS of Michigan's Board of Directors made the very difficult decision to end its formal relationship with The ALS Association. This decision was made in large part because we were required to support overhead in California.
- Our job is to support Michigan pALS and their families first, and that is what we do and why every dollar matters - here in Michigan. You will never receive a request from us for a donation to send your money anywhere except our offices in Southfield, Michigan.
- Since 2000 when we started the Respite Care Assistance Program, we have spent more than $650,000 in direct payments to home health care providers who care for our pALS and give our primary caregivers some time to themselves.
- More than 100 evaluations and trainings for speech and communication devices have been conducted at our AAC Center here in Southfield and around Michigan to help our pALS stay connected with family, friends and their healthcare providers.
- Since 2000 we have held over 400 support groups, workshops, and conferences throughout the State of Michigan.
- Our Durable Medical Equipment Loan Closet loans out hundreds of items every year and has more than 100 items available at anyone time. This includes manual and electric wheelchairs, scooters, lifts, ramps, walkers, commodes, speech generating devices and much, much, more.
- What if I am interested in research?
- Michigan boasts some of the finest research facilities specializing in ALS research. ALS of Michigan will help you identify a research program right here in Michigan to which you can donate knowing that your contribution can make a difference in finding a treatment or eventually a cure for ALS.
- How can I help?
Virtually, every non profit organization depends on direct donations and their own fundraising/special event activity. You can help in a variety of ways:
- Get involved! Volunteering with ALS of Michigan is easy, and volunteers are one of our greatest assets. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities from serving on a committee to helping out in the office, or even working with our pALS and their families.
- Get involved with an event! This is a terrific way to meet others who support our cause and have a great time too. There are several events every year: The Bootlegger's Bash; Lou Gehrig Day at Comerica Park; and our largest event, Walk 'n Roll for ALS. Whether you help as a volunteer at one of these events or you choose to attend as a supporter, your involvement makes a difference.
- Make a contribution. These can be made in honor or memory of a loved one, a special life event, or just as a general donation. You can choose from any of our program areas and designate your donation to support that specific area.
- Make your donation continue by remembering ALS of Michigan with a planned gift. We will be happy to connect you with a planned giving professional.
Thank you in advance for your continuing support and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Lisa R. Alteri, President