I came across BrightFocus after receiving a request for a donation to MDR in Clarksville , MD. I always research an organization before donating. As background, I lost my mother to Alzheimers and watched her go blind due to MD. I was diagnosed with MD two years ago. In looking at comments posted and other sites, it appears to me that most of your grants are for Alzheimers or at least they are more than those for MDR. Can you provide me with some data of your funding and how it is spent? that is what percent goes to fundraising, etc? thanks
I chose 3 stars only because I could not submit this comment without choosing a rating.
Michael Buckley 04/03/2018
Thank you for your interest in our work at BrightFocus Foundation and the Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma disease research programs we sponsor. As you shared in your email, these diseases of mind and sight touch many people’s lives and we at BrightFocus are relentless in funding innovative research seeking ways to slow, treat and ultimately cure these devastating diseases. As we reported in our 2017 Annual Report, 81% of the revenue we receive is put towards Research and Health Information, 13% is used for Fundraising, and 6% for Management. Every gift we received is directed to the research program indicated by the donor. In 2017, sixty-three percent of the gift revenue we received was directed to Alzheimer’s Disease Research; twenty percent was directed to Macular Degeneration Research; and seventeen percent went to National Glaucoma Research.
Just to be clear on allocation of contributions to research, Brightfocus is not bad. Not sure what data at least one reviewer was looking at (maybe for a different charity), but consider the following data from IRS form 990 before writing a review! They allocate 85% of total contributions. That's good considering they're only managing $25M in contributions.
Program Name / Amount Spent / % of Program Expenses
Alzheimer's Disease Research / $12,826,966 / 60.5%
Macular Degeneration Research / $5,373,406 / 25.3%
National Glaucoma Research / $3,009,382 / 14.2%
Review from Guidestar
I have donated to Alzheimer's Disease Research (ADR) for several years. Like many donors, I have been guided by the heart more than the head because my dad had Alzheimer's. I know that ADR is a program of the BrightFocus Foundation. I am trying to see how my contributions are being used and the effectiveness of the ADR program. At this point, I am not coming up with much info. Can someone tell me the relationship between ADR and AHA, which is referenced in the references or testimonials? Thank you. Note: I had to select a rating before I could submit my review/question. Disregard my score
Michael Buckley 12/30/2015
Thank you for your question about Alzheimer’s Disease Research (ADR). First, let me offer my sympathies in learning that your dad had Alzheimer’s disease. ADR is one of three research programs supported by the BrightFocus Foundation, formerly known as the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF). The other two are Macular Degeneration Research and National Glaucoma Research. ADR supports some of the most innovative research in the world to find treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s and provides educational materials to help families better understand and manage the disease. We sponsor an “Alzheimer’s Fast Track” workshop to encourage and prepare young researchers to pursue this field of study. This year ADR awarded $5.9 million for 32 new research grants, bringing us to over 75 Alzheimer’s research projects currently funded and managed by Brightfocus. These grants were based on the recommendations of our ADR Scientific Review Committee, which is comprised of leading researchers and clinicians from around the world. The research we support has been cited in scientific works at twice the frequency of other projects, a strong indicator that your investment is helping to boldly push the boundaries of new discovery. We are proud to hold the GuideStar Exchange’s Gold Seal, as well as to have been recognized by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and the Maryland Nonprofit’s Standards for Excellence. I appreciate your steadfast support for ADR. For more information, please see our Annual Report http://www.brightfocus.org/sites/default/files/annual_report_2015.pdf or call us at 1-800-437-2423. Michael Buckley Vice President, Public Affairs BrightFocus Foundation mbuckley@BrightFocus.org
Review from Guidestar
I lost my Dad to Alzheimer's Disease and, therefore, research toward a cure from this devastating disease is important, not only to my family and me, but to others who have been affected by Alzheimer's. We want to be sure that our hard-earned donated dollars are maximized when it comes to finding a cure. It is my opinion that American Health Assistance could do a better job when it comes to keeping their fundraising and administrative expenses in check. I realize that the organization must incur these expenses, but they are too high at AHA. I'll write my next check when I see program support increase.
Review from CharityNavigator
Having worked in the geriatric field for over twenty years, I have become acutely aware of the devastation Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma have on the elderly and their families. Being part of a Board whose mission is to fund research to cure these debilitating diseases is very rewarding. It is energizing to imagine a world without memory and vision problems. I believe by volunteering on the Board and financially supporting AHAF, I am actively doing something to make a difference for future generations.
Review from Guidestar
The people I worked with (as a freelance) at AHAF were extremely committed to serving their constituencies by providing the most accurate, up-to-date information they could on their target diseases. They also fund research that is too new and innovative to attract funding from more conservative organizations. (They've funded at least two scientists who went on to win Nobels, both of whom serve on their board.) There have been breakthroughs due to their funding you can read about on their site.
According to Charity Navigator this organization rates only a two star rating, up just recently from one star. I only donate to charities which rate at least 3 stars from Charity Navigator. If more of us checked up on the charities we support, we might encourage them to meet the highest standards of moneys spent on program and not on administration, fund-raising, etc. Check the salaries of CEOs too. Many are over-compensated.
Review from CharityNavigator
I have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and it is comforting to know that I can either call the American Health Assistance Foundation, or receive information in the mail or by e-mail concerning the most recent summaries of cutting-edge research. It gives me hope to know that the science is moving forward and that someday soon there will be better treatments, preventive strategies or perhaps even a cure. The staff of this organization is truly dedicated, caring and compassionate.
I consider American Health Assistance Foundation a great organization to give help to many people who are in need of medical assistance. I have donated to this organization for over 5 years in order to help families who need it.