How does ALS Association spend its money?

Education, research, patient care get bulk of money

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Dolly Parton became the latest celebrity Thursday to get drenched, and donations to the ALS Association continue to pour in.

Since the ice bucket challenge began as a way to raise funds and awareness around what's better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, the money has sloshed in. More than $94 million has been raised in the past month, according to the ALS Association. Last August, donations were shy of $3 million.

"It is unbelieveable," said Bonnie Walsh, director of the San Antonio office for the ALS Association Texas Chapter. "We are so gratefula nd overwhelmed by the pouring of support."

The Texas Chapter has raised approximately $570,000 this month, acccording to Walsh. That's eight times as much as last August.

So what is the ALS Association's track record when it comes to how they spend their money.

Charity Navigator, which scrutinizes and grades non-profits, gave the ALS Association four out of four stars, particularly for accountability and transparency.

Last fiscal year, 72.4 percent was spent on the program, which includes research and education, according to Charity Navigator. Fundraising got 16.5 percent of the money and adminstrative costs took 11.1 percent.

Adminstrative costs include salaries. The CEO's compensation was listed at more than $297,000.

Donors can choose whether to give to the national organization or a state chapter.

According to the Texas Chapter, a priority and 20 percent of its funds go to patient care and services.

"It could be everything from durable medical equipment to communication devices to support for the caregiver or for the patient," Walsh said.

The Texas chapter has 14 employees and claims 8 percent of its expenses are administrative.

Walsh said the deluge of money is going to allow them to strength their services. The ultimate goal is to find a treatment and cure.

"The sustainability, we don't know," Walsh said. "We hope so. But, the visibility and and awarenessand education brought to the forefront about our disease, we can't put a price tag on that."

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