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Continued: Ice bucket challenge makes big splash for ALS Association; trick now is spending windfall wisely

  • Article by: ALLEN G. BREED , Associated Press
  • Last update: August 27, 2014 - 8:09 PM

The Chronicle of Philanthropy says the ALS Association has, in this short period of time, raised more than many of the charities included on its Philanthropy 400 list.

"Right now, we're really focused on reaching out to and acknowledging and thanking the over 2 million donors that have come to the ALS Association," said Munk, the association spokeswoman. "And also working to put a process in place to make the best decisions to spend these dollars."

The American Institute of Philanthropy's CharityWatch gave the group a B+ rating for spending about 73 percent of their cash budget on programs. Analyst Stephanie Kalivas has no reason to believe that rating will need to be downgraded.

"We will definitely be keeping an eye out for them," she says. "Hopefully, they won't be wasteful with it."

Dr. Richard Bedlack, who runs the ALS clinic at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences in Durham, North Carolina, knows how he would allocate the money. While the temptation might be to plow it all into the search for a cure, he says the biggest strides have been made in patient care and quality of life, and that would be his No. 1 priority.

"The chances of one of these research studies really finding meaningful disease-modifying therapy is very small," he says. "We're shooting in the dark. So, of course we've got to keep trying. But the bottom line is we've got to understand this disease better before we're going to be able to fix it in most people."

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Allen G. Breed is a national writer, based in Raleigh, N.C. He can be reached at features@ap.org. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AllenGBreed.

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