Annual giving is a fundraising component of the ACR Research and Education Foundation’s (REF’s) comprehensive development plan—the other main sources being the Industry Roundtable and planned giving, otherwise known as The Legacy Society. What has always struck me about annual giving is the munificence of our donors. When it comes to annual giving, most donors are ACR members whose spirit of generosity makes it possible for the REF to fulfill its mission of advancing research and training to improve the health of people with rheumatic diseases.
Let me give you a few statistics to back up this praise. In fiscal year 2009, the REF raised $751,000 through its Annual Giving Campaign, exceeding its goal by $30,000. Almost all of these donations came from ACR members. Additionally, the REF has a higher-than-average track record when it comes to raising money from its members. In comparison, last year, the American Academy of Dermatology, which has twice as many members as the ACR, raised only $400,000 from 6% of its membership. ACR members stand tall among other subspecialists in the U.S. when it comes to supporting research and training, and we all should pay tribute to the ACR membership for this sterling record of giving.
We also are not ignoring the public’s support of the REF, which is growing steadily as our attention increasingly turns to this group of potential donors. The REF is grateful to the public who have graciously reached into their pockets to ensure the future of rheumatology.
People often ask me where their REF donations go. I let them know that attracting more quality doctors to rheumatology—and keeping them there—is significantly influenced by the availability of rheumatology training and research funding, and the donations received through the REF Annual Giving Campaign directly fund the REF Core Awards and Grants Portfolio. (As a matter of distinction, the other major awards program managed by the REF is our highly successful disease-targeted research initiative, Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis, which funds innovative research in rheumatoid arthritis [RA]). These core awards total nearly $5 million, which is a rather impressive figure, wouldn’t you say?
Despite this sizeable annual budget, the REF is still not able to fund all of the outstanding grant applications it receives every year and is striving to reach the point where it can fund all meritorious applications and be in a position to drive the field of rheumatology to new heights.
The ACR Research and Education Foundation turns 25
Help the REF lay foundations for our future
The ACR and the REF work closely to support the future of rheumatology
As I assume the presidency of the REF, I reflect on the accomplishments of the organization over the past two years, and I wish to thank my immediate predecessor, Leslie J. Crofford, MD, for her tremendous leadership. The achievements of the REF during her term have been truly impressive.