Zenith Society The Alzheimer's Association

Why I Got Involved

Alzheimer's Association Champions and Zenith members share why they got involved with our mission.
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Darlene Shiley - Running time 2:38

How Association funds are used

How Association funds are used - pie chart

Learn More about the giving societies within the Alzheimer's Association.

Alzheimer's Association meets all 20 Better Business Bureau Charity Standards

Jerome H. Stone Award

The Zenith Society was presented with the inaugural award. Learn More

Message from John Osher, Zenith Society Chair

I'm proud to both serve and lead the members of the Zenith Society. The generosity of these donors inspires me to look beyond what is easy to accomplish — together, we can set new limits. With the help of the Alzheimer's Association, we work to fund cutting-edge research, advocate for key legislation, and bring better care and support to all those affected by Alzheimer's disease. I look forward to experiencing the progress that the Zenith Society can achieve in the fight against Alzheimer's.

John Osher

John Osher,
Zenith Society Chair


The Zenith Society plays a direct role in shaping and advancing Alzheimer's research through the Zenith Fellows Awards program.  This program supports senior scientists who have made significant contributions to the field and who continue to pursue promising, innovative approaches to early detection, causes, treatment and prevention. Annually, members review research grant proposals and vote on a select number to fund.  As the chosen projects move forward, members have exclusive access to progress reports and one-on-one contact with the lead researchers.

In addition, members also have year-round opportunities to connect with leading researchers in a variety of intimate settings, including the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC). This annual gathering brings together the world's leading dementia scientists to exchange information and Zenith members have an exclusive invitation to attend.

Zenith Society members also select independent research projects to fund locally, nationally and globally. Zenith members Dave and Dana Dornsife supported the World Wide Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (WW-ADNI), an innovative organization that unites Alzheimer's scientists from around the globe in a common research strategy.

Learn more about the Alzheimer's Association research program.   


Advocacy is an emerging area of focus for both the Alzheimer's Association and the Zenith Society. Members have the opportunity to be trained one-on-one by public policy experts so they can speak about Alzheimer's-related legislation with elected officials. Annually, Zenith members travel to Washington, D.C. to engage their representatives in a conversation about Alzheimer's disease and share their experiences.

Zenith Society member Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns not only assumes a leadership role in the advocacy arena, she engages her fellow members as well.

In 2010, year Elizabeth and 12 other Zenith Society Members joined more than 600 advocates in Washington, D.C. at the Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum to advance the fight against this disease. Members spent several days advocating with other residents of their state in addition to sharing unique experiences exclusive to Zenith members. These included a moving Candlelight Tribute Rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, featuring Alzheimer's Champions David Hyde Pierce and Soleil Moon Frye; a private meet-and-greet with political strategist Donna Brazile; and dinner with James Greenwood, president and CEO of Biotechnology Industry Organization. 

At the forum Elizabeth also shared the story of her mother's battle with Alzheimer's. Together, she and her father, Zenith member Marshall Gelfand, helped to fund the 2010 Alzheimer's Breakthrough Ride, a cross-country cycling event to support the passage of critical Alzheimer's-related legislation.

Learn more about Alzheimer's Association advocacy efforts.

Care and Support

Zenith members help to fund the Alzheimer's Association care services, which provide support to all those affected by the disease: those living with Alzheimer's, their caregivers, family members and friends. The Alzheimer's Association offers care programs on both a national and local level, constantly evolving to ensure that the most innovative products are available to our constituents.


Zenith Society members have an unprecedented opportunity to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease, helping to spread a message about the value of early detection and the benefits a diagnosis can bring to both the person living with the disease and their friends and family.

This summer, Zenith member Scott Ferguson cycled in the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Ride, a cross-country cycling event to raise awareness of pending Alzheimer's legislation. Ferguson rode a segment alongside leading Alzheimer's researchers; together, they collected petition signatures to deliver to elected officials in Washington, D.C. The Ride helped to elevate the Alzheimer's cause, resulting in the passage of the National Alzheimer's Project Act in January 2011.


Zenith members have a high level of involvement across the many facets of the Alzheimer's Association as donors, ambassadors, advocates and volunteers. In addition, many of them serve in leadership roles, assuming positions on both local and national boards. As the philanthropic visionaries of the organization, their opinions, experiences and knowledge are invaluable in the planning Association strategy and growth.


Jerry StoneThe Zenith Society was founded in 1990 by Jerome H. Stone, who had, and still has, a deep desire to unite individuals from around the country who have been touched deeply by Alzheimer's and who have the means to significantly advance efforts to eliminate the disease.

Stone, the former chairman and chief executive officer and honorary chairman of Stone Container Corporation, had a vision of a group of passionate and dedicated donors who would represent the highest level of giving at the Alzheimer's Association. Together, this group would play an active and guiding role in deciding which projects to fund with their collective resources.

Today, the Zenith Society recognizes dedicated, generous individuals, families and organizations from across the Association who give gifts of $1 million or more. The Zenith Society harnesses the power and influence of private citizens and organizations nationwide to partner with the Alzheimer's Association, investing in strategic ways to change the course of Alzheimer's and better serve those facing the disease. Members play an active and guiding role in the stewardship of their donor investments and regularly engage with staff and voluntary leadership. Currently, members of the Zenith Society have given more than $50 million to further the Association's work in critical research, care, support and advocacy.

On the research front, a number of groundbreaking scientific discoveries have come from scientists receiving Zenith grants. The society will continue to fund only the highest-quality and most promising studies for achieving breakthroughs in prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Zenith members also recognize the importance of enhancing Alzheimer's advocacy, care and support on behalf of the millions who are affected by Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's Association