Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, passionate and committed donors remained steadfast in their support of the Association’s mission in FY21. While many key fundraising events remained largely virtual to ensure the health and safety of constituents, staff and volunteers, supporters found innovative ways to advance and stay connected to the cause. In FY21, total contributed revenue from donors and partners was more than $384 million.
Strategic direct marketing efforts using print and digital campaigns raised over $74.4 million and engaged 748,746 donors. The Association’s new donor growth increased by a historic 18%. This growth represents the steepest annual increase the Association has experienced for the direct response program.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, with National Presenting Sponsors Edward Jones and CVS Health, quickly transformed FY21 events in order to continue providing a mission-focused experience while ensuring the safety of participants. Instead of large in-person gatherings, participants were invited to walk in their own neighborhoods in small teams of friends and family. Across the country, nearly 200,000 participants and 48,000 teams helped raise more than $86 million. The National Team Program also expanded, with a record 54 teams participating and raising close to $10 million.
Edward Jones renewed its strategic alliance with the Association, committing $25 million over the next five years. The commitment matches the $25 million already raised by Edward Jones, its associates and communities since launching the alliance in 2016. The total investment over the course of 10 years is the largest commitment ever pledged by a corporate partner to the Association and is used to enhance care and support programs; provide educational materials for Edward Jones clients and associates; and advance critical Alzheimer’s research. The firm once again supported the Walk to End Alzheimer’s not only as a National Presenting Sponsor but also through activation of 9,000 participants on nearly 3,000 teams, who raised $2.4 million.
Participants in The Longest Day seized the opportunities offered by the event’s “do it yourself” fundraising structure to raise revenue virtually and safely, bringing in over $9 million. Outdoor activities such as golf, cycling and running saw a large increase and the highest fundraising averages. Individuals once again employed technology to participate by livestreaming their activities and hosting Facebook fundraisers. Six new Global Teams joined the event, bringing the total to 17; these partners brought in $1.9 million, a 48% increase over FY20.
Ride to End ALZ®, the Association’s signature cycling event that directs 100% of funds to Alzheimer’s research, hosted two virtual challenges and an in-person ride. Collectively, 1,894 individuals representing all 50 U.S. states and more than 30 countries raised $590,552.
Revenue from generous corporate contributors totaled more than $24.3 million and earned millions of impressions to increase concern and awareness of the disease.
CVS Health not only served as a National Presenting Sponsor for Walk to End Alzheimer’s but also, for the second consecutive year, promoted an in-store fundraising campaign as part of its three-year, $10 million commitment to the Association. The campaign offered customers the option to round up to donate and highlighted the vulnerability of people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the support of its generous customers, Marshalls, one of the nation’s leading off-price family retailers, was able to raise vital dollars for the Association. The Marshalls in-store fundraising campaign raised $2.7 million for Alzheimer’s research, care and support. Since 2013, Marshalls customers have raised over $13.7 million for the Association.
The Association was highlighted once again as one of four featured charity partners by AmazonSmile, a program that donates 0.5% of a supporter’s eligible purchases on Amazon to their charity of choice. Shoppers participating through the program raised $532,000 for the Association, an increase of 59% over the prior year.
The Association partnered with GM OnStar for the “We Are Here” national advertising campaign. OnStar highlighted support for the Association by pledging $1 for each OnStar Guardian app download, resulting in a donation of $225,000 and an estimated 1 billion media impressions.
In its 18th year, CNO and Bankers Life hosted its annual Forget Me Not Days fundraising campaign. The summer 2020 virtual campaign raised $132,000 for the Association through public and associate donations. The company also recognized the Association with a $200,000 corporate donation, as well as sponsorship supporting local Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in Chicago and Indianapolis, where the company has corporate offices. Since 2003, this partnership has helped raise more than $6.6 million for the Association.
Comprising philanthropists who make a gift commitment of $1 million or more to the Association, the Zenith Society welcomed six new members, increasing membership to 95. The Zenith Society had a total revenue impact of $48.1 million on the Association’s mission; this included $29.4 million in gifts from Zenith members and $18.7 million leveraged through matching gift challenges and events. Zenith members also gave $253,000 to support the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), a separately incorporated advocacy affiliate of the Association. The Zenith Society Challenge, launched with a generous gift from Jerre and Mary Joy Stead, raised nearly $18 million from 37 Zenith Society members.
The Aspire Society recognizes individuals and foundations who give $10,000 or more per year through outright gifts, galas, Walk to End Alzheimer’s and other avenues to support every pillar of the Association’s mission. The Association was honored to acknowledge more than 900 Aspire Society members in FY21.
The Association welcomed 287 new Founders Society members. The Founders Society was created by the Association to recognize and honor those extraordinary people who remember the Association in their estate plans. In FY21, the Association received $72.3 million from legacy donors who made gifts through a will, trust, charitable gift annuity or other planned gift arrangement.
The Alois Society, which includes donors who make an annual gift of $1,000 to $9,999, increased revenue significantly, raising $17.4 million — a 15% growth over the previous year.
The Alzheimer’s Association Part the Cloud global research grant program, led by philanthropist Michaela “Mikey” Hoag, continued accelerating scientific progress. Through a partnership with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, which began in FY20 and continued in FY21, Part the Cloud awarded $31 million to 19 projects. This partnership helped to propel high-risk, high-reward research projects aimed at potential new treatments and devices for Alzheimer’s and dementia. 
The Rita Hayworth Gala transitioned to the Separate Tables Challenge, a virtual fundraising effort. The event, founded by Princess Yasmin Aga Khan and chaired by Karyn Kornfeld, Steven Kobre and Gregory Smith, raised over $400,000. The title was a reference to social distancing and a nod to Rita Hayworth’s 1958 film “Separate Tables,” the first in which she began showing signs of Alzheimer’s.
The Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala, chaired by Barbie and Bruce Taylor, was held virtually and raised over $750,000. The event, with the theme “Generations of Hope,” honored family and friends who have been touched by Alzheimer's or another dementia. Jim Stone, son of the late Association founder Jerome Stone, was awarded the family philanthropy award.