ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Raises Millions, Critics Say ALS Research Money May Be Wasted

The ALS ice bucket challenge has raised millions of dollars for the ALS Association in 2014, exceeding $79.7 million in between July 29 and August 25. Some say the ALS research money will easily beat $100 million this year, but how much of that money will actually go toward combating the fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord?

In a related report by The Inquisitr, some pro-life groups say we should not support the ALS ice bucket challenge, although others claim concerned citizens should not worry about too much about the ALS association using embryonic stem cells for their research. The U.S. Army even threw cold water on the ALS ice bucket challenge by declaring that soldiers cannot participate if they video tape themselves wearing or showing anything that includes images associated with the U.S. military.

When the amount of ALS research money was announced, the ALS Association also gave an overview of what it was doing with the funds:

“The ALS Association’s mission includes providing care services to assist people with ALS and their families through a network of chapters working in communities across the nation and a global research program focused on the discovery of treatments and eventually a cure for the disease. In addition, The Association’s public policy efforts empower people to advance public policies in our nation’s Capital that respond to the needs of people with ALS.”

Still, that does not tell us exactly where the ALS research money is going to exactly. But as a non-profit organization the ALS Association filed a tax form with the IRS that tells us exactly how they have spent their $19.4 million in donations in 2013. As of last year, the organization was worth about $20 million and paid $1.7 million in salaries to its managers, including a nice $319,000 salary for the president. The ALS Association also spent $3.2 million on political lobbying, $2.4 million for professional fundraising costs, $1.2 million on travel, and kept about $6.7 in investments. Only a third of their 2013 income, or about $6.6 million, was put toward actual ALS research and clinical trials attempting to find an ALS cure.

Of course, now that the ALS ice bucket challenge has caused the donations to the ALS Association to soar you would assume the percentage of money going toward actual ALS research would increase dramatically. The ALS Association’s donor page also has an option to click if you want the money to be limited to ALS research only, not overhead costs like increasing their managers and president’s annual salary due to the sudden success.

Critics of the ALS ice bucket challenge have also pointed out that the amount of money being donated toward ALS research far exceeds the number of people effected by the rare deadly disease.

Assuming that the ALS ice bucket challenge causes the ALS Association to exceed $100 million, that would mean tens of thousands of dollars in ALS research money will be spent for every single person who suffers from the horrible disease. On the other hand, heart disease, which is the second most fatal disease next to cancer in general, killed 596,577 people yet only raised $54 million, which amounts to a paltry sum of $90 per death.

Other critics of the ALS ice bucket challenge like Matt Damon claim that people are wasting millions of gallons of water when some countries have water worse than American toilet water. Pamela Anderson has also criticized the ALS Association for using animal testing, which caused PETA to attack the ALS research group. Others simply feel the ALS ice bucket challenge has become a type of “slacktivism,” which is when promoting a charity on social media is more about making one feel good about oneself than actually making a difference.