At first you may be asking yourself what has an ALS awareness and fundraising campaign got to do with a firearms and fermentation blog. Well, let me tell you how they are related. I was challenged by an old friend from college who actually did not dump the ice water over his head, he made a donation to charity instead. That got me thinking about what I should do. I understand the bucket over the head is to raise awareness for ALS which is a terrible diseases, but it really doesn’t seem right to reduce the donation from $100 to $10 (or less) by accepting the challenge and dumping ice water on yourself. It is a bit of a cop-out to save $90 by wasting water. So I decided to donate to an ALS charity and to raise awareness by taking a glass and putting in an ice cube and pouring a nice Elmer T. Lee Bourbon. That way no water or ice was wasted and the charity is funded. Because cancer is also a cause I believe in I also donated to Stand Up To Cancer who provides 100% of the public donations to research.

Now the real question became which ALS charity to donate to so I decided to do some research. I think research is the key to finding future cures so I decided to focus there. Research typically does not help those afflicted with the disease right now, but it may help someone in the future. The big one is the ALS Association (ALSA), but they only give 47% of the money to patients and research. The real breakdown is 28% research, 19% patients, 32% education, 14% fundraising, 7% administration. Believe it or not the administration is the most bothersome. You can check the 990 and see the salaries of the 11 people who make up that 7% ($1.9 million). So I moved on to one which was beer related. ALES for ALS is actually ALS TDI and I’ll bottom line their amount to research which is only 58%. Finally I came across Project A.L.S. and 90% of their funds go to research and programs and so I chose to donate to them.

After I posted my video I was alerted to the Jim “Catfish” Hunter ALS Foundation. Had I known about this organization I would have donated to it. No one takes a salary and 100% of the funds go to help those afflicted with the disease and to research. Now it can get a little confusing. The NC Chapter of ALSA is called the The ALS Association Jim “Catfish” Hunter Chapter. Their financials are different from the main ALSA, but their 2012 990 has a salary total that leaves me scratching my head so I would be leery of donating to them without an explanation. The 2011 990 is no better so I have to wonder with only one person listed is there more staff who take home the rest of the money? They show 12 employees in 2011 with 11 being paid nothing and 11 employees in 2012 with 10 being paid nothing so call me skeptical. Seems reasonable to me to wonder where the $493,214 went in 2012, that line other salaries and wages is bothersome to me when it is over 30% of the organization’s bottom line.

Anyway, if you choose to dump water over your head to raise awareness and still donate I think that is grand. I chose to donate and to skip the entire waterboarding experience, but I do want to raise awareness. When you donate, do a little research, all charities are not created equal. Find one with goals which mirror your own and donate to them.