American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a United States-based association working to fight the consequences of diabetes and to help those affected by diabetes. The association funds research to manage, cure and prevent diabetes (including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and pre-diabetes); delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides information for both patients and health care professionals; and advocates on behalf of people denied their rights because of diabetes.

History and mission

Formed in 1940, the ADA was founded by 28 physicians. During its first 30 years, the association limited its membership to physicians, health professionals and corporations. In 1970, the association underwent a reorganization during which membership was expanded to include general members. Now the ADA is a volunteer-driven organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, with about 90 local offices across the United States.

The mission of the ADA is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. To fulfill this mission, the association funds research, publishes scientific findings, provides information and other services to people with diabetes, their families, health professionals and the public. The association is also actively involved in advocating for scientific research and for the rights of people with diabetes.The association acts on its mission through a number of critical programs and activities that are directed to a broad range of constituents, including consumers, research scientists, health care professionals, corporations and communities.

In 1994, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an industry publication, study showed that the American Diabetes Association was ranked as the 18th “most popular charity/non-profit in America” from over 100 charities researched with 33.8% of Americans over the age of 12 choosing Love and Like A Lot for the American Diabetes Association.

On June 1, 2015, the association welcomed a new CEO, Kevin L. Hagan. Hagan came from the international relief organization Feed the Children, which he had led for about three years.

The ADA is America’s leading 501(c)3 nonprofit charity providing diabetes research, information and advocacy.

The ADA raises most monies themselves and their overall fundraising expenses are 26%, with 74 cents of every dollar raised being used for research and programs. However, in the past the organization has engaged telemarketers at very large costs. In one instance, the ADA entered into contract with InfoCision, a telemarketing firm that works closely with nonprofits, whereby only 15% of the expected funds raised would be given to the ADA with the other 85% being kept by the telemarketing firm. Furthermore, the telemarketers were instructed to lie to prospective donors regarding how much of their donation will go to the ADA. When questioned by NBC’s Lisa Myers about this campaign, a representative from the ADA expressed no regrets saying in part that “this program is a teenie weenie part of what they do; it’s about bringing more people into the organization,” and stating that the program was not misleading despite the fact that prospective donors were being lied to regarding what percentage of their donation will be going to the ADA. As for what the ADA’s response would be to donors who feel duped, the representative said that the ADA would say “thank you for the gift, it’s making a difference, every single penny makes a positive impact.”

ADA-funded research

The ADA Research Program supports basic and clinical diabetes research aimed at preventing, treating and curing diabetes. The diabetes research projects the association supports cover the spectrum from islet cell biology and transplantation techniques, to studies in education and behavioral issues.[10] The association has increased support for diabetes research from providing $18 million in 1999 to making $47.6 million available for diabetes research in 2013.

The ADA’s research funding program is designed to complement the National Institutes of Health (NIH) diabetes research program by supporting new investigators and new research ideas.[11] With support from the association, investigators are often able to prove that their ideas are solid enough to get more substantial funding from the United States federal government.

Research Foundation

Founded in October 1994, the ADA Research Foundation (also a 501(c)3 nonprofit) was created to substantially accelerate the association’s ability to raise major gifts to directly fund diabetes research.The mission of the Research Foundation is to ensure the availability of funds necessary for the full exploration of all the scientific possibilities that diabetes research is generating.

Donations contributed to the Research Foundation help support more than 400 awards at more than 160 research institutions across the country. All non-research costs associated with the Research Program are paid through the association’s general fund.

Scientific Sessions

Every year the ADA hosts Scientific Sessions, the world’s largest scientific and medical diabetes meeting,bringing together thousands of clinicians, researchers, scientists and other medical professionals from all 50 states and 111 countries for five days of sessions, oral presentations, poster presentations and exhibits.



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