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A Comprehensive List of Leading Dementia Organizations and Charities

By Chacour KoopMay 31, 2022
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If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, you may be searching for resources or ways to help fight the disease.

Dementia organizations can help guide families through challenges, connect them with support groups, and even fund specialized activities in memory care communities and nursing homes. Oftentimes, they sponsor fundraisers where families can meet others going through a similar journey. Additionally, dementia research charities are an opportunity to help top scientists make new discoveries related to dementia treatments and preventative measures.

Read on to learn about 12 dementia organizations and how you can contribute to each organization’s unique mission. Each ranks highly on Charity Navigator, a nonprofit site that analyzes financial statements and practices of other nonprofit organizations.


In this article:


Alzheimer’s Association

Perhaps the most well-known organization for dementia donations, the Alzheimer’s Association was founded in 1980 by caregivers and others who wanted to support people with the disease while advancing research.

What does the Alzheimer’s Association do?

The Alzheimer’s Association focuses on accelerating research through grants, connecting experts, and advocating for government funding. Additionally, it provides support through a thorough catalog of informational articles, virtual events, and a hotline.

What is the Alzheimer’s Association’s impact?

In its largest research investment ever, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that it granted $70 million to more than 250 scientific investigations in 2021. In all, the association explains that it’s investing more than $300 million in over 920 projects globally.

How can someone contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association?

Supporters can donate money, participate in events, or advocate for more public funding. This organization’s most notable events include the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and The Longest Day.

Alzheimer’s Disease International

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) is a federation of dementia associations with more than 100 nonprofit members around the world. It was established in 1984 through a combined initiative of Alzheimer’s associations in the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

What does Alzheimer’s Disease International do?

ADI supports associations that advocate making the disease a national priority, raising awareness, and offering assistance to people with dementia and their caregivers. It also publishes the World Alzheimer Report, coordinates awareness through World Alzheimer’s Month in September, and facilitations research and innovation.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease International’s impact?

While ADI’s role in its early years was to make connections between existing associations, it has grown to focus on public policy and the recognition of dementia as a global health priority.

How can someone contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease International?

You can support ADI through donations, participation in World Alzheimer’s Month activities, or support for Alzheimer’s associations in your country.

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) was founded in 1998 by brothers Ronald S. and Leonard A. Lauder of the Estée Lauder Companies cosmetics brand. The nonprofit organization makes investments in research, not grants. This type of philanthropy model generates investment returns that are “channeled right back into our science,” the organization states.

What does the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery foundation do?

The ADDF solely focuses on developing drugs to prevent, treat, and cure the disease. It provides scientific leadership and venture capital for “innovative, often underfunded” areas of research.

What is the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery’s impact?

According to the organization, the ADDF has awarded over $209 million to fund nearly 700 drug discovery programs, biomarker programs, and clinical trials. The organization explains that it has supported 20% of Alzheimer’s drugs in clinical development.

How can someone contribute to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation?

The ADDF accepts individual donations and corporate partnership opportunities. Additionally, supporters can create a fundraiser, shop for a cure in the online store, or make a planned gift.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Founded in 2002 by a caregiver whose mother lived with the disease, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) was created for families in their time of need.

What does the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America do?

The AFA operates a hotline staffed by licensed social workers, runs a National Memory Screening Program with free screenings across the U.S., and offers additional training and continuing education for professional caregivers. The foundation also provides grants to organizations offering direct care to people with Alzheimer’s.

What is the impact of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America?

Over 5 million people have undergone screening sponsored by the AFA, according to the organization. The foundation also notes that it has trained and educated more than 200,000 people through its programs.

How can someone contribute to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America?

To support the AFA, anyone can donate money on a one-time or monthly basis, organize a fundraiser, engrave a brick for a loved one, participate in a virtual walk, shop in the online store, and more.

American Brain Foundation

Founded by the American Academy of Neurology, the American Brain Foundation collaborates with organizations trying to defeat specific diseases of the brain and nervous system. For example, its research partners include the Alzheimer’s Association, Parkinson’s FoundationThe Association for Frontotemporal DegenerationAmerican Epilepsy Society, and more.

What does the American Brain Foundation do?

The American Brain Foundation promotes and invests in research across the spectrum of brain diseases. The organization explains that this “holistic, innovative approach allows us to build bridges between diseases” and that “when we cure one disease, we will cure many.”

What is the impact of the American Brain Foundation?

The American Brain Foundation reports that it’s granted over $33 million for research with funding and scholarships for more than 270 researchers. The foundation notes that 86% of its researchers have gone on to get funding from the National Institutes of Health and other national funders.

How can someone contribute to the American Brain Foundation?

You can contribute financially through one-time gifts or monthly donations, stocks or securities, a donor-advised fund, memorials, and more. Additionally, the American Brain Foundation encourages donation through the National Institutes of Health NeuroBioBank.

The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration

Helen-Ann Comstock founded The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) in 2002 after caring for her late husband who had the disease. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the most common dementia in people under 60, according to the organization.

What does The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration do?

AFTD supports people with FTD and their families. It also funds research toward diagnosis, treatment, and a cure. Additionally, the dementia organization raises awareness about the disease and advocates for research and affordable services.

What is the impact of The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration?

In 2021, the AFTD helped more than 2,300 individuals through its hotline, facilitated nearly 80 support groups, and distributed over 300 grants to people with FTD and their families, according to the 2021 annual report.

How can someone contribute to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration?

Besides monetary donations, you can create or participate in a Grassroots Event, shop through Amazon Smile, or donate a vehicle.

Bluefield Project

Originally an academic research consortium, the Bluefield Project was founded as a nonprofit organization in 2010 with a mission to develop drugs to treat frontotemporal dementia (FTD). This type of dementia is a degenerative brain disease that’s commonly a cause of dementia for people under age 60.

What does the Bluefield Project do?

The Bluefield Project funds research at top academic institutions. It solicits research proposals by invitation only. The foundation states fostering close relationships between discovery scientists and clinical neurologists shortens the path to treatment.

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What is the impact of the Bluefield Project?

According to the foundation, the Bluefield Project has funded over 25 investigators whose work led to two clinical trials and two patent applications. Additionally, the foundation reports that it has screened almost 500,000 compounds, published nearly 100 papers, and trained more than 50 scientists in FTD research.

How can someone contribute to the Bluefield Project?

Supporters can donate funds to the Bluefield Project or potentially volunteer as study participants through the foundation.

BrightFocus Foundation

The BrightFocus Foundation targets brain and eye health with a current focus on Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Founded in 1973, the organization has had some major successes throughout the years, including early research to support the artificial heart program.

What does the BrightFocus Foundation do?

To advance Alzheimer’s research, the BrightFocus Foundation explains that it supports “high-risk, high-reward projects that have the most promise to change the trajectory of the disease.” Plus, a new community outreach program seeks to address health disparities and equity for people with Alzheimer’s.

What is the BrightFocus Foundation’s impact?

The BrightFocus Foundation reports it has funded nearly $24 million in research grants in 2022. Over the past three years, it’s funded almost $60 million as part of a scientific portfolio with more than 260 projects. Importantly, the foundation provided early funding to develop the first blood test to diagnose Alzheimer’s.

How can someone contribute to the BrightFocus Foundation?

Those interested in this dementia research charity can contribute to the BrightFocus Foundation by participating in a clinical trial, partnering at a corporate level, starting a Facebook Fundraiser, or donating individual contributions.

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

In 2004, three families founded the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund using their experience in venture capital and corporate start-ups. Its goal is to stop Alzheimer’s through early prediction, prevention, and effective intervention leading to a cure.

What does the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund do?

The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund focuses exclusively on finding a cure for the disease with funds designed to accelerate research. The organization notes that it encourages scientists to “pursue wild ideas and take the bold risks, which we believe will lead to a breakthrough.”

What is the impact of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund?

The organization explains that it has funded over $146 million for research and awarded more than 600 grants, with all donations going to research because board members finance overhead expenses.

Initiatives funded by the organization include a potential treatment selected for the National Institute of Health Blueprint for Neuroscience Research program and the “Alzheimer’s in a Dish” study, which could accelerate drug testing.

How can someone contribute to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund?

Supporters can donate funds, host a fundraising event, sell with eBay for Charity, or buy through Amazon Smile. Additionally, they can contribute through planned gifts, securities, vehicle donations, and even weddings.

Dementia Society of America

The Dementia Society of America, also known as the Dementia Society Inc., was founded by Kevin Jameson, whose first wife of 32 years died from dementia. The organization focuses on supporting people living with dementia, no matter the cause.

What does the Dementia Society of America do?

The Dementia Society of America operates an information hotline, an array of online educational resources, and a web-based locater to connect users with support near them. Through the Ginny Gives Program, it underwrites non-medical activities for people with dementia. These include music therapy, singing, sensory stimulation, and visual arts.

What is the impact of the Dementia Society of America?

Through the organization’s hotline and grant programs, it gives people with dementia and their families support in navigating day-to-day challenges. This real-time assistance can be especially impactful during overwhelming situations for families.

How can someone contribute to the Dementia Society of America?

Those interested in this organization can financially support it through monetary contributions, donating a car or boat, buying with Amazon Smile, planning a fundraiser, creating a GoFundMe, and more.

Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation

The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation is an organization supporting the Fisher Center at The Rockefeller University. Considered one of the largest and most modern facilities for Alzheimer’s research, the Fisher Center was founded in 1995 by philanthropists Zachary Fisher and David Rockefeller.

What does the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation do?

This dementia organization is dedicated to understanding the causes of the disease, improving care for people with it, and finding a cure. The foundation also manages ALZinfo.org to raise awareness and educate the general public with in-depth information about studies, research, and management approaches.

What is the impact of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation?

As a notable dementia research charity, the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation has “provided researchers around the globe with a conceptual framework for understanding the disease” and continues to lead research for finding a cure.

How can someone contribute to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation?

Supporters of the Fisher Center can donate monetary gifts on a one-time or monthly basis.

Lewy Body Dementia Association

The Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) was formed by caregivers in an online support group, who discussed a need for more assistance and a lack of awareness about the disease. The disease is the most misdiagnosed form of dementia, yet the second most common form of progressive dementia behind Alzheimer’s, according to the association.

What does the Lewy Body Dementia Association do?

The LBDA focuses on raising awareness, supporting people with Lewy body dementia and their loved ones, and promoting scientific advancement. For families, its website has an extensive library of resources and access to support groups.

What is the impact of the Lewy Body Dementia Association?

The LBDA details that it collaborates with a network of 26 academic medical research institutions, which, when combined, provided clinical care to over 17,000 people with the disease in 2020. It also trained more than 7,500 professionals in the clinical management of Lewy body dementia and connected more than 8,000 people with licensed professionals that year.

How can someone contribute to the Lewy Body Dementia Association?

To support the LBDA, you can give monetary donations, facilitate a support group, provide in-kind donations of professional services, plan a fundraiser, donate an unwanted vehicle or boat, and more.

Sources:

Alzheimer’s Association. Our commitment to research.

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. Our impact.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. (2022, April 14). Mission, values, and history.

American Brain Foundation. (2022, May 11). Next generation research grants.

Bluefield Project. About Bluefield.

BrightFocus Foundation. Alzheimer’s disease research.

BrightFocus Foundation. About us.

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. (2022, May 11). Our story.

Estee Lauder Companies. A family in business.

Lewy Body Dementia Association. 2020 annual report.

The Association of Frontotemporal Dementia. 2021 annual report.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or to create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. The recommendations contained herein are based on the opinions of the author. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Author
Chacour Koop

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