ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: A 2 Year Update

Two summers ago the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was all the charity buzz. In intelligent giving, it is critical to check in on what happened to the money, get updates and evaluate results. Here’s an update for the 260,000 Canadians who donated to ALS Society Canada in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Canadians participated more and donated more in the ALS Challenge than any other country. Canadians donated $16.2 million to ALS Canada. Canadians donated the most to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on a per population basis; Canadian gave US$0.39, 18% higher than US giving and significantly higher than British and Dutch giving.


Giving per pop USD










One important result of the viral Ice Bucket Challenge was raising public awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Before ALS was only known by a few people as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”. Today public awareness is just below the coveted levels of cancer and strokes.

For intelligent givers, the best success of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge is the results. People likely dumped ice water on their heads as a lark. Yet the donations went to a good charity with a need for funding. ALS Canada was a 3-star charity by Charity Intelligence’s rating. Money to good charities makes all the difference in intelligent giving.

With $16.2 million in donations suddenly flooding in, a “lottery win” for any charity, ALS Canada has acted responsibly and responsively. It committed $10 million to fund ALS research and $6 million to its 9 chapters across Canada to provide support for Canadians living with ALS. These funds will be spent quickly over 2015-2018.

To top off, the Government of Canada matched the research funds 1:1 with another $10 million. This $20 million is the largest one-time investment in Canadian ALS research.

With Ice Bucket donations, ALS Canada research grants jumped from $1.2 million in 2014 to $8.1 million in 2015. With ALS Ice Bucket funding, 2 medical breakthroughs have already been announced, albeit both in the US. These are early findings that will take years of further research and clinical trials, with a long shot of translating into effective detection and treatment. Nevertheless, these discoveries bring hope for a better future. With donations from the Ice Bucket Challenge, ALS Canada has set the bold goal of funding medical research so “by 2024, ALS is a treatable not terminal disease.”

Read Charity Intelligence's report's on ALS Canada and ALS BC.



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Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors to be informed and give intelligently. Our website posts free reports on more than 800 Canadian charities, as well as in-depth primers on philanthropic sectors like Canada’s environment, cancer, and homelessness. Today over 500,000 Canadians use our website as a go-to source for information on Canadian charities reading over 1.6 million charity reports. Through rigorous and independent research, Charity Intelligence aims to assist Canada’s dynamic charitable sector in being more transparent, accountable and focused on results.


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