I had the privilege of attending the Arthritis National Research Foundation’s annual Meet the Scientists event last night in Newport Beach, CA. As a volunteer, I oversaw the selfie booth. Before I go on a tangent about how every event should have a selfie booth, let me gush about how amazing this organization is.
The Arthritis National Research Foundation funds research to cure arthritis and is one of the only arthritis organizations that focuses solely on funding research. Their grant recipients are early-career MD and/or PHD scientists with innovative ideas that need funding to launch their research and make the next breakthrough.
Quick facts from CureArthritis.org:
About their research:
- Over 250 scientists funded since 1970
- Their arthritis research projects have led to new information and treatments
- 10-20 grants per year – $15 million in research awards since 2000
- World-renowned Scientific Advisory Board of physician-scientists
About their commitment to excellence:
- 4-Star Charity Navigator rating for 9-straight years, placing the foundation in the Top 1% of US charities
- “Outstanding” as ranked by independent scientific panel
- On average, over 90% of every donation is placed into research programs
- In 2017, ANRF achieved the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar. Only 5% of the 32,000 nonprofits listed in GuideStar have achieved this ranking.
In addition to making great strides towards curing arthritis, the team is comprised of some of my favorite people I’ve met in the Arthritis community. I first met Helene (Executive Director) and Derek Belisle (Marketing Director) when researching the organization in 2011. Derek agreed to meet me for coffee in Long Beach where we had a great conversation and discussed some of the research projects they were funding. Soon after meeting Derek, he introduced me to his Mom, Helene who has been the Executive Director of the organization these past 22 years. Helene has taken the organization from being able to fund 1-2 researchers a grant of $50,000 per year to being able to give an amazing $100,000 to 12-25 scientists per year! And although Helene will be retiring this week, her legacy will carry on for many, many years to come. Last night, Derek shared an extremely heartfelt dedication to his Mom as her retirement became official. As Derek’s speech went on, my dinner napkin became my tissue, and I realized there was not a dry eye in the room.
From Nicole Dalton being our charming and hilarious master of ceremonies last night to Dr. James Louie’s enlightening presentation about artists with arthritis, such as Pierre Auguste Renior, Raoul and John Outterbridge, to having great conversations with Dr. Jason Knight, Lupus researcher, ANRF grant recipient and fellow Midwesterner at my table, I cannot say enough great things about this group!
HERE’S WHAT I’M GETTING AT…The Arthritis National Research Foundation is an organization I TRULY feel good standing behind! So if you’re looking to fund arthritis research (rather than overhead, red tape and nonsense programs), I would strongly encourage you to make The Arthritis National Research Foundation your go-to charity!