The Jim Himelic Foundation (JHF) believes Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) can be cured through focused, dedicated neurological research within the next quarter century. Due to its low frequency of occurrence relative to other neurological diseases, ALS has traditionally not been a primary focus of pharmaceutical companies. In addition, current federal restrictions on funding limit research involving cell-based regenerative methods. Therefore, JHF acknowledges that a cure for ALS requires a great deal of support from the private sector to help fund ongoing and new research.
The short-term focus of JHF is to continue hosting an annual event that raises funds for ALS research at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Department of Neurology. The long-term focus of JHF will be on expanding our existing network of resources to raise additional funding for ALS research as well as to educate more of the public on the devastating effects of this disease.
Private fundraising is a competitive business, with several different charities all in need of resources in order to advance their own respective initiatives. As a result, JHF requires a dynamic strategy that will not only allow the organization to compete but also grow. This strategy will direct the organization towards a central position in privately funded, local ALS research and help establish a local ALS network. By completing these objectives, the Jim Himelic Foundation will achieve synergistic results, thereby ensuring donors that their generosity is being utilized to the maximum extent possible.
The strategic philosophy of JHF and its board members revolves around the following four pillars of success:
These pillars serve as a reference for the organization, providing a clear definition of its scope and reminding board members and volunteers of JHF’s values. In addition to embracing an overall culture that is focused on increasing ALS awareness and achieving breakthroughs in the laboratory, the members of JHF are fundraising champions for ALS research who strive to carry out the objectives of our organization.
JHF believes an effective fundraising campaign that raises funds for extramural, collaborative research is the most effective approach in finding a cure for ALS. Through its annual event, the Jim Himelic Foundation raises funding from the local community for neurological research focused on eradicating ALS. In addition, JHF works throughout the year to raise additional proceeds for research and educate the community on ALS. Furthermore, JHF provides personal tours of the Jim Himelic Neuromuscular Research Laboratory to directly show donors the impact their donations have on local ALS research. Complementing its concerted fundraising efforts, JHF acknowledges the importance of connecting current patients and their families to a strong ALS network and strives to provide that opportunity through its annual fundraising event.
The Jim Himelic Foundation continuously works towards expanding and improving on its diverse network of existing donors in southern Arizona. To preserve the communal aspect of JHF, all proceeds go to support ALS research at The University of Arizona College of Medicine Department of Neurology located in Tucson, Arizona. All researchers receiving financial support from JHF are strongly encouraged to utilize the funding in a manner that will provide the best opportunity to garner additional financial support from external organizations. This common “seed model” approach to fundraising allows researchers to build off preliminary, promising results achieved from research partially funded by JHF. Leveraging the results from these initial trial experiments, researchers will be able to procure additional funding from larger government and private grants in their pursuit of new, additional findings.
By working closely with the University of Arizona, JHF ensures adequate oversight over all financial matters concerning the raising and spending of funds. In addition to the Foundation tracking all financial records, accountants for U of A’s Department of Neurology verify the amount raised by JHF and provide financial status reports on the researchers’ expenses to the organization. JHF also works closely with the UA Foundation, the organization that is responsible for all fundraising matters involving the University, for additional oversight of transactions involving JHF and the Department of Neurology. This attention to detail and close relationship with the University assigns accountability for the actions of all parties and gives donors additional assurance that their contributions are being appropriately allocated as originally intended. JHF also works closely with the UA Foundation to co-develop fundraising strategies to optimize existing resources and create additional sources of fundraising.