Arthritis Foundation

Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Arthritis Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections.

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$78M

Annual Revenue

76%

Spent On Programs

<1%

CEO Compensation

Advocacy

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Awareness

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Direct Service

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Private Sector Collaboration

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Policy Legislation

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Research

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Financials

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Management

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About the Arthritis Foundation

The Arthritis Foundation has been fighting arthritis since its incorporation in 1948. In addition to their headquarters in Atlanta, they have over 100 local offices throughout the United States. They are involved in many different activities, including funding research, providing resources and tools for those affected by the disease, and advocating for better healthcare and legislative policies that benefit arthritis research and the livelihood of arthritis sufferers.  

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. While there are multiple types that affect all age groups, the most common form is osteoarthritis, which typically occurs in those aged 60 and above. In fact, most people over age 60 have some degree of osteoarthritis, affecting an estimated 27 million Americans. The Arthritis Foundation funds research and provides resources for all types of arthritis, including juvenile arthritis and rheumatic arthritis, two rarer yet devastating types of the disease.  


Why We Chose to Feature This Organization

With osteoarthritis affecting so many elderly people, it was important to us to include an organization that fights the disease. While there were quite a few organizations whose focus is arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation stuck out as the most influential and effective. The main reason we chose to include the Arthritis Foundation in our portfolio was because of their incredible website. For those living with arthritis or those who simply want to learn more about the disease, the Arthritis Foundation’s website should be one of the first sources they look at. When we were writing our report, it was hard to choose what to write about, simply because we were given so many options. Their website is akin to an arthritis textbook, with the different types of arthritis, advice on how to choose the best health care coverage, how to use diet and exercise to manage symptoms, and other pain management options clearly explained. For those wishing to learn more and put their knowledge to work, in-depth brochures, “Yoga for arthritis” DVDs, and even food and exercise tracking apps are available to download.

It can be very difficult to sort through and assess all of the information available on the internet. We appreciate the work done by the Arthritis Foundation to be a one-stop-shop for those needing clear and relevant information regarding arthritis. In 2015, over 17 million people visited their site, and they had over 350,000 fans and followers on various social media sites. Their work in generating awareness and directly serving their target community is unbeatable, and we look forward to helping them continue to help those in need.

Note: The Arthritis Foundation has received poor ratings from Charity Navigator in the past due to financial reasons (fundraising and management expenses relatively high compared to program expenses). When reviewing their most recent 990, we found that they had made significant improvement in their financials with 76% of their expenses going towards their programs. The organization has been in existence for over 70 years, and recently underwent a massive operational restructuring. We are closely monitoring their performance, and should their metrics not continue to improve, we will replace them with a different charity.

Awareness

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Policy & Legislature

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Financials

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Management

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Advocate Program

The Arthritis Foundation runs an advocate program which gives individuals across the United States the tools to become their own advocates and join the fight for better Arthritis related policies and care. There are two different levels of participation within the program. When someone signs up to be an “Advocate”, they receive a monthly newsletter and periodic advocacy action alerts. These alerts are pre-written yet customizable letters that are sent directly to their representatives. Advocates are granted access to monthly advocacy related webinars that describe the Arthritis Foundation’s advocacy issues in greater detail.

Those who are interested in doing more can sign up to be an “Ambassador”. Arthritis Ambassadors act as an intermediary between the Arthritis Foundation and Congress. Arthritis experts brief Ambassadors on a bi-monthly basis. Following the brief, Ambassadors are assigned tasks that range from contacting Congress regarding important legislative issues to inviting Members of Congress to participate in local Arthritis Foundation events. Due to the intensive nature of this level, Ambassadors are asked to commit to the program for at least one year.

The Arthritis Foundation has had great success in growing their advocate program. In 2017, they had a nationwide team of over 150,000 advocates who advocated on behalf of 163 bills in 39 states, resulting in the passage of 17 new laws. They had over 1,100 Ambassadors, with nearly 16% of Ambassadors joining in the last two years. They recently launched a Junior Ambassador program, which has approximately 60 members in 25 states. Encouraging volunteerism in the younger generation is incredibly important, and we appreciate the fact that people of any age can now join the fight against Arthritis.

Arthritis Today: 4.2 Million Annual Readers

In publication since 1987, the Arthritis Foundation’s bimonthly magazine titled “Arthritis Today” has grown from a small publication into a major source of arthritis information. Originally created as an added benefit of membership, the publication now has a base circulation of 715,000. When you factor in pass-along readership, doctor’s office readers, etc., the estimated readers per issue is approximately four million.

Topics vary widely from issue to issue, but generally each issue contains health and exercise tips, an article featuring a prominent person discussing their experiences with the disease, physician advice, lifestyle alterations and recommendations, and new developments relating to arthritis. The information is presented in an easy-to-read manner with clean graphics and pictures, making it appealing for both casual and serious readers alike.

Events

Walk to Cure Arthritis

In an effort to raise awareness as well as fund their operations, the Arthritis Foundation hosts and helps organize many events and volunteer opportunities across the United States. The most successful and well-known is the Walk to Cure Arthritis. In 2015, over 4,000 teams in 87 locations raised over $8 million. In this event, teams comprised of coworkers, friends, families, and neighbors register with their local Arthritis Foundation office. Each participant sets their own fundraising goal.

The Arthritis Foundation provides participants a toolkit that includes a fundraising guide, mission statement, and FAQs. They are very modern in the approach, offering participants social media post templates, a mobile app that processes donations, and the ability to design their own personal web page that allows for online donations. For those who aren’t technologically inclined, cash and checks can be given to the team captain, who then sends them to the Arthritis Foundation.

Jingle Bell Run

While not as successful fundraising-wise, the Jingle Bell Run is their most popular nationwide event. In 2015, over 5,000 teams in 105 locations raised $7.8 million. This event is a 5k “fun-run” held in December. Participants dress up in festive gear, such as Santa hats, jingle bells, and red and green tutus. Registration costs between $25-$45, with the entire fee benefitting the organization. Runners can raise additional funds in the same ways available for the Walk to Cure Arthritis.

Bone Bash

For those who prefer indoor and/or sedentary means of fundraising, the Arthritis Foundation organizes a Halloween-themed event called the Bone Bash. Activities vary by location, but generally include silent or live auctions, live entertainment, games, and costume contests. Events range in formality, from small concerts in community centers to masquerade balls in five-star hotels. All tickets and entry fees and proceeds from the auctions benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

The Arthritis Foundation uses its powerful network of advocates to help those with Arthritis enjoy increased access to coverage, better care, and better health. Those who are battling arthritis often struggle to find affordable treatments, specialists who work with the disease, and even struggle to gain access to medications that they’ve been prescribed. The Arthritis Foundation fights hard to make it so that these problems become a thing of the past. For instance, many drugs that help treat Arthritis were once classified as “specialty tier” drugs, meaning no more than 50% of their costs were covered. When the federal “Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (H.R. 460)” was reintroduced in 2013 as a means of eliminating these specialty tiers, the Arthritis Foundation and their network of advocates pushed for similar changes at the state level. Their efforts were rewarded in Delaware, where a law was implemented that capped copays for a single medication at $150 a month, greatly reducing out of pocket costs for those prescribed Arthritis medications.

Management

Arthritis Foundation

Ann Palmer

President & CEO

Experience and Education
  • Regional Vice President at the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society
  • Doctor of Science, Honorary Degree from Mercer University
  • Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Delaware
Compensation
$530,000

Arthritis Foundation

David McLoughlin

Chief Operating Officer

Experience and Education
  • Senior Vice President of Operations at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Master of Business Administration in Finance and Investments from the George Washington University School of Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Maryland
Compensation
$338,000

Arthritis Foundation

Cindy McDaniel

Senior Vice President of Consumer Health

Experience and Education
  • Publisher at the Arthritis Today Magazine
  • Master of Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Speech Communication, and Public Relations from Auburn University
Compensation
$210,000

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