With the fiscal year ending on Friday, it's time to make any last minute tax-deductible donations. Fortunately, the diabetes community is not short on non-profit organizations dedicated to educating, assisting, and eventually curing people with diabetes. The most visible organizations are, of course, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Diabetes Association. But there are many others worthy of your philanthropic consideration. Here's a list of a few great D-causes where you might possibly want to direct your year-end donation love:
What it does: AYUDA's mission is to "Empower youth to serve as agents of change in diabetes communities around the world." To do that, they've launched programs in several developing countries where resources for diabetes education and treatment are especially lacking. In Summer 2011, volunteers will travel to Ecuador and the Dominican Republic to work with families affected by type 1 diabetes by providing education, emotional support and resources.
Where the money goes: Donations help subsidize travel costs for volunteers, provide educational materials for the programs and training for the volunteers, and assist with operational costs of the international programs.
Donate to AYUDA
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What it does: BDI is the world's first and only non-profit organization wholly focused on providing diabetes services (both clinical and research-focused) from a behavioral perspective. Dr. Bill Polonsky, a renowned psychologist and expert on diabetes and emotional health, and his team have developed educational and counseling programs for people with diabetes, training for health care providers, and clinical research programs.
Where the money goes: Donations help subsidize the no-cost or low-cost programs provided to people with diabetes, mostly in San Diego, CA, where the institute is located.
Donate to BDI
What it does: The non-profit arm of the for-profit ChildrenwithDiabetes organization is dedicated to funding human clinical trials leading to cure and prevention of type 1 diabetes. The research funded by CWDF currently takes three directions: either "biological reversal" of the immune system attack, or accurate and continuous blood sugar monitoring, or islet cell replacement (as long it isn't "morally divisive").
Where the money goes: The organization is run 100% by non-paid volunteers, so almost every dollar goes directly to diabetes cure research.
Donate to CWDF
What it does: Hope you know about this one! The Diabetes Exercise & Sports Association (DESA) exists to enhance the quality of life for people with diabetes through exercise and physical fitness. The organization works to educate PWDs and their health care providers about the role of exercise and "create opportunities for those with diabetes to participate in a broad range of recreational, sport and athletic activities." DECA hosts an annual conference and several regional conferences, including an upcoming event in Smyrna, GA, in February 2011.
Where the money goes: The donation page discusses several places to allocate your donation, including sponsoring an individual camper at the Extreme Weekend for Children with Diabetes (May 13-15, 2011) or supporting DECA through the general "I Run on Insulin" campaign, which has the goal of raising $25,000 by Friday, December 31.
Donate to DECA
What it does: DFM funds diabetes research at the University of Mississippi Medication Center and provides information, patient services and advocacy to the 346,500 Mississippians with diabetes. They host camps, support groups and provide continuing education credits for health care professionals. This is only one of hundreds of regional around the country that need support, of course, but we highlight it because it just so happens that Mississippi and Alabama have nearly twice the national state average number of people suffering from diabetes — a region hard hit!
Where the money goes: Donations fund research, educational programs and services by the DFM; 100% of the funds stay in Mississippi.
Donate to DFM
What it does: This is another non-profit arm of ChildrenwithDiabetes.com, which provides scholarships to their conferences, but also awards annual college scholarships in the amount of $5,000, plus one $5,000 scholarship to a student with diabetes who's pursuing the arts, and two additional $1,000 scholarships, one for Michigan students attending the University of Michigan and one for students in Ohio. So far they have awarded nearly $300,000 in college scholarships to young people with type 1 diabetes.
Where the money goes: The money goes toward funding the scholarships for college students and conference attendees.
Donate to Diabetes Scholars Foundation
What it does: Brandy Barnes founded DiabetesSisters to "improve the health and quality of life of women with or at risk of developing diabetes, and to advocate on their behalf." They have partnered with TCOYD to bring us Weekend for Women, a national conference for women with diabetes. More recently, they have also launched SisterMatch, a mentoring program to connect new and veteran women with diabetes, and they are also looking to expand their meetings and conference offerings nationwide.
Where the money goes: Donations cover a variety of operational costs, including funding for the SisterMatch buddy program and scholarships for the Weekend for Women conference, plus web hosting and other technical support for their site.
Donate to DiabetesSisters
What it does: This organization, known as PADRE, serves families in the Orange County CA area, through a variety of activities like an Annual Family Retreat in Lake Arrowhead, Harvest Carnival, PADRE Fashion Show, playdates for little ones, teen outings and summer camps, along with support grounds for parents of children with diabetes. PADRE also offers monthly educational and support classes, and translation services are even available. Again, there are many local initiatives of this sort around the country, but PADRE really is a model organization for families: "Diabetes is a family disease, and the PADRE Foundation is here to help you navigate this uncharted territory."
Where the money goes: Donations help financially support the classes, support groups, retreats and outings provided by the PADRE Foundation.
Donate to PADRE
What it does: A famous and controversial researcher, Dr. Denise Faustman and her laboratory team are working on ways to reverse the autoimmune attack in type 1 diabetes. In 2001, Dr. Faustman was able to demonstrate a method for reversing type 1 diabetes in mice; she is now finally beginning human clinical trials. According to her website, her team "is testing whether using Bacillus Calmette-GuÃ©rin (BCG), an inexpensive generic drug that temporarily elevates TNF levels in the body, will reduce or eliminate the disease-causing T cells in patients living with type 1 diabetes." Lots of Big Hope here.
Where the money goes: Approximately $2.5 million more in financial support is needed to complete Phase II of the current trials. The total clinical trial requires an additional $25.2 million, according to Dr. Faustman's organization.
Donate to The Faustman Lab
What it does: TCOYD holds excellent regional education conferences around the country each year, bringing patients together with diabetes experts including endocrinologists, diabetes educators, nutritionists and motivational speakers to share information about living with diabetes, and also providing health screening and a health fair with exhibitors. This might sound boring, but these one-day seminars held on Saturdays around the country are actually lots of fun! TCOYD also provides evening educational programs for the San Diego community, including special conferences designed for the Latino and Native American population. On top of all that, TCOYD also recently launched the Extreme Diabetes Makeover TV program. Very cool!
Where the money goes: Donations help financially support the TCOYD conferences, so that patients can attend for about $30 a day, including lunch; scholarships are also available.
Donate to TCOYD
There are also numerous regional and state-wide diabetes organizations, of course. Many of those you'll find listed on David Mendosa's website. This 'ol axiom has never been truer than when it comes to diabetes: "'Tis Better to Give Than to Receive."