Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center Responds to Recent Alzheimer’s Association New York City and California-Based Chapter Disaffiliations

Monday, December 14, 2015

High Administrative Costs and Inflated CEO Salary among the Biggest Driving Forces behind the Local Decisions

Bay Shore, New York – The Alzheimer’s Association announced recently that it would merge its 54 regional chapters into one entity, based in Chicago, beginning January 2016. In reaction to this consolidation proposal, regional chapters have begun to split off from the national organization. Among these are two of the country’s biggest chapters – New York City and Orange County, California, where high-profile and high-wealth donors help raise significant funding in support of Alzheimer’s disease research and support. The San Diego chapter also disaffiliated last week.

These chapter disaffiliations come as no surprise to the leaders of Long Island-based Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center (ADRC), which broke off from the Association in 2012 in anticipation of this consolidation. At that time, ADRC felt that the Alzheimer’s Association was trying to force a merger of the former Long Island chapter with the national organization.

“While some colleagues may have disagreed with the decision when we left the organization, many of us knew that it had to be done in an effort to protect our resource center,” says Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, ADRC. “We saw that the quality of care for our families was in jeopardy and could not risk all of the great work we had been doing. Having these latest chapters now announce their disaffiliations further confirms to me that we made the right decision.”

If the aforementioned chapters had remained under the purview of the Alzheimer’s Association, they would be facing loss of local board oversight as well as control of their budget, personnel and programs, such as patient support groups and caregiver education series. The most recent chapters to leave reported attempting to find a middle ground with the national association before making the decision, but an agreement could not be reached.

Prior to the announcement of the forthcoming merger, the national organization had already been incurring scrutiny from local chapters for its inflated administrative costs. This includes the well-publicized fact that Alzheimer’s Association CEO, Harry Johns, is one of the highest paid non-profit executives, earning more than $2.7 million in 2014, according to a report in CEO World magazine. These administrative costs cut into valuable funds that the organization claims to be using for research. 

Instead, the local chapters are finding that they can better serve community needs and local research more efficiently than the national chapter, which they view as little more than a money-making machine. As a result of the disaffiliation, these chapters also report that they expect to see growth, rather than loss, from separating from the national organization. This will mean that all of their fundraising efforts can be put toward local research, patient therapy and family support programs, rather than for overhead expenses of the national organization.

“At ADRC, we are projecting that Fiscal Year-End 2016 will produce significant positive results,” says Ms. Malack-Ragona. “I expect that the New York and California chapters will experience the same positive outcome as time goes by and wish them much success in their new endeavors. I’ll be watching closely to see if other chapters will decide to disaffiliate and offer my full support and advice for anyone considering this option.”



Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, Inc. — which is headquartered in Bay Shore and has a satellite office in Southampton — is the only local Alzheimer’s disease advocacy and educational facility whose mission is to fund local research and provide hands-on support and services to families on Long Island and the New York metropolitan area. ADRC works with family members, health care professionals and researchers to ensure quality health care and support to those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease through care and consultation, information and referral, training, support groups, and caregiver safety products.