The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a United States-based nonprofit that seeks to educate the public about diabetes and to help those affected by it by funding research to manage, cure and prevent diabetes (including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and pre-diabetes).
In 2016, the ADA's total revenue was $171 million.
The organization has engaged telemarketers at very large costs in the past. In one instance, the ADA entered into contract with InfoCision, a telemarketing firm that works closely with nonprofits, whereby only 15% of the expected funds raised would be given to the ADA with the other 85% being kept by the telemarketing firm. Furthermore, the telemarketers were instructed to lie to prospective donors regarding how much of their donation will go to the ADA.
The ADA was founded in 1939 by six leading physicians − including Dr. Herman O. Mosenthal, Dr. Joseph T. Beardwood Jr., Dr. Joseph H. Barack, and Dr. E. S. Dillion − at their 1939 meeting of The American College of Physicians. In September 1946, they hosted a meeting in Toronto, Canada to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the discovery of insulin. The meeting served as a successful forum for hundreds of physicians and leading figures interested in the studies of diabetes and carbohydrate metabolism. The organization is now a national nonprofit with 40 affiliate organizations, more than 800 individual chapters, over a million volunteers, and almost 1,000 staff members − including officer and a board of directors.
In 2017, the ADA's total revenue was $150 million − approximately 70% of which was from corporate and private contributions and grants while the remaining 30% from sales and investments. In addition, the ADA also encourages supporters to organize “Do-It-Yourself” fundraisers in the form of local events, such as a game night or community walk.
In 2017, the ADA spent $49 million on research, $49 million on information, $31 million on advocacy and public awareness, $10.7 million on management, and $35.8 million on fundraising.
The ADA aims to give individuals with diabetes access to the care they need to optimize their health. To work towards achieving this mission, the organization places effort into funding research projects that help minority groups navigate diabetes. The ADA works with various colleges, local governments, and companies to promote healthy lifestyles. They also fund research looking to control risk factors associated with diabetes, as seen in a recently published article discussing the role of microglia immune cells in diet-induced obesity.
The ADA has had several accomplishments in the policy arena, including gathering advocates at Call to Congress (a lobbying event on Capitol Hill) to raise awareness for ADA's legislative priorities, calling for regulations on insulin prices, and helping to improve Medicare's coverage policy for the National Diabetes Prevention Program. On the legal front, the ADA has supported appellate litigation regarding employer discrimination of employees with diabetic conditions, including cases involving both government employers (Atkins v. Salazar) and private companies (Darnell v. Thermafiber).
The ADA has provided diabetes education to the workforce of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), raised funding for diabetes prevention programs throughout the United States, and taken steps to prevent diabetes discrimination through developing materials on the care of students with diabetes to be used in educational institutions. Additionally, the ADA holds events for local diabetic community, including programs such as "Step Out" that support walk events to stop diabetes.