Where Did All Those ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Donations Go?

The ALS Association raised $115 million with the campaign that went viral last year. Find out how the charity spent the money.

Where Did All Those ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Donations Go? Photo (cc) by AFGE

What do Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and LeBron James have in common? Besides fame and fortune, that is.

They’re among the celebrities who, along with more average Joes and Janes, helped the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge go viral, raising $115 million for charity.

Now the charity behind the challenge wants the public to know where those donations are going:

The ALS Association is committed to transparency in how donor dollars are helping to fuel efforts to find treatments and a cure for the disease.

The nonprofit reports that the $115 million is being put to work in five ways:

  • $77 million – research (about 67 percent)
  • $23 million – patient and community services (20 percent)
  • $10 million – public and professional education (9 percent)
  • $3 million – fundraising (2 percent)
  • $2 million – external processing fees (2 percent)

ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. That’s because the famous baseball player brought national attention to the progressive neurodegenerative disease before it took his life.

ALS affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, leading to loss of control over muscle movement, paralysis and — eventually — death, according to the ALS Association.

Charity watchdog Charity Navigator gives the ALS Association four out of four stars for its transparency, while Charity Watch gives the association a “B+” rating.

To learn more about how to evaluate nonprofits, check out “6 Tips to Donate to Charity the Smart Way.”

Did you take the ice bucket challenge? Would you if it came around again? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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