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Local Alzheimer’s Association still active
Separate new ROAD Foundation means 2 ongoing efforts in Boro

The Alzheimer’s Association of Coastal Georgia remains an active force in Statesboro. The association’s local Walk to End Alzheimer’s is scheduled for the evening of Oct. 19 at Mill Creek Regional Park.

So, with local organizers of the annual Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s concerts now launching their own foundation, there will be two distinct, continuing fundraising efforts in Statesboro and the Bulloch County area for Alzheimer’s research, education and caregiver support.

The day before a story was published June 12 announcing the formation of the Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation, or ROAD Foundation for short, the reporter left a phone message with the Alzheimer’s Association of Coastal Georgia. Kelly Hendricks, the association’s area director of development, was not immediately available but referred the call to Amy Johnston, Atlanta-based senior director of marketing and communications for the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

After Johnston called the next day, she was asked about the assertion by a ROAD Foundation organizer that the Alzheimer’s Association, at the state level, will no longer provide bookkeeping and other support for third-party fundraising events.

“There really hasn’t been a change. We’ve just defined it more,” Johnston said. “Typically with any third-party events, all of the expense and everything is paid by that third-party event and the proceeds would go to the nonprofit, and that’s how we are going to operate.”

This approach fits with the annual walking events as the association’s flagship fundraisers, she said.

“We typically like to keep our expenses down for all of our walks to about 10 percent so that the money that’s raised goes to care-support services in Coastal Georgia and to research and other things that we do, such as advocacy,” Johnston said.


20 around the state

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Statesboro is one of 20 such walks now held across Georgia each fall.

Teams of volunteers raise money toward the walk throughout the year. Their methods range from hosting sizeable events to asking Facebook friends to donate, “but their expense does not cross our books,” Johnston said. The teams simply direct the proceeds, after expenses, to the Alzheimer’s Association.

She said she understood that in the past the association did help team event organizers with expenses and recordkeeping to some extent.

“But we haven’t been able to define that, what that looks like, and so as a walk event, we no longer can put those expenses to the association,” Johnston said. “It hasn’t necessarily changed; we’ve just defined it more.”

The Alzheimer’s Association is a nationwide nonprofit organization.


Separate foundation

Organizers of the Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation say the new local organization will continue to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association of Coastal Georgia. But the ROAD Foundation will send no more than half of the money it collects to the association, said Darron Burnette, the foundation’s chief financial officer. The rest of the ROAD Foundation’s fundraising proceeds will be used to support local Alzheimer’s education efforts, assistance to caregivers in Bulloch and surrounding counties and scholarships for Georgia Southern University nursing students specializing in geriatric care, said Burnette and foundation CEO Chandler Dennard.

“We will still support the Alzheimer’s Association of Coastal Georgia, but with a change in leadership that they’ve had at the state level, they are no longer supporting third-party events,” Burnette had said, as reported in the previous story.

The Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation was certified as a Georgia nonprofit corporation Feb. 7 with Burnette as registered agent and Laura Marsh as incorporating attorney. Billy Hickman and Elaine Norton of the accounting firm Dabbs, Hickman, Hill & Cannon handled the paperwork for federal 501c3 charitable tax-exempt status, and the application has now been submitted, Burnette said Tuesday.

Foundation organizers are volunteers who put together the Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s concerts each spring. The 2018 concert, in March, featured the band Yacht Rock Schooner at Georgia Southern University’s Performing Arts Center. Some of the same volunteers held the Striking Out Alzheimer’s softball tournaments, but these were discontinued after the one last July.

Over the past six years, these events have collectively raised about $350,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association, Burnette reported.


Expresses appreciation

“We appreciate them so much, and all the money that they have raised for the Alzheimer’s Association has been tremendous,” Johnston said. “Those dollars help fund programs and services in the Coastal Georgia service area and also fund research and our advocacy efforts.”

Proceeds of Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s and Striking Out Alzheimer’s events in the past have been funneled through the local Walk to End Alzheimer’s, she noted.

“It has been a huge contributor of the walk in Statesboro, which we greatly appreciate,” she said.

The March concert raised about $83,000 toward this year’s walk, and it is for future years that portions of the ROAD Foundation proceeds will go to other efforts, Burnette said.

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.

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