Racing for ALS had a big 2022 – and they’re looking forward to an even bigger 2023. The organization, which rallies auto racing fans across the country to support the fight against ALS, raised more than $700,000 to support ALS research and services this past year. They accomplished this through a series of high-performance driving events, as well as supplementary fundraisers and individual donations from their supporters.
Things have come a long way for the organization since Scott and David Lloyd held their first race four years ago. The two brothers and lifelong auto racing enthusiasts founded Racing for ALS to raise money for research after David was diagnosed with ALS in 2017. Their first Dave’s Race event, held at Virginia International Raceway in 2019, raised almost $38,000 for research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI). This past year, Dave’s Race 4 alone raised over $219,000 – nearly as much as the total of the previous three years combined.
2022: Expanding the Effort to Accomplish the Racing for ALS Mission
Beyond Dave’s Race, 2022 was a year of exponential growth for Racing for ALS. Previously, other than a few small side events for their top donors, the organization’s focus was mainly on this signature race. This year, that number rose to ten total events.
- These included four named races honoring people with ALS – the fourth Dave’s Race in Virginia, Carolyn’s Race in Georgia, Cory’s Race in California, and Jim’s Race in South Carolina.
- They even expanded to go-kart racing at their Karting for ALS event, where participants were joined by NASCAR racers Bubba Wallace and Joey Logano.
- Their efforts were also supported by non-driving related fundraisers, including an online Burpee-a-Thon, hosted by supporters Regina and Kevin Arndt, which raised more than $32,000.
Scott says this rapid expansion was made possible by additions to the Racing for ALS team. While for most of its existence Scott and David have been the main behind-the-scenes forces of the organization, this year they added a new Director of Philanthropic Events to the staff, Lizz Updegraff-McGrew. Additionally, they were supported by a number of volunteer team members, such as Scott Weatherford, who took on the challenge of filming several high-quality race videos to expand the reach of the Racing for ALS YouTube page.
“After a hospital stay for exhaustion from working a full-time job plus running Racing for ALS, I realized that my body was saying, ‘Hey, enough,’” Scott says. “So, we brought Lizz on board. She has really helped us not only to expand our offerings, but to make them better as well. This year we had a big barbecue and a band at Dave's race, which was a two-day event for the first time. Also, our volunteer team members have been huge in helping us grow the events, doing social media, and fundraising. My brother and I were where Racing for ALS got started, but there are so many people involved now that have really made it go.”
Beyond their expanded event schedule, Scott and David added a new dimension to Racing for ALS in 2022 – in addition to raising money for other organizations like ALS TDI, they began offering services to people with ALS directly. With the new Racing for ALS Patient Assistance Fund, they are supporting other people living with ALS and their caregivers in two ways – offering grants to help ease the financial hardship of dealing with the disease and providing free rentals of accessible vans.
“The grant aspect was the first foray we made into directly assisting patients in need,” says David, “And that was borne somewhat of my personal experience with the overwhelming cost of adaptive equipment, medications, supplements, in-home care, etc. We knew that these stipends, which are typically $1,000 to $2,000, could help cover the purchase of a lift chair or handrail or some other modification for accessibility that needed to be done.”
“The van program was more Scott's brainchild,” he continues. “We were involved with a specific ALS family with a very rapid onset of the disease. They were traveling across the state for multiple clinic visits a month. They had to rent an adaptive van, and the caregiving wife had to take extra time off from work to acquire the van and return it. So, Scott really saw an opportunity to help them, because these vans are not free.”
Racing for ALS now has three of these accessible vans available for people in need that can be shipped anywhere in the US. David says they soon hope to add at least two more vans to that fleet. Information about van rentals, as well as applications for the grant program, can be found on the Racing for ALS Patient Assistance Fund’s webpage.
2023: More Races, and a New Fundraising Model
With this new program in place, Racing for ALS is planning to introduce a new approach to fundraising for their 2023 events. In the past, every race and event has focused on supporting a specific ALS organization. This year, to streamline the process, they are introducing a new “triple-target funding” model that will consistently split the donations and event proceeds that Racing for ALS brings in between three organizations. For every dollar raised, 45% will go to ALS TDI, 30% will go to the Duke ALS Clinic, and 25% will support their own Patient Assistance Fund.
Scott says this model represents a way for Racing to ALS to offer consistent support for three causes he and his brother see as essential for supporting people with ALS.
“We wanted to keep supporting ALS TDI because we feel their focus on the future, the question of 'how do we end ALS,’ is so important,” says Scott. “With Duke, we wanted to support the immediate work that they're doing, including things that they've helped my brother with. And then obviously the Patient Assistance Fund is for helping people right now where they are.”
For the upcoming year, Racing for ALS already has four driving events on the calendar, with more to come. They include:
Registration for Vince’s Race, Carolyn’s Race, and Dave’s Race opens on December 26th, 2022. Scott says anyone interested in driving shouldn’t hesitate to sign up – in past years, they’ve been fully booked in the first week of January.
More information on these races and other Racing for ALS events and programs can be found on their webpage here: https://www.racingforals.com/.
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