Largest Single State Grant Designated Towards Finding a Cure for ALS
Funding Initiative Led by State Senator David Tomassoni with Bipartisan Support
Washington, D.C. (April 5, 2022) – The ALS Association, the country’s largest nonprofit organization devoted to curing and caring for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), thanked state leaders in Minnesota for passing legislation that includes a $25 million grant to fund ALS research and support caregivers in the state.
"We thank Senator David Tomassoni, Governor Tim Walz, and the entire Minnesota Legislature for rallying to the cause of the ALS community,” said Calaneet Balas, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We are especially grateful to Senator Tomassoni for his courage and commitment to secure the largest single state grant ever enacted to fund ALS research and caregiving. This unprecedented state support shows clearly that all Minnesotans recognize the great need for funding to make ALS livable until we can cure it.”
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that results in the death of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing the muscles in the body to gradually weaken. This leads to loss of limb function, difficulty breathing, paralysis, and eventually death. There is currently no known cause or cure for the disease.
Senator Tomassoni revealed his ALS diagnosis in July of 2021 and has since become a determined and public advocate for those living with the disease. On March 1, 2022, Senator Tomassoni introduced the legislation and shepherded it swiftly through the state legislature, garnering bipartisan support from his colleagues. In the first official bill signing ceremony in Minnesota since the pandemic, Governor Walz signed the bill into law with Senator Tomassoni at his side on Wednesday, March 30, 2022.
Under the legislation, Minnesota will disperse $20 million to the Minnesota Officer of Higher Education to award competitive research grants to scientists studying the prevention, treatment, causes or cures of ALS. Applicants may range from research facilities, universities or health systems located in Minnesota. An additional $5 million will be dedicated to helping caregivers care for loved ones living with ALS. These caregiving funds will be appropriated to the Minnesota Department of Aging to fund local organizations dedicated to providing caregiver support programs that serve Minnesotans in their homes and communities. The funds may also be used to provide respite care.
“Our community has been energized by the Minnesota legislature rallying behind this law with bipartisan support,” said Jennifer Hjelle, CEO of The ALS Association’s Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota Chapter. “This funding offers some of the strongest research facilities the resources to take ALS research to the next level.”
Since the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, The ALS Association has dedicated more than $118 million towards ALS research. The $25 million commitment from Minnesota is the largest funding source dedicated to ALS from a single state and will act as a driving force forward on the quest to a cure. The funds will be available until June 30, 2026.
About The ALS Association
The ALS Association is the largest philanthropic funder of ALS research in the world. The Association funds global research collaborations, provides assistance for people with ALS and their families through our nationwide network of chapters and certified clinical care centers, and advocates for better public policies for people with ALS. The ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while urgently searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at www.als.org.