Statement from the National Board of Trustees of The ALS Association

The Board of Trustees of The ALS Association unanimously supports our President and CEO Calaneet Balas, who has served the global ALS community with distinction, integrity, and compassion. 

We Trustees are people with ALS, caregivers, family members, and experts in the field, and we strongly condemn the dangerous and vulgar social media attacks that have defamed Calaneet personally and professionally, as well as those attacks on ALS Association staff. These attacks only serve to further divide the ALS community and hinder our efforts to find effective treatments and cures as soon as possible. Further, these attacks require us to divert time and resources toward ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our staff who are working so diligently to serve people with ALS daily. We have strengthened these measures in response to recent threats and online attacks. 

Calaneet has empathy and compassion for people in our community whose pain and anger at the disease is being misdirected toward her. We are all accustomed to misinformation on the Internet. However, recent attacks violating her personal privacy and security — and that of her family – are unacceptable and it is up to all of us to rebuke this appalling behavior. 

Our Board sets ambitious goals for our CEO. In her tenure, Calaneet has met and exceeded every goal, to the express benefit of the community she has committed her career to serving. The ALS Association has made significant progress toward our mission in the last four years under her leadership, including increasing Association-affiliated clinics offering multidisciplinary care by 46%, increasing Association-funded clinical trial sites by 40% and accelerating several potential new treatments. 

The matter of executive compensation is a long-debated issue in the nonprofit world. As a practice, The ALS Association pays its executives competitive salaries to ensure that the leaders of our fight against the disease are accomplished professionals and subject matter experts. These salaries are reported to our community and to the charity watchdog organizations that hold organizations like The ALS Association accountable for judicious management of our donor dollars. Our Executive Compensation Committee annually benchmarks our executives’ salaries against similarly-sized health care nonprofits. This ensures fair compensation within the market rate. 

Additionally, The ALS Association has a strict conflict of interest policy that applies to all staff and volunteers. There has not been a case of any family member of a staff member receiving compensation – directly or indirectly – from any Association business and we strongly reject such claims. 

We hold our mission above everything and are continuing our urgent work. It is the commitment we have all made to the Association and to the community. 

Our entire Association has just completed a strategic planning process with a goal that is unprecedented in scope and ambition. We are confident in this plan because we know that even when there are respectful disagreements within our community, we are still urgently fighting for the same outcome. We hope that the entire community will collaborate with us when we roll out more details of this plan in the coming weeks. We are one ALS community, united in the same goal: to create a world without ALS.