Phi Delts and new commitments lead to early success
By Wendy Faust, LiveLikeLou Foundation Executive Director
When Phi Delta Theta launched the LiveLikeLou Foundation on January 1, 2018, we not only set out to leave ALS better than we found it, but we also challenged Phis across the globe to rally behind this cause in a significant way. We set the goal of raising more than $4 million in LiveLikeLou’s first 1,848 days to honor Phi Delt’s founding in 1848. We saw undergraduates and alumni alike embrace this goal and help us make meaningful contributions to supporting LiveLikeLou’s mission.
We’re still months away from January 23, 2023, which would mark LiveLikeLou’s 1,848th day, and not only have we called a success on this goal, but because of Phi Delta Theta, we smashed it.
LiveLikeLou passed the $4 million mark on day 1,579 of this effort—April 19, 2022, to be exact. It was because Phi Delts held individual fundraisers on campuses, put on events to bring awareness to the one hundred percent fatal disease of ALS, ran collective thousands of miles to become Iron Phis, and so much more. Phi Delta Theta, you’ve truly embraced the spirit of Lou Gehrig—his perseverance, infallible work ethic, courage, and gratitude.
Thank you for all you’ve done, and continue to do, to support and celebrate all that LiveLikeLou has accomplished. And guess what? We’re just getting started.
In January, the LiveLikeLou board met for their strategic planning meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
As of May 13, 2022, the LiveLikeLou Foundation has raised $4,194,664. And that number doesn’t count the largest contribution to date that has been committed—the state of Tennessee has pledged $1,000,000 to LiveLikeLou in support of our It’s a Whole New Ballgame effort at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). This means we’re well on our way to not only smashing the $4 million goal in the first 1,848 days of LiveLikeLou, but we may surpass it by at least $2 million!
If you have yet to check out all LiveLikeLou is up to, ensure you’re following along on social media and our website at www.livelikelou.org, where you can start your fundraising effort with our easy-to-use crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising tools. You can also learn about volunteering to serve one of our mighty ALS families in your local area and all we’re doing to fund research for ALS treatments and cures.
LiveLikeLou Chairman W.L. Gray is joined by LiveLikeLou Trustee and Co-founder Suzanne Alexander for a reception in April 2022 for the Tennessee Alpha Emerging Chapter to learn more about the It’s a Whole New Ballgame for ALS campaign at VUMC and LiveLikeLou.
Not only have the LiveLikeLou Foundation’s efforts been successful overall, but our recent campaign in Middle Tennessee made significant progress in its first year. The It’s a Whole New Ballgame effort to fund new ALS research capabilities at VUMC, launched in late 2020 to raise $3.5 million. On March 29, 2022, we learned that Tennessee Governor Bill Lee proposed $1 million in his amended budget for LiveLikeLou and our campaign! This is the largest commitment for the LiveLikeLou Foundation in its history.
This unique public/private/institutional partnership between the state, LiveLikeLou, and VUMC ignites our dream to find treatments and cures for this devastating disease. The governor’s investment of $1 million is a game-changer. It accelerates our efforts to position VUMC to capitalize on exciting new funding momentum sparked by the passage of federal legislation in late 2021. Act for ALS will hasten ALS research efforts across North America with $100 million in annual funding for the next several years. And it will help ensure that future ALS discoveries, treatments, and cures have ready resources to support those who face the ALS journey.
On October 14, 2022, LiveLikeLou will host its second annual Shootout 4 ALS at the Nashville Gun Club, where we plan to take aim at this devastating disease through a fun day of camaraderie, competition, and continued awareness and support for LiveLikeLou’s efforts in Middle Tennessee. Our hosts for the second annual Shootout are W.L. Gray, TCU ’70, and Chairman of the LiveLikeLou Foundation; Staci Galentine, a national ALS advocate, and wife of the late Bryan Wayne Galentine, ALS warrior; and Dane Chetkovich, MD, PhD, Chairman of Neurology at VUMC. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on joining us on October 14 or sponsoring the event.
All this exciting effort in and around Nashville, Tennessee, has been heightened by re-establishing the Tennessee Alpha Chapter at Vanderbilt University.