What Your Dollars Will Buy

The 21½-hour Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon is MDA’s single largest fund-raising event. Last year’s Telethon yielded a record $58.3 million in donations and pledges to fund programs of research, medical and community services, and public health education.

About 75 cents of each dollar MDA spends goes directly to program services. A voluntary health agency, MDA relies almost entirely on private contributions and receives no government funds.

Here’s a look at what your contributions to the Muscular Dystrophy Association provide:








Flu Shot




One minute of research




One support group session




One physical, occupational or respiratory therapy consultation




Professional fees related to initial diagnostic work-up at an MDA clinic




Assists one person for one year with the repair of a wheelchair or leg braces




Sends one child to MDA summer camp




Assists one person with the purchase of a wheelchair, leg braces, or communication device


·        75% of every dollar MDA spends goes directly to research, health care services and education

·        MDA provides $80.6 million a year for its Health Care Services Program

·        MDA provides some $20.7 million a year for its Professional and Public Health Education program

·        MDA provides some $32.7 million a year for research and funds some 400 projects worldwide

·        MDA maintains some 230 hospital-affiliated clinics including 30 MDA/ALS Centers

·        MDA sponsors 91 weeklong summer camp sessions each year serving more than 4,300 young people across the country and in Puerto Rico.  Over 5,000 volunteers give a week of their time to serve as camp counselors at MDA camps.

·        2002 Telethon final toteboard: $58.3 million (a record)

·        Telethon 2002 was viewed by some 60 million people in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, and by millions more throughout the world via the Internet.

— Adapted from the Muscular Dystrophy Association 2003 Digital Media Kit