ALS Ices Trademark Applications, Hits $100 Million

August 29, 2014       Mark Hrywna      

The ALS Association will withdraw two trademark applications filed for the Ice Bucket Challenge as the viral campaign eclipsed $100 million in donations in 30 days.

The ALS Association had filed two trademark applications for “Ice Bucket Challenge” but the organization will withdraw the applications, saying in a statement that it filed for the “trademarks in good faith as a measure to protect the Ice Bucket Challenge from misuse after consulting with the families who initiated the challenge this summer. However, we understand the public’s concern and are withdrawing the trademark applications. We appreciate the generosity and enthusiasm of everyone who has taken the challenge and donated to ALS charities.”

The ALS Association initially told The Washington Post that it “took steps to trademark the Ice Bucket Challenge after seeing many examples of unscrupulous profiteers trying to drive revenue to themselves, instead of the fight against ALS.” The organization said it secured the blessing of the families who initiated the challenge as “a good faith effort to protect the integrity” of the Ice Bucket Challenge. “We are intent on preventing for-profit companies from capitalizing on this amazing, almost wholly grass-roots, and charitable campaign to raise money and awareness for the fight against ALS,” the organization said via a statement to the Post.

The ALS Association’s national office in Washington, D.C., has been providing daily updates on fundraising totals for several weeks and this morning reported $100.9 million was raised since July 29. That compares with to $2.8 million raised during the same time last year by The ALS Association and its 38 chapters nationwide.

Donations peaked last week, with no less than $7.3 million daily – including a record $10.3 million on Aug. 20. Totals slowed down this week but Monday still saw $8.8 million raised and $21.2 million so far this week. Yesterday’s $2.7 in contributions was still more than any daily totals from two weeks ago.

Three weeks ago, ALS Association estimated that about $4 million had been raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge heading into Monday, Aug. 11. That week, ALS Association raised some $14 million, including several $2-million days but the viral campaign really took off the next week, raising more than $61.2 million.

The ALS Association national office in Washington, D.C. is the largest by total revenue, reporting almost $20 million in revenue last year. Combined, the national office and 38 affiliates nationwide reported total revenue of less than $70 million last year, with total assets of less than 60 million.

While there have been previous ice bucket challenges on social media that urged donations to charity generally, The ALS Association credits Pete Frates, a 29-year-old Massachusetts man diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, with starting the ALS-specific challenge that has now raised $100 million for the charity.