Dillon Rotary Club Learns About Purpose Of CART Fund

Collecting loose change at meetings to donate to Alzheimer’s Research has become a common practice at our local Rotary Clubs.
Visitors may recall seeing the blue CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research) being passed around at Rotary meetings.
During a program recently at the Dillon Rotary Club, Rotarian Dan Bozard reminded members about the background and purpose of CART.
Bozard said CART was started by a Rotarian in Sumter.
Roger Ackerman of the Sumter Rotary Club had watched his mother-in-law suffer and eventually die from Alzheimer’s disease.  He believed that Rotary could play a role in combating this dreadful illness.
Thus, he came up with the idea of CART.
In 1995 he tested the program by putting buckets on the tables at the weekly Sumter Rotary meetings and asked members to deposit their loose change into the buckets.  Club members responded positively and Ackerman decided to take the program forward by presenting CART to District 7770.
An important decision wad made that funding for CART would in no way compete with our Rotary Foundation funding.
In 1996, CART became a District 7770 program and a structure and board of directors was established.
Part of this structure was to have regional coordinators that would serve 5 or 6 clubs and it is in that capacity that Bozard spoke to the Dillon club.
In fact, the Dillon Club made its first CART donation when James Robert Usher had the winning bid on a golf outing at Myrtle Beach’s Burning Tree Golf Course- a prize Bozard’s wife won at a Rotary District Convention.
In 1999, the first CART grant was awarded to Emory University in the amount of $100,000.
By June of 2000, the remaining districts in both North and South Carolina and Georgia adopted CART as a project.
Today, CART is comprised of 11 districts with over 35,000 Rotarians, and over $3,000,000 has been awarded.
Efforts are currently underway to expand the program to other districts in states outside of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.
CART’s focus is to fund cutting edge research which has not attracted funding from larger funding sources.
Researchers cannot move forward without some initial source of funding.
This is where CART plays a major role.
With grants typically in the $250,000 range, researchers can develop their research projects to prove their revelancy to the point where they can apply for the much larger grants.
CART funding is basically “seed money” for developing Alzheimer’s research ideas.
As of May 5, 2010, 15 grants have been awarded totaling in excess of $3,000,000.
Six of eight grantees completing their CART grant have received National Institute of Health grants to continue their research.
National Institute of Health will not fund beginning research- only research that has showed promise.
CART’s role is the “starter fund” that enables researchers to get their idea started and then compete for the much larger NIH or private funding.
CART grant recipients are quick to credit CART for making it possible to move their research forward.
Bozard then explained how CART determines who gets a grant. Professionals in the field of Alzheimer’s Research volunteer their services to assist the CART committee in the awarding of grants.  The process begins with an announcement by the American Federation on Aging Research requesting Letters of Intent from interested researchers.
Approximately 30 to 50 Letters of Intent from interested researchers. They have had as many as 73 Letters of Intent. A short list of 15 or less research projects is developed, and researchers making this list are asked to complete a formal application.  A selection committee of three leading researchers (with no connection to Rotary) begin their work of evaluation in February.
They recommend three finalists for the CART Executive Committee which then engages in discussions with the selection committee before making the grant award(s).
The announcement of grantee(s) is made in the spring.
Among those who have received grants are: 1999- Emory University Alzheimer Research Center, $100,00; 2001- Case Western Reserve University, $250,000; 2002- John Hopkins School of Medicine, $250,000; 2003- University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, $250,000; 2004- University of Connecticut Health Center, $250,000; 2005- UCLA, $250,000; 2006- University of Texas Medical Branch, $250,000; 2007- Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, $250,000; 2008- Cleveland Clinic, $250,000, University of Alabama-Birmingham, $200,000; 2009- University of Kentucky, $250,000; Mayo Clinic, $200,000; 2010- University of Kentuckym $250,000, University of Wisconsin, Madison, $100,000, University of Pennsylvania, $50,000. Last year, the Dillon club contributed $1,717.58 to CART  The Dillon Club’s grand total through the years is $10,299.
With 5.5 million people in this country alone currently suffering from Alzheimer’s- and with that number projected to go to 15 million in 20 years, a sense of urgency has developed in the  medical community.  In addition to human suffering, the additional cost associated with Alzheimer’s disease will be enormous if a cure is not found.  Through participation in CART, Rotarians are playing a key role in the research to find a cure.

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