PLATINUM2023

ACT for Multiple Sclerosis

Helping Clients Live Stronger Longer

Palm Desert, CA   |  www.actforms.org

Mission

Providing assistance for Coachella Valley Residents living with Multiple Sclerosis, Helping Clients Live Stronger Longer.

Notes from the nonprofit

ACT for Multiple Sclerosis enhances the daily living of local Coachella Valley residents diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. All funds raised remain in the Coachella Valley and are used to pay for mobility aids, strength training, massage, help with high air-conditioning bills / repairs (heat exacerbates the symptoms of multiple sclerosis), water aerobics, chair yoga, virtual programs for clients who are home-bound, and educational and peer support activities.

Ruling year info

1999

Managing Director

Susie Morales

Main address

73710 Fred Waring Dr Ste 118

Palm Desert, CA 92260 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

33-0880635

NTEE code info

Specifically Named Diseases (G80)

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

ACT for Multiple Sclerosis serves physically disabled adults who have been diagnosed by a neurologist with Multiple Sclerosis. There is no known cause and there is no cure. ACT for Multiple Sclerosis focuses on providing resources that enhance the client's quality of life. All moneys raised stay in our geographic area, and no moneys go for research, which is funded by national organizations. Our programs provide fitness, social, and educational support to our clients living with multiple sclerosis. We provide financial support to those clients that qualify as low-income. Through our work we help build the core strength and the ability of our clients to live a relatively normal life. In 2022 we added a Mental Health Component. Through our programs, our clients are able to maintain their physical strength, flexibility and range of motion longer than if they did not have our programs. Many of our clients state that our programs have elongated their life by at least 5 years.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Enhanced Strength Training, Flexibility and Circulation Therapy (STFM)

Our goal is to help individuals with Multiple Sclerosis who live in the Coachella Valley (California) to "live stronger longer." We are the premier non-medical resource for individuals in the Coachella Valley who have been diagnosed with MS.

The Enhanced Strength Training, Flexibility and Circulation Therapy (STFM) Program provides ACT for MS clients with professional physical training and exercise in a controlled environment. The goal of the program is to maintain or improve the strength, balance and flexibility of each enrolled client.

ACT for MS will provide training sessions with a personal trainer up to twice per week at one of the designated local facilities. In-home sessions may be arranged for those with mobility restrictions that would prevent them from attending at a facility.

Active client members of ACT for MS are eligible to participate in this program, upon completion and approval of the Client Application and Physical Therapy Evaluation. In addition, the client requires written permission from their neurologist, and have completed waiver of liability. Upon initial enrollment and acceptance to this program, the client receives once weekly training sessions for three months. The number of sessions will then be increased to twice weekly if the trainer and the client agree to a schedule. The twice weekly sessions will continue as long as the client remains active.

Flexibility and Circulation Therapy -
Limitations in mobility resulting from Multiple Sclerosis can lead to increased joint and muscle tightness, as well as decreased circulation in the extremities. The Flexibility and Circulation Improvement Program provides ACT for MS clients with professional therapeutic massage focusing on the maintenance and/or improvement of the client’s flexibility and overall circulation.

ACT for MS will provide a monthly one hour therapeutic massage at designated local facilities. In-home sessions may be arranged in certain circumstances for those with mobility restrictions that would prevent them from attending at a facility.

All currently Active client members of ACT for MS enrolled in the Enhanced Strength Training Program are eligible to participate in this program. ACT for MS must have a completed Client Application and Physical Therapy Evaluation on file. These are to be renewed each year in order to maintain Active status. In addition, the client must have written permission from their neurologist, and have completed waiver of liability.

From time to time, there may be restraints on availability of therapeutic massage sessions at a specific facility, with a specific massage therapist, or, availability of funds for the program. In these instances, a prospective participant may be placed on a waiting list for the program.

Population(s) Served
People with diseases and illnesses

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients who report a greater sense of purpose and improved overall wellness

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People with disabilities

Related Program

Enhanced Strength Training, Flexibility and Circulation Therapy (STFM)

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

A few clients passed away, and a few clients moved out of area.

Number of adults with disabilities receiving sufficient social and emotional support

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People with disabilities

Related Program

Enhanced Strength Training, Flexibility and Circulation Therapy (STFM)

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

we gained a few clients, but our totals were offset by clients passing away.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

ACT for Multiple Sclerosis is the premier non-medical resource for individuals in the Coachella Valley who have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis We offer clients (and their loved ones) a variety of programs and services to help them live with MS, its symptoms and debilities by providing the tools and resources necessary to successfully improve their quality of life while living with this incurable medical condition.

The foundation of our services is the Enhanced Strength Training (STEM) Program. Clients receive one-on-one physical training and exercise with a professional personal trainer twice a week. Sessions are held in a gym or the client's home if mobility is a problem. The goal is to maintain or improve the strength, balance and flexibility of each enrolled client.

The Aquatic Exercise and Training Program offers additional and/or alternative forms of exercise using water-based aerobic and balance techniques. When combined or used independently of the STEM program, the goal is to maintain or improve client strength, balance and flexibility. Individuals with mobility restrictions or severe balance issues, may be eligible to receive a one-on-one session in the pool with a qualified water exercise instructor.

Multiple Sclerosis can lead to increased joint and muscle tightness, as well as decreased circulation in the extremities. The Flexibility and Circulation Improvement Program gives clients two professional therapeutic massages each month so they may maintain and/or improve their flexibility and overall circulation. In-home sessions may be arranged for those with mobility restrictions.

Our adaptive yoga class develops flexibility, balance, spasticity, breathing and reducing stress. It is taught by a professional yoga instructor experienced in working with people who have MS.

The Mobility Aid/Device Assistance Program enables clients with impairment of the lower extremities to receive some form of assistive device (e.g. walker, wheelchair, scooter, home assist aids, etc.) to remain mobile. This income-eligible program provides financial assistance in obtaining the appropriate device for the individual's needs.

In the Coachella Valley, extremely high temperatures are common during the summer months resulting in more use of air conditioners and increased utility bills. Our extreme temperatures worsens MS symptoms related to mobility, fatigue, the ability to concentrate, etc. Our Utility Assistance Program removes the economic hardship by paying a portion of our low-income clients' electric utility bills during the summer months resulting in more use of air conditioners and increased utility bills. Our extreme temperatures worsens MS symptoms related to mobility, fatigue, the ability to concentrate, etc. Our Utility Assistance Program removes the economic hardship by paying a portion of our low-income clients' electric utility bills during June, July, August and September.

ACT For MS continues to provide fitness, social, educational, and financial support to individuals living with MS. All our work takes a prevention-focused, evidence-based approach. Working with our board of directors, ACT for MS has implemented a strategic plan that covers the following:

• Board Development
Goals:
- Increase size of Board from 12 to 17
- Increase diversity of the Board
- Expand expertise of the Board, e.g. legal
- Develop Board leadership succession plan
-
Intent: To bring strength to the Board in areas where we are currently lacking expertise, and to extend our impact in terms of community outreach through diversity (age, demographics and ethnicity) of Board members.

Responsibility: Executive Committee

• Clients
Goals:
- Maintain client base with quality services
- Expand client base geographically to include East Valley
- Expand providers where and as needed, so clients travel as little as possible
- Continue to provide medical community with information about our programs and their effectiveness
- Continue to measure results of the programs
- Expand computer/media training for clients
- Explore additional services to offer
- Research partnerships with other NPOs

Intent: To ascertain additional requirements for improving the quality of life to our clients and offer these quality-of-life-enhancing services to a broader spectrum of clients.

Responsibility: Client Services Committee and Program Manager

• Development
Goals:
- Expand donor base
- Purchase a donor database to assist in donor cultivation and 'moves management' donor cultivation
- Develop donor recognition program
- Develop a planned giving/legacy program
- Conduct an annual giving campaign
- Expand number and size of grants
- Develop program to develop sponsorships from businesses
- Review potential sponsorship from pharmaceutical firms again
- Expand participation in World MS Day with National MS

Intent: To improve the scope and effectiveness of our fund-raising abilities in order to support expanded client base and services

Responsibility: Executive Director, Executive Committee

• Marketing
Goals:
- Expand the use of social media
- Provide bi-annual newsletters for clients and donors
- Emphasize client stories in marketing
- Expand outreach campaign to clients, medical community, general public and businesses

Intent: To increase awareness of the disease and our programs to assuage its effects for our clients amongst our donor base, the medical community and the general community at large.

Responsibility: Board and Staff

Next Steps:
- Develop a more detailed action plan for each of the areas above, including specific steps, additional support required, projected timelines and costs.
- Review plan annually, revise as needed.

Our organization's goal is to provide the physical, social, educational and financial resources to help individuals with MS in Coachella Valley to live stronger longer. Due to COVID, our strategies and goals have changed to maintenance and slow, steady growth.

ACT for MS has a committed board and staff. Due to COVID, we downsized from 3 paid staff to 1. Outside vendors are hired as needed. We do this to keep our expenses variable, instead of fixed. We want to make sure that as much of our revenue as possible is used for the programs that serve our clients.

In the past three years our organization's major accomplishments are:

(1) Staying solvent despite COVID

(2) Maintaining services despite fundraising activities being shut down

(3) Maintaining services with only one staff person, as opposed to three

(4) Increased participation by the board

5) Increase in the number and the diversity of the board

Financials

ACT for Multiple Sclerosis
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

ACT for Multiple Sclerosis

Board of directors
as of 06/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Anne Pope

Retired

Term: 2020 - 2024

Ann Greer

Public Relations / Marketing

Andy Clark

Financial Advisor

Susan Hunt

Retired

Nelda Linsk

Real Estate

Bill Marx

Musician

Linda Williamson

Designer

Anne Pope

Retired

Richard DeSantis

Event Producer

Norma Greer-Fishkind

Founder

George Turner

Interior Designer

Jo Ann Horwitz

Retired

Bonnie Kramer

Attorney

Jolina Adams

Paralegal

Jason Giroux

Business Owner

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/7/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/07/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.