Last October, Vermont became a part of the Central New England Chapter territory.
And now, as of March 1, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont have joined together to become the ‘Greater’ New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
This decision was made in the best interests of people with MS and their families in each of these four New England states, which have a combined total of approximately 19,000 individuals and families who are affected by MS.
This organizational restructuring is great news for the MS Community in all four states.
There are three driving goals behind this change. First, offer more MS education, support, advocacy, and services for people affected by MS. Second, improve operating efficiencies. And third, raise more money, and increase our commitment to MS research.
By consolidating administrative functions and by combining the talents of our Boards of Trustees, staff, and volunteers, we can streamline operations, increase fundraising effectiveness, and expand programs, services, and advocacy for those affected by MS.
The transition will be a gradual one, with no interruption in operations.
The staff in Portland and Bangor will continue in their roles; and the services, advocacy, and fundraising activities that Maine residents are accustomed to will stay in place. Additionally, chapter offices in Williston, Vermont, Manchester, N.H., Wareham, Mass., Greenfield, Mass., and Waltham, Mass., remain unchanged.
Maine Leadership Volunteers will serve among the Trustees of the Greater New England Chapter, and will be involved in policy making at the Board level.
Among the benefits of the new chapter territory are the increased scope of events and activities available to chapter members. For example, Maine offers a terrific sailing fundraising event, called “Harborfest,” which takes place in August.
The combined strengths of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont will move us closer to the ultimate goal that we all share—whatever the name of our state or chapter—a world free of MS.
MSnewengland.org remains the chapter website, and online accounts and their usernames and passwords are unaffected. You will notice new content relating to Maine activities added to the site over time. And future issues of MSConnection will also include content about education, support, advocacy, services, fundraising, and volunteers in the state of Maine.
More details will be shared with you in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we welcome your thoughts and ideas to maximize our new partnership to achieve our unified vision.
At the Leadership Meeting in Chicago this November, Tom Kuhn accepted the responsibility of being the Society’s top volunteer leader, as chair of the National Board of Directors.
“Tom will see the organization through many coming changes,” said Joyce Nelson, the Society CEO, in welcoming the new leader.
“As oral medications enter the marketplace, the world of MS stands to be transformed,” Kuhn said. “The Society must do all it can to ensure access to MS medications. The role of volunteers in this work can’t be overemphasized.”
Kuhn, who is president of the Edison Electric Institute, a Washington consortium representing the nation’s electric power companies, exemplifies the skilled volunteer leadership to which he refers. He has served the Society as a National Board member since 1997 and is a longtime trustee and chair emeritus of the National Capital Chapter in Washington, D.C. He brings deep knowledge of marketplace economics and organizational dynamics to his newest responsibility.
“I can’t think of anyone better positioned to help us move into the future,” said the outgoing chair, Weyman Johnson, who received heartfelt thanks from the Society for his impressive service to the MS community.
November 2009 saw passage of health care reform legislation by the House of Representatives; November and December saw historic debates in the Senate. The legislative process allows all sides to weigh in as a reconciled bill must go back and be approved by both House and Senate a second time.
For updates on this developing story, please visit nationalMSsociety.org/advocacy, and go to “Update on Health Care Reform Legislation.” There you will find the latest information and some resources.
In the “Update on Health Care Reform Legislation” section, find Sorting out Myth from Fact which lists major questions and concerns, with answers mainly provided by the National Patient Advocate Foundation. Other resources include Factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the American Medical Association.
The National MS Society works for a balanced, bipartisan and comprehensive solution that supports our Health Care Reform Principles.