October 1 began the new fiscal year, and with it came the joining of Vermont with New Hampshire and Massachusetts as part of the Central New England Chapter.
It gives us great pleasure to welcome our friends in Vermont. The excellent staff in the Williston, Vermont office will continue to provide the services, advocacy, and fundraising activities to which Vermont is accustomed.
Two important goals led to this transition. First, the National MS Society wants to provide even more resources for MS education, support, advocacy, and services to help people in Vermont who are affected my MS. And second, the Society wants to improve operating efficiency and effectiveness by connecting Vermont to a support office in New England rather than outside the region, which had been the case, previously.
While most things will stay the same for Vermonters, the newsletter and website will change. The Central New England MSConnection will feature more news and information about our three states. The website, www.MSnewengland.org, will feature Vermont-specific pages, including an activities calendar, self-help group listing, and advocacy information. New Hampshire and Massachusetts will also have state-specific pages.
Most importantly, we plan to offer more MS education, support, and direct services throughout Vermont; and will mobilize more resources to make this happen.
The combined strengths of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts will help move us closer to the ultimate goal that we all share—whatever the name of our chapter or state—a world free of MS. We welcome your thoughts and ideas on how to maximize our new partnership to achieve our vision.
20th Annual Waterman Research Lecture reveals insights into MS immunology. Left to right, Dr. Peter Riskind, Clinical Advisory Chair, Dr. Amit Bar-Or, Guest Lecturer, Lynn Stewart and Jane Waterman, daughters of Stanley F. Waterman, and Eli Lipcon, Chapter Chairman.
Over 150 chapter members attended the 2009 Annual Meeting and Stanley F. Waterman Research Lecture on October 24 in Framingham, Mass. The guest research lecturer was Dr. Amit Bar-Or, Associate Professor and practicing neurologist and neuroimmunologist at the Montreal Neurological Institute, and Associate in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. His lecture was titled, “To B or not to B: Understanding the Relevance of B and T Cells in MS.” His presentation was a remarkable overview of the complex issues facing MS researchers, and novel new perspectives on research that are leading to even greater progress in developing new treatments.
In addition to the Treasurer’s Report and the Chairman’s Report, officers of the board were elected to one year terms. Chapter Officers are: Eli Lipcon, Chairman; Robert Shapiro, First Vice Chair; Clark Chandler, Treasurer; Joan Kaplan, Clerk; Charlene Antonellis, Vice Chair; S. Woodworth Chittick, Vice Chair; Piper McNealy, Vice Chair; Eli Rubenstein, Vice Chair; Doug Bryant, Asst. Treasurer.
During Fiscal Year 2009 (10/1/08 to 9/30/09), the Chapter raised over $10 million. Special events, including Walk MS, Bike MS, and MS Challenge Walk brought in more than $7 million of the total, with traditional giving adding another $2.5 million. Operating at a high level of efficiency, the Chapter spent 85 percent of monies raised on the mission, with a very modest 15 percent and fundraising. More than $4.8 million stayed in the Chapter territory (Mass. & N.H. in FY09) to deliver MS education, support, advocacy, and services to people with MS, while more than $2.4 million went to the national research effort, and another $1.2 million to national programs. Currently, there are more than $26.5 million in National MS Society grants at work in 50 ongoing projects and fellowships at 13 academic, medical, and scientific research institutions in the Chapter area of Mass., N.H., and Vermont. With consideration for the current economic climate, revenue goals for fiscal year 2010 are projected to stay relatively even with 2009 (minus large, one-time gifts). Total FY10 revenue is targeted to reach $9.8 million.
The National MS Society's Volunteer Hall of Fame is a place reserved for outstanding individuals who have given themselves entirely to create a world free of MS. The Central New England Chapter is very well represented there with 15 members. This year, another exemplary individual is added to that hallowed hall, Ms. Ginny Morse, who was nominated by the Chapter for her tremendous efforts in the advocacy arena.
Diagnosed with MS in 1990, Ginny’s passion for activism flourished after joining the Chapter's Government Relations Committee in 2004. She attends State House events, participates in coalitions and working groups and testifies before the Legislature in support of the Society's public policy priorities. She has played an integral role in the development and ongoing activities of the Adult Onset Disability Alliance (AODA). Ginny was also the recipient of the Chapter’s 2006 “Policy Activist” Award. “I can’t tell you how honored I am to receive this recognition.” Ginny commented. “Being part of the chapter’s advocacy efforts has taught me to speak in my own voice and stand up for myself and others with disabilities. My disability does not limit the person I can be.”