Leading Food Allergy Organizations Unite to Combat the Rising Food Allergy Crisis
Food Allergy Initiative and Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network Announce Intent to Merge
NEW YORK, FAIRFAX, Va., May 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The nation’s two leading food allergy organizations are uniting to advance a cure and promote education for food allergy, a severe and potentially life-threatening disease. The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) and the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) today announced their intent to merge, pending regulatory approvals.
Recent research shows that food allergies are a significant and growing public health issue affecting one in every 13 children – roughly two in every classroom. With nearly 40 percent of these children already having experienced a severe or life-threatening food-allergic reaction, the need for a cure is urgent.
The merger will combine FAAN’s expertise as the most trusted source of information, programs, and resources related to food allergy and anaphylaxis with FAI’s leadership as the world’s largest private source of funding for food allergy research. The unified organization will focus on funding research to find a cure, advocating for food-allergic people, increasing awareness about the severity and growing prevalence of food allergies, and educating the public and other key stakeholders about the disease and the urgent need for a cure.
“FAI and FAAN have collaborated for nearly 15 years on initiatives to increase understanding of the severity of food allergies and to support food-allergic families,” said Todd Slotkin, chairman of FAI. “Bringing together the considerable expertise and resources that both organizations offer will elevate both our ongoing private commitment to find a cure for food allergies and our work on behalf of the food-allergic community.”
“Every day we work with thousands of families across the United States who are dealing with the serious physical, social, and emotional impacts of food allergies,” said Janet Atwater, chair of FAAN. “The unification of FAAN and FAI allows us to move forward together as an even stronger champion for these families and the driving force advancing research to find a cure.”
John Lehr will serve as the new organization’s chief executive officer. Lehr brings over 20 years of healthcare nonprofit management and fundraising experience to the merged organization. Lehr previously served as president and CEO of CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, where he was responsible for establishing the direction of the nonprofit foundation, supervising a 130-person staff, and managing fundraising, advocacy and awareness initiatives. Prior to CureSearch, Lehr was the vice president of major and planned giving for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, where he helped lead the Foundation’s $175 million major gifts campaign.
“In the United States, food allergies send a person to the emergency room every three minutes. This is a serious disease with potentially deadly consequences, but a cure is within reach,” said Lehr. “By unifying the efforts of these leading organizations, we can continue to secure the private and public support needed to advance a cure for food allergies, and provide critical resources for food-allergic individuals and families.”
The current executive leaders of FAAN and FAI, Maria Acebal and Mary Jane Marchisotto, respectively, expressed how pleased they were to be “formalizing what has been a particularly strong and productive partnership over the last few years.” Both will retain senior management positions in the merged organization and, together with Lehr, lead the post-merger integration activities and ongoing operations.
The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) is the world’s largest source of private funding for food allergy research. FAI’s goal is to fund research that seeks a cure; to improve diagnosis and treatment; to increase federal funding of food allergy research and to create safer environments through advocacy; and to raise awareness through education. Founded in 1998 by concerned parents and grandparents, FAI has committed nearly $77 million toward the fulfillment of its mission. FAI is headquartered in New York, with an office in the Chicago area and an active volunteer committee in the Northwest. FAI enjoys strong relationships with food allergy support groups and advocates nationwide. A national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FAI is supported solely by donations from dedicated individuals, corporations, and foundations. For more information, please visit FAI at www.faiusa.org.
Founded in 1991, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is the world leader in information, resources, and programs for food allergy, a potentially life-threatening medical condition that afflicts as many as 15 million Americans, including almost 6 million children. A nonprofit organization based in Fairfax, Va., FAAN is dedicated to increasing public awareness of food allergy and its consequences, to educating people about the condition, and to advancing research on behalf of all those affected by it. FAAN provides information and educational resources about food allergy to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials. To become a member or for more information, please visit FAAN at www.foodallergy.org.
SOURCE Food Allergy Initiative