Alzheimer's nonprofit goes independent to keep money closer to home

By: Sara Shookman Email
By: Sara Shookman Email
  • Click here to learn more about Alzheimer's Tennessee, Inc.
  • Click here to learn more about your favorite charity.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- When you give to charity, would you like to know where your dollar goes?

One nonprofit here at home wants to make sure that happens.

The Eastern Tennessee Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association says its staff, volunteers and mission will stay the same, but its name is different: Alzheimer's Tennessee, Inc. The group severed its ties to the national Alzheimer's Association as of August 1.

"When we looked at everything and looked at the amount of funds leaving the area, we determined that it would be more beneficial to our families for those funds to remain local," said Executive Director Janice Wade-Whitehead.

Wade-Whitehead says the money they raised, a nickel at a time, was leaving East Tennessee. The group drew the line when faced with sending 40 percent to the national Alzheimer's Association in Chicago.

Mary Lyn Goodman knows the faces of Alzheimer's. "You sort of go from being in their arms, and in their car, to supporting them," said Goodman. "That's kind of the way the tide turns with this disease."

Her father died from Alzheimer's five years ago. Her mother battles dementia. For the last 12 years, she's turned to one place, now called Alzheimer's Tennessee.

"It's the same faces that are with the organization today that I connected with then."

On the website Charity Navigator, you can see how your dollar is being spent at thousands of charities. Using tax returns, the site rates the organization's efficiency and capacity to do good work.

Ranking organizations from poor, where the Alzheimer's Association came in, to exceptional -- like Second Harvest Food Bank or KARM.

Wade-Whitehead hopes more local money will make it easier for them to provide help. "Those dollars they give need to be spent very very wisely because they are becoming increasingly harder for people."

"We can be very nimble in terms of responsive to their individual needs," she said. Families receive assistance through their Helpline, care consultation, support groups and adult day programs serving Knox County.

Goodman says is good news for families like hers. "That kind of peace of mind is really priceless when you are trying to navigate with a family member, you know for your parents. That did everything for you. You make to make sure you do everything for them," she said.

Click on the link above to learn more about Alzheimer's Tennessee, Inc. You can also call (865) 544-6288 in Knoxville and (931) 526-8010 in Cookeville. You can also click to go to

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