The American Heart Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit organization devoted to the fight against heart disease and stroke (both among the nation's top killers), as well as other cardiovascular illnesses. In addition to conducting research, the association serves as a clearinghouse for information on heart-related diseases and conditions. It also acts as an advocate on public policy issues related to its mission. The organization boasts a National Center in Dallas, as well as affiliate offices located throughout the US and in Puerto Rico. The AHA was founded in 1924 by six cardiologists who recognized the need to widely share their heart disease education and research.
The organization includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters and it trains more than 13 million people a year in CPR.
Its programs help top improve the health of people across the US, fight childhood obesity and reach audiences facing unique health risks, including women, African-Americans and Hispanics.
The AHA's top fundraiser is the Heart Walk, whereby participants raise money to help the organization fund research, education, and advocacy efforts. Each year, more than 1 million walkers participate in about 350 walks in towns and cities across the US. The AHA receives most of its funding from individuals. Corporate donations are accepted under strict policies to prevent any undue influence into the organization's research initiatives.
The AHA is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has 144 local offices in 50 US states.
The AHA reported $784.7 million in fiscal 2014 revenues and expenses of $666 million. Special events are the association's largest single revenue source, accounting for about 40% of the 2014 total. Contributions and bequests combined represented more than 30%. Public Support revenues came in at $555 million in 2013-14, an 8.7% increase over the previous year. Other revenues, including CPR training, was $230 million in 2013-14 (30% up).
The AHA was positively impacted by gains from its long-term investment portfolio and increased valuations of split-interest agreements and perpetual trusts.
In recent years, the AMA has been particularly concerned with the incidence of obesity among youth. It moved to tackle childhood obesity and developed the Alliance for a Healthier Generation through a partnership with the William J. Clinton Foundation. It also launched the What Moves U campaign with the NFL Foundation. In its effort to end stroke, the association boosted its spending to reach African Americans with its Power To End Stroke campaign. (The American Stoke Association is a division of the AHA.)
The AHA's Go Red For Women educational campaign was launched in response to the growing incidence of heart disease in women. Thought to be generally a male affliction, heart disease has become the #1 killer of women in the US). Sponsors such as Macy's, Merck, Rite Aid, and Yankee Candle raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause.
The organization also partners with food manufacturers for its popular Heart-Check Food Certification Program. More than 900 products that display the Heart Check symbol have been certified as being low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. Companies such as Campbell Soup, ConAgra, General Mills, New World Pasta, Sara Lee, Smithfield, and Tyson Foods have had their food products certified for the program.
AHA's 2020 Strategic Plan places renewed emphasis on key markets and issues: children, women, patients, multicultural, healthy living, high blood pressure, and stroke.
The Association, which has invested more than $3.7 billion in research, was founded by six cardiologists in 1924. The American Stroke Association was created as a division in 1997 to bring together the organization's stroke-related activities.