For nearly a century, the American Heart Association (AHA) has been working to save lives through research, education, and public outreach programs focused on cardiovascular disease and stroke. Possessing a network of more than 33 million volunteers and supporters, the organization reaches communities throughout the United States and many other countries around the globe. As a nonprofit group, the AHA relies on individual donors and volunteers, as well as corporate partners to provide the necessary funding and resources to continue its lifesaving work. If you’re interested in becoming involved, read on for more information on how to participate.
Consider a Financial Gift
The AHA offers a number of options for those who want to make a donation to support its research, education, and advocacy activities. On the organization’s website, donors can make a one-time financial contribution or sign up to provide a monthly gift of any amount. AHA also accepts memorial or tribute donations from individuals seeking to celebrate and honor the life of someone close to them while supporting a worthy cause.
In addition to its one-time and recurring donation options, the association oversees a planned-giving program for those interested in providing a financial gift through their estate plan. Potential donors can choose from a number of charitable plans, including gifts by will or living trust. The AHA also accepts gifts of retirement plan assets, appreciated securities, life insurance, and real estate.
Volunteer Your Time
If you’re looking for a way to support the AHA while working within your community, you can sign up for one of the organization’s many volunteer opportunities. Some ways to volunteer include joining the association’s Health eHeart study and providing encouragement and tips to heart patients and their families via AHA’s online forum. Volunteers can also support the AHA at health fairs and other events or take part in the Go Red for Women awareness campaign. The AHA welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, including youth and students, patients and caregivers, and nurses and other health care practitioners.
Participate in a Fund-Raiser
Throughout the year, AHA supporters take part in a number of fund-raisers and awareness events in communities across the country. The association’s premier fund-raising event is its Heart Walk, which raises money for cardiovascular and stroke research. Those looking to participate in a Heart Walk can sign up to walk so or as members of a fund-raising team with their friends, family, and/or co-workers.
AHA’s other fund-raisers and awareness activities include Go Red for Women events, Heart Ball socials, and National Wear Red Day, which occurs every February. AHA also receives support from the country’s young people through its Kids Heart Challenge. Supported by students, parents, and teachers, Kids Heart Challenge events offer youth an opportunity to develop jump rope skills and learn about the inner workings of the heart while raising money for pediatric patients with cardiovascular issues.
Shop at the AHA Store
Do you want to get your hands on great products while also supporting an important cause? Shop the official store of the American Heart Association to find everything from athletic apparel and casual wear to jewelry, tote bags, and coffee tumblers. AHA’s online store also features home decor, cookbooks, and a variety of educational materials such as CPR kits and health brochures. Regardless of what you buy, a portion of every purchase made at the AHA shop funds the association’s programming.
Raise Awareness with Little Hats, Big Hearts
In 2014, AHA representatives in Chicago launched Little Hats, Big Hearts to raise awareness about congenital heart defects. Since then, the local project has become a national initiative that has provided tiny red hats for hundreds of thousands of babies born during American Heart Month in February.
You can support the effort by knitting or crocheting baby hats using red cotton or acrylic yarn that is both machine washable and dryable. To help crafters with the project, the AHA provides sample hat patterns on its website. However, any pattern can be used as long as it is free of buttons, bows, and any other items that could pose a choking hazard. If you are not skilled at knitting or crocheting, you can make a donation to Little Hats, Big Hearts, which distributed over 200,000 hats in 2018.
Become an Advocate for Healthier Communities
You’re the Cure is AHA’s grassroots advocacy network, which mobilizes researchers and health care providers, patients, and caregivers in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Joining the community is as simple as registering your name, address, and phone number on the You’re the Cure website, which features advocates’ stories and information on key advocacy issues.
The community’s main advocacy efforts are in the areas of quality and value of care, access to care, rehabilitation, and heart disease and stroke research. The You’re the Cure website also features an action center where community members can learn about and participate in various advocacy campaigns dedicated to building healthier lives and communities.
More information about the many ways you can support AHA programming is available at www.heart.org/en/get-involved.
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