A game changer. No doubt about it. As a stock analyst and portfolio manager years ago, I was always wary of mergers – most do NOT work out well for stakeholders – but I learned to recognize those that simply made sense, where one plus one would equal more than two. Such is the case with the combination of the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Kids With Food Allergies Foundation (KFA), which was announced today. The sum of the combined entity will clearly be greater than the strengths of each individual organization.
To read the press release from the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America announcing this merger, please click here: AAFA KFA PRESS RELEASE.
Here’s the landscape as I see it now:
AAFA is the oldest and largest nonprofit patient organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma, allergies, and related conditions. Their work is both “top-down” (advocacy, research, education, etc.) and “bottom-up” (helping individuals directly). AAFA is the only allergy organization on the National Health Council, and the only patient organization that provides research funding for both asthma and allergies. AAFA has 8 chapters in various regions around the U.S. as well as many support groups. These chapters and support groups offer traditional outreach via face-to-face gatherings, hosting expert speakers, providing a place for individuals to speak with someone live about their questions and concerns, and providing many other services that bring together and help individuals dealing with asthma and allergies.
KFA is the best “bottom-up” resource for individuals dealing specifically with food allergies, thanks to its patient education programs, webinars (a new and very successful addition!), allergy buyers’ buide, electronic database of allergen-free recipes, and more. KFA’s “crown jewel” however, in my opinion, is its highly active and motivated online community of people dealing with food allergies in their families every day. Sharing their stories, questions, advice, resources, and more through dozens of daily posts on KFA’s message boards, this community provides almost instantaneous feedback to any question or issue relevant to the food allergy community.
So why am I so excited by this merger?
- I am excited to see the creation of an organization better equipped to help the tens of millions of individuals dealing with one or a combination of allergies, anaphylaxis, asthma, and more, via each organization’s existing resources – together AAFA and KFA will be the most comprehensive nonprofit source of education, advocacy, research, social networking and support for millions of families living with these diseases
- I am excited to see AAFA’s current constituency better able to benefit from KFA’s online resources and strong food allergy focus as well as KFA’s current constituency better able to benefit from AAFA’s geographically local resources and strength in asthma (which is highly correlated with food allergies and anaphylaxis) and all allergies
- I am excited to see greater dissemination of each organization’s tremendous resources for individuals
- I am excited to see AAFA’s top-down efforts strengthened in the area of food allergies by the addition of KFA’s expertise and large, active community
- I am excited to see the opportunity for leveraging KFA’s active online message boards to include issues related to asthma and other allergies, thus dramatically expanding the number of individuals who can be helped by this strong peer support base
- I am excited to see the increased opportunity for these two great organizations to raise money in support of their efforts for our community
- I am excited to see the continued individual efforts of each organization, maintaining their identities, websites, communities, and events
- I am excited to see everything else AAFA and KFA come up with that I can’t think of
Most of all, I am excited to see the spectacular individuals at both of these organizations bring together their brainpower in an effort to help the 60 million people dealing with asthma and allergic diseases.
In the end, the combined organization (still to be named AAFA, with KFA as a division) will cover the gamut from asthma through analyphylaxis from both a top-down and bottom-up approach. No other organization can even come close to matching this potential!
Yes. A game changer.
AllergyEats, and myself in particular, are thrilled to congratulate AAFA and KFA, and we look forward to supporting the combined AAFA in its work to benefit all of us and our families.
[For full disclosure, Paul Antico is a member of the Board of Directors of the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, as well as its New England chapter. This AllergyEats Blog post and Paul's opinions represented herein are Paul's alone. Paul is writing this as an independent member of the food allergy community, not in his capacity as an AAFA Board member. Neither this blog post nor its content has been shared with or reviewed by either the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America or Kids With Food Allergies Foundation.]