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  NAMI Ranked Among Top 10 Charitable Organizations Nationwide

Charity Watchdog Gives Highest Marks for Groups' Fundraising Efforts
on Behalf of Millions With Severe Mental Illness


Contact:
Mary Rappaport 703/312-7886
Valerie Rheinstein 703/516-7963
For Immediate Release
5 Dec 97

Arlington, VA -- The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), the nation's leading charity watchdog, awarded the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) an A-plus rating for its cost-effective charitable spending and fundraising practices. NAMI was one of only 10 groups throughout the country that received an A-plus rating out of a field of 340 nonprofit organizations.

AIP helps consumers judge the fundraising efficiency of a charity by evaluating the actual amount of money spent on the charity's intended purpose versus administrative costs and by comparing its fundraising expenses with contributions. AIP reports that NAMI spends $93 of every $100 raised on charitable activities, with only $3 being spent on administrative or fundraising costs.

"We are deeply honored by the AIP A-plus rating," said Laurie Flynn, NAMI's executive director. "We take our responsibility as advocates very seriously and direct the majority of our resources into research because the strongest weapon against stigma toward mental illness is science." External contributions are also used for education and advocacy campaigns to ensure that people with chronic and disabling brain disorders have equal access to quality health care, housing, education and economic opportunities.

NAMI's FY96 expenses were allocated to research (74 percent), education (12 percent), program and management (seven percent), advocacy (two percent), fundraising (two percent), and administration (two percent).

AIP's mission is to maximize the effectiveness of every dollar contributed to charity by providing donors with the information they need to make more informed giving decisions. In the fall issue of the AIP Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report, letter grades ranging from A to F were assigned to non-profits based on specific financial criteria, including program spending, fundraising efficiency and size of reserves.

"We hope our continued efforts in support of people with severe mental illness will yield us perfect AIP scores in the years to come," said Flynn.

With more than 168,000 members, NAMI is the nation's leading grassroots organization solely dedicated to improving the lives of persons with severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders. NAMI has more than 1,140 state and local affiliates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada. NAMI's efforts focus on support to persons with serious brain disorders and to their families; advocacy for nondiscriminatory and equitable federal, state and private-sector policies; research into the causes, symptoms and treatments for brain disorders; and education to eliminate the pervasive stigma surrounding severe mental illness.

Editor's Note: Interested parties are encouraged to contact Paulette Jackson, Assistant Director Foundation and Corporate Support, at 703/524-7600 for more information on corporate or individual contributions to NAMI. Information about NAMI and its activities also can be found on NAMI's Internet website {http://www.nami.org}, which recently ranked in the top 200 of HomePC's "Best of the Web" survey.

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