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NAELA Foundation

Responding to Immediate Needs and Preparing for Future Challenges

By Stu Zimring, Esq., CAP, Fellow


“The Foundation is now positioned to provide meaningful financial assistance for NAELA’s advocacy, litigation, and amicus priorities, and is prepared to address future threats to our profession and clients.”
- Stu Zimring, Esq., CAP, Fellow, NAELA Foundation Chair

Since the first NAELA Foundation grant was awarded in 2014, the NAELA Foundation has focused on the idea that ­NAELA’s credibility and authority could improve the lives of older Americans and people with disabilities by supporting advocacy and litigation. In 2021, the NAELA Foundation took steps to prepare for the next major threat to our clients’ independence and dignity.

As a 501 (c)(3), the Foundation has supported NAELA’s priorities by awarding more than $195,000 in grants to members, state chapters, and like-minded nonprofit organizations. From the first grants that challenged state and national provision of benefits to 2020’s COVID-related grants and the recent win in Montana,1 the Foundation has a long history of championing priorities with national significance and has witnessed major attempts to severely curtail access to programs like Medicaid. In recent years, this included the abuse of Section 1115 Waivers and the Social Security Administration’s attempt to undermine the drafting of supplemental needs trusts through mandating legal fee approval using subregulatory guidance. While it’s impossible to predict the next major threat to our clients, the Foundation stands ready to support these efforts going forward.

To ensure the Foundation balances the ability to respond to major attacks on public programs with that of distributions during any given year, the Trustees approved a fiscal strategy that will allocate funds for current and future needs. Each year, the Trustees will evaluate the prior year’s giving, total grants awarded, and assets available for allocation. Based on this evaluation, a portion of the annual optional dues contributions from members will be earmarked for a “Major Challenges” fund. Accruing resources in this way will ensure that the “next big one” does not derail the good work the Foundation does every day.

For NAELA members, supporting the Foundation through optional dues contributions, donations, pledges, Amazon Smile purchases, and fundraisers ensures that funds are available to protect critical benefits and essential services relied on by the two most vulnerable populations in the United States. Donations to NAELA Foundation are 100 percent tax-deductible; NAELA Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization (EIN 45-5334205).

1 NAELA and NAELA Foundation Provide Financial and Amicus Support for Montana Supreme Court Case with National Significance, (accessed Sept. 20, 2021). 

About the Author
Stuart D. Zimring, Esq., CAP, Fellow, is the NAELA Foundation Chair.

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