Letter to the Community from FARE’s CEO, John Lehr

John-800Dear FARE Supporters,

Since April 2012, I have had the pleasure and privilege of serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), and its legacy organizations, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI). Today, I am announcing that I will be stepping down as CEO of FARE on August 30 to pursue a new business opportunity. You can find the full announcement here. Before I go, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate with you the terrific work we have done together.

In the past two years, FARE – and the food allergy community – have experienced tremendous progress and growth. First, through the formation of one national organization with a common mission—to find a cure for food allergies and to keep individuals with food allergies safe and included. From the merger, we developed a new brand, launched a new website, built a national field operation with six offices across the country, expanded grassroots fundraising opportunities, and exceeded previous fundraising records for luncheons, the FARE Walk for Food Allergy program, and major gifts. In our first full year as a new organization, we raised more than $16.5 million to support important food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness initiatives, which represents an increase of more than 25 percent over the combined total raised by FARE’s legacy organizations in 2012. This would not have been possible without your generosity and commitment to our cause.

With these funds, we have made important progress in every area of our mission:

  • We established a new proactive research program based on the input of the leading scientists in the field and increased our investment in innovative treatments.
  • To further our education mission, we launched a national program to enhance restaurant safety for diners with food allergies, developed a program to help students with food allergies transition to college, held our first FARE National Food Allergy Conference, and introduced our free monthly webinar series to provide food allergy education to anyone with an internet connection.
  • In November 2013, President Obama signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, a FARE-directed effort to incentivize states to stock epinephrine in schools. We have also been proud to support many successful state stock epinephrine initiatives led by dedicated local advocates.
  • We dramatically increased awareness of food allergy as a serious public health issue through our new award-winning website, media outreach, our social media outlets, and the nationally televised documentary, “An Emerging Epidemic – Food Allergies in America,” narrated by Steve Carell.

These are just a few highlights, and all of this success was made possible because of the dedicated staff, volunteers, donors, supporters and Board members who gave their time and resources, and worked long hours to make the world better for people with food allergies.

Thank you for everything you have done to help advance the cause.

The transformation of FARE and the food allergy community over two years has truly been remarkable. I am so proud to have been a part of that, and I will keep the individuals and families I have met and worked with at FARE forever in my heart.

I see a bright future ahead for FARE and the food allergy community, and know that a time will come when the hard work will have paid off, and we will have safe and effective treatments for all individuals with food allergies.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve, it has been an honor and a privilege.

 

Sincerely,

John L. Lehr

Giving Back: FARE Awards More Than $135,000 in Support to 60 Communities Nationwide

By John Lehr, CEO of FARE

As the nation’s leading organization dedicated to food allergy and anaphylaxis, building education and understanding throughout the country is a critical component of FARE’s mission.

Working with local leaders is a vital part of how we advance our shared cause. And that’s why we are so proud to announce that we are awarding more than $135,000 in grant support to 60 communities across the country to advance food allergy education, advocacy and awareness efforts as part of FARE’s 2014 Community Outreach Grants program. This is the largest grant pool every awarded in a single year, and is more than double the amount awarded last year.

With these grants, we are helping local food allergy leaders – support group leaders and FARE Walk for Food Allergy chairs – put on programs that will result in a better understanding of food allergies within their local communities. Food allergy is a growing problem — and it will take each and every one of us across the country to raise awareness, advocate and educate in order to keep everyone safe and included.

The projects that were selected to receive grants this year underwent a peer-reviewed application process. Grant applications were reviewed by a selection committee and awarded based on community need, scope, anticipated impact, achievability of project objectives, cost efficiency and geographic diversity.

In 30 states across the country, dedicated volunteers will be using grants from FARE to carry out a wide spectrum of innovative projects throughout 2014. Congratulations to the food allergy support group leaders and FARE Walk for Food Allergy chairs who worked so hard to develop programs that will make an impact in their communities. We look forward to hearing about your successes, and to continuing to expand the FARE Community Outreach Grants Program in the coming years.

The projects are listed below by region:

Midwest

  • Freeze Pops to Say FAREwell to Food Allergies
    FARE Walk Chicago (Chicago Metro Area, IL)
  • Michiana Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Support
    Michiana Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Support (South Bend/Lakeville, IN)
  • Back to School with Food Allergies Education for Schools
    Tri State Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Support Group (Serving Southern IL, IN, and KY)
  • Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Michigan Conference
    Circle of Food Allergic Families (COFAF) Support Group Leader (Metro Detroit, MI)
  • Food Free Easter Egg Hunt
    No Nuts Moms Group of Michigan (Auburn Hills, MI)
  • 504 Plans – 3 Part Series of Presentations
    FACES of Michigan (Macomb County, MI)
  • Booth Outreach Program
    Anaphylaxis & Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (Statewide, MN)
  • Food Allergy Resource Fair
    Food Allergy Support Group of Minnesota (Statewide, MN)
  • Halloween/Fall Event, St. Louis County Health & Human Services Conference, Printed Materials & Website Support
    Northland Food Allergy Support Group (Duluth, MN)
  • Halloween Event, Winter Event, and Educational Materials
    West Metro Food Allergy Connection (Howard Lake, MN)
  • Share the Knowledge Summit
    Food Allergy Focus (Cleveland, OH)
  • Understanding Physical, Social, and Emotional Aspects of Kids Living with Food Allergies – Creating a Plan to Keep Them Safe & Included
    FARE Walk Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Wisconsin Community Growth Initiative
    Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin – SE WI Chapter (Southeast WI)
  • Resource Fair & Presentations
    Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin (Madison, WI)
  • School Nurse Advocacy Effort
    Fox Valley Food Allergy Support Group (Fox Valley Area, WI)
  • FARE Conference Scholarship
    FARE Walk Detroit (Detroit, MI)

Northeast

  • Food Allergy Awareness Week Programming, Guest Speaker Series, Resource Printing & Web Development
    Food Allergy Education Network (Statewide, CT)
  • Program on Eosinophilic Esophagitis in the Spectrum of Food Allergy
    FARE Walk Boston (Boston, MA)
  • Food Allergy Expo and Conference
    Food Allergy & Asthma Support Group of North Jersey (Northern NJ)
  • Coping with Transitions: Sessions for Parents & Children with Food Allergies
    FARE Walk Westchester (Westchester County, NY)
  • Support Group Website Build
    FoodAllergyNY (Tarrytown, NY)
  • Educational Outreach for Schools, Families, & Children with Food Allergies
    Capital District Food Allergy Support Group (Albany, NY)
  • Community Awareness Initiative for Food Allergies and Educational Info Distribution
    FARE Walk Buffalo/Western NY (Buffalo, NY)
  • Port Washington Nurse Education Scholarship
    Food Allergy Support and Education (Nassau County, NY)
  • FACTS Forum on Food Allergy in Schools: Keeping Our Children Safe
    Food Allergies: Coping, Teaching, Supporting (FACTS) (Rochester NY)
  • Community Stewardship Materials
    Greater Buffalo Food Allergy Alliance (Buffalo, NY)
  • Materials for Local Baseball Game Peanut-free Section and School Health Fair
    Food Allergy Families of Rockland (Rockland County, NY)
  • Feel Good Forum and Support Group Operations
    FEAST of the Main Line (Philadelphia, PA)
  • PHACT Awareness and Operations
    Parents Having Allergic Children Team (PHACT) (Chester County, PA)
  • Support Group Operations
    Food Allergy Support Group of Tidewater (FASGOT) (Hampton Roads/Tidewater, VA)
  • Education Materials for Loudoun County School District and Support Group Operations
    Loudoun Allergy Network (Loudoun County, VA)
  • School Presentation Packs for Food Allergy Awareness
    Food Allergy Support Group of Northern VA (Fairfax, VA)
  • Food Allergy Awareness Week Campaign and Support Group Activities/Materials
    FARE Walk Wheeling/Ohio Valley Kids with Food Allergies (Wheeling/Moundsville, WV)

Northeast/Southeast

  • Southeastern VA and Northeast NC Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Community Enrichment
    FARE Walk Virginia Beach/Food Allergy Association of Virginia Beach (Southern VA/Northern NC)

Southeast

  • Educational Symposium/Walk Kickoff and Support Group Development
    FARE Walk Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)
  • St. Johns/Jacksonville Nurse Training, Support Group Maintenance, and Lending Library Materials
    FARE Walk Jacksonville/Food Allergy Families of St. Johns (Jacksonville/St. Johns, FL)
  • Educational Symposium/Walk Kickoff/Ask the Expert Panel
    FARE Walk Tampa (Tampa, FL)
  • Educational Symposium/Walk Kickoff/Ask the Expert Panel
    FARE Walk Orlando (Orlando, FL)
  • Food Friendly Halloween Party
    No Nuts Moms Group Palm Beach County (Palm Beach County, FL)
  • Atlanta Food Allergy Outreach/Atlanta Walk
    FARE Walk Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)
  • Food Allergy Treatment Roundtable and Chefs Make Vacations Easy
    FARE Walk Raleigh/NC FACES (Raleigh, NC)
  • EMT/First Responder Anaphylaxis Training
    PAK Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)
  • Practice of Presence Workshop and Support Group Operations
    Food Allergy Families of the Triad (Triad, NC)
  • Education and Outreach to Promote FARE Walk
    FARE Walk Simpsonville/SAFE of Greenville (Greenville, SC)
  • Walk Symposium and Support Group Revitalization
    FARE Walk Nashville (Nashville, TN)
  • Walk Seminar, Support Group Maintenance, and Support Group Lending Library
    FARE Walk Memphis (Memphis, TN)
  • Project Teal
    Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) (Knoxville, TN)

Southwest

  • Food Allergy Community Awareness and Education
    SAFE Boulder County (Boulder County, CO)
  • Educate Schools in Central Oklahoma
    Food Allergy Awareness Coalition (Central OK)
  • 2014 Austin Families with Food Allergies Retreat, ER and Urgent Care Education
    Austin Families with Food Allergies (Austin, TX)
  • Kyle Dine Concert and Awareness Materials
    San Antonio Food Allergy Support Team (San Antonio, TX)
  • Kyle Dine Concert and Awareness Materials
    FARE Walk Phoenix (Phoenix, AZ)

West

  • Kyle Dine Awareness Concerts, School/School Nurse Education, Educational Materials, and Support Group Operations
    San Francisco Bay Area Food Allergy Network (Bay Area, CA)
  • Support Group Development, Awareness Activities, Food Allergy Free Easter Hunt
    No Nuts Moms Group LA (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Website Maintenance
    Billings Kids with Food Allergies (Statewide, MT)
  • Clark County School District CDC Guideline Implementation
    FARE Walk Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Educate Northern Nevada School Nurses and Principals
    AAPE Nevada (Northern NV)
  • Local Adoption of Statewide Food Allergy Management Guidelines in Oregon K-12 Schools
    Oregon Food Allergy Network (OFAN) (Statewide, OR)
  • Utah Food Allergy Easter Egg Hunt, Conference, Support Group Education, Kids Summer Camp, Trunk-or-Treat, Kyle Dine Concert
    FARE Walk Utah/Utah Food Allergy Network (UFAN) (Statewide, UT)
  • Regional Food Allergy Conference, Kyle Dine Concerts, Field Guides to Newly Diagnosed, and Restaurant Education Scholarship for Small Businesses
    Washington FEAST (Seattle, WA)

The Five Things You Should Know About FARE (Right Now)

By John L. Lehr, CEO

At FARE, we are proud to work on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. Since announcing the completion of our merger late last year, we have been designing and establishing the organization’s new structure, programs and resources to best serve the needs of the food allergy community and all those needing information about food allergies and anaphylaxis.

In the coming months, you’ll see us ask for your input on key issues, embark on new initiatives and roll out new resources. We have a number of exciting projects underway, but we also want to take this opportunity – as we begin a new era together – to give you an update on where we are today, and where we’re headed.

Here are 5 Things You Should Know About FARE (Right Now):

1.   Our Mission and Focus

FARE’s mission is to ensure the safety and inclusion of individuals with food allergies while relentlessly seeking a cure. In practice, this means:

  • Providing evidence-based education and resources,
  • Undertaking advocacy at all levels of government,
  • Increasing awareness of food allergies as a serious public health issue, and
  • Funding world-class research that advances treatment and understanding.

Each of these mission components is critically important to helping make the world safer for individuals with food allergies. In 2013, we will be ramping up our education, advocacy and awareness efforts, and we look forward to sharing our plans for these areas with you as they develop further. We also will be expanding our development efforts to help raise funds to create new programs and support new initiatives while also funding research that will seek to identify the root causes of food allergies and clinical trials focused on advancing life-changing treatments.

2.   Our Leadership and Structure

FARE leadership and staff are committed to serving the food allergy community. Our board is composed almost entirely of food allergy parents and grandparents. Half of FARE’s board members were previously members of the FAAN board, half were previously on the FAI board – and all of them have been working for years to advance our community’s cause. We also continue to benefit from the guidance of our Research Advisory Board and Medical Advisory Board, which previously offered guidance to FAI and FAAN, as we work to fulfill our mission.

At the staff level, FARE will be organized by mission and operational areas. We will have departments dedicated to Education, Advocacy, Awareness/Communications, Research and Development – all led by professionals with significant experience in their fields and a number of whom have a personal connection to food allergies and anaphylaxis.

3.   New Regional Offices

We recently opened five regional offices across the country, and reaching out to your regional office leader is another great way to get involved and give us your input. Follow the hyperlinks below to email your regional lead.

  • Toni Johnson, Northeast Region – located in McLean, Virginia and serving Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia
  • Jennifer Dues, Midwest Region – located in Chicago and serving Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin
  • Courtney Davenport, Southeast Region – located in Atlanta and serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee
  • Charlotte Maffia, Southwest Region – located in Dallas and serving Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas
  • Alice Gordon, West Region – located in Los Angeles and serving Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming

4.   New Website

Our new website is under development and will be launching in March. We’ve designed the newfoodallergy.org with our website users in mind because we want to ensure you can easily find the information and resources you need. Stay tuned for more information about our launch, and in the meantime you can still find a wealth of key resources and information on the currentfoodallergy.org.

5.   We Want to Hear From You

We are fortunate to have an engaged and passionate community, and we thank all of you who have already reached out to us to learn more about the new organization and how we will work with the community.

Throughout 2013 (and beyond), you can expect to see us asking for your input on everything from key issues the community is facing, to advocacy at the federal and state levels, to the kinds of resources and support you would find most helpful as you work to manage food allergies every day. We value your input, and hearing from you helps us work more effectively on behalf of all those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis.

We recently launched an online survey asking for your perspective on threshold levels for major food allergens and the choices you make based on current food labels. We already have received thousands of responses – and we hope you will take a few minutes to add your voice.*

It is an exciting time for the food allergy community and we appreciate your enthusiasm and interest in continuing to make the world a safer place for individuals with food allergies. We look forward to keeping you informed about important developments at FARE throughout this year and beyond.

*Editor’s Note: This survey is now closed.