Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative to Cease Fundraising in December with Goal of $1 Million

Back in November, we did a post about three organizations that have used quilts to bring comfort and healing to those in need. The post was titled “Why DO Quilts Matter?” a Few More Reasons…” and one of the organizations featured was the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI).

AAQI founder and executive director, Ami Simms, gave a generous shout-out to Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics in her January 1 newsletter, so when she sent us the following announcement last week, we were more than pleased to respond in kind. So here, in Ami’s own words, is the latest from the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative:

“The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative will most likely reach the $1,000,000 mark in money raised for Alzheimer’s research some time in 2013! The work of your hands and the compassion in your hearts has brought us to this milestone. I will be forever grateful to each and every one of you for your support and dedication.

“What began as one person’s response to sorrow and frustration has grown into a national charity embraced by a large portion of the quilting community. More than 13,000 quilts have been donated, turning sweat equity into over $883,000 for research so far. For many donors these quilts were healing works of art which helped them grieve as they stitched for the greater good. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen the AAQI’s two traveling quilt exhibits about Alzheimer’s. Through this artistry came the realization for many that they were not alone on this journey of heartbreak; others understood, perhaps for the first time, what a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s really means. Together quilters have funded 11 research studies at six universities and a medical school. Three more studies will be funded this month and hopefully more throughout 2013. Because of the AAQI, scientists know a little bit more about Alzheimer’s than they did before. Hopefully this understanding will bring us all closer to a cure.

Ami Simms (left) and her mother, Beebe, in 2006

“When I created the AAQI back in 2006, I never expected it to become so successful! I also never imaged how much work it would take to keep it going. As the AAQI blossomed, board members and core volunteers have had to increase our hours and pace to keep up. While I find enormous satisfaction in nurturing the AAQI, I much prefer sewing to administrating. I miss just being a full-time quilter.

“For this reason, 2013 will be the last year of fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative. I hope you will help the AAQI reach our goal of One Million Dollars for research and then at the end of 2013 celebrate with everyone who made this tremendous achievement possible. Please review the important dates below:

February 15, 2013: All bookings for the traveling exhibit “Alzheimer’s Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope” must be finalized.

March 1, 2013:  First online auction of quilts from “Alzheimer’s Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope” traveling exhibit. Twenty-six Name Quilts will be auctioned during the first 10 days of March, April, May, June, July, August, and September. Payment will be required at the conclusion of each auction with shipping in October 2013 after the exhibit retires. The 54 Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts from the traveling exhibit will be auctioned during the first 10 days of October and December.

A viewer experiences the AAQI Traveling Quilt Exhibit: From Heartbreak to Hope

Here’s a panorama of the exhibit. Amazing.

July 2013: Last month to participate in the Quilt-A-Month Club.

August 1, 2013: Last day to register Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts. Quilts delivered to scanners after August 20 will be refused.

October 29 – November 3, 2013:International Quilt Festival. We hope to be invited back one last time to sell quilts in Houston, TX.

November 1-10, 2013: Celebrity Invitational Quilt Online Auction December 30, 2013: Last day Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts can be purchased online.

A Fear of Empty Spaces (16" x 16") by Pat Holly

A Fear of Empty Spaces (16″ x 16″) by Pat Holly raised $3,665 at the AAQI Celebrity Quilt Auction at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last year, the highest amount for a single quilt in AAQI history.

December 31, 2013: Quilts For Sale and Donation pages will be removed from the AAQI website and all solicitations will cease.

2014-2015: The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative will monitor research grants awarded in 2013. The AQQI web page will be left intact for at least six months. Any funds not needed to sustain the AAQI’s final expenses will be donated to research. Remaining assets will be disposed of according to IRS regulations after which time the corporation will be dissolved.

There is still much work to this year as we sprint to the finish line. I hope everyone who reads this will join in, either as a seasoned veteran or a first-time quilt donor or quilt buyer. We will continue to make a difference until the very last quilt is sold. Let’s make 2013 the best year ever!”

Before wrapping up, we’d like to announce that the lucky winner of Janet Finley’s book Quilts in Everyday Life, 1855 – 1955 reviewed in our January 7 post is Laura Moss Gottleib.  Laura, please email your snail mail address and phone number to contact@whyquiltsmatter.com and we’ll get your book on its way.

We’ll be offering other giveaways from time to time here on the WQM weekly blog. Please join us!

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