The MSIF COVID-19 Response Initiative

2020 was a year like few others. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to over a million deaths, and economic and social challenges worldwide. One of the impacts has been on MS patient organisations, which have seen huge losses in charitable income due to cancelled events and lost donors. For many organisations these losses threatened the vital support they provide for people affected by MS, and for some it even threatened their survival.

To help MS organisations through these difficult times MSIF put out a call to the healthcare industry, asking them to support the MSIF COVID-19 Response Initiative.

The goal was to secure funding to make grants to MSIF and European MS Platform (EMSP) member organisations in urgent need to help with one or more of the following:

  • Protecting organisational infrastructure needed to maintain essential programmes, projects or activities, whilst offering a reduced/adapted service because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Specific COVID-19 project work to cover the expansion of existing work in response to COVID-19 or a new project/activity to cover additional demand caused by COVID-19.
  • Preparations for future change and growth during and after COVID-19. This could be changes to staffing, funding for organisational development, redeveloped fundraising or adapted service models or programmes.

Who funded the initiative?

We would like to thank the following companies for their support of the initiative. It could not have happened without them.

  • Biogen£378,028
  • Roche£110,000
  • Bristol Myers Squibb£57,500
  • Coloplast£25,000
  • TOTAL£570,528

What was the process for awarding grants?

MSIF invited MSIF and EMSP member organisations from around the world to apply, subject to meeting a number of criteria.

A panel has been established to review applications, which includes MSIF staff, board members and external experts. In addition to meeting the criteria, the grant-funded work will be considered in relation to the overall need of the organisation and the MS community they support, in the context in which they work. Consideration also given to ensuring that there is geographic diversity in recipients as allowed by the applications received.

Which organisations received grants?

MSIF received applications from all over the world, with total requests far exceeding the available funding. We are delighted to announce that – as of January 2021 – all grants have now been allocated and receipients informed. It has been an extraordinary process and one which MSIF is sure will have a long term benefit for the organisations that have received grants, the details of which are below.

Name or organisation Amount Awarded (GBP) Description
Esclerosis Múltiple Argentina
£10,000 Contribution to office costs and contribution to salary
Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft Österreich (Austria)
£11,600 Contribution to salary costs for a Fundraising Project Manager
Ligue Nationale Belge de la Sclérose en Plaques (Belgium)
£58,400 Contribution to salary, equipment, volunteer and administration costs associated with an E-learning platform and salary, volunteer and transportation costs associated with respite activities/short stays
Associação Brasileira de Esclerose Múltipla (Brazil) £19,200 Contribution to salary costs for health professionals to provide services online
Cyprus MS Association £14,000 Laptop purchase to enable psychologist to work remotely and contribution to salary costs
Ligue Française contre la Sclérose En Plaques (France)
£37,000 Contribution to fundraising and communications consultancy/agency and salary costs to develop the organisation’s fundraising programme
Deutsche Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft Bundesverband (Germany)
£45,000 Project, training and salary costs associated with the development of the online Awareness-Coach programme
Greek MS Society £11,600 Contribution to salary costs and purchase of laptops for staff and health professionals carrying out Personalised Parent Counselling Program
Asociación Guatemalteca de Esclerosis Multiple (Guatemala) £7,700 Contribution to salary costs for the Executive Assistant and annual office rent
Hellenic Federation of Persons with MS (Greece) £8,200 Contribution to salary and office rent costs along with equipment, online platform development and training costs for digital skills programme
MS Society of India (MSSI) £25,000 Contribution to salary costs for national and chapter staff, remote working equipment for a national staff member and bursaries and equipment to support people affected by MS during COVID-19
The MS Society of Ireland (MS Ireland) £54,400 Contribution to salary and equipment costs associated with the recruitment of a Digital Fundraising and Marketing Executive, and activity costs to equip the branches in digital fundraising
Latvijas Multiplās Sklerozes Asociācija (Latvia) £5,000 Contribution to equipment and associated costs to enable remote working for regional branches
Lietuvos Išsėtinės Sklerozės Sąjunga (Lithuania)
£8,400 Contribution to salary and equipment costs for staff and health professionals to provide online services and volunteer training
Macedonia National Association for MS (Macedonia) £3,000 Contribution to salary costs for health professionals to provide online psychological support service
Polskie Towarzystwo Stwardnienia Rozsianego (Poland) £26,000 Contribution to salary costs and office rent
Sociedade Portuguesa de Esclerose Múltipla (Portuguese) £59,200 Contribution to salary costs and telerehabilitation equipment for health professionals to provide online services
Asociación Española de Esclerosis Múltiple (Spain) £40,000 Contribution to salary costs of staff and health professionals carrying out the Home Help Program, and associated personal protective equipment costs
Esclerosis Múltiple España (Spain)
£18,700 The awarding of digitalization grants to seven member entities
Schweizerische Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft (Switzerland)
£47,500 Contribution to salary costs of specialised staff carrying out home visits and telephone calls to isolated people with MS
Association Tunisienne des Malades de la Sclérose en Plaques (Tunisia)
£3,100 Contribution to salary costs for the Executive Assistant and office rent
Total £513,000

MSIF used 10% of the funding to pay for the costs of the MSIF COVID-19 MS Response Initiative and managing the grant process.