The Passion of Giving Back

By Jamie Saunders

Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter volunteer

When Joanne Truffelman received notification that she was receiving the “Modern Luxury Medicine + Doctor’s 2019 Philanthropic Luminary Award”, it was cause for celebration and reflection. Joanne has selflessly given her time and energy to the Alzheimer’s Association since the year 2000.

“From 2000 through 2008, my ad agency, TG Madison, handled the national advertising for the Alzheimer’s Association.  We were the agency of record before that for the American Cancer Society. Harry Johns, who was the ACS’s top Sr. Strategic Director, decided to accept the position of CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, we pitched the account and won it. My business partner, Lauren Genkinger, and I decided it was necessary to “give back. After handling the advertising accounts for non-profits, we decided to give back a percentage of our profits each year to both the ACS and the Alzheimer’s Association, respectively.”

In 2008, she joined the Alzheimer’s Association of Georgia Board of Directors, and the cause became more personal. “Although my agency was not involved any longer, I felt compelled to continue working with them. I was very passionate about the cause, with the hopes of finding a cure for this insidious disease. I was touched by it when a cousin (and mentor) died from Alzheimer’s right after I first served on the Board and seeing what happens to families when they are inflicted with this disease.”  

As a new Board Member, she was asked to dance in the first of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dancing Stars. “After much coercing, I accepted, and like everyone else, it was a life-changing experience.” The event was a success. Today it has grown from a $125,000 fundraising event to just shy of $1,000,000 for the last two years. Joanne is responsible for much of the event’s expansion as she led the charge in recruiting new venues to accommodate more attendees and new celebrities to participate.

Joanne at the 2019 Dancing Stars of Atlanta 10 year anniversary

She has been responsible for recruiting more than 24 people for Dancing Stars over the 10 years, such as Shirley Franklin, Valery Jackson, Jenny Pruitt, Duval Fuqua, Richie Arpino, etc. “We have recruited some wonderful volunteers to make the event one of the most successful in Atlanta, emulating the TV show and raising almost $5 million for Alzheimer’s.”

Over time, she’s supported many other Alzheimer’s fundraising initiatives, all in the hopes of finding a cure for the disease. As a hard-working female from NYC from Madison Avenue to a co-owner of a woman-owned ad agency in Atlanta, she have given back to the community as much as been physically and financially possible!

Over the years, she has supported Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Reason to Hope, and served as Chairman of the Board 2016-2018. She recently nominated several fantastic new folks to our Board, such as Cindy Wall, Lisa Hasty, and Dan Goerke, who stepped into her shoes as Chairman.”

Joanne speaking at the 2018 Reason to Hope Luncheon

“Over the years, I’ve supported Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Reason to Hope, and I served as Chairman of the Board 2016-2018. I recently nominated several fantastic new folks to our Board, such as Cindy Wall, Lisa Hasty, and Dan Goerke, who stepped into my shoes as Chairman.”

This holiday season, consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Association so we can continue our important work in providing Alzheimer’s care and support and accelerating research.

To learn more about getting involved with the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter visit alz.org/georgia

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