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Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.)

May 02, 2014

Every non-profit has a story to tell and a purpose to serve. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, commonly referred to as M.A.D.D., is no exception. Founded in 1980 by Candace Lightner after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver who had an existing DUI hit and run on his record, M.A.D.D. aims to prevent such tragedies by educating the public on the dangers of drunk driving as well as influencing law making with regards to drunk driving and driving under the influence.
M.A.D.D. Changes Over Time

Mothers Against Drunk Driving started out focusing solely on reducing the number of incidents of drunk driving in the U.S. Over time the focus of the group changed to curbing the use of alcohol—so much so that founder Candace Lightner left the group, telling USA Today, “has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned … I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving”. Despite Lightner leaving, M.A.D.D. continues to be a driving force behind bolstering anti-drunk driving laws and increasing drunk driving awareness through their ongoing public service campaigns as well as the leading provider of victims services to those who have been involved in drunk driving incidents and parents of drunk driving victims.
M.A.D.D. Makes History

Over the course of the organization’s history they have been extremely influential in the enactment of a number of state and federal laws. M.A.D.D. also plays an influential role in driving anti-drunk driving enforcement campaigns and has created a National Traffic Safety Fund which financially supports state and local traffic safety campaigns and programs. M.A.D.D. has also been a key player in convincing states to make seatbelt use laws a primary enforcement target which has helped to drive up seatbelt use in the U.S. from 12% in 1981 to roughly 85% in 2010 (according to the CDC). The group was also instrumental in convincing the federal government to lower the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from .10 to .08.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving: Other Key Successes

The aim of M.A.D.D. is to improve public safety through their pursuit of stricter enforcement and better regulation of alcohol. Over the course of nearly 35 years, the organization has succeeded in getting a number of initiatives and laws put into action. Some of the more notable successes in which M.A.D.D. has played a part are:

Requiring the use of Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock devices for first-time DUI offenders.
Lowering of legal BAC.
Increasing the frequency of sobriety checkpoints.

M.A.D.D. Services and Events

Mothers Against Drunk Driving offers a number of outreach and support services in addition to anti-drunk driving lobbying. They offer a hotline service to families who’ve lost a loved one to a drunk driver. The provide victim advocacy services and sponsor nationwide youth anti-drinking campaigns. M.A.D.D. also runs fundraising and awareness events called Walk Like MADD, which are walking events (though some areas have also started doing 5K runs called the MADD Dash). These events have raised over $3 million in funds to support Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their efforts to protect communities from the dangers of drunk driving.

To fund their services and campaigns the organization relies on donations, largely earned from fundraising events, but private individual and corporate sponsors also play a large part in their funding. Insurance companies, most notably, are among the top contributors to MADD. In 2012, Nationwide Insurance donated over $500,000 and State Farm was named as a donor in the $250,000 to $499,000 range. Other major corporate contributors to MADD include:

General Motors
Townsquare Media
BP Corporation
Walmart
Google

Total revenue for the organization in 2012 totaled $37,509,000. Additional financial information is available on the MADD website.
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