Carmel couple’s $1.2M donation to Alzheimer’s Association promotes equity in underserved communities


Michael Harrington and his wife, Judy, know how important support from the Alzheimer’s Association was for them.

Micheal lost his mother, Mary Ellen Harrington, to Alzheimer’s disease, and Judy’s father, Dr. Gilbert Small, died with a form of dementia.

The Carmel couple has made a $1.2 million donation to launch “ALZ Equity for Indiana,” which will help the Alzheimer’s Association reach underserved communities. The four-year initiative will focus on outreach to populations that are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia, including the Black, Latino and LGBTQ communities.

The gift has allowed the Alzheimer’s Association to hire a director of diversity, equity and inclusion, and it will add a staff member.

The gift is the largest single donation of any kind to the Greater Indiana Chapter and the largest donation focused on diversity, equity and inclusion ever made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, we knew we needed help to understand the disease and to learn how to care for her,” Michael said. “We were fortunate to have access to resources that many people do not. Still, we needed the help of the Alzheimer’s Association. Their help made a huge difference for our family. Judy and I want every family to have access to those resources and information.”

Michael said the Alzheimer’s Association helped his family understand the disease and its likely progression.

They helped us get in front of my mom’s decline so that we could provide her with the care she needed,” said Michael, who retired from Eli Lilly Co., in January 2020. “Critically, they helped us feel that we weren’t alone and validated the emotions and struggles we were having.”

Michael, who joined the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter board in July 2021, said the donation is a positive way to remember and honor his mother and Judy’s father, along with other members of our family who struggled with the disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, older Black Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older whites and older Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older whites. For more, visit