Selected Accomplishments of CAN

  • Organization starts: In 1993, Suzanne Mintz and Cindy Fowler founded the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA was the predecessor of the Caregiver Action Network) as an organization focused on addressing the issues and concerns common to all family caregivers.
  • National Family Caregivers Month: Creation of a nationally recognized month in honor of family caregivers, which is celebrated in communities across the county. In 1994, we began promoting the celebration of family caregivers during the week of Thanksgiving.  President Clinton signed the first Presidential Proclamation in 1997 and every president since has issued an annual proclamation appreciating family caregivers.  As interest grew in family caregiving issues, National Family Caregivers Week became National Family Caregivers Month, celebrated every November. 
  • Lifespan Issue: At a time when family caregiving was thought of solely as an aging issue, NFCA spoke about caregiving across the lifespan. Today the lifespan concept has been adopted by the other major caregiving organizations as well as the U.S. Department of Aging.
  • Media Reach: Became the “go to” organization for information on family caregivers for the media, Congress, government agencies, service organizations, and others assisting family caregivers.
  • National Volunteer Network: In 1999, established  a national peer-to-peer volunteer network to combat isolation and increase awareness of resources among family caregivers
  • Federal Program: In 2000, the federal National Family Caregiver Support Program is established.
  • Project of National Significance: Development of a curriculum and training program shown to positively impact family caregivers’ abilities to communicate effectively with healthcare professionals; the program received a “Project of National Significance” grant under the U.S. Department of Aging’s National Family Caregiver Support Program.  We have trained thousands of family caregivers throughout the U.S.
  • Promoted term “Family Caregiver”: Changed the language of caregiving from what is known in academic communities as "informal caregivers” to “family caregivers.”  The term “family caregiver” has been adopted as the official wording of the National Health Council, which represents the nation’s voluntary health agencies (e.g., American Heart Association, Alzheimer’s Association, as well as other patient organizations).
  • Awards: In 2006, NFCA’s CEO Suzanne Mintz was named one of the nation's most accomplished social entrepreneurs over sixty by Civic Ventures, a San Francisco based think tank. The award was given to her for her achievements in giving a voice to America’s family caregivers. Fifteen individuals received the prize out of an original list of 1,200 nominees.