About PGDF

Established in 2014, The Peter G. Dodge Foundation (PGDF) is a national grantmaking foundation that raises and distributes funds to advance the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

By far the most prevalent of substance use disorders, AUD affects over 15 million people in the United States. An estimated 88,000 people per year die from alcohol-related causes, making alcohol the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

While government agencies such as SAMHSA and NIAAA support large-scale scientific research, funding for pilot studies that open new areas of inquiry is scarce. Similarly, private philanthropy for addiction has historically been less robust than for other major health-related causes like cancer or heart disease. Funding is badly needed across the field to spark innovation and lead to transformation.

As the only non-governmental funder in the United States dedicated to promoting recovery from alcohol use disorder, PGDF’s work is critical to the health of the millions of Americans who suffer from this deadly disease.

How do we work?

PGDF cultivates relationships with individuals, corporations, and other foundations who are interested in improving the way people with alcohol use disorder learn about and access treatment and recovery, and who see the need to invest in new treatments for AUD.

By pooling the resources of these stakeholders, PGDF creates a grant fund, which is dispersed each year through a competitive open-application process. With each grant cycle, we strive to address the most pressing issues across the field, and to invest in initiatives that are likely to effect the greatest systemic change. Through collaboration with donors and grantees, we strive to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Our grant committee is made up of experts in addiction medicine, research, and advocacy, who carefully review the applications we receive. Using a thorough and effective vetting process for these proposals, we partner with innovative, world-class non-profit organizations to increase options, elevate awareness, and facilitate access to recovery from alcohol addiction.

In our first five years, PGDF has:

  • Presented educational events and resources on AUD to the public that have reached over 100,000 people
  • Funded three innovative pilot studies on novel strategies for treating AUD, opening new areas of scientific inquiry
  • Supported AUD-related training and education for an estimated 800 leaders in the addiction field
  • Sponsored reduced-cost treatment, referral to treatment, or treatment-enhancing services for approximately 1,000 people

Additionally, the PGDF Treatment Guide, researched and written by PGDF staff members Beth A. Nardi and Elizabeth Cairns, is a comprehensive guide to AUD treatment and recovery that details over 50 topics and 140 resources. The PGDF Treatment Guide is free to use, available 24/7, and has been visited by over 50,000 people since its inception.

Our history

Entrepreneur Peter G. Dodge founded PGDF to shorten the distance to recovery for people with AUD who struggle to get well through mainstream methods.

Like many with AUD, Peter attended traditional rehab and countless AA meetings, and while he respected the philosophy and how it seemed to help those around him, it didn’t help him control his drinking. He felt adrift and hopeless, and he was experiencing greater and greater consequences from his alcohol use. Over the course of a decade, Peter assembled a toolbox of supports for himself that first reduced harm, then allowed him to abstain. His hope in establishing PGDF was to raise awareness of all the options that exist for controlling one’s drinking, while continually working to surface new ones.

In its first five years, PGDF functioned as a traditional private foundation, with the majority of funds coming from Peter himself. In this first phase of its life cycle, PGDF worked to establish a reputation as a capable, forward-thinking organization that works with world-class partners to achieve lasting change. We completed four successful grant cycles, carefully choosing initiatives where our funding would make a substantial difference for people with AUD.

As our reputation grew and we began to receive more and more applications for funding, we realized that the need for what we do outstripped the resources that Peter could personally provide. We created a strategic plan that would transform PGDF into a public charity on the model of a community foundation, focused on an issue rather than a geographic area. We paused our grant cycle for a year to build the infrastructure we would need for this growth, and we are now positioned to serve as a major vehicle for collaborative philanthropy.

“When I founded PGDF, my hope was to lessen the suffering of people with alcohol addiction. My hope now is to eliminate that suffering – to leave behind a world in which anyone who wants to recover will be aware of, and have access to, all of the tools they need in order to do so.”

– Peter G. Dodge