Michael Kennedy

EVP, Chief Financial Officer, Muscular Dystrophy Association

Supernova Award Category: 

Tech Optimization and Modernization

The Organization: 

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is known worldwide as the largest and most impactful voluntary health organization dedicated to funding medical care, research, and advocacy for over 250,000 people in the United States living with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases. 

The Problem: 

By the end of 2017 MDA had reached the point where its operational and technology infrastructure had become cumbersome, costly, and antiquated.  This operational model created a substantial amount of administrative overhead and a lack of clarity/data around the financials for the organization.

The Solution: 

The solution to the problem was to build custom functionality on the FinancialForce platform that would enable the centralization of all services by creating a single end-to-end process that integrated numerous front offices with the national back office. 

The Results: 

In partnership with FinancialForce, the MDA was able to create an easy to use front facing menu by which field staff could select items for purchase, request services, and log donation deposits that had come through the individual district.  Additional information was collected which tied the requests to the local office (based on the User) and to the Event/Campaign which the goods and services were to be used for.  The efficiency created by this streamlined processing methodology has saved the MDA thousands of administrative man hours annually, which have since been converted into fundraising hours, resulting in more dollars for the Mission.  By centralizing the ordering of goods and services, the MDA has not only been able to gain better insights into their organizational spending, and found ways to further reduce costs, they have also benefited from improved brand recognition as a result of the standardization of PR materials and MDA branded goods being used across the entire organization.


All told, this conversion had a return on investment within one year, saved the MDA an estimated $10M in the cost of operations to date, and has enabled them to continue to focus on delivering their Mission through these unprecedented times. 

The Technology: 


Disruptive Factor: 

With the successful completion of this cloud-based process, MDA was in an ideal position to react swiftly and intelligently when COVID-19 came into the picture.   Being a cloud-based platform meant that it was accessible immediately from anywhere, greatly minimizing work disruptions from workplaces having to shut down.  Between the significant improvements in the data quality and accessibility, the Executive Team was able to quickly identify areas of the organization that could be downsized or eliminated while still maximizing the opportunity to drive revenue.

Shining Moment: 

In 2019, Mike Kennedy, MDA’s CFO was awarded “Finance Innovator of the Year” by FinancialForce for successfully customizing the FinancialForce platform to seamlessly integrate its front and back office.

About Muscular Dystrophy Association

For 70 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has been committed to transforming the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. We do this through innovations in science and innovations in care. As the largest source of funding for neuromuscular disease research outside of the federal government, MDA has committed more than $1B.