Our History

Board Chair Janet McUlsky National Alliance for Caregiving Photo

The National Alliance for Caregiving was founded in 1996. Led by our founder Gail Gibson Hunt, a group of national organizations came together to meet the needs of caregivers in an aging America. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the American Society on Aging, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care, Glaxo Wellcome, and the National Council on Aging worked together to create a new association that could address the public policy needs of families and quantify the impact of one of the largest unpaid workforces in our society.

In the first twenty years, Gail brought the organizational from humble beginnings to a national powerhouse and global expert. Beginning with the 1997 research study, Caregiving in the U.S., conducted in partnership with AARP, NAC has played a pivotal role in shaping public policy for family caregivers and those in their care. In the following years, NAC’s work expanded beyond aging-related eldercare issues. NAC created new research on the economic impact of caregiving, the business case for supporting family responsibilities in the workplace, children as caregivers, and new disease-specific work in multiple sclerosis, diabetes, mental health, rare disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

On the advocacy side, NAC participated in multiple White House Conferences on Aging, joined national coalitions, and worked to provide education and information to inform the National Family Caregiver Support Program (2000), the Lifespan Respite Act (2006), the VA Caregiver Program (2010, expanded in 2018), and the RAISE Family Caregivers Act (2018). The leaders of NAC, including Ms. Hunt and members of the Board of Directors, worked to expand the capacity of the movement through providing technical support to a national network of state/local caregiving coalitions and by founding the International Alliance of Carer Organizations.

In 2018, after more than twenty years of leadership in caregiving, Gail passed the torch to her colleague, C. Grace Whiting, to carry the organization forward in its next phase.

Today, Gail’s commitment to individuals and families continues to shine through the work of NAC through the Hunt Research Program, our expanded advocacy department, and new and innovative projects to move the field forward. We are thankful for her contributions and those of other leaders in the movement.

Tribute to Gail Gibson Hunt, February 2018

In February 2017, the NAC Board of Directors and incoming President/CEO C. Grace Whiting celebrated Gail’s work to build a national and global caregiving movement at a celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. 

Recognition of Gail Gibson Hunt

Since 1996, Gail Gibson Hunt has led the National Alliance for Caregiving in its work to advance family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy.

Having worked with Gail Hunt on many projects, I am well aware of her great commitment, compassion and skill. After over 20 years of leading the Alliance to great accomplishments, I am glad she is continuing in a new role. As always, I wish her the best.

– Mathew Greenwald

Gail Hunt is an absolute inspiration and an important voice for how we can build a better society. She has set a vision that has been adopted by countless others. Gail is a leader of leaders.

– Mike Wittke

Back when you began, caregiving was not an issue for policy makers or the public. Through your pioneering work, persistence and long time commitment to the field, it has a front-and-center issue that has real momentum. You should be justifiably proud. Thank you for all you have done — and will do — to make the lives of family caregivers better.

– John Feather

Dear Gail – You are a rare human! Few people have courage, conviction, wisdom, strength, and endurance like you. The conversations about caregiving from all stakeholders are more informed and constructive because of you. And, because of your creation and leadership of the NAC, conversations will always be able to rise above political and individual interests, in the US and globally. A fitting quote may come from Robert Kennedy, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” I would argue you have changed an arch of history and certainly you’ve written the chapter about caregiving. Congratulations for what you have accomplished and for stepping up to counsel the next great generation of NAC’s leadership. Best wishes to you.

– Tom Wallace

Thank you for all your years of leadership and for all you have done for caregivers around the world.

– Jennifer Dexter

Thanks – looking forward to attending and sending warmest wishes to the entire NAC family! Easterseals is deeply appreciative of ALL of Gail and her team’s efforts on behalf of persons with disabilities, older adults and family caregivers!

– Jed Johnson

Now the fun starts!

– Scott Hunt

Congratulations and respect for building NAC (from scratch) into an international force for change! Step back and bask in the glow of your accomplishments. You’ve earned it!

– Glenn Gibson

Gail – Thank you for being a passionate, relentless and effective spokesperson for caregivers. Your persuasive advocacy has opened many hearts and minds, bringing attention to the essential role of caregivers. Those of us who are – or will be – caregivers, owe you a debt of gratitude.

– Katie Smith Sloan, Leading Age

I have known Gail since 2003 when she graciously accepted our invitation to address an international conference at Hyderabad India and created an ever lasting impression about her vision. Since then, I have had many interactions and she visited India many times, the last one being the 12th IFA Global conference in 2014 at Hyderabad, when I was the Global President of IFA. I remember an active role she played during the White House Conference on Ageing 2005 when I was invited to speak as a part of Global Round Table. In 2015, she made sure that I presented a paper in the 6th International Carers Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden. I hope to remain connected with her. I wish I were present at the memorable event this month to facilitate Gail’s significant contributions to the global caregiving advocacy efforts. My best wishes to her and the new CEO Grace at NAC.

– Dr. K R Gangadharan

Congrats on ALL your accomplishments! May your future adventures prove to be just as rewarding… big sis. 😉 Enjoy this next phase of the journey! xoxo

– Lynne Boveri

I so wish I could be there with you today to celebrate all you have accomplished. Your life has touched so many in such wonderful ways. Your legacy will live on within thousands of families who care deeply about their loved ones. Thank you for everything, and I hope to see you soon to congratulate you in person.

– Mike Magee

Gail- Thank you so much for being the powerhouse of caregiving. You’ve blazed a long and deep trail for all of us to follow. Enjoy this new season of life!

– Rachel Cannady

Gail: I’ve only known you for the last 7 of your 20 years at the Alliance, but it was clear by the time I arrived that you’d managed to put carers on the map. They have been a focus of attention at PCORI from the outset, thanks in good part to you and your achievements. You have also been a stellar member of PCORI’s Founding Board and for that I am ever grateful. Looking forward to continuing our work together.

– Joe Selby

Best wishes Gail! Thank you for your enormous contributions and for demonstrating the importance of family caregivers in this country.

– Jody Gastfriend

Congratulations on all the contributions you have made for caregivers everywhere as well as your leadership for NAC. I’m sorry I can not join you for this wonderful event, but wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

– David Lindeman

It’s has been an honor and pleasure working with you. Your work has inspired and motivate us to stay the course in advocating for families. Wishing you all the best in this new phase of your life.

– Laura Trejo

I regret that I can’t be at the event to honor Gail, but I want to express my deep gratitude for all that she has done for caregiving in America. Most of what I’ve learned about caregiving, I’ve learned from Gail. And beyond that, I know her to be a great leader and most importantly, a truly compassionate person. Gail, may you be as busy as you want to be, and congratulations on your new role as Founder. All the best.

– Bill Novelli

Gail, you have been a major force for advancing the needs of family caregivers and rallying others to advance solutions. Pioneer. Founder. Great titles and well deserved.

– Susan Reinhard

Thank you for all you have done to bring family caregivers and our concerns to the attention of the public. I am so glad to be a part of the National Alliance for Caregiving. Best wishes as you begin your new role!

– Jan Rabinowitz

All the best to you today and always, Gail. You have done a great job with the Alliance… You and your team put Caregivers on the map and your leadership will carry on for years to come.

– Kristi Lengyel

Thank you for all that you have done to get caregivers recognized with the health system and to improve their health and well-being. You presence in the field will be greatly missed! Wishing you many happy and healthy years of very well-deserved retirement.

– Lisa McGuire

Hats off to you Gail for all you’ve done through the years to advocate for family caregiving. All the best!

– Phyllis Hegstrom

When I think about Gail Hunt I see the fierce advocate she has always been for family caregiving and beyond! Her ability to survey and discover the needs as well as promote evidence-based solutions has been masterful. We will miss her leadership but know her legacy of NAC will continue on! It has been privilege to know her and learn from her.

– Robyn Golden

Gail, you’ve been a leader and inspiration to me and so many others. You were an advocate for family caregivers before there was a real recognition that they need advocacy. I have been privileged to work with you for over 20 years and hope that your new role will give you the space and time you need going forward. We still need you!

– Carol Levine

Gail, you have been a pioneer, a team-builder and an advocate for caregivers before their selfless contributions to healthcare, and to the welfare of others, was recognized. Now, fortunately, the fruits of your efforts are being recognized. Patients, Providers and Families are far better for your efforts. With gratitude, DEL

– David E. Longnecker, MD

Gail, thank you for all you have done throughout the years to advocate for caregivers and educate the world about the contributions made by caregivers as well as the issues they face. Thank you, too, for your support of Caregiver Coalitions across the nation. We are stronger because of it. Wishing you the best, always.

– Carol DeGraw

Gail, You’ve made a huge difference. By gathering a broad coalition of caregiver organizations and helping us work together on common interests, you have marshaled a force representing 44 million Americans. This force will become even more important as the population ages. I hope your new role gives you some breathing room, while still allowing us to benefit from your wisdom and skill.

– Sita Diehl

Gail, thank you for your leadership and commitment over the past decades. I’m sorry to miss your celebration; I’ll be out of town that day. All the best to you!

– Chris Herman

Thanks so much for your leadership on Caregiving. You have made such a difference in the lives of so many! Looking forward to celebrating your work and continuing to work with you in your new role.

– Amy York

Congratulations Gail! It’s wonderful to see you receiving such well-deserved recognition for your pioneering work and life-changing advocacy and compassion for all of us family caregivers. I’m so glad you will be continuing to stay involved with the AgingWell Hub.

– Diane Ty

Gail — Thank you for all that you have done over the years to support family caregivers. Millions of patients and their families owe you a debt of gratitude. All the best in your new role.

– Stephanie Mohl

Dear Gail, Imagine, it’s been over twenty years that NAC took the lead on research that called attention to working caregivers and the impact on employers. Happily for me, our partnership also helped to put the MetLife Mature Market Institute on the map and was the beginning of our professional and personal friendship. Gail, you have built an amazing organization, something to be proud of. And I’m happy that you will continue to speak out and to serve on boards. So much has been accomplished through NAC but there is still more to do—and caregivers need your passion, your intelligence and your commitment to continue to light fires and carry the torch. I send my good wishes to you for a future of new accomplishments, adventures….and more time to have some fun!
Warm Regards, Sandy

– Sandra Timmermann

Gail, your work crystallized our understanding of the critical importance of family caregivers. Thank you for your tremendous leadership over the years.

– Teresa Lee

Congratulations Gail! Thank you for your many years of service to Caregiving. The best of luck and health.

– Susan C. Reinhard

Gail, I wish I could attend this celebration and be among the throng to THANK YOU for all your pioneering work over the decades to shape the face of caregiving today. I recall that first day we met in DC many decades ago and you’ve spearheaded a movement that thrives because of your energy, intellect and dedication. I leave today for Israel returning mid March; however, I’ll certainly be thinking of you and wishing you well. I hope to see you in June and hear highlights of this wonderful event. Know that if it were possible I’d be there for sure. CONGRATULATIONS!

– Joyce Cohen

Gail, you have contributed so much wisdom and insight into our understanding of the important role of caregivers in our society. I appreciate the focus, empathy and support that you’ve given to caregivers. Your work has encouraged others to continue to do additional research leading to important articles and books on the subject. My work has personally been influenced by you to interview and pass on the wise words and deep learning that caregivers have to offer. Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition.

– Connie Goldman

I’m sorry I can’t attend this event where your amazing legacy as founder and leader of the Caregiving Alliance will be appropriately celebrated. I am honored to know you even a little and look forward to future conversations about your “next chapter.”

– Meg Newhouse

Gail, you’ve been such a beacon of inspiration and a effective leader, forging progress in such a desperately needed element of our society. You’ve woven caregiving into the routine thinking and strategies for so many of us. Wishing you all the best in your next adventures

– Tom Edes

I am so glad for all the caregivers, past and future, that you will continue to share your leadership and vision as Founder for the National Alliance for Caregiving. As you take on what’s next for you, you continue to set an example for us all to emulate. Thank you for all that you have done to advance these issues. It’s terrific to celebrate the momentum on caregiving now with NAC and recognize Gail’s huge role in that.

– Sarah Lock

Gail, I would so love to be there in person and wish you an incredible evening celebrating a lifetime of work/legacy/changing lives. Best to you!

– Diane Doster (The Society Tribe)

Gail, you are an amazing visionary, an inspirational leader, and a compassionate champion for caregivers in the U.S. and around the globe. It has been an honor and privilege to work with you over the years. Enjoy your new role as Founder. All the best!

– Sandy Markwood

It has been our distinct pleasure to work with you over the years, Gail! Thank you for your incredible leadership and enduring commitment to highlighting the unmet needs of caregivers in the U.S. and globally! We wish you all the best as you transition to your new role and we look forward to our continued collaboration!

– Scott Williams, Hazel Moran, and Meagan Bates

Gail: Thank you for your leadership and distinguished service. Your advocacy on behalf of caregivers has illuminated the dignity of caregiving and defined its true value for family, community and the profession. Your work and wisdom guide us and inspire us to continue to press for positive change for all those who need care – and all those who care for them.

– Freda Lewis-Hall

Gail Hunt has made a lasting contribution for the recognition of family caregivers and her advocacy for programs and policies that support them. Thank you for all your years of leadership and the courage to tell the story of families who struggle, who care and who tell of rich rewards too. From all of us at Family Caregiver Alliance, thank you and wish you all the best for your next chapter too!

– Kathleen Kelly

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