If you had to define a “white hat” lobbying shop, CRD Associates would be a good place to start. Since its founding 36 years ago, the firm has built its reputation advocating for good causes, oftentimes well before anyone perceived a need.
“In the beginning, we felt like the patron saint of hopeless causes,” noted Dom Ruscio who, along with Nick Cavarocchi and Joyce Briscoe, first launched the firm. “One of our first clients was the Alzheimer’s Association. But keep in mind that Alzheimer’s was hardly a household name back then, so it was a challenge explaining the demographics of an aging population, not to mention the tremendous financial toll Alzheimer’s would soon exact on society.”
A few years later, Lyle Dennis, a former House staffer who had cut his teeth in the hard-scrabble world of New Jersey politics, joined the firm. At the time, the scientific world was abuzz over the human genome and the potential it held for curing or preventing disease. But the idea of spending millions of dollars on mapping the genome without any assurance of immediate success would be a hard sell.
“The only way Congress was going to commit,” Dennis reasoned, “was if enough public and private stakeholders raised their voices.” Going “door-to-door” as he describes it, Dennis managed to organize dozens of disparate groups to form The Genome Action Coalition. The coalition mounted enough pressure to convince Congress to set aside $3 billion for a 10-year project to sequence the human genome.
Those early challenges set a pattern that continues to drive the firm’s work. In recent years, CRD Associates’ work on Capitol Hill has helped sharpen the government’s focus on pancreatic, liver and other deadly cancers; lesser known disorders like tuberous sclerosis and Alpha1; and breakthrough diagnostic tests.
But the firm’s work on ‘good causes’ extends beyond its paying clients. CRD Associates staff have helped with food preparation at Martha’s Kitchen, the DC-based food pantry. The firm also has a decades-old relationship with Reading Is Fundamental’s inexpensive book distribution program and with Books for America, which distributes new and used books to adult and youth literacy programs, homeless shelters, military bases and correctional facilities.
Above, CRD Associates founders and staff members work diligently both for their clients and their community.