Leading Eating Disorder Charities and Organizations

Advocacy Groups for Those Touched by Eating Disorders

Giving back to the eating disorder community can be incredibly powerful for patients and their families. Many patient advocates report that their advocacy work strengthens their own eating disorder recovery.

There are many ways you can turn your experience with an eating disorder into action and help others. Here are some of the leading organizations that promote attention to and provide support for eating disorders.

The National Eating Disorders Association

National Eating Disorders Association

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is a leading nonprofit in the field of eating disorders. NEDA was founded in 2001 through the merger of two other organizations, Eating Disorders Awareness & Prevention (EDAP) and American Anorexia Bulimia Association (AABA).

In 2018, NEDA also merged with the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA). The association’s national toll-free confidential hotline (800-931-2237) is staffed daily by trained volunteers that provide information, support, and referrals to treatment. They also offer 24/7 crisis support via text (send 'NEDA' to 741741). 

NEDA organizes fundraising walks throughout the United States at various times of the year. The walks serve as vehicles to unite communities and raise awareness. The organization's website also provides a wide range of free resources and information, including online screening and toolkits for parents, educators, and coaches.

"NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures, and access to quality care." — NEDA website

In addition, NEDA organizes and sponsors National Eating Disorders Week, also known as NEDAwareness Week, during the last week in February each year. The goal of this week is to raise awareness of the dangers of eating disorders and the need for intervention.

Moreover, NEDA’s Feeding Hope Fund for Clinical Research raises restricted funds specifically for providing grants to qualified clinical researchers. These research grants focus on innovative treatment, prevention, and training dissemination.

Individuals can support NEDA financially or contribute their time by volunteering, attending a walk, and/or spreading the word during NEDAwareness week.

Now incorporating BEDA as well, NEDA will continue the important work of that organization. Although Binge Eating Disorder (BED) did not become an official diagnosis until 2013, BED is actually the most common eating disorder.

Through outreach, education, and advocacy, BEDA made great strides to increase awareness, proper diagnosis, and treatment of BED.

NEDA will now incorporate this mission as well and also continue to address weight stigma including sponsoring Weight Stigma Awareness Week, an annual online event in September to raise awareness of weight stigma.

Project Heal

Project Heal was founded by Liana Rosenman and Kristina Saffran, who met while attending treatment for anorexia nervosa when they were just 13 years old. The two girls supported each other in achieving recovery. Along the way, they discovered that insurance coverage for eating disorders is severely lacking, leaving many unable to get the help they need.

In the spring of 2008, at the age of 15, Rosenman and Saffran founded Project HEAL to raise money for others suffering from eating disorders who want to recover but are unable to afford treatment.

Project Heal's mission is to “provide grant funding for people with eating disorders who cannot afford treatment, promote healthy body image and self esteem, and serve as a testament that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible.”

Project HEAL currently has over 40 chapters throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. All chapters seek to promote the mission and values of Project HEAL, focusing their efforts primarily on raising funds for their treatment grant program. They also focus on local community education about the dangers of eating disorders and on the encouragement of the idea that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible.

Project HEAL has recently launched a new peer support program called Communities of Healing, which includes one-on-one mentorship and a weekly support group led by peers in active recovery or recovered. Individuals can support Project Heal financially, get involved in a local chapter, or become a mentor.

Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders take a toll on families, but loved ones can be essential allies in recovery. Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders (F.E.A.S.T) is an international organization of and for caregivers of eating disorder patients.

F.E.A.S.T. serves families by providing information and mutual support, promoting evidence-based treatment, and advocating for research and education.

Around The Dinner Table is F.E.A.S.T.’s online support forum for parents of eating disorder patients from all around the world. It is moderated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

F.E.A.S.T also provides many excellent resources via its website including its well-written Family Guide series. They believe that empowered caregivers are essential to the recovery process.

The organization has over 6,000 members on four continents and is run entirely by volunteers and supported through individual donations. Family members can make donations to support the work of F.E.A.S.T. or can volunteer their time in a myriad of ways.

Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness

The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness ("The Alliance") is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing programs and activities aimed at outreach, education, and early intervention for all eating disorders.

Founded in October 2000, the Alliance offers educational workshops and presentations, free support groups, advocacy for eating disorders and mental health legislation, a national toll-free phone help line, referrals, support, and mentoring services.

The Alliance also produces a U.S. treatment referral guide and a ​new interactive referral site . The organization seeks volunteers to join committees, volunteer, and intern. They also accept donations and support for fundraisers.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. (ANAD) is a non-profit organization working in the areas of support, awareness, advocacy, referral, education, and prevention.

ANAD is the oldest organization aimed at fighting eating disorders in the United States. It was founded in the early 1970s by a nurse named Vivian Meehan.

ANAD assists people struggling with eating disorders and also provides resources for families, schools, and the eating disorder community.

In addition, ANAD provides a helpline and support services including mentors, grocery buddies, and support groups throughout the U.S. They have many rewarding and worthy volunteer opportunities and also accept donations.

Eating Disorders Coalition

The Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) focuses primarily on informing and influencing federal policy on eating disorders in the United States. Founded in 2000, the EDC has held two congressional briefings a year in order to bring increased attention to and awareness of eating disorders as a policy issue.

Twice per year, the EDC also sponsors National Lobby Days, bringing 50 to 100 advocates to lobby Congress in Washington D.C. EDC’s regular action alerts have encouraged thousands of constituents to contact members of congress about eating disorder policies.

The EDC has impacted such legislation as:

Individuals can get involved with the EDC by donating, personally advocating for eating disorders, and by attending a Lobby Day, which can be a very empowering experience.

National Association for Males With Eating Disorders

One-quarter of all patients with eating disorders are male. Historically, boys and men with eating disorders have received inadequate attention, research, support, and intervention. N.A.M.E.D. plays an important role in filling this gap by offering information and resources about and support to this underrepresented population and their families.

N.A.M.E.D. is the only organization in the United States exclusively dedicated to representing and providing support to males with eating disorders. They provide support for males affected by eating disorders, provide access to collective expertise, and promote the development of effective clinical intervention and research in this population.

The N.A.M.E.D. website is also an excellent resource on male eating disorders. They accept financial donations and also provide opportunities for males with eating disorders to participate in research that is critical to a better understanding of male eating disorders.

Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)

While obesity is not considered an eating disorder, many people with obesity struggle with disordered eating. The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is a great organization that can help people understand and tackle their disorder eating. The organization also strives to help people find greater access to care and combat weight bias and discrimination.

World Eating Disorders Action Day

World Eating Disorders Action Day (#WeDoAct) is a confederation of eating disorder activists, professionals, parents/caregivers, and those personally affected.

Held annually on June 2, World Eating Disorders Action Day is a grassroots movement designed by and for people affected by eating disorders, their families, as well as the medical and mental health professionals who support them.

Uniting activists across the globe, the aim is to expand global awareness of eating disorders as genetically linked, treatable illnesses that can affect anyone. Individuals can get involved in World Eating Disorders Action Day virtually and locally to help spread the word.

Organizations in Other English-Speaking Countries

Beating Eating Disorders (BEAT) was founded in 1989 as the first national charity for people with eating disorders in the United Kingdom. BEAT provides helplines, treatment finders, and online support groups. Individuals can get involved in fundraising, awareness events, and can volunteer for the organization.

The Butterfly Foundation in Australia provides education, treatment, support groups, and a national phone helpline. Individuals can both donate to and volunteer with them.​

The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) is a Canadian non-profit providing resources on eating disorders and weight preoccupation. They operate a toll-free helpline, have a national directory of treatment providers, and provide education and awareness about eating disorders. They have opportunities for volunteers and also accept donations.

For Professionals

The Academy for Eating Disorders is a leading professional association that provides global access to knowledge, research, and best treatment practice for eating disorders. The guidelines for medical management of eating disorders are an important resource for all professionals.

A Word From Verywell

Volunteering your time or donating money to a cause of your choice can be a very meaningful activity. Within eating disorders, there are a number of reputable organizations and many ways to contribute.

You are encouraged to do your own research on the aforementioned organizations or other associations and find the charity and/or activity that is significant to you. You may strengthen your own recovery and develop strong connections to other advocates in the process.

By Lauren Muhlheim, PsyD, CEDS
 Lauren Muhlheim, PsyD, is a certified eating disorders expert and clinical psychologist who provides cognitive behavioral psychotherapy.