Our 2019 Reflection on SMART Recovery: A Year of Development, Evolution, and Growth.

Dear SMART Community,

As we close out our 2019 Silver Anniversary year, we completed our greatest decade of growth and an outstanding year. Leading SMART all the way is our thousands of volunteers who save and renew lives at meetings around the world.

We have provided a short 2-minute video that shows some of the highlights from 2019. Following the video is a more detailed summary of just some of the outstanding activities and events that either took place or are underway.

  1. We reached more individuals and families in need of our support and improved our support for our volunteers’ efforts.
  • At the start of 2010, we had 300 meetings in the U.S. By the end of 2019, we have grown to more than 2,200 meetings. While it’s difficult to estimate, we can say that during this decade we helped more than a million people—those struggling with addiction, family members, and friends.
  • Created a new SMART volunteer-only intranet (VolunteerHQ) to provide support information, tools, and training content (including video productions). We are excited to launch this in early 2020.
  • Designated National Office staff exclusively to meeting support to track growth and retention rates, offer support, and to recruit and retain our volunteers.


  1. We made significant progress toward building a sustainable business model.
  • Increased the combined publication sales and training revenue of $960K, netting over $400K to spend on staff and resources. This revenue is expected to grow significantly in 2020 with a new online program for Treatment Professionals, increased on-site training, and expanded use of the new National Office Training & Conference Center —expected to be a six-figure revenue generator.
  • NAADAC approved SMART to offer CEU accreditation for our onsite, online, and regional and national conferences, providing a new source of income to support our sustainability.


  1. It was a banner year for fundraising, including:
  • Over $350,000 in donations from individuals, SMART meetings, and others.
  • Approved for $100,000 from the State of Ohio. SMART was the state’s first addiction/recovery nongovernmental organization (NGO) ever to receive state funding. As a result, this was considered a “pioneering” grant.
  • $75,000 from the Chris and Debbie Swain Charitable Foundation to produce the first dramatic film based on SMART Recovery (Authentics). This gift Included $7,500 for SMART’s unrestricted use.
  • $40,000 from the Cleveland Foundation for local Ohio-based outreach initiatives and national needs. This grant and the State of Ohio money are paying for a professional grant contractor, communications consultant, a professional trainer, and training center equipment.
  • $25,000 from U.S. WorldMeds, our first major corporate contributor, for various 2019 Silver Anniversary events, including the SMART National Conference. This and any future corporate grants require careful oversight to avoid even an appearance of relationships that could compromise our integrity.


  1. Our digital information systems & processes and national office operations became more efficient and effective.
  • Created more efficient reporting and management forms for processing volunteer and participant information, including the automation of meeting attendance verification requests.
  • Increased functionality and security of the network, website, cloud-based operating tools and the environment to support operations and communications.
  • Created the National Office Training & Conference Center, complete with advanced video communications technology, to facilitate onsite and remote training for up to 10 addiction recovery professionals.


  1. We learned how to better tell our story and applied these lessons to new avenues of outreach.
  • Enhanced the use of rich media through the SMART YouTube channel to extend our reach and tools to a younger and more diverse online community.
  • Introduced SMART Recovery to the U.S. Congress through aggressive and well-orchestrated outreach with support from the Secular Coalition of America with 19 member organizations, the Mental Health Liaison Group with more than 60, and the Coalition To Stop Opioid Overdose with over 30 and led by ASAM.

We look forward to meeting the exciting challenges of the next 25 years with the continued help of our SMART community of volunteers and professionals, and the strategic support of our Board of Directors and National Office staff. Together, we will continue our focus and efforts to expand the impact of the SMART mission to help individuals seek independence from their addictive and problematic behavior, and to support family members and friends.

We thank you again for the support of our SMART community and extend our best wishes to you for a prosperous, healthy, and productive 2020.




Bill Greer, President
Board of Directors
SMART Recovery USA, Inc.


Mark Ruth, Executive Director
National Office
SMART Recovery USA, Inc.

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