By: Lindsey Rowan
The Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology, commonly referred to as “The Foundation”, is Partner in Association Management’s only non-profit 501(c)(3) managed organization. Celebrating its 10 year anniversary, the Foundation was incorporated in December 2008 with the help of its sister organizations – the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) and the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC). It is the final leg to the tripod that now stands tall in support of education in the dental laboratory profession.
The purpose of the Foundation is to advance the profession of dental laboratory technology by developing educational content and work or training programs that will be relevant and accessible to dental technicians and other members of the dental team. As a 501(c)(3) organization, the organization does not have annual meetings or members, but rather one-time and multi-year contributors, such as manufacturer and supplier partners, as well as dental laboratory owners and individual technicians.
Reflecting back on the past ten years, four of which I have had the pleasure of being a part of, below are a couple of highlights I felt were worth mentioning.
The Foundation’s Most Successful Fundraising Story
In 2014, the Foundation Board of Trustees took a chance on the brilliant idea of fundraising around a triathlon, whereby dental laboratory professionals can support the Foundation through sponsorship, as a participating athlete, spectator, or general advocate. Little did we know that the first “Race for the Future” would cause a hype of friendly competition, lead some to get bit by the triathlon bug, and bring in over $35,000. Participating athletes individually fundraised by reaching out to colleagues, friends, and family, and some even took it to the next level through office competitions, car washes, and bake sales. Fast forward five years and we recently closed out the Race for the Future 5.0, which brought in over $96,000 and we are planning the Race for the Future 6.0 in 2019.
How does the Foundation give back to the dental laboratory industry?
Every dollar donated supports the Foundation’s mission by going toward educational programs based on the needs of the industry, such as grants and scholarships to candidates interested in certification and schools that offer formal education. Over 10 different grants and scholarships are awarded annually to both professionals and schools. In 2018 alone, the Foundation provided 44 CDT Pillar Scholarships, totaling nearly $40,000, which pays for the tests associated with the Certified Dental Technician (CDT) designation. Amongst many other educational success stories, such as launching an online education platform currently hosting over 50 courses, the Foundation is working on launching an online comprehensive program that focuses on teaching core based competencies for current and future dental technicians.
The Foundation Board of Trustees
The Foundation Board is a nine member board. They are strictly volunteers, many of them running their own successful business, yet they still find the time to put their heart into the organization. How many organizations can say their Chair went out and found a horse just to shoot a quick 30 second marketing video for an ongoing Harley-Davidson® raffle fundraiser? Many participants cringe at the thought of swimming, biking, or running, but that doesn’t stop them from participating in a Race for the Future relay team or swinging pom poms from the sideline. They don’t just provide leadership for the organization to succeed; they participate and almost every single one contributes monetarily on a regular basis. One individual has contributed nearly $40,000 over the past ten years.
It has truly been something special to watch the organization grow and follow alongside its mission every single day. This client and its Board is the reason I fell in love with Association Management. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Foundation as we continue to change lives and better the future of dental laboratory technology!