by Michael Jennings, D.D.S.
President, Michigan Dental Association Foundation
Another year will soon be ending, and I have to say it’s been a remarkable year for your Michigan Dental Association Foundation. And, 2014 is going to be even more remarkable, for reasons I’ll touch on in a moment.
First, a look back. This year your Foundation co-sponsored the first-ever Michigan Mission of Mercy event, held last June on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University. We were proud to be part of this fantastic access-to-care gathering, in which nearly 1,000 people received care. We were even more proud to see the outpouring of volunteers throughout the entire Michigan dental community, and the enthusiasm that was generated for the MOM. You know, when you do good things, it’s contagious. We hope to see more of that excitement at next year’s MOM, taking place May 30-31 in Big Rapids on the Ferris State campus.
As you saw on Page 1, your Foundation recently awarded $20,000 in grants to four very worthwhile organizations. These greats will go a long way in helping many people find dental care and oral health education that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Each program is different, but each has already been proven effective. We can all applaud everyone involved in these efforts.
As always, your Foundation provided scholarships to dental, dental hygiene, and dental assisting students at schools around the state in 2013. We all know how expensive dental education is. I know from the personal testimonies of our scholarship students that our help has been invaluable to them. And we hope to do more in the future. With your help, we can.
We’ve also taken steps to strengthen the Foundation organizationally. We’ve revamped our committee structure and will be making changes to better communicate our mission, activities, and planned giving programs.
Perhaps most importantly, we’ll shortly welcome a new executive director to our Foundation -- a paid position that will help us increase our financial resources and help us serve our constituents better.
All this will be taking shape in 2014. It’s an exciting time for us, and I hope you’ll share our excitement along the way as we move forward in service.
On a final note, I’d like to thank Dr. Joan McGowan Schmerl, a longtime MDA Foundation board member, who is leaving our board this year. She’s had an exemplary career as an educator, as an oral health advocate, and as a tireless worker for the Foundation. Thanks, Joan.
Happy holidays to you all.