ODA members advance oral health in Ohio through ODA Foundation

The Ohio Dental Association Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the ODA, affords all ODA members the opportunity to join in its mission of “Advancing oral health in Ohio” through donations.

In 2015, more than 1,000 ODA members contributed to the ODA Foundation primarily through donations made on dues statements and the annual raffle fundraiser at Annual Session.

“Dentists are people who have dedicated their lives to making a difference,” said Dr. Kim Gardner, ODA Foundation chair. “Through their philanthropy, they make a difference in the lives of the dental students they support through ODA Foundation scholarships. Our donors are a major part of the Foundation’s mission, for without them, the Foundation would not exist.”

Donations allow the ODA Foundation to award grants to access to care organizations in Ohio and scholarships to dental school and EFDA students who are Ohio residents. In 2015, nearly $85,000 was distributed in grants and scholarships.

ODA Foundation scholarships help students defray the cost of dental education, which continues to rise. Many students report that it is daunting to start their dental career while having a large amount of school debt looming over them, but scholarships can help alleviate this burden.

“One of the greatest pleasures of serving as a trustee on the ODA Foundation Board is reading the multitude of thank you notes we receive from students who are appreciative of this gift. Speaking to them personally at Annual Session solidifies my belief that the future of the profession is in good hands,” Gardner said.

Grants help improve access to oral health care by supporting community oral health programs across Ohio. Grants assist organizations that are helping Ohio’s most vulnerable populations receive the needed oral care they otherwise would not receive.

“Organizations applying for grants and students applying for scholarships realize that their first obligation is to the patient,” Gardner said. “The problem of access to care is minimized through these programs and through care provided, but more importantly, through education in the method of good oral health.”

Without the support of ODA members, the ODA Foundation would not be able to assist students and access to care organizations.

“Members of the ODA who contribute to the Foundation do so because they know their gift makes a difference in someone’s life – whether it is a dental or EFDA student, or a patient treated in a facility or program that receives a grant. We cannot function without their continued support. We value it and are so thankful for it,” Gardner said.

The ODA Foundation looks forward to a milestone year in 2016. It will surpass $1 million in grants and scholarships awarded since 1995.

“What a way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Ohio Dental Association! We are truly a blessed profession,” Gardner said.

Thank You Note

Dear ODA Foundation,

I wanted to say thank you to the ODAF for its continued support of students, especially in the form of scholarships. The past three years I have been a recipient of an ODAF scholarship, and I cannot thank you enough for making such a generous investment in my future. I appreciate everything the ODAF and ODA have done for me, and hope to encourage the next generation of dentists throughout my career.

Zach Christoff
CWRU DMD Class of 2016