Wow. What a difference a few months can make.
Turn back the calendar just 120 days. It was January. Your office was busy, your staff was taking on the new year and you were probably hoping that the severe winter weather would miss Wisconsin so that your patients could get to your office safely.
The Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation was in much the same situation. Donated Dental Services was up and running with low-income patients placed in state dental offices receiving much needed oral care. Fundraising and planning was in full swing for the WDA Mission of Mercy that was set to take place in June. Grants were being provided to charitable oral care clinics to support their programs and scholarship applications were being distributed at Marquette University and at technical colleges around the state.
Things were humming along as they should be.
Then suddenly, everything changed. The unthinkable happened and COVID-19 was reported in the United States. What seemed impossible suddenly started coming true throughout the country. Patients were fearful of visiting their dentist or doctor…and shortly, those offices began providing only limited emergency services. Residents had to “suit up” as they became wary of visiting the local grocery store without donning a mask and gloves. One by one concerts, sporting events, festivals, even fireworks were cancelled. We were all basically confined to our homes to maintain social distancing.
Our lives were turned upside down and charitable organizations like the WDA Foundation were no exception. It is no longer business as usual. The Mission of Mercy was postponed and the staff and local committee are working to reschedule it. Donated Dental Services cases have been put on hold as offices are temporarily unable to provide routine oral care for those patients. Scholarship distribution was delayed as students wait to return to class or clinic. Many dentistry-related nonprofits were forced to make changes in their programs, so the Foundation’s grant program revised its policy to more efficiently provide financial help. Even the annual Golf Classic, the Foundation’s major fundraiser, is in jeopardy as we wait to determine its fate for this year.
Slowly things will be more like the normal we’ve come to know. We will go back into our offices for a regular day of work. Patients will return for their oral check-ups and cleanings.
When things start to fall into place, please take a moment to remember the WDA Foundation. Like you, the Foundation is being seriously impacted due to the pandemic. We’ve lost individual donations as well as Mission of Mercy funding but with your help down the road, the WDA Foundation, like you, will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever before.
We know a donation is not top of mind right now….and we wouldn’t expect it to be. But when things settle down, please know your support is very much needed and appreciated. Stay healthy!