By Mary Harp-Jirschele, J. J. Keller Foundation
When I attended the Association of Small Foundations’ 2010 National Conference in Austin, Texas, little did I know that I’d return to Northeastern Wisconsin with an idea that would change the face of dental care for thousands of needy children in our region.
During the ASF conference, I participated in the half-day site visit opportunity, and we traveled by bus to a variety of unique programs that benefited low-income people, which is the hallmark of the foundation I represent, the J. J. Keller Foundation, based in Neenah, WI.
One of those site visits took us to a school where a brightly colored bus was parked – not to transport children to and from school, but a unique bus that was fully loaded with dental equipment and traveled from school to school, serving the dental needs of needy children. St. David’s Foundation in Austin was credited with the gift, and I scooped up the materials and brought them home with me…and 18 months later, there is a big, blue, state-of-the-art mobile dental clinic making its way throughout our region!