In March of 2003, I found myself unemployed from a start-up company as a result of necessary lay-offs. While my convention fees and airfare were already paid for, the unexpected loss of a job drove the decision to forgo attending the annual AudiologyNow! convention in San Antonio, TX. Paying for accommodations, food, and other expenses related to AudiologyNow! was simply not a priority. Nevertheless, the situation was not only frustrating but, at the same time, made me feel extremely helpless.
Five years later, in July of 2007, I began a three-year term as a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Academy of Audiology Foundation (AAAF). That was when I first learned about the Member Assistance Program (MAP), an educational fund supported by donations from AAA members and corporate donors, designed to provide convention travel support to audiologists experiencing financial hardship. Certainly, this fund resonated with me on a very personal level, resulting in my give back moment. Through the small publishing company I established in 2003 called Auban, Inc., annual donations to AAAF have been made since 2007 including writing a separate check that is to be specifically designated for MAP every year. My only regret is that I didn’t start contributing sooner as I never want anyone to feel how I did in April 2003.
The mission of AAAF is to promote philanthropy in support of research, education, and public awareness in audiology and hearing science. Over the past 12 months, AAAF has provided funding for a number of projects including the Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology, production and complimentary distribution of a Hearing Assistance Technologies (HAT) DVD, research and educational awards to students including the Jerger Award for Excellence in Student Research, and the Turn It to the Left public awareness campaign just to name a few.
Since this is the month of Thanksgiving, anybody donating to AAAF on Thursday, November 11 through Wednesday, November 24 as a result of reading this post should let me know by sending me a personal e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org as I will have Auban, Inc. match your contribution, dollar for dollar, up to $1500. This is my personal way of saying “thanks” to the all the support provided by AAAF.