A Message from President Patty Prelock

July 2, 2020

“Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.”

—Kathy Calvin, Past President and Chief Executive Office, United Nations Foundation

As we kick off 2020, and begin a new decade for making a difference, I am excited to begin my first year as president of the ASHFoundation. It is my distinct privilege to be serving you and our Foundation.

To be very honest, when I first wrote this message, we weren’t dealing with a COVID-19 health crisis in our country. A lot has changed since then, and my heartfelt best wishes go out to you and your loved ones for your good health and safety. With that being said, I want to assure you that our Board of Trustees and staff remain committed to the important work of the ASHFoundation. We are continuing to carry on to ensure the ASHFoundation’s tradition of support for our discipline’s promising innovators.

Reflecting on what lies ahead, I am struck by Kathy Calvin’s quote. It is an important reminder of why we are involved with the ASHFoundation. We are ASHFoundation givers—whether a generous donor or a volunteer, or a passionate recipient of an ASHFoundation award—we are committed to making a difference. I am proud to be on this giving journey with you, and to be part of an organization that truly is affecting the lives of so many people.

Recently, the ASHFoundation awarded its largest single-year disbursement in its history—a record $762,000 awarded to 85 promising innovators. These amazing recipients are charting new pathways to bring the gift of communication, and the power of connection, within reach for so many people dealing with speech, language and hearing disorders. The ASHFoundation achieved this landmark funding because of your generosity and our collective giving, along with extraordinary support from ASHA, our affiliated partner.

You are making a difference!

Our ASHFoundation is the only charitable organization dedicated solely to the communication sciences. Throughout its lifetime, the ASHFoundation has provided more than $10M that has led to transformative change in our field. I am particularly struck by how one of our past award recipients describes the Foundation’s impact.

Gayla Poling, PhD, Mayo Clinic, tells us that her ASHFoundation funding “...was instrumental in my professional development, fueled my passion for translational clinical research and improved my approaches to daily clinical practice. It is a privilege to see the translation of what we learn from clinical research having an impact on the patients we care for on a daily basis.” A two-time ASHFoundation recipient, Gayla is seeking ways to prevent and treat hearing loss in patients receiving life-saving cisplatin treatment for cancer. She is helping patients preserve their quality of life.

Gayla is making a difference!

Our future is bright: our 2020 program offerings are well underway, including 6 research grant offerings, 6 scholarship programs; and 3 clinical recognition programs. We remain focused on our research to practice priority with our 2nd offering of the Research-Practitioner Collaboration Grant this year. Thanks to a special endowment gift, we will hold an exciting invited session during the 2020 ASHA Convention in San Diego that will bring an international perspective on closing the science-practice gap. In 2021, we celebrate the ASHFoundation’s 75th Anniversary!

Keep an eye on our web site to stay abreast of all of these exciting opportunities.

I am so very grateful for all your support and want to thank you for stepping up and making a difference. We rely on your generosity to spark innovation and change people’s lives. I invite you to join me and some of my fellow ASHFoundation board members in a challenge to commemorate this new decade and to help us accomplish even more. Please join us by “stepping-up” your support this year and connecting your donations to the number 2020. Maybe you could give $220 more this year, or $20 more, or a gift of $2,020? I hope you will join me for this 2020 Challenge...and thank you for stepping-up your support!