The Canadian Section of the International College of Dentists (ICD) decided about 20 years ago to provide support to those dentists in Canada who chose to volunteer their services in underdeveloped countries. It was felt that this charitable outreach was part of what an honorary International dental group should do.
Our early efforts were sporadic and not as effective as the Board of Regents wanted to see, so a Projects Committee was established to look for and review proposals from dentists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and recommend worthy projects to the Board of Regents of the Canadian Section for consideration and approval. This process continues to function well.
Early on, the decision was taken to fund capital items, dental equipment and supplies of various types, and the transportation of these items. It was expected that all services would be by volunteers who provided for their own transportation and living costs.
In order to provide for funding of our projects, in 1995 we established through the Dentistry Canada Fund (DCF), the ICD Humanitarian Projects Fund, so that Fellows of the ICD and others could make donations and receive income tax receipts. Over time, the fund grew to $50,000. but we became frustrated by the relationship with DCF as there was a 18% service charge on each donation plus a 15% surcharge on the interest our fund generated. We could not get DCF to reduce these costs, despite the fact that all the promotion requesting donations was done by the ICD.
The decision was made in 2002 to create our own charitable organization and in 2003 the William J. Spence ICD Memorial Foundation was registered with the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency. This is a Public Foundation, which allows us to issue tax-deductible receipts, but 80% of the receipted donations must be disbursed annually to donees with a similar Charities Directorate registration. There is also a provision to hold designated gifts for a period of 10 years or more while just disbursing the interest earned.
Because the promotional work for donations is done by the Canadian Section, and receipts and materials enclosed with Canadian Section mailings, our cost of managing our Foundation internally averages less than $400 per year, and with no front end fees or surcharges it means that virtually all of the donations can be used for the good works for which they were intended.
Unfortunately, DCF has refused to transfer the $50,000. in our ICD Humanitarian Projects Fund to our Foundation, but does forward the interest earned each year (less the 15% surcharge) to the Canadian Section for our use in our charitable activities and student awards.
In the 13 years that the Canadian Section has been actively involved in supporting dental care in the third world, we have provided more than $146,500. in support of 27 different applications, with services having been rendered in Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Zambia, Myanmar, Brazil, North Korea and one in Northern Canada. Six different NGOs, two Universities and two individuals with NGO alliances have received funding.
This is a record you and other Fellows should be proud of. Desperately needed care has been provided to thousands of people who otherwise would have had no care. Pain has been relieved, preventive dentistry advice given, restorations placed and extractions performed.
We welcome requests for support for worthy projects which fit our guidelines. Application forms are available from the Registrar of the Canadian Section.
Since we established the William J. Spence ICD Memorial Foundation, our donations have increased from less than $10,000. annually to more than $32,000. in 2008. The Board of Regents decided some time ago to disburse to worthy causes all donations received each year, rather than the 80% required by the Charities Directorate, so donors would know how their money was being used.
We now have some $27,000. in our investment fund which we could disperse in the event that our annual donations fall short of what we want to put into worthy projects. We also have a capital grants fund within the Foundation for those who wish to provide a lasting legacy. Recently the estate of Honorary Fellow Margie Spence donated $30,000. to this fund, which when received will bring it up to $37,000. This money must remain in the fund for at least 10 years but annual return on investment can be used each year. We hope over time there may be more such bequests.
This then is a brief summary of our charitable activities. If more information is desired it may be obtained from the Registrar of the Canadian Section, or from me, the current President of our William J. Spence ICD Memorial Foundation. Thank you for your support in the past and we look forward to your continuing support in the future.
Master Fellow G. Roy Thordarson,