The UnaBASHed Smiles Foundation was conceived by three friends, Allison Colson, Kalynn Amundson, and Scotty Zollars, who through the difficulties of a good friend became aware of the dental trauma suffered by many victims of LGBT bullying. He had endured several years of bullying and gay-bashing and was faced with the progressive demise of his upper teeth. Following several serious dental emergencies and a series of consultations and second opinions, he received a two-phase treatment plan with a total cost $25,000. Being self-employed as a professional singer, he clearly couldn’t afford this treatment on his own. To support him and others like him, in August of this past year the three friends created a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo called UnaBASHed Smiles. The campaign raised 62% of the $10,000.00 goal (the amount needed for the first phase of treatment) and after the Indiegogo crowdfunding fees were deducted, the campaign earned a total of $5,472.72. Although this first campaign did not succeed in reaching the initial $10,000 goal, the campaign committee unanimously agreed to search out alternative means to fund the dental treatment plan for their friend and first campaign recipient.
Failure to reach the fund-raising goal, was not going to be allowed to result in failure to reach the campaign's initial objective, dental restoration for their friend and campaign recipient.
The campaign organizers needed a victory for their friend; they needed to show its generous donors the amazing achievement their financial support provided; and, most importantly, the campaign needed a success story with which to move forward and to become a vital non-profit organization in order to help the countless others who have suffered dental trauma from LGBT assaults.
As the committee explored ideas for funding the needed dental treatment, a campaign donor suggested seeking treatment outside the United States, specifically in Mexico where medical expenses are considerably less expensive. The committee, immediately and with caution, began to explore this option. After examining multiple clinics, the team was delighted to find one that considerately addressed all its concerns and would be able to complete the work with the limited campaign donations that had been received.
This clinic, the ConfiDent Smile Studio in Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico, operates under the leadership of Dr. Danilo Gaspar who specializes in dental implantology. Working with Dr. Gaspar, the committee moved forward with the campaign and organized a treatment plan for their recipient.
The results were better than could have been imagined. The campaign recipient received impeccable dental care and amazing customer service; furthermore, the campaign saved over $17,000 by having the treatment completed in Los Algodones.
The success of this campaign is completely due to the kindness and generosity of its donors, and for that the committee is truly humble and thankful. The donors' commitment and support brought the campaign one step closer to helping LGBT people who have suffered dental trauma from assault.
It is clear that UnaBASHed Smiles can be successful, that it is a desperately needed organization, and that it must move forward and become a non-profit, charitable organization. The committee met on May 15, 2015, and worked on the following agenda:
1. Begin the process of establishing a non-profit foundation.
2. Establish a clear statement of purpose for the UnaBASHed Smiles Foundation.
3. Create articles of incorporation and by-laws.
4. Elect and establish a board of directors.
5. Determine terms of offices for the board of directors.
6. Establish the governing rules for the board of directors.
7. Explore and begin the process of officially applying for Section 501(c) (3) status.
8. Determine the foundation start-up expenses and begin researching methods for launching the foundation start-up funds campaign.
9. To publish a press release providing a status update on the foundation.
Once the foundation has voted on moving forward with its chosen start-up funding campaign, another update will be released and the start-up funding campaign will begin.
Again, this campaign could not have achieved its first success without all of its donors. Their generosity gives the committee great hope that many more LGTB youth and adults will soon have reason to smile.