President’s Message—It’s About What You’ve Given Back

President’s Message—It’s About What You’ve Given Back

By Angela Shoup, PhD, President, American Academy of Audiology, and
Helena Solodar, AuD, Chair, AAA Foundation

(December 2, 2020)


Greetings, Colleagues…

As we look forward to the end of a year, and the beginning of a new year, we often reflect upon the past year’s accomplishments and lessons learned. For me, 2020 has been a particularly rich year in offering opportunities for growth.  

This is also the time of year when many in our society seek opportunities to give or to give back. As Denzel Washington noted, “At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished…it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better.  It’s about what you’ve given back."

As I pondered ways in which I can make a positive impact and give back, I decided to reach out to my friend Helena Solodar, chair of the American Academy of Audiology Foundation, for some insights into audiology philanthropy.

Thank you, Helena, to you and the AAA Foundation board members for your tireless efforts on behalf of our profession. I also want to thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. Can you share with our members more about the Foundation and Foundation activities?

Thank you, Angela. Thank you for having me join you and to share the value of the Foundation brings to our members. The AAA Foundation philanthropically supports the Academy in the areas of research, education, and public awareness. We raise funds to support initiatives that the Academy feels are vital to our members.     

The Academy has been working to enhance recognition of our members as the experts in hearing and balance care. The Foundation has been partnering with the Academy to realize our public awareness mission. Can you tell me more about these Foundation initiatives and efforts?

Currently, our energy is focused on the Find an Audiologist Campaign. We are encouraging members to update their membership dashboard and Find an Audiologist Directory profile, so we can share and showcase the benefit of this directory and help drive patients to our members.

Oprah Winfrey noted, “To move forward, you have to give back.” I’m impressed! The Foundation is really involved in helping to move the profession of audiology forward through philanthropic support. Why should our members support the foundation – and how can they participate in your current initiatives.

I believe that members truly do feel good about giving back to their profession and feel that it is the right thing to do…but, we still have to help members understand the benefit and value of where their money goes.

Over $115,000 is given out to students and professionals for research by way of grants and scholarships. Certain unique educational opportunities are made available, such as the Marion Down Lecture in Pediatric Audiology and select lectures on tinnitus management. Many members donate to simply say “thank you,” while others give because they passionately believe in the immediate initiative that we may be funding at that moment and time. Others also give for their own educational knowledge and for CEU credits.

Particularly at a time like now, when we need to educate the public about where to find good audiology care, the AAA Foundation is helping to drive communities of patients to the right source…our own Academy members...with our Find an Audiologist campaign. Our goal is for all Academy members to go to www.AudiologyFoudation.org and make any meaningful donation now. We really do need our membership’s support.

But, as a final point to share, we so appreciate the generous donations our colleagues have made since last October, which are being put to great use. Because of those donations, we are building a great infrastructure and framework for the amazing Find an Audiologist Directory Campaign. This thermometer graphic charts our fiscal milestones leading us closer and closer to our goal. 

Kathy Calvin, CEO and president of the UN Foundation noted that, “Giving is not about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” Our appreciation to the AAA Foundation for offering us an opportunity to make a difference in our profession!