Making a Difference Essay Contest

2018 Essay Contest Information

Essay Contest information for the Fundraising and Development for Nonprofits Conference.

Compete for a “Making a Difference” Essay Contest

1st Place receives $500

2nd Place receives $300

3rd Place receives $200

To Submit an Essay  
Write an essay, entitled “Making a Difference,” and submit it via email to . These essays must fit on a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with no smaller than 12-point font. The deadline is 3 p.m. CST, Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

Essays must have the title “Making a Difference.” Please include your name and the official name of your organization. Your essay will tell a story of how your organization has made a significant difference to an individual or to a group of individuals. The essays will be judged by a three-person panel and awarded points on style, quality of writing, and how compelling your story is.

Winners will be announced at the Thursday lunch. If chosen, you will receive your award in the form of a check made payable to your organization, and you will be given the opportunity to read your essay aloud. GOOD LUCK …and please apply! This is the perfect way to prepare for the conference.

2016’s Winning Essay

“Making a Difference”

Submitted by Lisa Fitch/American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation

The first punch Barbara took from her husband shattered three of her front teeth. But he was just getting warmed up. Over the course of their 18-year marriage, she was kicked, thrown down stairs, and verbally abused. Her life took an even darker turn when he locked her in the basement, where she was denied food and raped as punishment for trying to stand up to him. Yet even after Barbara found the courage to leave her husband, her suffering didn’t end. Like many survivors of violence, she was reminded of her abuser each time she looked in the mirror. Her missing teeth hadn’t just destroyed her smile-they destroyed her self-esteem…her willingness to leave the house…and her ability to find employment.

Once Barbara found the strength to leave her abusive spouse for good, she was referred to the Give Back a Smile (GBAS) program. Established by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation (AACDCF) in 1999, GBAS is the only national program that restores damage to the front teeth due to domestic or sexual violence.

These services are provided free through the GBAS nationwide network of volunteer cosmetic dentists. Since the program’s inception, GBAS has restored the smiles of more than 1,600 survivors of domestic violence like Barbara. The value of these donated dental services exceed $15 million but the impact on the lives of survivors of domestic and sexual violence is immeasurable. GBAS program recipients describe it best:

“GBAS has given me more than a pretty smile; is has given me my passion for life back. It has given me the confidence to shine and smile each and every day. No longer do I cover my mouth when I smile or laugh due to embarrassment of the damage I suffered. No longer do I hide from having my photograph taken. No longer do I avoid mirrors. Gone is the constant reminder of what I suffered at the hands of another. Gone is the embarrassment and humiliation.”

“Now, as I wake each morning, I greet the day with a renewed sense of hope and joy, strength and purpose, then…a smile spreads across my face that is so bright, I feel like it could light up the whole world”