Global Dental Relief (GDR) was founded in 2001 as the Himalayan Dental Relief Project by former Director of Colorado State Parks, Laurie Mathews, and dentist Andrew Holecek. While on sabbatical in Nepal, Laurie and Andrew recognized the desperate need for dental care in a country which, at the time, had 120 dentists for a population approaching 24 million. They knew that if children received early dental care and oral health education, it would change their lives.
In 2003, Laurie and Andrew were joined in this effort by adventure travel expert Kim Troggio. Her clients were seeking to connect more deeply with the people and communities on their sightseeing tours. She knew that not only local children but also international travelers could be transformed by the experience of providing service in remote communities around the globe.
These social entrepreneurs have been working in partnership ever since. Today, Kim serves as the director of the nonprofit Global Dental Relief, while Andrew serves on the Board Emeritus and Laurie has returned to her roots and spends her time with GDR in the field.
To date, through their combined efforts, more than 2,600 volunteers have provided over $35 million in donated care to more than 170,000 children.