Global Dental Relief (GDR) was founded in 2001 by former Director of Colorado State Parks, Laurie Mathews, and dentist Andrew Holecek. Laurie and Andrew spent a year in Nepal and were deeply moved by the desperate need for dental care, particularly for children.
In 2002, they were joined by adventure travel expert Kim Troggio. Wishing to connect more deeply with local people, Kim added her vision to provide impactful ways for volunteers to explore the world and serve remote communities around the globe.
With time, GDR’s reach expanded as the growth in volunteers allowed GDR to add new country locations. Expansion included:
- 2001 — Nepal
- 2004 — Ladakh, India
- 2004-2013 — Vietnam
- 2007 — Guatemala
- 2013 — Kenya and Cambodia
- 2019 — Akumal, Mexico
- 2020 — Jenkins, Kentucky
Today, Global Dental Relief has grown from 27 volunteers in 2002 to 380 dedicated volunteers joining us annually — dentists, hygienists and general volunteers. Global Dental Relief volunteers now serve 22,000 children each year with $4.5 million in donated dental care.
GDR’s work continues under Kim, who serves as the director of Global Dental Relief, while Laurie serves on the Emeritus Board and devotes her time to GDR small adventure clinics in the field.