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Posted: December 9, 2008
Nonprofit Spotlight: Michael Terlaak, Nanotechnology Research Foundation
(Nanowerk News) It may seem impossible to make significant changes on a microscopic level, but sometimes, that's exactly where you need to start!
Early detection of cancer, safer alternatives to chemotherapy, and many other very big changes are resulting from research and expansion in a field that works with materials on a very small scale – nanotechnology.
In an industry typically dominated by corporations and capitalistic ventures, the Nanotechnology Research Foundation has emerged as the first volunteer-based nonprofit focused on supporting the acceleration of nanotechnology awareness, education, recognition, funding and research – an accomplishment that Executive Director and Founding Member Michael Terlaak is proud to be a part of.
"We're creating a national synergy of scientific minds and projects to collaborate and develop a more effective means of achieving real solutions that will have significant impact," he said.
After working his whole life in the financial service market, Terlaak decided to take time off from the private sector and give back to society, not knowing he'd rekindle an idea that would benefit America and mankind as a whole.
In 2007, he started volunteering with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society primarily to help recruit volunteers and to assist with fundraising campaigns, and it was then that he began to revisit some of the basic potential applications of nanotechnologies concerning advanced cancer detection and safer alternatives to chemotherapies.
Seeing the possibilities that more research and awareness could bring, he began recruiting others with knowledge and interest in the field and established the foundation in July of this year. Most impressive however, is the amount of volunteer recruitment the organization has accomplished in just a few short months, giving it legs and the momentum it needs to move forward.
"We've recruited over 200 volunteers from across the country in approximately three months including our primary Webmaster, coordinators, internet researchers, graphic artists, fundraisers, public speakers, grant writers, and business development and marketing specialists. We couldn't have grown so fast without VolunteerMatch.org!"
Making impact across several fields including medicine, communications, heavy industry and consumer goods, nanotechnology helps discover new behaviors and properties of materials with dimension at the nanoscale ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers. New filtration systems for waste-water management, greater reduction of energy consumption, and new drug delivery systems are just a few of the things enhanced by its development.
The Nanotechnology Research Foundations mission is accomplished through a series of programs including education and outreach, scholarships, policy advocacy, leadership opportunities and by creating a national synergy of scientific minds and projects to achieve impactful solutions
"One of the most fulfilling aspects of what we are establishing is an ongoing national scholarship fundraising campaign that could potential provide additional funds to thousands of students around the nation,” Terlaak said.
"It's amazing what can be accomplished by working with so many volunteers and a common cause. Everyone brings their own personalities and skills to the table to share in supporting each others efforts."
Having become so consumed with the launching of the foundation, Terlaak now finds himself with very little free time, but offers some advice to others wanting to make a difference.
"You have to be passionate about what you do and the organization you are with," he said. "Because volunteering can be very time consuming, but also very rewarding."
Looking for volunteers to share in the passion you have for your organization? You can find them at VolunteerMatch.
About Nanotechnology Research Foundation
The Nanotechnology Research Foundation (NRF) is a non-profit organization focused on supporting the acceleration of nanotechnology awareness, education, recognition, funding, research and American innovation. We are a catalyst serving as the hub for the advancement of nanotechnologies. Its stakeholders include business and financial leaders as well as academic and research institutes from the private sector, in addition to government and other non-profit organizations with a common agenda. The NRF is advocating for increased private and government funding for advanced education and research to preserve American jobs in the ever increasing global competition for high-tech dominance.