It was at the COCSA convention in New Orleans, La., on Nov. 11, 2004, that I first learned about what would become the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (FCP). Kent Greenawalt, CEO of Foot Levelers and founder of the FCP, described his vision to get the message of chiropractic out to the American public on a scale never before seen in our history.
The first step in Kent's vision was to get agreement from all of the major chiropractic entities - state and national associations, colleges, vendors and anyone else trying to promote a chiropractic message - to stop whatever separate promotion they were doing and begin to consolidate their efforts into a single focused, well-financed campaign. He'd seen enough fractured, underfunded attempts to promote chiropractic that didn't work to know we really needed to just stop and do it right for a change.
The second step in Kent's vision was to go after the best and most professional, effective public-relations people he could identify and ask them to craft a message to be communicated to the public. Kent was insistent that someone in the professional persuasion business develop the message and not doctors of chiropractic. While this seems obvious, it had never happened in the entire 100-plus years of our existence.
I'll never forget the humorous (though serious) slogan he shared with all of the profession's leaders at that COCSA convention: "We don't need your opinion (meaning we don't want to hear what you think our message should be), we just want your money." He said it with a smile, but he meant it. This was the attitude that guided the beginning months of the foundation.
Kent's third step was to create a funding mechanism (which ultimately became the FCP) to fund this effort as a permanent, ongoing campaign to get the message out to the people who need it most: the American public!
After hearing Kent's vision, I immediately understood the implications and possibilities of what he was proposing, and gave him my credit card number to become the very first FCP contributor. I've been a monthly contributor ever since.
I'm the kind of person who will give to a cause when I see the greater good that can come of it, and in fact, I support many such causes. In my home state of Michigan, I've supported my association's political and legal action committees for years on a monthly basis. I give monthly support to the National Chiropractic Legal Action Fund (NCLAF). I regularly give to my alma mater, Life University. And at varying times, I've given to several other worthy chiropractic efforts.
To be honest, I've never expected to have a single patient walk into my office as a result of any of the contributions I've made. But a few weeks ago, a young man walked into my office, a new patient, and announced to me that the reason he was in my office was because he had seen the foundation's Jerry Rice ad in Sports Illustrated! He told me he never even knew about chiropractic, much less considered seeing a chiropractor, until he saw that ad.
Wow! Needless to say, I was extremely pleased that this young man was motivated to see a chiropractor as a direct result of the work of the FCP, but I was even happier that I was the chiropractor he had chosen. After contributing to the foundation for nearly four years, I had actually realized a direct benefit in the form of a real, live patient. And I don't expect him to be the last one. On the contrary, the entire reason for the existence of the FCP is to do just that: drive patients to chiropractors' offices.
If one person comes to chiropractic as a result of the work of the FCP and specifically mentions Jerry Rice, how many other people have been motivated to see a DC and never mentioned it? I'm betting a lot already and a lot more in the future.
This is BIG. The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress is a very ambitious organization with big plans and big ideas about getting the message about chiropractic out. But to make those plans and ideas come to fruition, it needs supporters. I was the first one; now how about you? Make a pledge to contribute monthly; $100, $50, $25, something. If DCs won't support this remarkable organization, who will?
Dr. Thomas Klapp has extensive experience in national chiropractic politics, having served on the board of the International Chiropractors Association in the 1990s and early 2000s, and as president of the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations from 2000 to 2002, after serving on that board the 10 years prior. He has also been active in his home state of Michigan, serving in every executive office of the Michigan Chiropractic Association in the 1980s and spearheading the MCA's merger with the Michigan Chiropractic Society several years ago to form the Michigan Association of Chiropractors. Currently, Dr. Klapp chairs the Michigan Board of Chiropractic Examiners and is the Michigan delegate to the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards and the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. He has been in continuous practice in Ann Arbor, Mich., for the past 33 years.