The Ivar Ted Quarnstrom Foundation: School's In

Dedicated to furthering the educational endeavors of moldmakers, ITQ gets an A for effort when it comes to fundraising.


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A nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and development of moldmakers and mold designers, the I.T. Quarnstrom Foundation has been raising funds for educational institutions—like Lake Michigan College (Benton Harbor, MI), Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI), Illinois State University (Bloomington, IL), Central Connecticut State (New Britain, CT) and Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)—since 1979 when it was formed as the fundraising arm of the Society of Plastics Engineers' Mold Making and Mold Design Division (SPE MM & MD).

According to its mission statement, the foundation "provides a source of funds, which can be made available directly or through approved agencies or societies for the purpose of advancing and accelerating the development and proliferation of training programs and curricula in these fields." Once technical schools are awarded ITQ funds, the funds are used at their discretion in a variety of ways. In the past, allocated funds have been used to construct training facilities; purchase equipment, software and books; and in educational endeavors (see below).

According to current ITQ chairperson John Harding, who also serves as regional sales manager for D-M-E Company (Madison Heights, MI)—a manufacturer of mold bases, mold components and hot runner systems—the foundation is named after Ivar "Ted" Quarnstrom, who founded D-M-E in 1942 and revolutionized the industry by standardizing mold bases and components—which helped advance moldmaking to where it is today. Currently, the foundation is comprised of four people:

  • Chairman John Harding, D-M-E Company (Madison Heights, MI)
  • Vice Chairman Wayne Hertlein, Collins & Aikman Tooling Center (Troy, MI)
  • Treasurer Alex Manga, Milacron (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Fundraising Chairman Tom Diaz, Inland Technologies (Fontana, CA)

Finding Funding

ITQ solicits companies throughout the industry to raise funds, which they in turn give to educational institutions and training programs. Harding points out that they usually go to their own companies first—and are usually met with success. "We strictly raise funds," Harding explains. "Then, the SPE MM & MD determines where the funds are going."

Not surprisingly, it has been challenging raising funds in a down economy over the years. "The fundraising has been difficult," admits Harding. "Since approximately the year 2000 the plastics industry has been in a downward trend so it has been hard getting donations other than those from our own companies and from some of the leading companies in the industry." (See Sponsors Below.)

In order for ITQ to entice companies to donate, Harding is working on a more official marketing plan. "We want to demonstrate to companies why they should donate, the value will they get from donating and the advantages," he notes. "First, they are making a valuable contribution to the industry by promoting training for future mold designers and moldmakers—which could turn into their future employees. They also are promoting the industry by providing students with the tools they need to conduct their research. We also recognize companies that donate on our Web site—directly linking their company to our Web site.

ITQ's current plan of attack is to formalize its marketing plan. "We are in-vestigating how we can get the word out—trade magazines, literature, handouts at tradeshows, having information available at the monthly SPE sectional meetings for the members to receive and take back to their companies, etc.," Harding notes.

Thus far, the marketing plan is in the first draft stage. "The ultimate goal is to develop a comprehensive plan that will provide strategies and tools for the ITQ to successfully solicit funds," Harding states. "We are getting a hold of some mailing lists, developing a one page handout to explain our mission. We'd like to have a PowerPoint presentation on our Web site so people could download it. We would also like to work with the SPE member companies in getting them more involved by getting hold of the SPE Member Company list as it pertains to Mold Making and Mold Design Division. Then, we would solicit donations from those companies via a direct mail campaign. That is where we are right now in terms of formalizing the plan."

Additionally, ITQ plans to continue to show the current sponsors where their money went and what the outcome of their donations was by sharing the results with them—as they did with the Penn Erie donation. At the Plastics Encounter show last September in Chicago, ITQ recognized companies that have donated with plaques they can display at their facilities. Harding points out that it is ITQ's way of showing its appreciation for donations.

Clearly, ITQ is ready to take the foundation to the next level by increasing the foundation's visibility in the industry. "This is a dynamic endeavor and we are continually evolving," Harding emphasizes. "We presented our formalized plan to the SPE MM & MD division last fall, and we are now in the process of developing actual materials. Once we increase awareness of ITQ, it should lead to more funds to deserving schools."

ITQ Sponsors

Gold Level ($1,000 contribution)
D-M-E Company (Madison Heights, MI)
Husky Injection Molding Systems, Ltd. (Bolton, ON)
Progressive Components (Wauconda, IL)

Silver Level ($500 contribution)
Mold-Masters, Ltd. (Georgetown, ON)

Bronze Level ($250 contribution)
e-trode, inc. (Cuyahoga Falls, OH)
Inland Technologies, Inc. (Fontana, CA)