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What is the ADAF Tarrson Award?

The ADA Foundation Board established the Tarrson Award in 2003 in memory of Emanuel "Bud" Tarrson, the former chief executive of John O. Butler Co. and noted philanthropist who championed the importance of dental education.

Each year the award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and inspiration in gaining access to care at the grassroots level.

A Chicago native, Mr. Tarrson was a founding director of the ADA Foundation. He began at Butler as a toothbrush salesman before purchasing the company in 1949.

"His passion for philanthropy and legacy lives on because of his commitment to the dental profession, dental education and improving the oral health of our nation through education and prevention," said ADAF President Arthur A. Dugoni. "His generosity as well as Linda's is an inspiring example for all of us to how you can live a life that matters and make a difference in the lives of others now and in the future."

This year marks the sixth year the Tarrson Award has been awarded. The initial funding for the program came from a gift from the Bud Tarrson Charitable Fund of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, plus numerous gifts made in memory of Mr. Tarrson following his death, including donations from his widow, Linda Tarrson.

Because of this generosity, the ADA Foundation has been able to improve the lives and smiles of others by connecting people, changing lives and investing in the human potential of so many individuals.

Mr. Tarrson died in 1999 at the age of 85. In a 2000 tribute in the Journal of Periodontology, Dr. Robert J. Genco wrote that Mr. Tarrson felt that the "dental profession was his family, and he also had a family of friends and special charities in his hometown of Chicago. Bud was a mentor, helping when he could, always providing support to his families and their members."

"He left every person, every institution much better for knowing him."