2016 Theme: The Periodic Table of the EleMOLEments

History of the Foundation

In the early 1980's an article appeared in The Science Teacher about a high school chemistry teacher and her rational for the idea of celebrating the day. With this small article, the seed was planted for establishing a national organization. On May 15, 1991, the National Mole Day Foundation (NMDF) was born. News releases were sent to the regional and national news media, especially the chemical science news media, announcing the formation of the Foundation.

The purpose of the National Mole Day Foundation was and continues to be to get all persons, especially students, enthused about chemistry. To do that we would systematically collect ideas from many people, mostly high school chemistry teachers who celebrate Mole Day, assemble those ideas into idea newsletters, and then distribute them to those who become members of the Foundation.

As interest in the NMDF has grown, so has the organization of the Foundation developed. In 1992 the Foundation became a not-for-profit corporation in the State of Wisconsin. There is now a national board of directors which consists of nine members from five different states.

The NMDF is completely self-supporting through membership fees and the sale of t-shirts and other merchandise. Charter memberships were original offered at $20 and since that time, annual renewal memberships have been $10. One big reason the Foundation is able to generate so much interest is that each year a different national theme is chosen. To go along with that special theme each year, two caricature/icon mascots are developed. Starting in 1993, a professionally recorded theme song has accompanied the fall newsletter mailing.

1993 was also the first in another way as well. At the ChemEd '93 conference at Butler University, the newly established "National Mole of the Year" Award was first presented. This award has continued with presentations at ChemEd '95 at Old Dominion University and ChemEd '97 at the University of Minnesota. It is really the "Mole-of-the-Every-Other Year" because the award is presented at the ChemEd Conferences which are only held in odd numbered years.

Since the birth of the Foundation, thousands of inquires have been answered. Most members are high school chemistry teachers, however college professors, industrial chemists, retired chemists, elementary and middle school teachers, and just plain interested folk also belong. As the years have passed, interest in the National Mole Day Foundation has become widespread. The day is celebrated in many foreign countries, especially in Canada and in Australia. In Australia, the CSIRO (which is analogous to NSTA) encourages every science teacher to celebrate National Mole Day.

In summary, the NMDF was created with the intention to get everyone, especially kids, enthused about chemistry. Since the National Mole Day Foundation was created in May of 1991 by Maurice Oehler, now a retired high school chemistry teacher from Prairie du Chien, WI, the membership has soared. Some 3000 people have at one time or other paid moledues -- many of which have been members since the Foundation began. Maurice is very enthusiastic about his experiences in creating and running the NMDF. "I have met some of the most wonderful people in the world. People crazy enough to celebrate Mole Day have got to be wonderful. I'm not sure what the future holds in store for the Foundation, but I do know it is viable and will continue to get kids enthused about chemistry. My goal is that at least every chemistry teacher hears about and in some way celebrates National Mole Day each year. We have a long way to go, but it is happening".