Bill Allen is helping bring 3D-printed hearing aids to those in need through 3dp4me.org

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Growing up in rural Illinois, Bill Allen said his passion for music allowed him “a whole world of opportunities.”

Allen, a Sterling, Illinois, native would graduate from Millikin University in Decatur with a degree in jazz and classical guitar performance. And he would use those skills in a variety of positions, including his current role as an Irvine, California-based Project Manager with the Burwood Group.

“If music was not available, I’m not sure what path I would have taken,” said Allen, 46. “For me, music was one of the keys that drove me to seek a post-high school education coming from a very small town. That type of training has allowed me to work with groups and be creative with them in a way where I can positively interact with others.”

His latest challenge is as volunteer Chief Operations Officer with 3dp4me.org, a nonprofit US-based technology startup. Allen, who has an MBA from Loyola University Chicago, spends as many as 15 volunteer hours a week with 3dp4me.org, which is working to create a platform to allow 3D printing of custom ear molds for hearing aids to benefit refugees and people in the Middle East who do not have easy access to the technology or cannot afford the services.

 Maher is one of five children, the only one deaf. He received a hearing aid from Holy Land Institute for the Deaf (HLID) in Jordan. Image courtesy of 3dp4me.org.

Maher is one of five children, the only one deaf. He received a hearing aid from Holy Land Institute for the Deaf (HLID) in Jordan. Image courtesy of 3dp4me.org.

Allen recently spearheaded a $100,000 fundraiser for 3dp4me.org. As of mid-January, Allen’s efforts have helped raise almost $10,000.

With 3dp4me.org, Allen spends early morning and late evening hours – Amman is 10 hours ahead of Southern California – on conference calls and other communication methods with various tasks, including coordinating financial requirements, accounts, documents and working with vendors.

“I try to handle as much of the back office tasks as possible – so the president and board can focus on the mission,” Allen said.

“Along with bringing a wealth of practical knowledge to our strategic planning team, Bill has brought a passion and commitment to the 3dp4me culture, allowing us to build a strong foundation for future growth, said Jason Szolomayer, founder and president of 3dp4me.org. “I am deeply grateful for the time, energy, and expertise Bill has invested in our organization and I am proud he is part of our team.”

3dp4me.org has built a partnership with the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf (HLID) in Jordan. If enough funds are raised, a center would be built at HLID, which “seeks to prepare and enable deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf-blind children, as well as people with other sensory and physical disabilities, for the inclusion and participation in their families and communities in a meaningful way, and to make their valuable contribution to civic society in Jordan,” according to 3dp4me.org. The project has several objectives, including providing 12,000 hearing aids and enabling children who are hard-of-hearing to enroll in mainstream education.

“The best part of this has been expanding my world view and realizing that that poverty and being able to hear are common human problems, and I hope to provide some amount of support,” Allen said.

 For more information on the fundraiser, visit https://my.3dp4me.org/fundraiser/1224928.

Priscilla Dave