To The Maximus Foundation Succeeds By Using Advice From SCORE Mentor
Karen started her foundation after her son died while using Synthetic Marijuana for the first time. Max Dobner died June 14,2011, after he bought a $12 packet of IAroma at the local mall. Within 15 minutes of smoking it he phoned his older brother saying he was having a panic attack and freaking out. He then got into his car and driving at speeds over 100 mph crashed into a house. The drug was legally purchased in Illinois at the time. Karen started the To The Maximus Foundation to get the word out about the dangers of synthetic substances. Karen’s passion is to educate and bring public attention to the emerging danger of synthetic drugs masquerading as “herbal” or “natural’ highs. Karen also started a blog and newsletter to alert parents and teens to the unpredictable and harrowing effects of smoking or inhaling the chemically sprayed leaves. To The Maximus Foundation is an organization committed to the education and awareness of the dangers of synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs.
Karen Dobner by many is considered the advocate that started the movement to make synthetic marijuana illegal. She started first at home and Aurora, IL became one of the first cities to outlaw the drug. Surrounding communities followed. Soon Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan became involved and passed the Illinois law, which is the toughest in the country. According to Cara Smith, Madigan’s deputy chief of staff, “Karen Dobner’s bravery and advocacy led to the attorney general saying enough is enough and finding ways to educate users, retailers, parents, law enforcement and doctors.” Smith said “By the time we knew there was a problem we were way behind the eight ball.” Karen is very humble at her accomplishments. She has national and international exposure. She was on the Today Show after Max’s death. She recently did a TV show for Japanese TV. The most recent TV show was CNBC Crime INC. They did a show called “A Deadly High”, narrated by Carl Quintanilla. After the CNBC show Karen was contacted by National Geographic’s Drugs, Inc. show and is currently working with them explaining the dangers of the drug and how they change the formulation to get around the law. Karen has worked with many States and cities that needed help with the language in the law. She has also worked to educate Senators and Congressmen to pass a national law.
Karen approached SCORE in October 2011 for help with her Foundation. The Foundation was formed in August 2011 and Karen was having trouble getting the foundation going in any direction. Don Mauer and Greg Glassford were the mentors. SCORE mentors attended Karen's board of directors meeting. The Board of Directors was a small grass roots group of friends. Don worked on the financial reporting aspects right away. He put controls into place and they developed a financial report to give the Board each month. SCORE mentors worked to establish guidelines for the meeting and went to work to get more board members who were not connected with Karen. Currently SCORE is working with Karen on the Foundation business plan. The plan is now very important as, with Congressman Randy Hutlgren’s help, Karen’s application for 501(c)3 was expedited and To The Maximus Foundation now has that designation.