Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation Now Accepting 2022 Applications for H2O On the Go
Grant Program Provides Water Bottle-Filling Stations to Illinois Schools
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (April 5, 2022) – Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation and Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation are accepting 2022 applications for their annual H2O On the Go grant program. This program replaces existing water fountains with new water bottle-filling stations at elementary, middle and high schools throughout Illinois.
All elementary, middle and high schools in Illinois are eligible and encouraged to apply for the H2O On the Go grant program. Preference is given to schools that do not already have a water bottle-filling station. Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m., May 6, at deltadentalil.com/h2o-on-the-go.
The Foundations launched the H2O On the Go program in 2020 as part of their shared initiatives to improve the overall health and well-being of Illinois children. The new water bottle-filling stations are made by Downers Grove-based Elkay.
Tooth decay, although mostly preventable, is the leading chronic infectious disease among children. Choosing water rather than sugary beverages like soda, juice and sports drinks can help keep teeth strong and reduce cavities by almost 25%.1 Water as a beverage choice can also help prevent obesity, boost energy levels and increase students’ cognitive function.
H2O On the Go will make it easier for Illinois students to have access to drinking water throughout the day and choose water over other beverages. Schools that apply and are approved will receive a water bottle-filling station, along with reusable water bottles and toothbrushes for students.
In addition to encouraging students to drink more water, H2O On the Go reduces waste and promotes conservation efforts. The water bottle-filling stations are also touch-free, which decreases germ exchange.
“The impact has been huge,” said Samantha Uribe, a school counselor at Haugan Elementary School in Chicago, a 2021 recipient. “These water bottles and the filtered refillable water station have been truly life changing for our students. We did not have clear or filtered water prior to the installation. We are eternally grateful for the water bottles as students do not have any of their own. Students are able to stay hydrated throughout the school day. Students are seeing the benefits to drinking water instead of sugary drinks.”
“Through our H2O On the Go program, we hope to encourage healthy habits,” said Lora Vitek, executive director of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. “By installing water bottle filling stations in these schools, we’ll improve access to water, decrease the consumption of sugary beverages and lessen the overall risk of tooth decay amongst these students.”
“The Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation remains committed to improving the oral health of Illinois children,” said Heather Higgins Alderman, the Foundation’s president. “Our vision is, ‘Every child in Illinois grows up healthy.’ Partnering with Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation to encourage drinking water through the H20 On the Go program helps us advance this vision by helping children replace sugary beverages with healthy drinking water for better oral health and overall health.”
In the first two years of the H20 On the Go program, a total of 140 Illinois schools received a water bottle-filling station. To review past recipients or to apply for the H2O On the Go program, visit deltadentalil.com/h2o-on-the-go.
About Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation
The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation was formed in March 2008 and is the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois. Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation works to support and improve the oral health of people in Illinois, with a specific focus on children. In the past decade, combined efforts of Delta Dental of Illinois and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation have provided more than $15 million to programs and organizations in Illinois that improve the oral health of the state’s residents. For additional information, visit deltadentalil.com/ddilfoundation.
About Illinois Children’s Healthcare Fund
The Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) has a single vision: Every child in Illinois grows up healthy. Working through grantee partners across the state, the Foundation focuses its grant making on identifying and funding solutions to the barriers that prevent children from accessing the ongoing health care they need. For more information, go to ilchf.org.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention