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Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Awards More than $180,000 to Organizations that Improve Illinois Children’s Oral Health

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Nov. 1, 2018) – Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois, announced its 2018 Community Grants Program recipients. The Foundation awarded more than $180,000 to 21 nonprofit and community organizations with programs and services that improve children’s oral health in Illinois.

“Through our Community Grants Program, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation has awarded nearly $1 million over the past six years to Illinois organizations committed to improving children’s oral health,” said Lora Vitek, director of philanthropy and community relations, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. “Our mission is to improve oral health in Illinois, and we can achieve that by providing oral health education and increasing access to dental care for the residents of our state. This year’s Community Grants recipients are dedicated to delivering these important and essential oral health resources to Illinois children, and together, we are able to reduce dental disease and give children the dental care they need.”

The following organizations are Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s 2018 Community Grants Program recipients.  

Advocate Charitable Foundation – Advocate Children’s Hospital (ACH), Oak Lawn

In 2015, ACH developed a dental clinic at its Oak Lawn campus for children with special health care needs. At the dental clinic, a pediatric dentist works with a multidisciplinary team to deliver comprehensive oral health care. In the past year, the number of patients treated at the dental clinic increased by 150 percent. The grant will allow ACH to expand its dental program for children with special healthcare needs and meet the increasing demand for these services.


Chicago Family Health Center (CFHC), Chicago

The grant to CFHC will support its Healthy Smiles: Building Strong Communities Through Oral Health Access program, which is in its second year. The funds will allow CFHC to hire a new dental outreach educator to promote the importance of oral health in the communities CFHC serves.

Douglas County Health Department, Tuscola

With its grant, the Douglas County Health Department will hire a second dentist and help expand its oral health services in Douglas County, as well as the neighboring Coles and Moultrie counties. The Douglas County Health Department will also be able to increase the number of Medicaid patients treated within the three counties, enabling these patients to receive the care they need and to complete treatment plans in a timely manner.

Edgar County Dental Clinic (ECDC), Paris

Grant funding supports the addition of a Community Oral Health Consultant (COHC) to ECDC’s staff as part of its commitment to raise efforts to disburse oral‐systemic health information to children and their parents. The COHC will travel to all schools served by ECDC to complete classroom presentations, and to participate in health fairs and other family activities offered by the schools.

Erie Family Health Foundation, Chicago

The grant supports the Erie Family Health Foundation’s Integrated Dental Care for Children Project, which will provide dental care for 11,000 children, from newborns to age 20. This program places an emphasis on early intervention and connects patients to oral health care through pediatricians and other health care providers, reducing the incidence of tooth decay.

Girls in the Game, Chicago

Girls in the Game is an after-school program providing services to more than 1,300 girls annually through weekly programming and one-day events. Grant funding will be used to educate girls on oral hygiene and healthy eating habits.

Goldie’s Place, Chicago

Goldie’s Place will use grant funding for the Homeless Teen Oral Health Outreach program, which will start in January 2019. This program will include an oral health orientation, an exam and cleaning by a dentist and dental hygienist. It will be held monthly for 16 to 20 participants, serving more than 150 teenagers annually.

Hancock County Health Department, Carthage

The Hancock County Health Department will purchase two X‐ray units with its grant, allowing two additional operatories to be fully-functional. As a result, 2,000 additional appointments can be made each year because wait times will be reduced and patients can complete treatment plans in a more timely manner. The number of patients who visit the emergency room for urgent dental issues also will be reduced.

Heartland Alliance Oral Health Forum (OHF), Chicago

The grant will support the Community Oral Health Worker Sustainability Initiative project, which is part of OHF’s expansion into medically-underserved Chicago communities. The project serves children who attend five Chicago public schools in an area of Chicago (zip code 60632) identified by OHF, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health’s School‐Based Oral Health program, as a community that needs coordinated access to oral care services.

Hult Center for Healthy Living, Peoria

Grant funding will be used to implement the Hult Center for Healthy Living’s Dental Health Education Program. This program will deliver approximately 400 presentations for local schools and agencies, where 73 percent of the student/agency body report having low income, and plans to reach 6,750 students in 2019. The program also promotes regular dental health check-ups at the local health department’s dental clinic.

Infant Welfare Society (IWS) of Chicago

IWS of Chicago will use the grant to help support its pediatric oral health care home program, which is focused on providing children access to health care education, prevention and treatment. The program starts by offering prenatal oral health care, where expecting mothers are educated on the importance of establishing their child’s dental home before age 1 and the correlation between maternal periodontal infection and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago

Loyola University Medical Center will use the grant to purchase a digital X-ray sensor to be used exclusively with pediatric patients. The equipment used in digital radiography exposes dental patients to less radiation and shortens dental appointments, which will allow the Loyola University Medical Center to serve more children.

Macon County Health Department (MCHD), Decatur

MCHD will use the grant to support the expansion of its dental clinic and increase access to dental care for children in Macon County. The expansion includes additional dental equipment and sterilization units for each of the clinic’s existing six dental chairs, as well as three additional dental chairs, and will result in an additional 4,896 dental appointments per year. MCHC also plans to hire an additional full‐time dentist and two dental assistants.

Mercer County Health Department, Aledo

The grant supports staffing and equipment needs for the Mercer County Health Department Mobile Dental Clinic. The program provides nearly 120 children preventive dental care (cleaning, fluoride and sealants as needed) in Mercer County and lower Rock Island County.

Milestone Dental Clinic, Rockford

Milestone, Inc. is a nonprofit organization serving children and adults with developmental disabilities and is one of the few free-standing dental clinics in the nation serving only children and adults with developmental disabilities. Milestone will use grant funds to provide dental care to children who are served by the dental clinic as demand continues to grow.

Mobile Care, Chicago

Mobile Care provides dental care to children enrolled in Cook County schools. The program follows a four-phase dental home model: Initial exams, restorative care, education and follow-up. The grant will be used to purchase necessary dental supplies.

Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society, Oak Park

The Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society will use grant funding for their Children’s Clinic’s Oral Health Outreach and Education program, which provides preventive dental care and oral health education to low-income children. Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society’s Children’s Clinic serves children in Chicago and west Cook and DuPage counties.

Promise Healthcare, Champaign

The grant will be used by SmileHealthy, a program of Promise Healthcare, to help provide a dental hygienist at Frances Nelson clinic. Frances Nelson provides child and prenatal health care, as well as oral health education and patient introduction to Promise Healthcare’s on-site dental center. The SmileHealthy program works to address three areas: Reduction of early childhood tooth decay, promotion of visiting the dentist by age 1, and the integration of oral and overall health.

Riverbend Head Start and Family Services, Alton

Riverbend Head Start and Family Services will use the grant to support its Oral Health Education and Access Project, which provides education to expectant mothers and nearly 800 children, ages 5 and under, who are enrolled in its Head Start and Early Head Start programs. The project also provides annual dental exams to children ages 2 and older. Funding will specifically help offset dental expenses for 10 Head Start families.

Well Child Center, Elgin

Well Child Center’s First Tooth Visit Program uses educational materials provided by Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) to teach mothers about proper oral health care when their child’s primary teeth emerge during infancy. The program also works to integrate dental exams with a child’s 1-year well visit and to continue integrated appointments every six months until age 5. The grant will be used to increase the program’s outreach efforts in Spanish-speaking communities.

Zion Benton Children’s Services, Zion

Zion Benton Children’s Services operates the Lind Memorial Dental Clinic with the mission to improve the health of children residing in Zion-Benton, Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor and other neighboring communities. The grant will help the dental clinic provide routine preventive and restorative care to 1,000 children.

The next application cycle for community grants will start in the fall of 2019. To learn more about the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Community Grants Program or to support the Foundation, visit the Community Grants Program section of this website.

About Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation
The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation was formed in March 2008 by Delta Dental of Illinois, a not-for-profit dental service corporation with a mission to improve the oral health of the communities it serves. Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation is the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois and works to support and improve the oral health of people in Illinois. In the past decade, combined efforts of Delta Dental of Illinois and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation have provided more than $5 million to programs and organizations in Illinois that improve the oral health of the residents of Illinois.