Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation awards more than $255,000 to improve children’s oral health

16 Illinois organizations receive 2020 Community Grants

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Sept. 18, 2020) – Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois, awarded more than $255,000 to 16 nonprofit and community organizations through its Community Grants Program. These organizations work to improve children’s oral health across the state.

“Many Illinoisans face considerable barriers to getting the oral health care they need. These disparities continue to grow, especially with the ongoing pandemic,” said Lora Vitek, executive director of the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. “Through our Community Grants Program, we’re working to help eliminate these barriers by partnering with organizations across our state who work tirelessly to ensure Illinois children have access to quality health care.”

Since 2012, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation has provided more than $1.25 million through its Community Grants Program to organizations that expand access to oral health care and education. The following organizations are Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s 2020 Community Grants Program recipients:

Center for Healthcare Innovation, Aurora — $20,000 

The Center for Healthcare Innovation will use the grant for Healthy Aurora, a community-wide education and outreach initiative created to address oral health needs in Aurora. The Center will develop materials in English and Spanish to increase health literacy, education and awareness.

Crusader Community Health, Rockford —$20,000

This grant will support personal protective equipment needed at six Crusader Community Health clinics that provide comprehensive oral health care to more than 1,000 children annually.

Erie Family Health Foundation, Chicago — $10,000

Erie Family Health Foundation will use its grant for an oral health transition project with goals of providing access to dental care and education for more children. Erie anticipates serving 6,561 children this year.

Howard Brown Health, Chicago — $7,585

Grant funding will support Howard Brown’s goal of expanding oral health education through a series of virtual open houses held in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. The open houses will focus on the importance and need for preventive care. Howard Brown will also help schedule appointments for children on the South Side of Chicago within the agency’s pediatric dental expansion.

Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, Chicago — $20,000

The Infant Welfare Society of Chicago will use its grant to provide underserved children access to oral health care and education. The grant will also provide oral health care and education to expecting parents, emphasizing the importance of visiting the dentist by age 1.

Milestone Dental Clinic, Rockford — $10,000

Milestone Dental Clinic will use its grant to develop individual treatment plans for each child with a developmental disability it serves.  The grant will provide support for patients who are unable to pay and help ensure that treatment is completed for each patient.

Oral Health Forum, Chicago — $9,220

The Oral Health Forum plans to use its grant to provide outreach and follow-up services for children who have been previously screened and recommended for treatment. The grant will help families find a dental home and access support services. Additionally, the grant will help promote dental van events and distribute dental hygiene tools through Oral Health Forum’s partnership with Mobile Care Chicago.

Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society, Oak Park —$20,000

The Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society’s dental clinic provides affordable dental care for underinsured and uninsured children, serving as a dental home for its patients. The grant will allow the clinic to continue to provide vital oral health care services and education.

PCC Wellness, Chicago — $18,839

PCC Wellness’ oral health program educates children and families about the importance of preventive care and establishing good oral health habits early. The grant will help support two dental assistants who will provide oral health education during child well visits at PCC’s Austin Family Health Center.

Pillars Community Health, La Grange — $10,000

Pillars Community Health offers oral health services on a discounted sliding fee scale based on income for those living below 200% of the federal poverty level, with all patients served regardless of ability to pay. The grant will be used to educate local children and caregivers about the importance of good oral health habits at home and preventive dental checkups during remote school learning.

Promise Healthcare, Champaign — $10,000

Promise Healthcare will use the grant to support the SmileHealthy program, which provides a dental hygienist for children and expecting mothers. The grant will also support oral health education at the Frances Nelson community health center.

Riverbend Head Start and Family Services, Alton — $10,000

Riverbend’s Oral Health Education and Access Project will provide services to 793 participants enrolled in its Head Start and Early Head Start programs, including children ranging from newborn to age 5. The grant will provide expecting mothers with dental exams and treatment to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.  

Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Dental Medicine, Alton — $20,000

SIU’s School of Dental Medicine is in the process of constructing a state-of-the-art Advanced Care Clinic at its Alton campus that will provide affordable dental care for thousands of underserved children and families who might otherwise not receive treatment. The grant will be used to purchase general anesthesia equipment and supplies for the new medical operating suite.

Tri City Health Partnership, St. Charles — $20,000

Tri City Health Partnership will use its grant to purchase equipment for a new dental operatory. This will allow the medical building site to increase its number of staff members and volunteers and treat multiple patients simultaneously.

University of Illinois —Chicago (UIC) Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Chicago — $20,000

The grant will support the Treating Our Toddlers (TOT) program for infant oral health, which focuses on establishing a dental home for children from birth to age 3. This program uses a holistic approach. An interdisciplinary team assesses the dental, medical, nutritional, psychosocial and developmental needs of patients, largely from families in need.

Well Child Center, Elgin — $20,000

The Well Child Center Pediatric Dental Clinic and First Tooth Visit Program offer comprehensive oral health care for low-income children at low or no cost. The Center will use its grant to establish a dental home for the children by continuing to provide them with oral health education and treatment.

The next application cycle for community grants is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2021. For more information on the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Community Grants Program or to support the Foundation, visit

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 overall health and well-being. Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation is the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois. In the past decade, combined efforts of Delta Dental of Illinois and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation have provided more than $11 million to programs and organizations in Illinois that improve the oral health of the state’s residents. For additional information about Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, please see