$4 million aims to improve oral health care of Illinois children in poverty

New grant program launched by Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation and Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (June 28, 2021) – Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation and the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation today announced the creation of a $4 million COVID-19 Utilization: Decreasing Oral Health Disparities Health Equity Grant Program to assist organizations working to improve the oral and overall health of children impacted by poverty and COVID-19.

Each foundation is contributing $2 million for this initiative. Grants of up to $200,000 will be awarded and must be used within two years (up to $100,000 per year). Eligible organizations must work in Illinois communities where children may not be able to access quality, comprehensive oral health services as a result of systemic health and social inequities.

“We continue to strive for health equity for children throughout the state as part of our mission to improve the oral and overall health of Illinoisans,” said Lora Vitek, executive director of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois. “This new grant program allows us to make another significant difference in the lives of children who face inequities exacerbated by poverty and the COVID-19 pandemic. It also furthers our goal of ensuring that all children have access to the health care they need.”

Bob Egan, senior program officer of Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation, said ILCHF is pleased to once again partner with Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, just as it did last year with COVID-19 grants and the H2O On the Go program. He noted ILCHF’s goal is to address barriers that prevent children from utilizing quality, comprehensive oral health services.  

“Through the Health Equity Grant Program, we hope to address disparities that prevent Illinois children from accessing health care and education in the state’s most vulnerable communities,” Egan said. “We know communities have faced barriers and challenges in providing vital health services and education to children and their caregivers. We hope these grants will help address that, while working toward our vision for every child in Illinois to grow up healthy.”

Organizations may apply for Health Equity Grants by August 2 at deltadentalil.com/health-equity-grant.

  • Applicants should address community disparities related to one or more of the following areas: access to dental services, school curricula, community education, social stigma and the importance of oral health.
  • Grants can be requested for – but not limited to – salaries and benefits, consultant fees, data collection and analysis, meetings, supplies, education and training, marketing and communication materials related to children’s oral and overall health.
  • Preference will be given to organizations that seek to implement or expand community-informed strategies for addressing and overcoming barriers to utilizing oral health services with the goal of improving oral health outcomes for Illinois children. Applicants do not have to be a health organization to be eligible.

For full criteria and to apply for this grant program, visit deltadentalil.com/health-equity-grant

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. To date, the Foundation has committed over $111 million to help the Foundation achieve the vision.