2022 Community Grants Recipients

Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation awarded $255,000 to 19 nonprofit and community organizations through its annual Community Grants Program. Each organization shares the Foundation’s mission of improving children’s oral health throughout Illinois. Recipients listed below.

America’s ToothFairy, Illinois

Building upon a successful pilot project done in partnership with Delta Dental of North Carolina, the Illinois Story Time Smiles Initiative will provide ten libraries with the tools they need to establish hygiene closets with resources for 100 children. These resources will include oral health educational materials and bookmarks with oral health tips. They can also find information on how to find a safety net dental clinic, activity booklets with a brushing chart, virtual training for library staff and children’s books featuring oral health topics to read during story time.

Bond County Health Department, Greenville

Bond County Health Department has a rural dental clinic that plans to see more than 2,750 children annually. This grant will be utilized to upgrade equipment in their clinic which will allow them to see more Medicaid patients and more children in the school setting.

Chicago Family Health Center (CFHC), Chicago

Chicago Family Health Center offers direct dental services at four of its six sites: Chicago Lawn, South Chicago, Pullman, and East Side. Patients at the Roseland location can access dental services at CFHC’s Pullman site and patients at the school‐based health center location can access dental services at CFHC’s South Chicago site. Dental services are offered as part of CFHC’s integrated care model, making medical, behavioral health, and dental services accessible to all. Funding will help provide oral health services to 1,100 children.

Chicago Dental Society (CDS) Foundation, Wheaton

The CDS Foundation Dental Clinic opened in 2013 and has operated five days each week, year-round since then. The three-operatory clinic provides free basic dental care and a dental home to individuals and families from socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in Cook, Lake, DuPage, and surrounding areas in Chicagoland. Funding will be utilized for direct patient needs including PPE.

Girls in the Game, Chicago and Bloomington

After School participants play sports, learn about healthy lifestyle choices, and improve their leadership skills in an all-girl setting. Typically, 90-minute sessions take place weekly for up to three 10-week-long seasons over the course of the school year. They will serve 1,000 girls in Chicago this school year. Funding will be utilized for the personal hygiene rotations which include practicing good oral hygiene. The girls will learn how to properly care for their teeth and will leave with a proper brushing tip sheet.

Howard Area Community Center, Chicago

Since 1988, the Eleanor Wester Dental Clinic has been serving Rogers Park, a designated Medically Underserved Area, and is the only one of five clinics serving individuals with HIV/AIDS in Northern Cook County. Howard Area Community Center Eleanor Wester Dental Clinic provides uninsured or underinsured families with preventive, therapeutic, and emergency dental care as well as bilingual oral health education. Funding will be utilized to support the costs of the dental staff.

Illinois Dental Hygienists’ Association, Chicago

Public Health Dental Hygienists (PHDHs) practice in settings where people wouldn’t otherwise seek care like federal qualified health centers and WIC programs. PHDHs are expected to increasingly alleviate access to oral care disparities in the coming years. Funding for this program would reimburse up to approximately 100 qualified registered dental hygienists for successfully completing PHDH certification.

Milestone Dental Clinic, Rockford

The goal of Milestone Dental clinic is to develop an individualized treatment plan that will meet the needs of each patient with a developmental disability seen at the clinic. Funding will cover charges for cleanings and treatments not covered by insurance or Illinois Medicaid. Funding will also cover patients with no available payment source, specifically for an oral exam, cleaning, and fluoride treatment.

Mobile Care Chicago

Mobile Care Chicago’s dental clinic travels primarily in Cook County’s Southern and Western municipalities, underserved areas of Chicago, and Waukegan. The need for comprehensive pediatric oral health providers is extreme in all three areas, but particularly in the Southern suburbs. With funding, Mobile Care plans to provide care to 7,500 children.

Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society, Oak Park

The Portable Dentistry Program conducts preventive dental care—oral exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants. Students needing urgent care are referred to the Clinic for restorative care, a unique aspect of our program that few other mobile dental services offer, which allows for a seamless flow from diagnosis to treatment. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, their portable services closed and have been unavailable since 2020. However, with this grant they plan to reopen those services in the fall of 2022.

Pillars Community Health, LaGrange

Pillars employs a dental home model for comprehensive, accessible, family‐centered care. In 2023, we will continue to address the pandemic, prioritizing the health and safety of our patients and staff, while encouraging engagement in essential preventive and restorative oral health services and oral health education. The Dental Team is committed to utilizing the lessons we learned through the pandemic to continue strengthening integrated services and continuum of care. Some efforts include piloting an internal Dental Assistant training program and planning for expanded hours at our Anne Jeans Elementary School health center.

Promise Healthcare, Champaign

Promise Healthcare delivers integrated primary care, behavioral health, and oral health services to low-income and underserved residents of Champaign County, IL. Promise serves over 11,500 patients that generate 37,000 medical, dental, and behavioral health visits. Funding will be provided to Promise to fund a portion of the purchase of a new panoramic X-ray machine for its dental clinic.

Riverbend Head Start and Family Services, Alton

The 2022-2023 Oral Health Education and Access Project is for 759 participants enrolled in our Head Start and Early Head Start Programs including expectant mothers and children ages newborn to five years. The program provides annual dental exams for ages two and up. This year, leveraging their funding request, they would like to continue to include prenatal mothers enrolled in their program  to ensure they have the necessary exams and treatment vital for a healthy pregnancy and babies.

Sara Bush Lincoln Dental Services, Mattoon

Sara Bush Lincoln Dental Services will utilize the funds to provide education, x-rays, dental exams, cleanings, and restorative care to children from birth to 18 years. The services are provided at no cost to the rural underserved, underinsured population. Services begin with a school-based outreach program wherein SBL Dental Services staff travel to schools on a scheduled basis to deliver oral health education, assess oral health needs, and provide preventive care. A mobile unit supports delivery of both restorative and preventive care at the school based on a child’s defined care plan.

SIU Dental Hygiene, Carbondale

The Southern Illinois University Carbondale dental hygiene program will utilize the funds to purchase advanced equipment and upgraded technology to allow them to provide preventive care to an estimated 350 children annually. Funding will support access to oral healthcare and education for underprivileged children living in rural populations where demand continues to grow. This program will allow dental hygiene students an opportunity to work with modern equipment when treating children to ensure the patients’ oral health can be properly evaluated.

Kennedy School at St. Coletta’s, Tinley Park

St. Coletta's of Illinois will use the grant for Oral Health Care Education Training for students to be educated on the importance of dental hygiene and how they can care for their own oral health. The Kennedy School serves students diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the South and Southwest suburbs of Chicago. Oral Health Training will be included as a part of the Daily Living Skills Curriculum and it will be taught by a specialist in dental hygiene for individuals with disabilities. St. Coletta's will hire an Oral Health Educator, author, and dental hygienist to instruct and train the students.

University of Illinois Board of Trustees- UIC Dental School, Chicago

The Treating our Toddlers (TOT’s) Program for Infant Oral Health is a multidisciplinary program focusing on establishing a dental home for children ages newborn to three years. This holistic approach will assess the dental, medical, nutritional, psychosocial, and developmental needs of patients either through one of our team members directly or via the appropriate referrals, facilitated by a social worker/care coordinator. Approximately 350 Illinois children will be served by this grant.

Well Child Center (WCC), Elgin

The WCC Pediatric Dental Clinic and First Tooth Visit Program provide preventive and restorative dental care for low‐income children at a low price or cost-free. Comprehensive oral health care services include teeth cleaning, X‐rays, fluoride treatments, sealants, fillings, crowns, and more. The WCC dental team prevents tooth decay in underserved populations by providing dental education, early treatment, and establishing a regular schedule of dental check‐ups, while remaining the patients’ dental home. This grant will provide funding for dental staff to provide comprehensive oral health care with an immediate focus on expanding the clinic hours to include evening and Saturday hours.

Zion Benton Children’s Services (ZBCS), Zion

Zion Benton Children’s Services provides preventive and restorative dental care in a welcoming and accessible environment. They educate and inform their patients on healthy oral health habits. ZBCS also incorporates dental health education into each of our visits, with a goal of establishing positive dental hygiene that will provide our patients lasting dental care. We aim to serve 200 children between the ages of 3-18 through this grant.