Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Awards More Than $175,000 to Organizations that Improve Illinois Children's Oral Health

Posted on November 13, 2017 in In the Community

Through its Community Grants Program, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois, awarded more than $175,000 to 19 nonprofit and community organizations with programs and services that improve children's oral health in Illinois.

“In the past five years, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation has awarded nearly $800,000 in community grants to organizations throughout the state that share our mission to improve children's oral health. We are honored to partner with this year's recipients and help support their work to tirelessly provide oral health care and education to Illinois children, many who wouldn't otherwise have this access,” said Lora Vitek, director of philanthropy and community relations for Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. “Too many children in Illinois don't receive the dental education and care they need, and therefore, do not routinely practice preventive oral health behaviors and suffer from untreated cavities and more serious oral health problems.”

The following organizations received grants from Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation to improve the oral health of Illinois children by providing access to dental health care and education.

Bond County Health Department, Greenville:
The grant will help Bond County provide preventive services to 500 more children. It will support the purchase of another hygiene chair and equipment, as well as the installation of an additional counter and sink in the current office space.

Chicago Dental Society Foundation, Chicago:
The Chicago Dental Society Foundation will use the grant to help fund a patient outreach coordinator position. The coordinator will work with local organizations to support homeless children, specifically helping them access needed oral health care services and identifying and vetting dental providers who are willing to provide specialty services at no cost.

Chicago Family Health, Chicago:
Chicago Family Health Chicago (CFHC) will use the grant to hire a new bilingual dental hygienist whose time will be split between CFHC's Chicago Lawn and East Side locations. Chicago Lawn is experiencing increased demand for pediatric dental services because of a new partnership with Chicago Public Schools, and East Side is at capacity and unable to meet the community need for dental services.

Hancock County Health Department, Carthage:
The grant will help provide more operatory capacity for the Hancock County Health Department by enabling the department to purchase necessary equipment to make an additional operatory fully functional. The operatory will significantly reduce wait times for patients completing treatment plans.

Heartland Head Start, Bloomington:         
Heartland Head Start is a federally funded program providing comprehensive services to more than 200 low-income children and families in McLean and Livingston Counties. This grant will provide support for restorative dental care for older siblings of Heartland Head Start children.

Heartland Health Outreach, Chicago:
Oral Health Forum (OHF) is a program of Heartland Health Outreach. The grant will be used to support the expansion of OHF's oral health education and case management services at eight Chicago public schools in the Auburn Gresham community on Chicago's South Side.

Howard Area Community Center, Chicago:
The grant will help the community center treat more than 75, 3- to 5-year-old patients on-site. The on-site visits are critical to help children become more comfortable at a dental office as most are used to being treated in the mobile dental clinic.

Illinois State Dental Society Foundation, Springfield:
The grant will help support the Illinois Mission of Mercy (MOM), a two-day event that provides free dental care to patients who otherwise do not have access to care. The 2018 IL MOM is scheduled for July 20-21, 2018 at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield. The goal is to see 400 children during the two-day period.

Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, Chicago:
The Infant Welfare Society (IWS) 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 IWS 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 will use the grant to purchase a handheld dental X-ray unit to use with patients with special needs, both in the general dental clinic and in oral surgery. In the next year, 30 to 50 Illinois children will receive oral surgery through their program and 300 to 325 general dental clinic visits will be provided to children with special needs.

Macon County Health Department, Decatur:
Macon County Health Department (MCHD) is working with Decatur Memorial Hospital to provide hospital dentistry to its patients. Decatur Memorial Hospital currently doesn't have any dental equipment or dentists providing treatment in their operating rooms. The grant will help purchase necessary equipment to provide comprehensive dental care under general anesthesia at an additional hospital facility.

Milestone, Inc. Rockford:
Milestone, Inc. is a nonprofit organization serving children and adults with developmental disabilities. Milestone's Dental Clinic is one of the few free-standing dental clinics in the nation serving only children and adults with developmental disabilities. The demand for the unique services provided by the dental clinic continues to grow. Milestone will use grant funds to provide dental care to children who are served by the dental clinic.

Misericordia Home, Chicago:
Misericordia Home's on-campus dental clinic provides dental care and oral health education to 400 children, including 23 who have special healthcare needs. Most of the 23 children visit the clinic for their regular appointments and treatment every six months, but some visit more frequently due to specific concerns. Grant funding will be used to support care costs for these 23 children.

Mobile C.A.R.E. Foundation, Chicago:
Mobile Care Chicago's Mobile Dental Program 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 for the mobile program.

Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society, Oak Park:
Grant funding for the Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society's Children's Clinic will be used to support the Oral Health Outreach and Education program, which provides preventive dental care and oral health education to low-income Chicago-area children. Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society's Children's Clinic is a full-service pediatric health clinic providing services to children in west Cook and DuPage counties and the city of Chicago.

Promise Healthcare, Champaign:
SmileHealthy, a program of Promise Healthcare, will use the grant to provide a dental hygienist at Frances Nelson, its community health center. Frances Nelson provides child and prenatal health care, as well as oral health education and patient introduction to the on-site dental center. The SmileHealthy program works to address three areas: reduction of early childhood caries, 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 help fund its Oral Health Education and Access project. This project provides oral health care services to expectant mothers and 800 children age 5 and younger who are enrolled in the Head Start and Early Head Start programs. The Oral Health Education and Access project also provides annual dental exams to children age 3 and older without a dental home at six child development center dental clinics every August. If a child is identified as needing follow-up treatment or oral surgery, Riverbend partners with area dental providers to ensure necessary treatment is received at no cost.

Well Child Center, Elgin:
Well Child Center's First Tooth Visit Program incorporates Women, Infants and Children (WIC) dental care education for mothers when children are infants and reinforces proper oral health care when children's primary teeth emerge. Children's 1-year WIC appointments are integrated with dental exams. The goal is to continue integrated WIC and dental appointments every six months from age 1 to 5. The grant will be used to increase outreach activities to undocumented and other Spanish-speaking only residents.

Zion Benton Children's Services, Zion:
Zion Benton Children's Services (ZBCS) operates the Lind Memorial Dental Clinic with the mission to improve the health of underprivileged children residing in the Zion-Benton Communities of Zion, Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor and other communities. The grant will help the dental clinic provide routine preventive and restorative care to more than 850 children.

The next application cycle for community grants will start in the fall of 2018. To learn more about the Delta Dental of Illinois Community Grants Program or to support the Foundation, visit