Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Awards more than $205,000 to Organizations that Improve Illinois Children's Oral Health

Posted on November 21, 2019 in In the Community

DB1 smiling girl in dental chairDelta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable arm of Delta Dental of Illinois, announced its 2019 Community Grants Program recipients. The Foundation awarded more than $205,000 to 23 nonprofit and community organizations with programs and services that improve children’s oral health in Illinois.

“For the past seven years, we have been providing grants to organizations that share our mission to improve the health of Illinoisans,” said Lora Vitek, executive director of the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. “Our Community Grants Program has provided more than $1 million to help these organizations increase access to quality dental care and expand their oral health education efforts.  We are honored to partner with this year’s Community Grants recipients to help reduce dental disease in our state.”

The following organizations are Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s 2019 Community Grants Program recipients. 

Center for Healthcare Innovation, Aurora

This grant will provide funding for the Center for Healthcare Innovation to produce an educational oral health video in both English and Spanish as well as provide in-person outreach to increase oral health literacy, education and awareness in the Aurora community.

Chicago Dental Society Foundation (CDSF), Wheaton

The CDSF will use the grant to support staff at their charitable dental clinic, which provides a dental home to underserved Illinois residents in DuPage, Lake, and Cook counties. Care is provided by volunteer dentists and hygienists at no cost to the patients.

Douglas County Health Department, Tuscola

The Douglas County Health Department will use its grant to develop a new mentorship program where established dentists provide oversight, guidance and knowledge regarding their experience in a rural public health setting to newly graduated dentists. This program allows the newly graduated dentists to have a better understanding of the challenges faced by those living in rural areas and help ensure that patients’ overall health is being evaluated.

Erie Family Health Centers, Chicago

This grant will support Erie Family Health Centers’ Cavity Free at Three Project, which provides dental care to 11,000 children ages 0-20.  In addition, this project works to reduce tooth decay among young children by emphasizing the importance of the prevention and early treatment of dental disease to parents at primary care visits.

Foster Family Resource Center of Southern Illinois, Carbondale

Children placed in foster care in Illinois receive medical and dental insurance through Medicaid and are able to receive free dental screenings through area health departments and educational outreach. However, access to restorative care is very limited. Foster Family Resource Center will use the grant to help cover the cost of restorative dental care for foster children at dental offices that do not accept Medicaid.

Girls in the Game, Chicago Area and McLean County

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.

Hancock County Health Department (HCHD), Carthage

Access to dental specialists is limited in West Central Illinois, and patients who require specialty care often have to travel long distances to see a specialist. HCHD will use the grant to purchase equipment and upgrade technology to allow them to provide telehealth referrals to these patients. Through these referrals, HCHD will make it easier for specialists to triage and diagnose patients prior to seeing them in-person, which will avoid multiple trips.

Heartland Head Start, Bloomington

Heartland Head Start provides comprehensive services to 275 low-income children (ages 0-5), pregnant women and families in McLean and Livingston counties. The grant will help fund a surgi-center operating room and provide pregnant women with quality preventive and restorative treatment.

Heartland Alliance- The Oral Health Forum (OHF), Chicago

The grant will support the Community Oral Health Worker Initiative (COHW), an ongoing project that provides oral health outreach services and resources to Chicago Public School students and families in targeted communities with high rates of child oral disease. The project currently serves children who attend five Chicago public schools in an area of Chicago (zip code 60632) identified by OHF.  The grant will allow COHW to continue to serve these five schools and expand services to four additional schools.

Howard Area Community Center, Chicago

The Howard Area Community Center will use grant funding to support its Eleanor Wester Children’s Dental Clinic. The dental clinic addresses the oral health care needs of medically underserved children living in Chicago’s far north side through dental treatment and education utilizing community health workers. 

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 200 presentations for local schools and agencies, where 69 percent of the student/agency body report having low income, and plans to reach 5,000 students in 2020. The program also promotes regular dental health check-ups at the local health department's dental clinic.

Infant Welfare Society (IWS) of Chicago, 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 and education to expecting mothers and continues through primary and oral health care integration for pediatric patients.

McLean County Health Department, Bloomington

The McLean County Health Department will utilize grant funds to educate their community about the importance of early childhood dental care and promote access to care at their clinic through community outreach.

Mercer County Health Department, Aledo

The Mercer County Health Department plans to partner with the Mercer County Oral Health Task Force and use the grant to help purchase portable dental equipment that can be brought into classrooms and provide dental services year-round. Additionally, funding will support a dedicated dental program coordinator at the Health Department.

Milestone Dental Clinic, Rockford

Milestone, Inc. is a nonprofit organization serving children and adults with developmental disabilities, and its dental clinic 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, Chicago

Mobile Care Chicago delivers no-cost dental care to low income children in Chicagoland. The Mobile Care Dental Program strives to be a convenient and comprehensive dental home for its patients. Mobile Care will use grant funds to purchase dental clinic supplies which will enable the program to continue and expand its services in underserved suburbs in southern Cook County.

Northwest Community Hospital Foundation - Mobile Dental Clinic, Arlington Heights

The Northwest Community Hospital Foundation- Mobile Dental Clinic will use the grant will to help purchase a pediatric digital x-ray sensor, allowing the program to offer digital x-rays to 200 children.

Promise Healthcare, Champaign

The grant will support 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. Additionally, Promise Healthcare collaborates with Carle Hospital’s Family Residency program to educate family practice doctors about the importance of oral health for babies and toddlers.

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 serves expectant mothers and nearly 800 children, ages 5 and under.  This project provides annual dental exams and dental clinics at six of its child centers every August for families without a dental home. If children require follow up treatment, Riverbend partners with area providers to ensure children receive care at no cost to the families. This year, the grant will also help provide treatment for expectant mothers.

Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, Mattoon

Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center will use the grant to cover a portion of the cost of a new mobile dental unit, which will deliver oral health care to underserved children in a seven-county region of East Central Illinois. The mobile unit provides both restorative and preventive care at area schools.

University of Illinois Board of Trustees - UIC Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Chicago

The University of Illinois Chicago Department of Pediatric Dentistry is opening a Pediatric Dentistry Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) in its College of Dentistry in January 2020.  The new ASC will house two general anesthesia (GA) suites and four procedure rooms that will be used to treat pediatric patients under oral, nasal, or intravenous sedation. The new center will also allow the department to provide dental care under GA to an additional 1,000 pediatric patients a year. The grant will be used to purchase of GA and dental supplies for the center.

Well Child Center (WCC), Elgin

Well Child Center’s Pediatric Dental Clinic and First Tooth Visit Program provide comprehensive oral health care for low-income children at low or no-cost. WCC provides education, treatment, and establishes a dental home for its patients. Additionally, WCC integrates oral health into their Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) programming, ensuring oral health and nutrition education are delivered collaboratively.

Zion Benton Children’s Service, Zion

Zion Benton Children’s Service operates the Lind Memorial Dental Clinic to improve the health of the underprivileged children residing in the Zion-Benton community in Lake County. Grant funding will support the ongoing operation of the clinic, which provides comprehensive care to more than 1,200 children a year.

The next application cycle for community grants will start in the fall of 2020. To learn more about the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Community Grants Program or to support the Foundation, visit