The Ford Motor Company Fund, Delta Dental, and the Lightship Foundation are teaming up with Kare Mobile to address the lack of quality, reliable dental care in underserved Detroit neighborhoods with the Motor City Kares giveaway, where one minority dentist can win a $150,000 Ford Transit mobile dental office to serve children and families in low-income communities.
Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, the partners report. If left untreated, it can cause pain and infections, lead to eating and speaking problems, and have other serious consequences. Also, children with poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children receiving regular dental care.
“Quality, reliable dental care is not available to many children in Detroit’s most underserved zip codes,” said Dr. Kwane Watson, founder and CEO of Kare Mobile. “We expect this initiative to help change that because everyone deserves access to comprehensive oral healthcare.”
The Motor City Kares giveaway runs through April 16. Interested minority dental professionals can learn more and apply online. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges from the Ford Fund, Kare Mobile, Delta Dental, and the Lightship Foundation and will be notified in late spring.
The winning dentist will operate the mobile dental clinic for at least two years, building a stable practice including non-Medicaid patients and creating a sustainable business as well as a long-term dental resource for the community.
“This partnership is about improving public health and building community wealth,” said Margaret Trimmer, vice president of strategic partnerships for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. “We are not solely investing in dental care but lifting up minority entrepreneurs so they can provide critical access to care right here in Detroit.”
The giveaway winner will be mentored by the team at Kare Mobile and attend an incubator bootcamp run by the Lightship Foundation, the first inclusion-focused entrepreneur advancement program in the Midwest. Delta Dental and the Ford Fund worked together on the purchase and retrofitting of the Transit Van.
During the two-year agreement, the winning dentist will be required to serve in Southeast Michigan at least 50% of their time and help provide reliable dental care in southwest Detroit’s Corktown and Mexicantown neighborhoods.
The winner also will leverage services currently provided by the Ford Resource and Engagement Center in southwest Detroit, as well as Michigan Central Station’s mobility-based programs and operations. At the end of the agreement, the business and mobile clinic will be the dentist’s to keep.
“The Motor City Kares giveaway allows us to combine Ford’s expertise in transportation with Ford Fund’s commitment to strengthening communities,” said Mary Culler, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund. “We are pleased to support an innovative mobility solution that brings essential dental services directly to residents and that will benefit these neighborhoods for years to come.”