The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation has awarded more than $255,000 to 16 nonprofit and community organizations that work to improve the oral health of children throughout the state through its Community Grants Program.
“Many Illinoisans face considerable barriers to getting the oral healthcare they need. These disparities continue to grow, especially with the ongoing pandemic,” said Lora Vitek, executive director of the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation.
“Through our Community Grants Program, we’re working to help eliminate these barriers by partnering with organizations across our state who work tirelessly to ensure Illinois children have access to quality healthcare,” Vitek said.
Since 2012, the program has provided more than $1.25 million to organizations that expand access to oral healthcare and education, the foundation said.
This year, the Center for Healthcare Innovation of Aurora will use its $20,000 grant for Healthy Aurora, a community-wide education and outreach initiative that addresses oral health needs in the community. It will develop materials in English and Spanish to increase health literacy, education, and awareness.
Crusader Community Health of Rockford will use its $20,000 grant to support personal protective equipment needed at its six clinics, which provide comprehensive oral healthcare to more than a thousand children each year.
The Erie Family Health Foundation of Chicago will use its $10,000 grant for an oral health transition project with goals of providing access to dental care and education for more children. It expects to serve 6,561 children this year.
Howard Brown Health of Chicago will use its $7,585 grant to expand oral health education through a series of virtual open houses in partnership with Chicago Public Schools that will focus on the importance and need for preventive care. It also will help schedule appointments for children on the South Side of Chicago with the agency’s pediatric dental expansion.
The Infant Welfare Society of Chicago will use its $20,000 grant to provide underserved children access to oral healthcare and education. It also will provide oral healthcare and education to expecting parents, emphasizing the importance of visiting the dentist by the baby’s first birthday.
The Milestone Dental Clinic of Rockford will use its $10,000 grant to develop individual treatment plans for each child with a developmental disability it serves. The grant will support patients who are unable to pay and help ensure that treatment is completed for each patient.
The Oral Health Forum of Chicago will use its $9,220 grant to provide outreach and follow-up services for children who have been previously screened and recommended for treatment. It will help families find a dental home and access support services. Also, it will help promote dental van events and distribute dental hygiene tools through the Oral Health Forum’s partnership with Mobile Care Chicago.
The Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society, which serves as a dental home and provides affordable dental care for underinsured and uninsured children, will use its $20,000 grant to continue to provide oral healthcare services and education.
PCC Wellness of Chicago, which educates children and families about the importance of preventive oral healthcare and establishing good oral health habits early, will use its $18,839 grant to support two dental assistants who will provide oral health education during child well visits at its Austin Family Health Center.
Pillars Community Health of La Grange offers health services on a discounted sliding fee scale based on income for those living 200% of the federal poverty level, with all patients served regardless of ability to pay. It will use its $10,000 grant to educate local children and caregivers about the importance of good oral health habits at home and preventive dental checkups during remote school learning.
Promise Healthcare of Champaign will use its $10,000 grant to support its SmileHealthy program, which provides a dental hygienist for children and expecting mothers. The grant also will support oral health education at the Frances Nelson community health center.
The Riverbend Head Start and Family Services Oral Health Education and Access Project in Alton will use its $10,000 grant to provide services to 793 participants enrolled in its Head Start and Early Head Start programs, including children up to the age of 5. The grant also will provide expecting mothers with dental exams and treatment to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in Alton is building an Advanced Care Clinic that will provide affordable dental care for thousands of underserved children and families who might otherwise not receive treatment. It will use its $20,000 grant to purchase general anesthesia equipment and supplies for the new medical operating suite.
The Tri City Health Partnership in St. Charles will use its $20,00 grant to purchase equipment for a new dental operatory. This will allow the medical building site to increase its number of staff members and volunteers and treat multiple patients simultaneously.
The University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Pediatric Dentistry will use its $20,000 grant to support its Treating Our Toddlers program for infant oral health, which focuses on establishing a dental home for children up to the age of 3. It uses a holistic approach. An interdisciplinary team assesses the dental, medical, nutritional, psychosocial, and developmental needs of patients, largely from families in need.
The Well Child Center Pediatric Dental Clinic and First Tooth Visit Program in Elgin offer comprehensive oral healthcare for low-income children at low or no cost. It will use its $20,000 grant to establish a dental home for children by continuing to provide oral health education and treatment.
The next application cycle for community grants will begin in the fall of 2021.