Delta Dental Ramps Up Donation Efforts

Dentistry Today


Last year, the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation provided $9.6 million in 15 states and the District of Columbia to improve oral health and access to care in underserved areas where many families and individuals have trouble receiving affordable dental care. Most grants to dental clinics ranged from $10,000 to $70,000, though some were considerably larger.

The Foundation’s nearly $3.2 million donation in California represents an increase of more than 400% over its $580,000 donation in 2016. The grants went to 58 community dental clinics and several major educational and research institutions, as well as to aid communities struck by natural disasters. 

“As the state’s largest dental provider, we take our commitment to oral health very seriously and work hard to increase access to care for as many people as possible,” said John Yamamoto, DDS, MPH, vice president of professional services for Delta Dental of California. “We’re proud to be able to support the advancement of oral health as well as many communities in need in the state and hope to build upon this in the future.”

The funding included a two-year, $1.5 million grant to the UCLA School of Dentistry to support a collaborative care initiative and major gifts to the University of the Pacific and Health Smiles for Kids of Orange County. It also included a $200,000 gift to the American Red Cross to help communities devastated by major wildfires.

The Foundation donated $1.3 million to 40 Pennsylvania community dental clinics, several educational and research institutions, and community groups, marking a 170% increase over 2016’s $480,000 donation. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine received $650,000 to add a mobile dental clinic to the PennSmiles Community Dental Care Program.

“Our driving purpose is to increase oral health education and access to care among those most in need in Pennsylvania and elsewhere,” said David E. Kilber, DDS, dental director at Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. “We’ll keep building upon our efforts so that we reach more and more communities.” 

In Texas, the Foundation provided $975,000 last year—a 164% increase from its 2016 total. The funds went to 29 Texas community dental clinics and several educational and research institutions and community groups as well as the residents of Houston and nearby communities in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. 

“Here in Texas, our foundation is increasing its efforts to promote oral health among those least able to afford dental care and to improve education and research to aid in those efforts,” said Kenneth Yale, DDS, JD, Delta Dental’s chief clinical officer. “We’re very proud of this work and hope to build upon it.”

Last year’s grants included $250,000 to the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston to enhance oral healthcare for children and the elderly and $200,000 to the American Red Cross to help Houston and its surrounding areas recover from Hurricane Harvey. 

The Foundation also donated $630,000 last year, more than doubling its 2016 total of $310,000, to improve care in Louisiana. The grants went to 18 Louisiana community clinics. Global Health RC in New Orleans received $193,000, and the SWLA Center for Health Services in Lake Charles received $226,000. 

In Florida, the Foundation donated $561,000, which was a 44% increase over 2016’s total of $310,000. The funding supported 35 community dental clinics and programs, with $60,000 awarded to Suncoast Community Health Centers in Riverview and $68,152 to District Clinic Holdings in Palm Springs.

Overall, the Foundation’s 2017 grants more than doubled its $3.76 million total in 2016. The Foundation also donated more than $1 million in funding, dental kits, and other supplies benefiting communities affected by natural disasters in California, Texas, Florida, the Gulf Coast, and Puerto Rico.

“We have more work ahead of us in order to reach the remaining underserved areas that we couldn’t cover in 2017,” said Tony Barth, president and CEO. “This year, we’re making an ongoing pledge to give 10% of our net income to build upon our commitment to give back.”

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