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Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation awarded over $1 million for oral health



Little Rock, Arkansas – Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation has made a significant impact in the realm of oral health by awarding over $1 million in grants. This funding is a substantial step towards improving the dental health of Arkansans, especially those who are low-income, uninsured, or underinsured.

In a record-setting move, the foundation’s board of directors approved almost $502,000 in 2024 Community Grants. These grants will benefit 22 Arkansas nonprofits and schools, focusing on community-based oral health initiatives. Additionally, the foundation allocated $60,000 in Oral Health Education Grants to two organizations. Furthermore, nearly $536,000 in Strategic Initiative Grants were awarded for three statewide projects. These grants are set to deliver crucial oral health services to tens of thousands across the state.

Two organizations in South Arkansas, the Lafayette County Dental Clinic, Inc. in Lafayette County, and the Literacy Council of Bowie and Miller Counties in Miller County, were among the recipients. These grants will significantly impact the Southwest Arkansas region, a key focus area for the foundation.

Sharon Lanier, Ph.D., the foundation’s executive director, highlighted this grant-making chapter as a historic milestone. The foundation saw the highest number of Community Grant applications ever received, demonstrating the growing need and awareness of oral health in the community. Additionally, for the first time, the foundation awarded a Strategic Initiative Grant to increase the number of school-based oral health centers in Arkansas. This move aligns with one of the foundation’s key funding priorities and is anticipated to lead to improved oral health and quality of life for many Arkansans.

One noteworthy recipient of the Strategic Initiative Grants is Mainline Health Systems, Inc. in Drew County. This grant will enable the expansion of school-based dental clinics in the Delta region, a known dental provider shortage area. By increasing the number of clinics from 15 to 19 by late 2024, the foundation addresses a critical need. This expansion is especially significant as it provides early dental care for children, preventing complex oral health issues in adulthood.

Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation offers five distinct grant programs focusing on various aspects of oral health projects. The application process usually begins in mid-summer, with selections made in November and the disbursement of funds in January. The range of other grant opportunities varies, with awards up to $2,500 for single school-based requests and extending to multi-year collaborative projects exceeding $100,000. This diverse range of grants demonstrates the foundation’s commitment to addressing oral health needs across different community sectors and age groups.

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