Oral Health Hero

Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation fights for access to health for females and their families

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation (DDAZF). 

“Our mission is to improve oral health across the state, particularly for uninsured and underinsured groups and communities,” says Michael Jones, who was named president and CEO of Delta Dental of Arizona and chair of DDAZF in 2021.

According to Jones, DDAZF provides support through a grant program and extensive community partnerships.

DDAZF Grant Programs

“In 2022, via Community Grants and IMPACT Grants, we distributed more than $750,000 to community organizations that serve high-risk children, pregnant women and families,” says Jones. 

DDAZF presented 26 Community Grants of up to $30,000, as well as dental supplies, to 26 Arizona nonprofits, including:

  • A New Leaf’s Healthy Smiles for Life provides dental hygiene education and supplies for preschool to high school-age children from low-income, underserved, and un/under-insured households.
  • Desert Senita Dental Clinic’s Preventive Oral Health for a Brighter Tomorrow screens children, pregnant women and seniors for preventive treatments.
  • Southwest Human Development’s Oral Health Program is an educational program for children and families in the Head Start and Early Head Start program. 

Beyond this, in 2020 DDAFZ launched its IMPACT Grant program awarding organizations two-year grants totaling $100,000 each, with $50,000 awarded each year. Nonprofits invited to apply for these grants provide oral health services and education to more than 650 children, pregnant women or seniors each year and have a proven record of fiscal and reporting responsibility.

The 2022-2023 IMPACT recipients include:

  • Esperança’s Arizona Oral Health Education Program educates children in Title 1 schools and daycare centers across the Valley about the importance of daily hygiene practices, proper brushing/flossing techniques and the need for routine dental visits. Esperança provides each participant with a Smile Bag containing an age-appropriate toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.
  • El Rio Health Center’s Pediatric Dental Integration Program provides dental screenings, varnish and oral health education with dental hygiene teams in five El Rio Health clinic locations.

Sponsorships and Partnerships

“We also build strategic partnerships with Arizona organizations that share our desire to improve lives and promote optimal oral health,” says Jones.

For example, DDAZF supports the Delta Dental Oral Health Center at St. Vincent de Paul’s Virginia G. Piper Medical and Dental Clinic and serves as the sponsor for First Things First’s “new parent kits.” This program ensures the estimated 77,000 women that give birth in Arizona each year get an oral health pouch.

“In January, we also announced a partnership with Arizona PBS on an educational outreach program to promote good oral health to children in rural communities across the state,” says Jones.

Each event will feature PBS characters, educational crafts, activities and giveaways for children up to age 8. Local dental professionals will also be on hand to offer free dental screenings and fluoride varnish treatments.

“Delta Dental also partners with ATSU Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, Banner University Medical Center, Pacific Dental Services Foundation Dentists for Special Needs, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Northern Arizona University College of Dental Hygiene to name a few, to provide underserved communities with oral health education, oral disease prevention and access to dental care, because we believe everyone deserves a healthy smile,” says Jones.

LEARN MORE: Glendale-based Delta Dental of Arizona is a not-for-profit dental service organization. DDAZF uses 100% of charitable donations to directly support oral health programs. For more information, visit DeltaDentalAZ.com/foundation.

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