Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation (DDCOF) announced nearly $11 million in grants to more than 40 organizations working to ensure all Coloradans have access to oral health care. The foundation awarded funds to organizations working within its three initiatives to address the root causes of oral health care inequity: prevention and preventive care, access to oral health care, and workforce development.
Four of the grants, totaling nearly $5 million over four years, will be dedicated to expanding and diversifying dental hygiene programs across the state working in partnership with Colorado’s higher education system.
An additional $6 million is directed to 39 community organizations across the state to advance access to quality care and preventive services.
DDCOF is amplifying the work of Colorado nonprofits dedicated to the belief that every person deserves a healthy mouth regardless of life circumstances.
“We are thrilled to award this year’s grants to organizations making an impact across the entire state,” said Adeeb Khan, executive director of Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation. “We believe that the work of these organizations is essential for accessible oral health care in Colorado. These investments represent a comprehensive approach to addressing the goals of our initiatives and to advance oral health equity across the state.”
In 2021, DDCOF made a fundamental decision to deepen its commitment to oral health by focusing on root-cause solutions to better support the mission of elevating the well-being of all Coloradans by advancing oral health equity. The foundation developed its funding priorities around three issues to advance outcomes.
- Prevention: Incorporating oral health care into early childhood systems.
- Access to Quality Care: Place-based funding in East Metro Denver and the San Luis Valley.
- Workforce: Diversifying the workforce to better represent Coloradans.
“This year’s grantees truly reflect our commitment to serving individuals in every county through the important work being carried out by local partners and statewide organizations,” added Lori Casillas, manager of grantmaking and programs for the foundation. “These commitments work together to ensure we can achieve our mission, and they are all rooted in our strategic approach to creating oral health equity for all.”
The early childhood prevention of caries grantees reflect an alignment with DDCOF’s belief that high-quality early childhood, pregnancy, and parenting education programs should include an oral health component. DDCOF will partner with 14 nonprofit partners across the state as they continue to embed oral health prevention education and activities into their programming for children up to age six and pregnant people.
Access to Quality Care
The 15 place-based grant recipients are a mix of grassroots organizations and dental providers that are led by and work with people most impacted by oral health challenges in the San Luis Valley and northeast Denver. DDCOF’s goal is to develop local learning communities, advance what works in multiple settings, and develop a base of promising practices and partnerships that can be replicated in other regions across Colorado.
The 10 grants within the workforce initiative represent a significant commitment to the long-term vitality and diversity of the oral health workforce in Colorado. Nine workforce grants are focused on creating more avenues into dental professions. This will ensure dental professions offer pathways to prosperity, provide scholarships to dental assistants and help dental assistants advance in their expertise, and develop culturally and socially relevant oral health care delivery. Through these opportunities, the oral health workforce will continue to racially and ethnically diversify to better align with Colorado’s population.
Four additional grants dedicated to expanding and diversifying dental hygiene programs across the state will be directed to Front Range Community College — Larimer Campus Dental Hygiene program, Community College of Denver Dental Hygiene program, Colorado Mountain College Dental Hygiene program, Pikes Peak State College Dental Hygiene program.
Read the full list of grantees here.
To learn more about Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation’s commitment to oral health equity, visit www.deltadentalcofoundation.org.
About Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation
Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation believes every person can have a healthy mouth regardless of life circumstances.
By partnering with communities, the foundation works to re-imagine how all of our neighbors access, benefit from, and value the importance of oral health care. As a 501(c)(3) organization funded by the nonprofit Delta Dental of Colorado, the foundation intends to advance oral health equity throughout local communities across Colorado by implementing transformative programs and initiatives.
To learn more about Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, visit www.deltadentalcofoundation.org.