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ADA Foundation looks back at fruitful year

November 10, 2015

By David Burger

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Proud of Give Kids A Smile and other ADA Foundation charitable efforts, the leadership of the Foundation sees 2015 as another very good year for the ADA Foundation.

A review of 2014 — the most recent year for which full data is available — shows that the Foundation awarded 164 grants, scholarships and awards totaling $1,336,059, positively affecting thousands of lives.

The Foundation is on track in 2015 to provide a similar amount of support to organizations working to improve the public’s oral health through programs including the Harris Grants, Tarrson Awards, Zwemer Awards, predoctoral dental student and allied dental student scholarships, and semi-annual grants for access to care and oral health education.

In late 2014 the Foundation assumed management of Give Kids A Smile, which was introduced as the ADA’s signature access to care program in 2003 and remains an important element of the ADA’s Action for Dental Health. This repositioning allowed the Foundation to more directly support GKAS’ charitable activities and provide even greater assistance to volunteer dentists as they work to provide oral health care to underserved children in their communities. The Foundation estimates that volunteers have provided oral health care and education to 5.5 million underserved kids since the program’s inception.

2016 is poised for a year of more GKAS successes. As of Oct. 29 the Foundation has received commitments from 682 programs, supported by 4,211 volunteer dentists and 15,563 other volunteers to provide oral health education and treatment to more than 173,646 children in need across the U.S. The 2016 GKAS program kickoff is Feb. 5.

“We are very proud of what the Give Kids A Smile program has done to improve the health of millions of children over the years,” said Dr. Reneida Reyes, president of the Foundation. “We want to make this an even better initiative in the future and the key to that is to learn from the experiences of our volunteers who organize and carry out these events. We are very grateful for their time and for all that they do every year.”

The Foundation also established a new giving program. On Sept. 24, the ADAF announced the inaugural winners of its Dr. David Whiston Leadership Awards, which recognize promising dentists who have demonstrated strong leadership skills that can be used to improve the oral health of the public in the years ahead.

The Foundation created the award to honor Dr. Whiston, who served the oral health profession through many leadership roles, including ADA president from 1997-98 , trustee from 1992-96 and president of the Foundation board of directors from 2010-14.

The Foundation provides two $5,000 awards each year — the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award and the Henry Schein Cares Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award — designed to cover the costs associated with attending a leadership training program offered by the American Management Association. To honor the great achievements of the candidates, donors provided additional funding for a third award in 2015.

The Foundation’s focus on research also continues to be strong. With National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research grant support, scientists at the ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland, are investigating new, improved and durable resin-based composite filling material. Their goal is to develop a resin system that is biodegradable and will not degrade in the presence of salivary enzymes and water. Funding for this research is projected to last until 2018. The VRC continues to seek additional support for its cutting-edge oral health research.

A tax-deductible donation to the Foundation can be made at ADAFoundation/en/how-to-help, or by calling the Foundation at 1-312-440-2547.

For more information, go to ADAFoundation.org.