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Harris grants awarded

October 19, 2015

By David Burger

Early education: The Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation, a Harris Grant recipient, uses its Baby Days program to provide children from low-income and Latino communities with oral health care.
The ADA Foundation awarded grants to 25 organizations nationwide from the Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health program.  These grants support the efforts of organizations that are engaged in the battle to end early childhood caries.

The Foundation awarded nearly $124,000 to those nonprofit organizations, which work to prevent early childhood caries through educating parents, caregivers and pregnant women about oral health care.

The Foundation established the ADAF Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health in 2000 to honor Dr. Samuel Harris, a distinguished pediatric dentist and philanthropist. Dr. Harris made a generous contribution in 1998 to endow a fund for oral health education and prevention of early childhood dental disease.

One of this year’s Harris Grant recipients is Asian Health Services, of Oakland, California, which received a $5,000 grant in recognition of its ongoing efforts to provide prenatal and postnatal oral health education to low-income, limited-English speaking Asian and Pacific Islander women.

Dr. Huong Le, chief dental officer at AHS, said 97 percent of its patients don’t speak English, so the center staffs linguists who speak the 12 Asian languages spoken at the center.

“This grant is so great,” Dr. Le said.

The ADAF also granted $5,000 to the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation, based in Cornelius, Oregon, to expand its Baby Days program, which aids children from low-income and Latino communities with oral health care, along with other types of medical care.

Dr. Lisa Bozzetti, dental director of the organization, said the grant helps its efforts to serve Somali immigrants and their children. It will also train staff members on group facilitation techniques because much of the program involves group visits.

“I’m thrilled that we were selected,” Dr. Bozzetti said. “Grant funding is critical. Financial support is the key to doing this type of thing.”

Another 2015 ADAF Harris grantee is the Colorado-based non-profit Bright by Three, which plans on using its $5,000 grant to expand its Bright by Text program.  Bright by Text is a free, educational text-messaging system that sends frequent oral health tips, learning games and resources to parents of children under 36 months, said Jean McSpadden, CEO and president of Bright by Three.  With the grant, the successful program will be enlarged so that the system includes videos and Spanish-language versions.

“It’s been a true gift,” Ms. McSpadden said of the ADAF grant. “They are critically important. If we didn’t have grants, we’d have a hard time meeting our operational budget.”

The 2015 Harris Fund grant recipients are:

  • Affinia Healthcare, St. Louis;
  • Asian Health Services, Oakland, California;
  • Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, Reno, Nevada;
  • Bright By Three, Denver;
  • Children’s Dental Health Clinic, Long Beach, California;
  • Children’s Dental Services, Minneapolis;
  • Christ Centered Church Ministries, Oak Lawn, Illinois;
  • Community Dental Care, Maplewood, Minnesota;
  • Community Dental Care, Grand Prairie, Texas;
  • Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Denver;
  • Family Health Center of Boone County, Columbia, Missouri;
  • Kids Community Clinic of Burbank, Burbank, California;
  • Kids Smiles, Philadelphia;
  • Missouri Primary Care Association, Jefferson City, Missouri;
  • North County Health Services, San Marcos, California;
  • Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center, Pagosa Springs, Colorado;
  • Polk County Family & Community Outreach Department, Dallas, Oregon;
  • Texas Oral Health Coalition, San Antonio;
  • University of Florida Foundation Inc., Gainesville, Florida;
  • University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Chicago;
  • University of Rochester/Eastman Institute for Oral Health, Rochester, New York;
  • University of Washington Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Seattle;
  • Villa Therese Catholic Clinic, Santa Fe, New Mexico;
  • Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation and Health Center, Cornelius, Oregon;
  • Well Child Center, Elgin, Illinois.
The application period for the 2016 Harris Grants will open at the end of February 2016. For more information, go to