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Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Invests Over $378,000 In Sixteen Nonprofits for Oral Health and Overall Health Projects

Posted on December 4, 2023 in Foundation

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The Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation invests over $378,000 in sixteen organizations to strengthen and transform the oral and overall health of people living in Iowa. The grants are part of the Foundation’s Community of Health Grant programs that are intended to infuse a spark, encourage new learnings, strengthen nonprofit organizations and coalitions operations, or initiate a larger oral or overall health initiative. 

“Delta Dental of Iowa and our Foundation is committed to partnering with organizations that share our goal to create healthier communities by strengthening the health and smiles of all Iowans,” said Suzanne Heckenlaible, executive director of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. “We are proud to invest in the efforts of our community partners as they work to grow awareness and access to oral and overall health resources in communities across our state.”  

Oral Health Grants

A total of $159,114 was awarded to six organizations with projects focused on advancing oral health and the integration of oral and overall health such as dental workforce recruitment and retention strategic planning, youth oral healthcare career development exploration, oral healthcare coordination and education for refugees and immigrants, and veterans oral health research.

“A $30,000 Community of Health grant from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation will allow iJAG to develop and pilot a healthcare career development curriculum for youth with an intentional focus on oral health career opportunities,” said Dr. Wendy Mihm-Herold, president & CEO, at Iowa Jobs for Americas Graduates (iJAG). “Our students, now more than ever, are uniquely aware of both the necessity for qualified, diverse healthcare professionals and the variety of jobs in the field. It's an opportune time for iJAG to expand exposure to and preparation for healthcare jobs by highlighting oral health career pathways.”

Overall Health Grants

A total of $219,762 in Overall Health Grants was awarded to ten organizations to fund projects focused on increasing access to overall health services with several projects focused on mental health training, education and expanded services for youth, refugees & immigrants, after-school providers and rural Iowans. Additional funded projects will support training and certification of black and multi-cultural community health workers and collaborative advocacy initiatives of health and wellness organizations.

“We are thrilled to receive a $25,000 Community of Health Grant from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation to support our Mental Health First Aid instructors,” said Liz Zuercher, Coordinator of the Story Medical Center Foundation. “This investment will allow us to make significant strides toward empowering community members to recognize and respond to mental health crises with efficacy and establish a network of trainers from diverse backgrounds who will contribute significantly to the expansion of mental health awareness, education, and increase access to much needed supports and resources in our rural community and beyond.”

Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Community of Health Grant applications from Iowa agencies are reviewed twice a year and applications are due on March 1 and September 1. For more information about Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s grant programs including descriptions and timelines, visit the Foundation website and register for one of the live virtual information sessions to be held in January. Since 2002, Delta Dental has invested more than $62 million to improve the oral and overall health of Iowans. Learn more about the Foundation’s grants at