Smiles for Kids grants available Polk County nonprofit programs

Published 12:56 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

As we celebrate the holiday season through the eyes of children, there is an easy way to fulfill the wishes of some of our youngest citizens in North Carolina. 

Recent assessments by the N.C. Division of Public Health reveal startling disparities in dental health among children, which put them at risk for oral and other health problems now and as they get older. For instance, in 2022-2023, in Polk County, more than 30% of kindergarteners had untreated tooth decay.

The Delta Dental Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of North Carolina, is committed to addressing these disparities through the Smiles for Kids grant program. By providing grants of up to $5,000 to non-profits across North Carolina, including in Polk County, the foundation aims to transform these statistics into success stories of improved child dental health. 

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Smiles for Kids grants are available to community-based oral health nonprofit programs designed to promote and/or improve the oral health of underserved children in at-risk populations. The application period is open now through January 6, 2024, and nonprofits can easily apply for funding here.

In 2024, the DDF will award up to $150,000 to organizations across the state that meet the above criteria. In 2023, DDF granted $148,728 to 39 North Carolina nonprofits under the Smiles for Kids program which benefited nearly 78,000 children.

Since the program’s inception in 2001, these grants have reached 52% of the state’s counties. To date, the Delta Dental Foundation has not received a grant request from Polk County. its holiday wish is to reach all 100 counties through this year’s program, including Polk. As we celebrate this season, help light up a child’s life with the gift of a healthy smile and make 2024 a starting point for healthier futures for our children.

Submitted by Mia Ferrari