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Access to Care

The ADA Foundation provides grants and awards related to access to care through grants to nonprofit organizations working in alignment with the ADA Foundation's mission; through awards to dental school student groups that provide care to underserved populations in their own communities and around the world; and through Give Kids A Smile-related efforts. Please see the below program descriptions and guidelines for complete information, and check this website for updates.

Access to care is one of the four pillars of the ADA Foundation. The other pillars are Charitable AssistanceResearch, and Education.

Give Kids A Smile® Continuity of Care Grants

Purpose: The ADA Foundation Give Kids A Smile Continuity of Care Grants will assist GKAS programs that offer continuity of dental care to underserved children after their initial GKAS visit, because a major goal of any GKAS program is to establish a process by which a child can get continued care over several years.

Application Period: The first Friday in October (RFA opens) through the second Friday in November (application deadline).

Eligibility Requirements:

  • GKAS programs MUST have officially signed up to participate in GKAS 2017 through the ADA Foundation’s GKAS sign up system.
  • Community services MUST target children from underserved communities who did not have their treatment needs completed during the initial GKAS event.
  • Applying organizations must be U.S.-based nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, whose charitable activities are within the U.S.

Dollar Amount and Number of Awards: Grant awards will be up to, but not exceeding, ten thousand dollars ($10,000). The ADA Foundation will award up to $50,000 in GKAS Continuity of Care grants in 2017.

The E. "Bud" Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award

Purpose: The ADA Foundation Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award annually highlights significant dental student outreach to vulnerable communities within the U.S. 

Application Period: First Friday in September (RFA open) through the second Friday in November (application deadline)

Eligibility Requirements: Dental student groups enrolled in a predoctoral dental education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, which are involved in an outreach program to vulnerable communities within the U.S. The ADA Foundation accepts one application from each dental school.

Dollar Amount and Number of Awards: At least one award of $5,000 is awarded each year. Due to a generous gift from ADA Business Resources (ADABEI) and an anonymous donor, seven Tarrson Awards valued at $5,000 each were made in 2014.

The Dr. Thomas J. Zwemer Award

Purpose: The Dr. Thomas J. Zwemer Award was created in 2012 by Dr. Richard Simms, then a member of the ADAF Board of Directors, in honor of his mentor and longtime friend, Thomas J. Zwemer, D.D.S. The goal is to recognize and encourage student programs that provide services to underserved populations outside of the U.S. in a similar fashion to the ADAF’s very successful Tarrson Award. 

Application Period: First Friday in September (RFA open) through the second Friday in November (application deadline)

Eligibility Requirements: Dental student groups enrolled in a predoctoral dental education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, which are involved in an outreach program to vulnerable communities outside of the U.S. The ADA Foundation accepts one application from each dental school.

Dollar Amount and Number of Awards: One award of $5,000 is made annually to a dental school on behalf of the student's winning outreach program.

The winner of the 2013 Zwemer Award is the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry for its Malawi Dental Project. The winner of the inaugural ADAF Zwemer Award (2012) was Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine for their student outreach program in rural Madagascar.

Semi-annual Grants: Access to Care 

Purpose: The ADA Foundation is committed to supporting U.S. based organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code whose charitable activities within or without the United States provide access to care and dental homes to the underserved. The ADAF defines the dental home as the ongoing relationship between the dentist who is the primary dental care provider and the patient, which includes comprehensive oral health care, beginning before age one, and continuing throughout the patient’s lifetime, with appropriate referral as necessary.

Application period: The application for the Semi-annual Grant Program with a focus on Access to Care will be available on the first Friday of April. The application deadline is the last Friday in July of the same year. The ADA Foundation hopes to announce the selected grantees in November or early December, 2016. Check this website for updated information.

Eligibility Requirements: U.S. based organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Dollar Amount and Number of Awards: Grants will be awarded up to, but not exceed, Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) in the case of Access to Care grants and Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) in the case of Education grants. Organizations may submit only one grant request per year for Semi-annual Grant funding under Education, and one grant request per year for Semi-annual Grant funding under Access to Care.

See also: Semi-annual Grants: Education