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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.

Semi-annual Invitational Grants: Visit the "How to Apply" page for information on these grants.

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 Grant Program: Access to Care 

    How to Apply: The ADA Foundation is now accepting applications for its Semi-annual Grants Program: Access to Care.

    All grant applications must be submitted through this online system in order to be considered for funding from the ADA Foundation. The application deadline is 11:59 pm CT on Friday, July 29, 2016. The applicant will need to create a user log in first, and will then have access to all documents. To find the grant application click “apply” on the left hand side in the grant online system once a user log in has been created.

    Please note that the user will be taken to a third party website to complete an application. If you have any questions contact Tracey Schilligo, Grants Manager at schilligot@ada.org or (312) 440-2763.

    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 

    The ADA Foundation and Give Kids A Smile®

    As dentistry’s premier philanthropic and charitable organization, the ADA Foundation builds relationships to help make a difference through better oral health. One of the most important ways in which the ADA Foundation does this is to provide fundraising support for Give Kids A Smile, the ADA’s premier access-to-care program.

    The ADA began the Give Kids A Smile program in 2003 as a way for ADA members to join with others in the community to provide dental services to underserved children. The program has since grown from a one-day event in February to local and national events year-round.

    The ADA Foundation provides funds to the ADA for its Give Kids A Smile program through a formal grant-making process, and to other organizations as grant monies become available. Grant monies support efforts such as the Give Kids A Smile Institute, an intensive in-person training session for GKAS leaders nationwide, which takes place in St. Louis, Missouri each fall; and the Give Kids A Smile NASCAR education and outreach program, through which tens of thousands of children and their families are educated each year about good oral health.

    There are no Give Kids A Smile-related grant opportunities available at this time.

    Visit the Give Kids A Smile page