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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.

ADA Foundation Grant for International Volunteer Dental Projects

To Apply: Apply online for the ADAF Grant for International Volunteer Dental Projects. (You will be taken to a third party website to complete the application.) You may use this worksheet to prepare (.docx) (3/16/2018).

Purpose: To support U.S. based organizations that are working to improve access to oral health care in underserved communities outside of the U.S.

Application Period: Through May 1, 2018 (application deadline)

Eligibility Requirements:

  • All projects must be themselves, or associated with, a US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or foundation. All awards will be made to the 501 (c)(3) organization, not to individual applicants.
  • All projects must have a demonstrable current three-year history of activity (2014- 2017). The recipient organization must lead dental trips of at least one week duration per year and may be service oriented, dental education/oral health oriented, or a combination project.
  • All awardees agree to provide reporting as stipulated in the application process and be willing for the ADAF to use appropriate photos and other project information from the awarded project for informational and promotional purposes.

Dollar Amount and Number of Awards: Four grants of up to $5,000 each will be awarded in 2018.

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 2018-2019 application period is not yet established. Check this website on or about May 1, 2018 for more information.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • GKAS programs MUST have officially signed up to participate in GKAS 2018 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, fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). The ADA Foundation will award up to $50,000 in GKAS Continuity of Care grants for 2018.

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

Purpose: The ADA Foundation E. "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 up to $5,000 will be made to a dental  school/college in honor of the outreach program. Award funds must be expressly used to enhance student service learning and outreach to underserved populations. Due to a generous gift from ADA Business Resources (ADABEI), six Tarrson Awards were presented in 2016.

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: At least one award of up to $5,000 will be made to a dental  school/college in honor of the outreach program.  Award funds must be expressly used to enhance student service learning and outreach to underserved populations.

Semi-annual Grants: Access to Care 

From 2014-2016, the ADA Foundation provided grants U.S. based organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code whose charitable activities provided access to care and dental homes to the underserved. This grant program is not available at this time.