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Outstanding Foundation: Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation

Delta Dental

Weldon Johnson

Join the Association of Fundraising Professionals Arkansas Chapter on November 16 at the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon and celebrate the collective compassion and dedication of this year’s honorees – individuals, organizations and businesses that are transforming the lives of all Arkansans.

By Barrett Gay | Photography by Sara Reeves

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW THEM
In 2004, Delta Dental of Arkansas established the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation to meet the needs of countless residents, many of whom might not otherwise receive proper care. “By investing in dental education, prevention and treatment, the foundation is focused solely on fulfilling Delta Dental’s mission to improve the oral health of Arkansans,” says Weldon Johnson, vice president and executive director of the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation. “Seeing the difference in a person after receiving much needed dental care is amazing. Knowing that our foundation has a chance to drastically reduce dental disease, especially in children, inspires us to succeed.”

WITH A FINITE FOCUS ON RURAL AND UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES, the results of the foundation’s work are significant and measurable. In just the last three years, Weldon says, “the foundation has given an average of $3 million to organizations, programs and initiatives designed to improve access to better oral care services for individuals and families.” Moreover, he notes, the foundation provides charitable clinics throughout the state and “funds in-hospital dental clinics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, CARTI and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Additionally, it helps fund three mobile dental units, including the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, that provide dental services to underserved children at elementary schools.”

THE FLUORIDATION OF THE PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY in the state is due, in large part, to the foundation’s advocacy role. Water fluoridation is the controlled addition of fluoride to the public water supply. “The Center for Disease Control cites public water fluoridation as the most effective and inexpensive way to reduce dental disease, especially for people without access or the ability to pay for regular dental care,” Weldon notes. “Delta Dental not only encouraged the policy change but also agreed to fund all costs related to installing and updating existing water systems so that Arkansans would not incur the expenses. The Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation has contributed almost $7 million to improve thirty-two water systems across the state. Once completed, our statewide fluoridation efforts will result in improved health benefits for 650,000 Arkansans.”

GREATEST LIFE LESSON
“One can never accomplish much alone. It takes many others aligned with a common goal and the passion and perseverance to succeed.”

PHILOSOPHY TO LIVE BY
“‘Do Right!’ Adopted from Coach Lou Holtz.”

“The Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation has provided immeasurable help to CARTI’s cancer patients. CARTI has an onsite dentist, since certain cancer treatments can severely impact a patient’s oral cavity, and Delta Dental outfitted the dental clinic at the CARTI Cancer Center. Their grants have allowed us to provide critical oral surgery treatments to cancer patients who could not otherwise afford them. Because of Delta Dental, these patients are able to enjoy a much-improved quality of life following their cancer treatments. We are so very grateful to the Delta Dental Foundation for all they do in our state.” – President Kathi Jones, CARTI Foundation

Inviting Arkansas

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