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Grant Recipients

The MDS Foundation's grant programs focus on the Foundation's goal of improving the oral health of all citizens of Massachusetts and increasing access to care for underserved populations in the state. Each year the MDS Foundation awards gifts from two programs: Access to Care grants and Targeted grants.

2023-2024 Grant Recipients

Access to Care Grant Recipients
  • Community Health Connections, whose mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care in the community was awarded $12,155 to help fund the purchase of dental equipment for their community health center in Leominster, MA.
  • Dental Lifeline Network—Donated Dental Services (DDS) Massachusetts, who offers underserved patients in Massachusetts access to pro bono dental care since 2005, received a $24,000 grant. This funding will provide oral health care for 40 individuals with disabilities, fragile medical conditions, and the elderly. It will also be used to expand the network of volunteer dentists in the state.
  • The Forsyth Institute—ForsythKids Program works to provide oral health care to disadvantaged children. They received a $10,000 grant to increase the number of students served, promote improved oral health for these at-risk children, and continue developing a cost-effective model to distribute services.
  • Harvard University American Student Dental Association Community Involvement (ASDA CI) connects with dentally underserved Massachusetts communities to address oral health disparities. ASDA CI received a $7000 grant to help the group purchase supplies for their two student-run outreach dental clinics.
  • Tufts University Autism Smiles Program offers children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) an anxiety-free dental visit experience while promoting good oral hygiene and increasing access to care. Autism Smiles received a $10,000 grant to help them continue their programming and develop an interactive app aimed at creating a pillar of support for children with ASD.
  • Tufts University Cares for Veterans Program aims to improve access to oral health care for veterans in Massachusetts with housing insecurity and educate providers on their role working in community-based settings. The Cares for Veterans Program, formerly known as Service with a Smile, received a $15,000 grant to expand their programming to reach more veterans with oral health education, oral health/cancer screenings, and connecting them to dental homes for long-term care.
  • Volunteers in Medicine (ViM) Berkshires disrupts systematic barriers to health equity and provides free care to those in the region who are ineligible for health insurance and are income qualified. ViM Berkshires was awarded a $25,000 grant to help fund the opening of a second clinic in Pittsfield, MA, which will include dental and general health services.

2022-2023 Grant Recipients

Access to Care Grants
  • Action for Children and Teens in Oral Health Need (ACTION) received a $15,000 Access to Care grant from the MDS Foundation to help fund a low-cost clinic providing preventative, diagnostic, and restorative oral health care to children and teens in Greater Boston and Cambridge. The program strives to correct disparities in access to pediatric oral health care by offering a sustainable, low-cost clinic.
  • The Holyoke Health Center’s (HHC) MDS Foundation Access to Care grant of $12,350 will be used to expand the Center’s oral health program closing the gap in needs for children 0-18 in the Holyoke area. The mission of HHC is to improve the health of patients through affordable, quality health care and comprehensive community-¬based programming creating a healthy community.
  • Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM) was awarded $25,000 from a MDS Foundation Access to Care grant to continue building a pipeline of hygiene and dental student volunteers who donate dental care to uninsured or underinsured patients in the Berkshires. VIM’s mission is to provide access to free, comprehensive care for income-qualified adults in the region who are uninsured or under-insured.

2021-2022 Grant Recipients

Access to Care Grants

  • The Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) has been awarded a $15,000 grant for their ongoing work with newly immigrated youth at Somerville High School’s Oral Health Access Program. The monies will be used to decrease wait times for oral health problems, increase access to care and educational resources, and enhance communication between dental homes, care coordinators, and community partner dentists. 
  • The Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) received $12,500 in grant money to continue funding the Massachusetts Donated Dental Services program (DDS). DLN is a national charitable organization that provides access to dental care for society’s most vulnerable individuals. In 2008 DLN established the Massachusetts DDS program. Funding from the 2021-2022 grant will be used to care for 40 individuals with disabilities, fragile medical conditions, or those unable to afford care. These patients will receive $90,000 in pro bono dental care to remedy their ailments. Funds will also support the DDS coordinator position, recruiting efforts for volunteer dentists, training and technical assistance for staff, and increased communication about the program. 
  • On behalf of the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, the ForsythKids Program was awarded $15,000 for a mobile dental program for patient populations with poorer oral health and more significant challenges accessing dental care. In 2020 they refocused measures to teledentistry and urgent dental conditions. A portion of the funding will be used to restore and expand operations as dental partners return to normal. Efforts will also continue to focus on improved oral health for at-risk children in Massachusetts and developing a more cost-effect, sustainable service model. 
  • Franciscan Children’s received a $6,700 grant from the MDS Foundation for the Pediatric Dentistry Program to purchase a hand-held x-ray machine. This machine will allow Children’s to increase practice efficiency, serve more patients, and better accommodate the unique needs of their young patients. Many Franciscan patients have physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions that can limit the use of their current wall-mounted x-ray machines. Upgrading the x-ray equipment will immediately elevate the standard of care now served. 
  • Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) was awarded a $15,000 Access to Care Grant from the MDS Foundation. This grant will address the need for additional dental services for veterans in the Greater Boston area. Funds will be used to increase access to oral health care to more veterans, improve awareness of oral health needs for veterans among the TUSDM faculty and staff, and involve dental students of all levels in providing education and services to veterans.

Targeted Grants

  • Holyoke Health Center (HHC), $2,000 — This funding will be used toward the purchase of key equipment which will increase the dental clinic’s capacity and shorten patient visit times. HHC provides a full range of pediatric and adult dental services to those unable to access or afford basic dental care. 
  • Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) Autism Smile Project, $2,000 — This grant money will be used for sensory toolkit items for 30 families who participate in the Autism Smile Project. Autism Smile provides children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) the opportunity to be introduced to the provider, the dental chair, instruments, and all sensory stimulations that may occur on a typical dental visit. Sensory toolkits are distributed to every child who participates in the program.