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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 its three grant programs: Access to Care, Targeted, and Ambassador Grants.  



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. 

2020-2021 Grant Recipients

Access to Care Grants

  • The Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) Foundation of Cambridge has been awarded $15,000 to continue its work helping newly immigrated youth at Somerville High School access oral health care. The funding will be used to expand access to restorative dental care to a larger population of teens who need treatment, and will also allow CHA to coordinate assessment, cleanings, and fluoride treatments at Somerville High School or an alternate location.

  • The Dental Lifeline Network (DLN), a national charitable organization based in Denver, Colorado, has been awarded $6,250 to support the expansion of the Massachusetts Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, which began in 2008 on a small scale. This funding, along with matched funds by other supporters, will help DLN expand Massachusetts DDS into a robust statewide program by providing funding for one fiscal year. The funds will be used to employ a coordinator that will help provide 31 patients with $84,000 in donated treatment, further develop the network of volunteer dentists and dental labs in Massachusetts, and employ a program coordinator.

  • The Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, on behalf of the ForsythKids Program, has been awarded $15,000 to continue providing a mobile dental program that seeks out patient populations who tend to have poorer oral health and more significant challenges accessing dental care. The funds will be used to provide teledentistry to safely reach more patients, as well as targeted in-person treatment for urgent dental conditions. The funds will also support oral health education to every child in the program via virtual classes.

  • The Tufts University School of Dental Medicine's Service With A Smile project has been awarded $15,000 to help provide dental screenings and care to veterans in the Greater Boston area, primarily those who are experiencing homelessness. Service With A Smile provides oral health education, screenings, care, and/or referrals to dental homes.

  • Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Berkshires in Great Barrington has been awarded $15,000 to help continue providing dental services to uninsured or underinsured, income-qualified residents in the Berkshires. The grant will also allow VIM to continue its concerted effort to attract dentists and dental hygienists into the Berkshires to help address capacity building in the region, which is severely lacking in dentists and related dental care.

2019-2020 Grant Recipients

Access to Care Grants

  • The Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) of Cambridge has been awarded $15,000 to continue its work helping newly immigrated youth at Somerville High School access dental care. The funds will be used to help address the current wait list for treatment. Expanding CHA’s program to include local dentists and dental professionals will help increase the number of specialized treatments and decrease wait times.
  • The Community Health Center of Franklin County has been awarded $15,000 to help expand an existing oral health urgent care access site located within Baystate Franklin Medical Center and adjacent to the Emergency Department. The facility opened in 2016 in response to the rising use of hospital emergency departments for ambulatory care dental conditions. The funding will help the access site increase the number of patients seen annually and improve the site’s overall safety and operations.
  • The Dental Lifeline Network (DLN), a national charitable organization based in Denver, Colorado, has been awarded $12,500 to support the expansion of the Massachusetts Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, which began in 2008 on a small scale. This funding, along with matched funds by other supporters, will help DLN expand the Massachusetts DDS program into a robust statewide program by providing funding for one fiscal year. The funds will be used to employ a coordinator that will help provide 65 patients with $180,000 in donated treatment through a network of volunteer dentists and dental labs in Massachusetts.
  • The Elder Dental Program, a program of HealthCare Options, Inc. of Attleboro, has been awarded $15,000 to help the program continue to serve the dental care needs of low-income, uninsured seniors in Bristol County and southern Norfolk County. Specifically, the funding will allow Elder Dental Program to expand services to elders by adding one additional free dental screening clinic.
  • The Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, on behalf of the ForsythKids Program, has been awarded $15,000 to incorporate the Waltham Public School System into its care network. The ForsythKids portable dental program provides preventive oral health care and education to underserved children throughout the Commonwealth. This expansion adds 10 new project sites and approximately 300 new patients.
  • Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Berkshires in Great Barrington has been awarded $26,500 to help VIM continue providing dental services to uninsured or underinsured, income-qualified residents in the Berkshires. It will also allow VIM to make a concerted effort to attract dentists and hygienists into the Berkshires area to help address capacity building in the area, which is severely lacking in dentists and related dental care.
Targeted Grant
  • $2,000 was awarded to The Guild for Human Services in Concord to support the cost of administering a dental clinic for students with intellectual disabilities and complex special needs by helping fund the purchase of a new accessible and durable examination chair.

Foundation Ambassadors

  • The Foundation awarded Ambassador Grants to two MDS member dentists on a mission to spread the word about oral health during National Children’s Dental Health Month. Dr. Casey Jones, who practices in Lee, Massachusetts, used the power of the airwaves to share oral health tips with radio listeners and visited and three different schools to provide demonstrations on oral health. Dr. Sabina Malla, who practices in Fall River, Massachusetts, visited a preschool in North Dartmouth, where she distributed oral care kits and taught the children about caring for their teeth.
  • Dental student Richard Shen works with the Action for Children and Teens in Oral Health Need (ACTION) program to provide oral health care to children from low-income, ethnically diverse communities served by the Cambridge Health Alliance system. Under the guidance of Dr. Brian Swann of the Middlesex District, student coordinators work to recruit volunteers and operate monthly clinic sessions at the Windsor Street Dental Clinic in Cambridge.

2018-2019 Grant Recipients

Access to Care Grants

Each year, the Foundation awards Access to Care Grants to support sustainable programs that improve access to dental care for residents of the Commonwealth. Congratulations to the 2018-2019 Access to Care Grant recipients:

  • Forsyth Institute - $15,000 to help the organization provide oral health care to immigrant children at 60 sites, reaching those with difficulty accessing dental services.
  • Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center (GRMDC) - $25,000 to enable the center to expand dental access to patients of GRMDC and improve integration between its medical and dental departments.
  • Hillcrest Dental Care, Inc. - $20,000 to help the organization provide care to unserved and underserved Berkshire County children via a portable dental unit.
  • Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM) - $16,000 to fund additional dental hygienist hours to support the all-volunteer dentists in its free dental clinic.

Targeted Grants

  • North Shore District - $1,980 to the Gloucester Children’s Dental Center to fund school bus transportation between Gloucester Public Schools and the Center to expand outreach to the underserved youth in Gloucester.
  • Southeastern District - $2,000 to the Elder Dental Program to cover a portion of the program's operations for a free spring dental screening clinic in Norfolk County on May 4, 2019.

Foundation Ambassadors

  • Dental student Alisha Desai and Dr. Samuel Coffin of the Boston District took part in Operation Mouthguard, which provides free custom-fitted mouthguards to underserved children.
  • Dr. Casey Jones of the Berkshire District runs a children’s health education and prevention program that includes school visits, radio interviews and sharing daily dental tips on social media. 
  • Dr. Diane Bonanni and Dr. Badrieh Edalatpour of the East Middlesex District organized an athletic mouthguard event at the Boys and Girls Club of Stoneham, taking impressions for custom mouthguards for children and teen athletes.
  • Dr. Diane Bonanni of the East Middlesex District developed an initiative aimed at improving plaque removal for autistic adults at Melmark New England.
  • Dr. Martha Forero of the Boston District organized a Give Kids a Smile event at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine to provide free dental care to children ages 0-13. 
  • Dr. Sabina Malla of the Southeastern District provides oral health education for children in a classroom setting in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

2017-2018 Grant Recipients

Access to Care Grants

Increasing access to dental care for underserved communities is one of the primary objectives of the MDS Foundation. Recipients are working hard to ensure that everyone in Massachusetts is able to have good oral health. Congratulations to the 2017-2018 Access to Care Grant recipients: 

  • Berkshire District - $25,000 was awarded to Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM) to allow the organization to hire a part-time dentist for its dental clinic. The addition of a part-time dentist on staff will allow VIM to treat an additional 75-100 patients per year.
  • Boston District - $15,000 was awarded to the Forsyth Institute to expand the ForsythKids program in Lynn and Somerville. The expansion of this program will allow ForsythKids to provide dental care services ranging from preventive cleanings to urgent treatment of oral disease to undocumented minor immigrants lacking parental custody.
  • Merrimack Valley District - $20,000 was awarded to the Lowell Community Health Center to assist in purchasing equipment for its dental clinic expansion. Lowell Community Health Center is adding eight additional operatories to its clinic that will enable it to drastically increase the number of patients it can see per year.
  • Southeastern District - $20,000 was awarded to HealthFirst Family Care Center, Inc., to allow it to develop and implement an oral health program for older adults. This program will offer oral health education to help seniors minimize the need for invasive dental treatment, as well as oral health care management to assist seniors in scheduling and traveling to their appointments.
  • Wachusett District - $20,000 was awarded to Community Health Connections to help replace its oral surgery equipment so it can continue to provide residents of the Greater Fitchburg area with oral and maxillofacial surgery services.

Targeted Grants

  • Boston District - $2,000 to Hospitality Homes, an organization that supports patients and their families when they travel to Boston for health care.
  • Cape Cod District - Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss to Cape Kid Meals for dental goodie bags supplied to low-income children four times per school year.

Foundation Ambassadors

  • Dr. Dianne Bonanni and Dr. Badrieh Edalatpour of the East Middlesex District hosted an athletic mouthguard event at the Boys and Girls Club of Stoneham , taking impressions for custom mouthguards for children and teen athletes.
  • Dr. Dianne Bonanni of the East Middlesex District developed a program at Melmark New England to improve the oral hygiene of the autistic population.
  • Dr. Martha Forero of the Boston District hosted a Give Kids a Smile event at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. The two-day event provided free dental care to children ages 0-13.
  • Dr. Casey Jones of the Berkshire District created a children’s health education and prevention program that includes school visits, radio interviews and sharing daily dental tips on social media.
  • Dr. Sabina Malla of the Southeastern District provided oral health education for children and seniors. 
  • Dr. Andrea Richman of the Metropolitan District developed a vehicle to educate seniors about their oral health.

View a map of 2017-2018 MDS Foundation grant recipients.