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Blue Ribbon Foundation Grants Help Children Access Dental Care

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February 4, 2010

More Than 5,700 Children and Families Receive Needed Dental Services

February 4, 2010 Wilkes-Barre, PA — The Cleveland dentists who gathered February 3, 1949 for a one-day awareness campaign about children’s dental health likely never imagined the reach or the longevity of their efforts.

Sixty years later, the event has become the American Dental Association’s widely celebrated “National Children's Dental Health Month.” And The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is marking February by spotlighting area organizations whose projects funded by The Foundation seek to fill local gaps in dental care.

Many parts of the country still lack dentists, and the federal government has designated much of Northeastern Pennsylvania as “Dental Professional Shortage Areas.”  In response, The Foundation awarded eight grants totaling $141,460 during 2008-09 to six nonprofits to help them provide a range of valuable dental procedures, oral hygiene education and fluoride treatments to those who need help the most.

Of the 5,751 un- and underinsured residents being served by these projects, 3,570 are children, 1,000 are adults and 1,181 include children and their family. Grants went to: 

  • Carbon County Partners for Progress, which received two grants totaling $25,000 in 2008-09 for a mobile dental van that will provide exams, cleanings and other services to 1,400 children.
  • Clinton County Community Dental Clinic, which was awarded a $16,000 grant in 2009 to expand primary dental services and education for 250 children and their families. 
  • Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, which received a $20,000 grant in 2009 to increase its dental supplies to serve another 1,000 uninsured adults.
  • Luzerne County Head Start, which is using its $8,000 grant from 2008 to transport 500 children and their parents to free dental appointments and to provide nutrition education and translation services during the visits.
  • Wayne Memorial Community Health Center, which received two 2008 grants totaling $28,000 for dental education and preventive care for 1,670 children.
  • Susquehanna Health, which performed nearly 2,700 dental procedures between March and August 31, 2009 on 931 children and adults thanks to a $44,460 grant. 

Oral hygiene is just as vital to pediatric wellness as diet and exercise, according to the American Dental Association, and the mouth often serves as a window into a child’s overall health.

“Having access to dental care as a child is critical to developing good oral hygiene habits and preventing other health-related problems later in life,” says Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation. 

Find out More

The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s funding cycles run quarterly. For more information on funding priorities, application deadlines and eligibility criteria, please visit, and click on The Blue Ribbon Foundation tab.

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About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association headquartered in Wilkes-Barre.  It offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to approximately 600,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  The company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions that support more affordable health care, promote personal accountability for health and wellness, and offer superior service and partnership to employers, members, and providers.

Anthony Matrisciano
Phone: 570-200-6310