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  • 1 February, 2024

Delta Dental of Tennessee Celebrates 25 Years of Giving Back

This year, Delta Dental of Tennessee (Delta Dental) is celebrating 25 years of giving back to the community it calls home. With its mission of ensuring healthy smiles, the not-for-profit organization donated more than $70 million since 1999, giving to improve the oral and overall health of Tennesseans. Delta Dental along with the company’s philanthropic arm, the Smile180 Foundation, supports the state’s dental colleges, children's hospitals, free and reduced-cost dental clinics, and other like-minded charities

“Our community is our foundation and our passion. Every day, our employees work to ensure that Tennesseans can live confidently and thrive. We understand that our success begins and ends with providing superior quality service, and part of that is serving those who need it most,” said Jeff Ballard, President and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee.

Highlights of Delta Dental’s community benefit include:

  • More than $70 million invested in community impact since 1999.
  • 155,000+ mouthguards donated since 2006.
  • 110 touchless water bottle filling stations installed across the state since 2021.
  • 2.1 million toothbrushes distributed since 2003.
  • More than 130 different organizations supported over 25 years.

A Look at Our Programs

Through both the company and Smile180 Foundation, Delta Dental provides resources and financial support to like-minded organizations like St. Jude, the American Red Cross, the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, charitable dental clinics, and more that help improve the health and well-being of our communities.

As part of its longstanding effort to help train dentists in the state of Tennessee, Delta Dental is the single largest donor to the state’s two dental schools: the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Dentistry and Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. Delta Dental awarded its first dental scholarships to students in 1999. In April 2023, the new $45 million Delta Dental of Tennessee Building opened on UTHSC’s Memphis campus.

Dr. Alex Akbari, a board-certified pediatric dentist and 2016 graduate of the Meharry School of Dentistry, received scholarship funding from Delta Dental while in school. “Delta Dental’s philanthropy has directly and positively impacted my career, both as a student and now as a provider. I'm forever grateful for the support I've received, especially the gift of time and availability,” he said. “The company’s leadership team has shown time and time again that they're sincere in their desire to make a difference in the populations they serve. I appreciate their authentic commitment to giving and support of patients, students, providers, and Tennesseans.”

Dr. Kate Malone, a 2009 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry, was inspired by the support she received from Delta Dental as a student to give back herself. She recently helped start a scholarship fund at the college in honor of a long-time faculty member in pediatric dentistry.

“When I received the Delta Dental of Tennessee scholarship, it helped alleviate some of the financial burden of dental school so I could focus on my dental education and my growing family,” she said. “The support of Delta Dental inspired me to give back to the College of Dentistry to help other dental students do the same.”

Other program highlights include:

  • Special Smiles Health Screenings: Delta Dental partners with Special Olympics Tennessee to provide free dental screenings and oral health care information to participating Special Olympics athletes. As the presenting sponsor for Special Smiles Health Screenings, Delta Dental is able to help Special Olympics provide athletes access to free and high-quality prevention for oral health concerns. The program has been successful in helping to create awareness and improve access to dental care for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
  • Kids Dental Day: In partnership with the Nashville Sounds, Neighborhood Health, Meharry College of Dentistry, and Jet Dental, Delta Dental of Tennessee presents Kids Dental Day in the summer to give kids access to free dental screenings and cleanings. Sports celebrities and a variety of activities help make the day special for all of the participants.
  • Holiday Campaign for Children’s Hospitals: Delta Dental’s annual holiday card campaign continues the company’s longstanding support for Tennessee children’s hospitals. Every year, an amount is pledged to the seven children’s hospitals across the state, with the funding directed in part based on public input. With this process, Tennesseans are invited to select the children’s hospital close to their home or their heart to receive additional dollars from Delta Dental.

“Giving back is a core part of our culture at Delta Dental, and we are committed to continuing these efforts for many more years to come,” added Ballard. “It is our honor to be able to participate in impactful events and programs along with our like-minded partners.”

While Delta Dental is able to contribute funding to organizations across the state, it also provides opportunities for its employees, which it calls its Smile Ambassadors, to give back to the community. From manning hydration stations at marathons and sorting Angel Tree Gifts for Salvation Army, to distributing food at mobile food pantries and answering phones for various telethons through the years, Delta Dental’s employees are known for their willingness to volunteer. Throughout 2024, the company will be highlighting opportunities for volunteering each month. “Our employees have big hearts and love to help others smile, so we wanted to make sure they are able to help celebrate this silver anniversary as well,” said Ballard.

To learn more about Delta Dental’s philanthropic efforts, click here.

Delta Dental of Tennessee

Delta Dental of Tennessee is the state’s largest independent dental benefits carrier with 1.4 million lives covered. As part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, Delta Dental of Tennessee members have access to the largest dental network in the nation with more than 200,985 providers serving more than 538,819 locations. With the simple mission of ensuring healthy smiles, Delta Dental of Tennessee works hard to help members of the communities it serves. Along with its corporate foundation, Smile180, Delta Dental of Tennessee donated more than $4.0 million in funding and in-kind services to over 100 organizations in 2023.


Source: Delta Dental of Tennessee Celebrates 25 Years of Giving Back | Business Wire


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