GCCF Awards Innovation Grant to Community Initiatives, June 2021

GCCF Awards Innovation Grant to Develop Community Initiatives’ Free Dental Clinic

Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) has awarded an Innovation Grant for $50,000 to Community Initiatives for the establishment of a Free Dental Clinic.

The GCCF Innovation Grant is offered biennially and supports creative ideas that foster strategic change within the Greenwood County community. It is awarded to applicant organization demonstrating a sound approach to addressing root causes of systemic problems or deficiencies, and by contributing to a healthy, thriving community. Collaboration and partnerships among organizations are expected and essential to assure lasting impact and success. Community Initiatives is utilizing their current patient base at their free health clinic, La Clinica Gratis, expanding the clinic to include others in need of dental services, and collaborating with local dentists and staff to implement the Free Dental Clinic, with plans to engage additional, local nonprofits and students from SC dental programs by the second year of clinic operations.

In response to this significant grant award, Leslie Fisk, Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Community Initiatives, stated, “We at Community Initiatives are excited and proud of being awarded the Innovation Grant from the Greenwood County Community Foundation and of a new partnership with Whole Life Dental. Dental problems cause people pain, embarrassment, social isolation, and serious health problems. Many people forgo necessary dental work in favor of paying bills, such as rent or utilities. Addressing these problems will allow our clients to live life more fully and is just another example of how Community Initiatives seeks to treat the whole person.” Ben Dunlap, DMD, reiterated the importance of this clinic: “Basic preventative care can reduce the need for expensive restorative treatments when performed correctly and carefully. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable in our community currently have few options for receiving this care. We are blessed with the partnership of Community Initiatives and the Greenwood County Community Foundation. We are truly humbled by this opportunity to serve our neighbors in need.”

“This project is significant for Community Initiatives because it affects the overall health outcomes for our patients and the targeted population we serve, those with little or no insurance”, said Teresa Goodman, Executive Director of Community Initiatives. “Oral health is a window to a person’s overall wellness, and as a health driven organization, we must address and create health equity for underserved populations to be educated about oral health options and to receive treatment that will result in improved health outcomes, including longer lives. The development of a free dental clinic will change the lives of those who need it most and have a positive impact on our county’s health, workforce development, and other measurable outcomes. Thank you to the Greenwood County Community Foundation for seeing the vision and becoming a viable part of the project’s development. We are more than grateful for their support.”