Foundation seeks community support for Mobile Dental Clinic - January 19 2012

OSHKOSH, WI - The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is asking the community to step up to the challenge of raising $150,000 to support the creation of a Mobile Dental Clinic to serve needy children in Winnebago, Outagamie and Calumet counties.

The project would expand the reach of the Tri-County Community Dental Clinic and its efforts to bring free oral health care services to the Oshkosh area and beyond.

More than 2,600 children in the Fox Valley area have received dental care through Tri-County Clinic's Focus on the Children program. The Mobile Dental Clinic would allow for 3,600 additional children to get treatment.

The new Mobile Dental Clinic would provide treatment to children at public schools in Oshkosh at least two days per week and provide treatment to children in outlying regions of Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties - including Omro and Winneconne in Winnebago County - three days per week.

The treatments would include dental screenings, fluoride varnish applications, hygiene education and restorative dental care.

"The need continues to be great and is growing," said Robert Glass, executive director of Tri-County Community Dental Clinic, a nonprofit based in Appleton.

"We have no doubt that without our 'Focus on the Children' program and now, the new mobile dental care bus, that many of our underprivileged youth in the area would continue to see their oral health decline due to the financial struggles many area low-income and no-income families face."

Donations are sought from Oshkosh area residents to support $150,000 of the project. The community support in combination with a $100,000 grant from the John E. Kuenzl Foundation and a $100,000 matching grant from the Community Foundation, and gifts from other Community Foundation donors, will cover about half of the $400,000 the Community Foundation has committed toward the project.

The Community Foundation is one of several major funders supporting the creation of the Mobile Dental Clinic, including the J. J. Keller Foundation, which has provided $300,000.

"The lack of dental care options for low-income families has been a problem in the Oshkosh area for a long time," said Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president and CEO of the Community Foundation.

"We really hope the community will get behind this project because it's going to get the care - and especially the preventative care - to the people who need it most."

The budget for the Mobile Dental Clinic's first year of operating, including the cost of the bus, dental equipment and supplies and staffing is estimated at $780,000.

The 2011 Southern Winnebago County L.I.F.E. Study identified access to dental care as a major issue facing the region. Experts involved with the study noted that while access has improved over the past three years, not all dentists accept patients covered by BadgercarePlus (Wisconsin's Medicaid program).

According to the L.I.F.E Study, the number of Southern Winnebago County residents served by Tri-County Community Dental Clinic in 2010 had doubled since 2008.

The Tri-County Community Dental Clinic is a nonprofit clinic serving residents in Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties. Tri-County's Focus on the Children program serves 42 schools and 10 Head Start Centers in the Fox Valley area, including hundreds of children who attend public schools in Oshkosh, Omro and Winneconne.

Other major funders of the Mobile Dental Clinic include the Theda Clark Medical Center Foundation, the Mielke Family Foundation, Oshkosh Corp., the Women's Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and the Jane and Tad Shepard Family Foundation.

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization created by and for the people of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive. For more information, please call 920-426-3993.

To contribute to the Mobile Dental Clinic, send a check written to:
    Oshkosh Area Community Foundation
    230 Ohio Street, Suite 100
    Oshkosh WI 54902-5894
    Please include Mobile Dental Clinic in the Memo line.

To pay by credit card, please call 920-426-3993, or donate online (click here).


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