Community Service: Delta Dental of Wisconsin

During the last five years, Delta Dental of Wisconsin has provided $11 million in financial support to various health programs across the state of Wisconsin and has supported a variety of programs in southeastern Wisconsin that support underserved populations.

In 2009, the company’s giving is approaching $3 million.

Delta Dental, currently the largest dental benefits provider in the state, is a not-for-profit dental service corporation that administers and underwrites dental plans for employers throughout Wisconsin.

“We are more interested in our corporate mission to improve access of quality care through all of Wisconsin,” said Denny Peterson, executive vice president of Delta Dental of Wisconsin. “We are committed to return our earnings to help underserved populations. We currently insure 1.3 million people. As our business has grown we have been able to do more (donations).”

One program supported by Delta Dental in southeastern Wisconsin is the Madre Angela Dental Clinic (MADC) at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, which provides dental care to people in poverty without access to care and urgent dental care for people without insurance.

“One of the greatest challenges is getting urgent dental care in Milwaukee for those who can’t afford it because there is really little to help with urgent dental problems,” said Bill Solberg, director of community services at Columbia St. Mary’s.

Solberg credits the support of Delta Dental for the growth of MADC through their contribution of $100,000 each year for the past five years to support the program. The MADC is beginning their 10th year of operation and currently is in the process of expanding and relocating to a new facility.

Seeing sealants as a prevention service, Delta Dental also supports the Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile (SAS), which is a statewide sealant program in cooperation with the Division of Public Health and the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin (CHAE) that offers grants to local school-based programs targeting underserved children. From 2000 to 2008, 44,835 children were screened and 29,531 received sealants.

Delta Dental also has provided $2.5 million in recent years to the Marquette School of Dentistry, plus $100,000 annually for student scholarships at Marquette and the 11 dental hygiene programs at technical programs across the state.

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