CDA Foundation focused on maximizing donations

Since its inception more than a decade ago, the CDA Foundation has awarded scholarships to nearly 200 dental students and more than 500 allied personnel.

And this is just one of the CDA Foundation’s accomplishments.

As the charitable arm of CDA, the CDA Foundation’s mission is to improve the oral health of all Californians by supporting the dental profession in its efforts to meet community needs. With donations from individuals and corporations, income from grants and contributions from CDA and TDIC, the CDA Foundation is able to enhance the image of the dental profession by shining a light on the good work that dentists provide in their communities every day.

Nationwide, foundations typically spend 60-70 percent of their direct donations on programs. Financial contributions from the CDA family (CDA and TDIC) allow the CDA Foundation to ensure even more of its direct donations go toward programs.

“We are able to use 88 cents of every dollar from individual or corporate donations for our programs,” said CDA Foundation Chair Don Rollofson, DMD. “In that sense, having CDA and TDIC behind us financially to support some of our operating costs puts us in the position to help donors maximize their investment.”

CDA and its subsidiaries have contributed $7 million to the Foundation over the 11 years of its existence. During that period, the Foundation has been able to attract an additional $16.5 million in charitable giving and grants in support of its work. As a return on those contributions, the CDA Foundation bestowed community service grants to new dentists to practice in underserved areas of California, resulting in nearly $16 million in dental care provided to families.

In total, CDA family contributions account for roughly 46 percent of the Foundation’s total income. These funds help cover operating costs, including marketing for programs, fundraisers and staff support. In 2012, general operating and fundraising expenses accounted for 36 percent of the total operating expenses of the Foundation, while program-related expenses (administrative, direct grant programs and direct Foundation grant programs) accounted for 64 percent of total operating expenses. Program expenses go toward CDA Cares clinics, the Student Loan Repayment Grant, the Dental Materials and Supplies Grant, CAMBRA, local fluoridation efforts and supporting various component dental society advised funds and endowments.

Recently, the CDA Foundation consolidated the number of committees, discontinued two fundraising consultant contracts, reduced staff and limited direct marketing costs, which will decrease expenses for 2013. Support service allocations are trending downward as a result of reduced activity, so that allocation is also projected to be lower in 2013.

“We tightened our belts and focused on programs that have the most impact in communities, and that allows for the cents-on-the-dollar to go up,” Rollofson said.

Donor contributions come from Friends of the Foundation and other individual giving, fundraising events, corporate donations and major gifts.  “Corporate giving has increased significantly with the advent of our CDA Cares events,” Rollofson said.

“We rely on voluntary contributions, and only 5 percent of CDA members currently donate to the CDA Foundation,” Rollofson said. “Our challenge is telling our story to all 25,000 members of CDA.  It’s a great story – one that benefits every dentist in the state. We hope more dentists join us in the future because our programs help spotlight the heart that dentists have and the tremendous community work that our profession gives to serve Californians.”

Two examples of that work are the Student Loan Repayment Grant and the CDA Cares free dental clinics, which were first held in 2012.

CDA Cares

The May 18-19 Modesto clinic provided $1.2 million in dental care to more than 1,650 people over two days, and the Aug. 24-25 Sacramento clinic provided $1.6 million in care to 2,026 patients over two days.

With the goal of relieving pain and infection, CDA Cares was created to provide free dental services and oral health education to Californians who experience barriers to care. It is also intended to raise awareness with the public and policymakers about the need for a state dental director and infrastructure to reinstate an adequately funded safety net and develop policies to improve the oral health of Californians. State budget cuts eliminated virtually all adult Denti-Cal benefits in 2009, impacting more than 3 million poor, disabled and elderly Californians.

More than 2,900 volunteers donated their time and services at the clinics, including 1,275 health professionals — dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, physicians, nurses and lab technicians — as well as hundreds of community volunteers who assisted with registration, translation, data entry and escorting patients.

The next CDA Cares clinic will be held May 18-19 at the San Jose Convention Center. For more information and to register to volunteer, visit cdafoundation.org/cdacares.

Student Loan Repayment Grant

To help new dentists provide care in community clinics, the CDA Foundation also administers the Student Loan Repayment Grant. Kongsab Hatlavongsa, DDS, was selected in 2012 as the 13th recipient. Hatlavongsa and his family came to the United States as refugees from war-torn Laos when he was just 6 months old. Living below poverty level, Hatlavongsa and his family struggled to overcome cultural, economic and social obstacles. He now practices in a United Health Centers community health clinic in Mendota, Calif., where he works to provide accessible dental care to primarily farm worker families and the underserved.

The Student Loan Repayment Grant Program provides up to $105,000 over three years toward repayment of student loans in exchange for a commitment to care for underserved individuals.

Since 2002, the Student Loan Repayment Grant program has placed 13 dentists into community clinics where they’ve helped more than 62,000 patients and provided nearly $16 million in care for individuals who would otherwise go without. And, virtually all of those dentists have remained not only in public health but in the communities where they first served.

For more information on the CDA Foundation and to make a donation or get involved, visit cdafoundation.org.

Since its inception in 2001, the CDA Foundation has:

  • Provided more than $500,000 in grants to local agencies and component-related programs to expand dental care in communities.
  • Placed 13 dentists into community clinics where they’ve helped more than 58,000 patients and provided nearly $16 million in care for individuals who would otherwise go without.
  • Developed the First Smiles – First 5 Education and Training Project that has trained nearly 13,000 dental providers on the newest science in early childhood caries.
  • Increased availability of community water fluoridation to nearly 63 percent of all Californians, a remarkable increase from 17 percent in 1992 and a statistic that translates to an estimated 23.2 million residents receiving the benefits of fluoridation.
  • Provided more than $2 million in care to underserved populations at CDA Cares dental clinics.
  • Granted funding for Mobile Dental Clinics serving 800+ patients.
  • Partnered with the San Mateo County Dental Society to fund and implement the Geriatric Oral Health Access Program.