Delta Dental of Wisconsin awards SOWI with $30,000 grant for Special Smiles in 2018

March 28, 2018 Blog

Special Olympics Wisconsin is pleased to announce that they were awarded a $30,000 grant from Delta Dental of Wisconsin to support its Special Smiles program in 2018 and improve access to dental care and information on oral health for its 10,000+ athletes.

Special Smiles is one of the core components of Special Olympics’ Healthy Athletes initiative and it is a leading program for improving oral health among individuals with intellectual disabilities around the world. In Wisconsin, Special Smiles provides dental screenings, personal oral hygiene instruction, sport mouth guards, and fluoride varnish treatment at four major state tournaments every year. The first of 2018 will take place on April 7 at the Indoor Sports Tournament at UW-Oshkosh. Delta Dental of Wisconsin has been the exclusive funder and statewide sponsor of Special Smiles for Special Olympics Wisconsin since 2002.

Delta Dental of Wisconsin's CEO Denny Peterson (center) and Director of Charitable Fund Ann Boson (right) present Missy Schoenbrodt with the grant check

Delta Dental of Wisconsin’s President and CEO Denny Peterson (center) and Director of Community Relations and Charitable Fund, Ann Boson (left) present SOWI’s Melissa Schoenbrodt with a check for 2018 Special Smiles programming

Thanks to Special Smiles and Delta Dental’s ongoing support of the program, there have been more than 5,000 screenings in the last 10 years. In 2017, 539 SOWI athletes were screened and 13 were identified as having urgent dental needs.

“Special Olympics Wisconsin is very grateful to be the recipient of this grant from Delta Dental of Wisconsin,” said Melissa Schoenbrodt, Sr. Director of Health Program at Special Olympics Wisconsin. “We recognize how critically important oral health is to a person’s quality of life. Many of our athletes have already felt the positive effects of our Special Smiles program and we’re excited for the opportunity to continue the program and change even more lives across Wisconsin.”

For more than 50 years, Delta Dental has been working to maintain healthy communities and healthy teeth. Their mission is to improve oral health and wellness by extending access to care, advancing science, and supporting an effective oral-health workforce. Through its Charitable Fund, Delta Dental of Wisconsin is committed to advancing solutions for Wisconsin’s oral health.


SOWI athletes and volunteers at Special Smiles during the 2017 Summer Games

SOWI’s Special Smiles helps Delta Dental of Wisconsin in that commitment through its goals of increasing access to dental care for Special Olympics athletes, as well as all people with intellectual disabilities; raising dental professionals’ awareness of the oral health concerns of people with special needs, including difficulties involved in accessing care; and developing a body of knowledge about the oral healthcare needs of children and adults with disabilities.

“Special Olympics Special Smiles is one of the most rewarding programs we collaborate with,” said Ann Boson, Delta Dental of Wisconsin’s Director of Community Relations and Charitable Fund. “We have seen improvements in oral health over the years so we know we are making a difference.”

Please join us in thanking Delta Dental of Wisconsin for their support of SOWI’s Special Smiles program!

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