Grants & Programs

Minnesota Dental Foundation. A Practice of Giving.

The Minnesota Dental Foundation (MDF) offers financial support and in-kind services for outreach programs that meet the mission of the MDF by providing dental services to underserved populations, by promoting dental health initiatives, or by supporting dental profession career and volunteer opportunities. The focus is on providing resources that will make lasting improvements in the oral health of underserved Minnesotans and enhance the dental profession in the state.

Grant RecipientsEach year the MDF Board of Directors reviews applications for grants that fit these criteria. Support for programs and oral health initiatives may change each year based upon issues facing the dental profession, but the core principle of benefiting the underserved remains constant. Since 2002, the Foundation has awarded $1,507,104 in grants and/or in-kind services to fund 414 oral health initiatives.

2016 Grant Application

Funded Projects

Give Kids a Smile (GKAS)

Community and volunteer clinics receive funding and/or in-kind support for Give Kids a Smile, the two-day charitable program in February that provides free preventive and restorative dental care to children from low-income families. Grant monies help defray the costs for dental supplies and oral health education materials for the children. In 2015, 3,990 children were seen in 167 community and volunteer clinics as well as private dental offices. The value of the services provided was $1.7 million by 2,402 volunteers, which included 438 dentists.

Minnesota Mission of Mercy (MnMOM)

The Minnesota Mission of Mercy (MnMOM) project establishes a huge temporary dental clinic in a different geographic area of the state each year.  In 2015, there were 1,440 patient visits provided by 939 caring volunteers at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) in Duluth, resulting in $969,712 in free dental services.

Donated Dental Services (DDS)

Donated Dental Services (DDS) became a program of the Minnesota Dental Foundation in 2011. It has been a program of Dental Lifeline Network and the Minnesota Dental Association since 2003. DDS provides comprehensive dental care in private dental offices for people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and cannot afford to pay for the needed dentistry. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, 173 patients received $914,273 in comprehensive care by 437 dental volunteers.

Dedicated to Minnesota Dentists (DMD) Dental Education Loan Repayment for Service Program

The Dedicated to Minnesota Dentists (DMD) Dental Educational Loan Repayment for Service Program is a competitive education loan repayment for service program of the Minnesota Dental Foundation in collaboration with the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. Selected recipients must practice in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) in Minnesota for 5 years to be eligible for up to $200,000 in qualified loan repayment. A total of $2,000,000 was committed by the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation to fund this program in 2015 and funds will be disbursed to 10 qualified recipients. For more information, go to

Martha Mordini Rukavina Loan Forgiveness Program

The Martha Mordini Rukavina Loan Forgiveness Program is funded by the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) to help dentists pay back educational loans if they are willing to practice in the Taconite Assistance Area (TAA) of northeastern Minnesota for at least five years. There are four dentists in the TAA who have benefited from this program, which started before the Minnesota Dental Foundation assumed responsibility of the program. Currently, no grants are available.

Retired Dentist Program

The Retired Dentist Program is a pilot program funded by the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation to assist retired dentists with continuing to give back to the community through participation in providing care to the underserved.

Community Outreach

A number of community-based clinics and outreach programs provide critical dental services to children and adults who otherwise would not have access to oral health care are partially funded by the Minnesota Dental Foundation.

Allied Dental Education Programs

Several organizations in Minnesota receive grants to help with resources to assist with educating dental auxiliaries while providing care to the underserved.

2014 Grants

In 2014, MDF gave $356,256 in cash and/or in-kind services to 50 projects. Some of the recipients may have received assistance on more than one project. Of those dollars, funding was provided for four internal programs, the Minnesota Mission of Mercy, Donated Dental Services, Martha Mordini Rukavina Loan Forgiveness Program and the Retired Dentist Program. All of the funded programs help increase access to care for underserved populations or help to build a sustainable oral health workforce in Minnesota.

ADT Kids, Minneapolis
American Student Dental Association – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Apple Tree Dental, Fergus Falls
Apple Tree Dental, Hawley
CARE Clinic, Red Wing
Caring Hands Dental Clinic/West Central Dental Resources, Alexandria
Central Lakes College, Brainerd
Children’s Dental Services, Minneapolis
Community Dental Care, Maplewood
Doorstep Healthcare Services, St. Louis Park
Good in the Hood, Bloomington
Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, Minneapolis
Inner City Christian Ministries, Minneapolis
Jericho Road Ministries, Minneapolis
Just Kids Dental, Two Harbors
Lake Superior College – Dental Hygiene, Duluth
Lifetrack Resources, Inc, St. Paul
Living Well Disability Services (Dakota Communities), Eagan
Medical Teams International, Eagan
Minneapolis District Dental Society, Sharing and Caring Hands, Apple Tree Dental, Minneapolis
Minnesota Dental Association – Give Kids a Smile, Statewide
Minnesota State University – Mankato, Mankato
Mission Outpost Dental Clinic/ Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Burnsville
NIP Dental Clinic, Minneapolis
North Shore Health Care Foundation (Oral Health Task Force), Grand Marais
Northern Dental Access, Bemidji
Open Cities Health Center, St. Paul
Open Door Health Center, Mankato
Rice Regional Dental Clinic, Willmar
Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest, Twin Cities
Sharing and Caring Hands, Minneapolis
Smiles Change Lives, Statewide
Southside Community Health Services, Inc, Minneapolis
St. Cloud Technical College Dental Clinic, St. Cloud
UMN Community-University Health Care Center, Minneapolis
Union Gospel Mission, St. Paul

Internal Programs:
Donated Dental Services (DDS), a program of Dental Lifeline Network
Martha Mordini Rukavina Loan Forgiveness Program
Minnesota Mission of Mercy (MnMOM)
Retired Dentists Program

See Grant Archives