Mars Wrigley Company Foundation Grant FAQs


What is the purpose of the Mars Wrigley Company Foundation/CDS Foundation Healthier Smiles Grants Program?

The grants funded by the Mars Wrigley Company Foundation are intended to engender the participation of member dentists and second- and third-year dental student members in community service projects to promote the oral health education and/or provide dental services to the underserved populations of the Chicagoland area. By having financial support for their efforts, members will no doubt be able to provide a greater reach for their projects

Who can apply for a Healthier Smiles Grant?

Any Chicago Dental Society member dentist or second- or third-year dental student member may apply, using the Mars Wrigley Company Foundation Grant application.

What is the amount of the grants that will be funded?

Grants are limited to a maximum of $5,000. Strict application and delivery requirements are outlined later in this FAQ document.

What population is served by the Healthier Smiles Grants Program?

Projects should address socio-economically disadvantaged groups with oral healthcare needs in the Chicagoland area. Chicago is recognized as the city / area of numerous ethnic and cultural groups. White, Hispanic, and African Americans are the three main core groups with nationalities from around the world represented. More than 1.5 million Cook County residents were registered for government health care (i.e. Medicaid) in 2011, which is equal to roughly half of the state’s Public Aid population.

How will the Healthier Smiles Grants Program funds be allocated in the Chicagoland area?

The program provides community service grants totaling more than $45,000, based on the following breakdown:

  • City of Chicago Community groups (55 percent)
  • Cook (other than Chicago City proper) County Community groups (15 percent)
  • DuPage County Community groups (15 percent)
  • Lake County Community groups (15 percent)

What are the unmet needs that justify this program?

The Chicago Dental Society (CDS) released a white paper report, Broken Smiles, in February 2013 which details the poor state of access to care in Illinois. “The 5-year period from 2006 until 2011 saw a nation struggling to cope with recession. In Chicago and Cook County the results was not only economic decline but also oral disaster as demand for dental safety net services increased and supply decreased.”

For example, Lake, Cook and DuPage counties lost 12 of 44 public health dental clinics in recent years; that left only 32 clinics for the tri-county area, with several even lacking a dentist. Those clinics that are left have waiting lists months long. Adding to the reduction in state and local services, Illinois’ $1.6 billion cut in Illinois Medicaid program in 2012 restricted adult benefits to emergency tooth extractions only

The Broken Smiles paper includes extensive data and may be accessed by clicking here. In summary: 

  • Chicagoland is faced with declining revenues and increasing cost
  • State support has been dwindling. For example, “in Cook County, public services cuts have included 50 percent of public dental clinics in the last five years. In Chicago, it’s 100 percent.

The need relating to children is particularly high: “Illinois vastly underperforms in Medicaid reimbursements for children’s restorative care. As a result, very few Illinois dentists will provide such services to Public Aid children.1

And because most school-based programs similarly encompass only prevention, many children who need fillings or extractions end up in the same sparse and overcrowded clinic as their parents.

Recent surveys by the Chicago Dental Society found that:

  • 22 percent of Chicagoland residents surveyed in 2009 say that someone in their family has dental needs now but is putting it off treatment because they can’t afford it
  • More than half of Chicagoland residents surveyed in 2011 have delayed dental treatment because of financial reasons in the last year
  • Nearly 70 percent of Chicagoland dentists surveyed in 2011 say their patients are delaying needed dental treatment because of the economy

Why are the CDS Foundation and the Chicago Dental Society interested in leading this effort?

The 2011 Report from the American Dental Association, “Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health for All Americans: Repairing the Tattered Safety Net,” identifies several key factors which make this a natural approach to an important problem.  

“Private practice dentists must help fill the gap – and so many are, often volunteering hundreds of hours and donating thousands of dollars in free care toward the oral health of underserved patients.  In fact, private practice dentists provide approximately $2.16 billion nationwide in free or discounted care to disadvantaged children and adults in 2007, the most recent year for which there is data, according to the ADA.”2

To its credit, Illinois encourages safety net volunteerism by awarding continuing education (CE) credit to providers who present volunteer community oral health education programs.3

“Nationally, the next five years will be dedicated to economic recovery.  It is CDS’ hope that in Chicago and Cook County the focus will similarly be on oral health recovery.  Working together toward a common goal – oral health for all – safety net providers, oral health advocates, private practice dentists and public policymakers can improve both access to and utilization of care, thereby eliminating dental inequities and establishing Chicagoland as a national model for oral health achievement.” 1  

What is CDS’s organizational capacity to address these unmet needs?

The Chicago Dental Society has a membership of over 4,800 dentists and dental students in the Tri-county Chicagoland area that will have the opportunity to apply for these grants.

CDS dentists are philanthropic: “Private practice dentists, nationwide, provided approximately $2.16 Billion in free or discounted care to disadvantaged children or adults in 2007.”2

How will my grant application be evaluated?

Measurable outcomes of each grant award are required, including timeline, objectives and results. Each grant to be funded will be judged individually based on the protocol of their goals using the following criteria:

  • Significance / Innovation: The extent to which the application meets the criteria and offers a creative approach to improving the target community’s oral care and oral health education
  • Outcome measures: The extent to which the application sets specific, measurable, achievable and realistic measures (measures of improved oral health literacy and metrics for dental care delivered).
  • Feasibility: The extent to which the application demonstrates a logical and sound planning process for implementing the program, follows a timeline appropriate to the goals and outcomes set to be achieved, and indicates long term sustainability once the grant is completed
  • System of measurement and reporting including program and organizational budget: The specific methodology to be used to achieve the goals of the grant as written and how that methodology will be implemented to evaluate project success.

Are there any restrictions to the program design of the grants?

  • No discretionary or emergency requests
  • No individual research projects
  • No salaries
  • No travel expenses
  • No general operational expenses as distinct from project costs
  • No reimbursement for services within a private practice setting

What are the requirements for a successful grant application?

  • A grant application must be submitted by a CDS member dentist or second/third year dental student by BOTH email AND mail.
  • Submission deadline: 5 p.m. April 1, 2021
  • Funds are to be utilized by: Sept. 1, 2021
  • Program budget
  • Program timeline
  • Recipients of grant must use funds for the specific purpose intended.
  • Any funds not used must be returned.
  • A stewardship report must be submitted by Oct. 1, 2021, after program completion summarizing the measurable outcomes requested under the program’s criteria.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered nor returned for subsequent resubmission.
  • Grantee is required to publicly acknowledge the support of the Wrigley Company Foundation/CDS Foundation Community Service Grants Program.
  • Grantee must supply one high quality photograph which can be used for local media publicity and written permission for use of photo
  • Grantee must sign the Media Release Form for use of photograph

What personal benefits can I expect from participation in this program?

As this program is dependent upon the applicant’s commitment to addressing the oral care needs of the targeted populations, personal growth will be an enriching benefit to participants. It should also be noted that Illinois encourages safety net volunteerism by awarding continuing education (CE) credit to providers who present volunteer community oral health education programs.4


1. CDS White Paper, Broken Smiles
2. American Dental Association, Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health for All Americans: Repairing the Tattered Safety Net,” 2011
3. Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, “Administrative Code Section 1220
4. Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, “Administrative Code Section 1220"