2022 Community Report

Arcora Foundation is embarking on a new journey. In January, we launched our new 2022-2024 strategic plan. By now, you may have heard me or Foundation staff talk about our equity-focused strategic direction.

Why put oral health equity front and center in our work? Here is context to help answer that question.

Our journey to an equity-focused approach.

Circular graphic that outlines the Arcora Foundation strategic plan. The red outside layer states our vision that all people can enjoy good oral and overall health with no one left behind. The next blue layer states our mission of bending the arc of oral health towards equity. The inside of the circle is separated horizontally into two sections. The green section describes our priorities for preventing oral disease, and the yellow section describes our priorities in improving access to oral health care. At the very center of the circle, the words oral equity are large and bold.
Click to view full strategic plan

Under our Board’s leadership during our strategic planning process last year, we reimagined how we work, specifically the role equity plays. What emerged from strategy discussions with the Board:

  • The importance of equity in the Foundation’s work.
  • The need to be more intentional in placing equity front and center to meet the needs of populations experiencing significant disparities, namely Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). 

Data about oral health disparities in our communities support this approach. Households and communities that are lower income and communities of color—specifically BIPOC populations—experience systemic barriers and health inequities at disproportionate rates.

BIPOC populations have significant need and opportunities to improve oral health. By taking intentional steps to place equity front and center in our work, we can help bridge the oral health equity gap and eliminate disparities.  

A journey you make possible.

Our community partners, stakeholders, elected officials, and dental and medical providers fuel the engine of our prevention and access work. Everyone benefits when we create pathways to prevention resources and improve access to care for people with the greatest opportunities for better health outcomes. When more people have healthy smiles, kids thrive in the classroom, and adults have better job opportunities. Equity and the systems that sustain it are essential to our vision of good oral and overall health for all with no one left behind.

We cannot do this work without you. When we come together, we create a strong oral health network. In this year’s report, you may see where you contributed to better outcomes for people in our communities. With our new strategic direction in mind, I encourage you to see where you might make new contributions as you join us on our journey to bend the arc of oral health toward equity.

Vanetta Abdellatif
President and CEO
Arcora Foundation

Keep scrolling to see our full interactive 2022 Community Report!

Grants Power Community-Led Initiatives

Sixteen organizations received more than $1 million in grants from Arcora Foundation to support localized efforts to improve health equity.

Capital and Safety Net Support Grants provided $628,000 in funding to maintain and expand critical dental access points. One recipient, Aging in PACE Washington (AiPACE), is constructing a medical-dental clinic as part of larger wrap-around services for Asian and Pacific Islander elders in King County who are low-income and nursing home-eligible. Once completed, the health program will serve 400 elders annually.

Project/New Opportunities Grants provided $410,590 in funding for projects that improved oral health equity, particularly within Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Funded projects ranged from education on diabetes prevention and dental care to the hiring of a dental coordinator to support BIPOC people who are HIV positive.

These grants will help foster new and deepening relationships between community-based organizations statewide and the Foundation. In 2022, the Foundation’s Capital Clinic Access Grants will continue to provide capital funding to expand dental access throughout Washington.

“Thank you so much for [Arcora Foundation’s] ongoing support of our work, and in this particular case, supporting our work in keeping frail elderly out of institutionalized settings [so they can age in place].”


Explore our program and community highlights.

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ABCD’s Expanded and Deepened Focus

Children and families who experience the greatest barriers to accessing culturally appropriate dental care now have additional resources. In 2021, the Washington state Legislature increased funding to the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program. The additional funds will help connect families of color and those with children under 2 with ABCD dental providers, as well as expand ABCD to serve children with developmental disabilities through age 12.

Thanks to ABCD, Washington is a national leader in oral health care access for young Medicaid-insured children. In 2020, 49% of Apple Health-insured (Medicaid) children 6 years old and younger in the state used at least one dental service.

Several managing partners—Arcora Foundation, Washington State Health Care Authority, and the University of Washington School of Dentistry—are now working with Washington’s Office of Equity and local ABCD programs to advance equitable access to care and improve oral health outcomes.

Questions about ABCD? Visit the ABCD website or contact Heather Gallagher at HGallagher@ArcoraFoundation.org.

“This additional funding, along with the resources and support from partners, gives ABCD programs and providers opportunities to connect more young children—especially those that have been left behind—with high quality dental care close to home. That’s equity in action.”

Mary Ann Walker, Yakima County ABCD Coordinator

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Community Water Fluoridation Education Taps a Statewide Audience

Arcora Foundation is deepening efforts to build public awareness about community water fluoridation in Washington state. Water fluoridation is proven to support good oral health, yet only 56% of Washingtonians have access to this benefit. That’s far below the national average of 73%.

Our education campaign lays the groundwork for long-term advocacy goals to increase access to water fluoridation. Since beginning this work, the Foundation has partnered with more than 50 organizations to provide education on and advocate for fluoridation. Over the last two years, our water fluoridation messages—including videos, TV ads, fact sheets, and a bilingual website—have had more than 24 million impressions—the number of times content is displayed—among people living in Washington.

Learn more about community water fluoridation in Washington state at Water Fluoridation for Healthy Washington.

Watch one of our latest educational videos on the benefits of community water fluoridation.

“Lack of access to fluoridation hurts mostly rural, low-income and underserved communities—including communities of color. Thousands of children and adults needlessly suffer from oral health problems as a result. The Asia Pacific Cultural Center is proud to partner with Arcora Foundation to show the importance of modern standards of water fluoridation for all Washington communities.”

Lua Pritchard, Executive Director, Asia Pacific Cultural Center

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Continuing Education Builds Connections with Providers

We value the work providers do to increase good oral and overall health. As part of our ongoing partnership with providers, Arcora Foundation is committed to deliver high quality continuing dental education opportunities. In 2021, we helped train 526 dental professionals to deliver preventive care and treatment and increase patient satisfaction.

The most popular courses addressed:

We designed these courses using past attendee feedback and in accessible formats such as webinars and self-paced stored courses.

When providers understand the needs and fears of patients, it paves the way to a more positive relationship—and better health outcomes. That is why future courses will focus on health equity and how providers can better understand and honor the unique cultural identities of their patients.

Find our free continuing education opportunities on our Professional Training page.

“Arcora is dedicated to developing courses that directly apply to everyday practice. The offerings have included everything from regulatory mandates to innovative practice approaches. The Arcora Foundation CDE program has been a great resource for dental providers in Washington state.”

Sue Yoon, DMD, Community Health Center of Snohomish County

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Local Impact Networks Allow Learning from Communities

Local Impact Networks (LINs) bring committed partners together to improve health equity and local systems of care. Arcora Foundation currently supports LINs in Spokane County, the North Sound region, and, most recently, Pierce County.

In 2021, Smile Spokane—the LIN serving Spokane County—worked to remove barriers to care within the Marshallese and Latinx communities. Smile Spokane collaborated with community health workers to:

  • Circulate educational materials in Marshallese and Spanish.
  • Provide transportation assistance to and from oral-health related appointments.
  • Offer general, trustworthy care navigation support.

The LIN model emphasizes meeting community members where they are—including local libraries and community events—to learn about their experiences and ideas. As a result, people are more likely to get connected to much needed oral health care services.

Want to get involved with a LIN in your community? Contact Maureen Finneran at MFinneran@ArcoraFoundation.org.

Photo: Jimmy Jacobs, Community Health Worker, and daughter

Watch this video to learn more about Smile Spokane’s work with partners to support its LIN anchor strategies.

“The work with Smile Spokane and having the resources to get my community connected to oral health care has been invaluable.”

community health worker, chas Health

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DentistLink, our dental care referral service, helped 38,795 users in 2021—doubling the number of users from 2020. Our community and provider partnerships made this achievement possible. Nearly 70 provider locations were added to the DentistLink database, which gives users more opportunities to connect to the dental care they need in their community.

DentistLink began a formal partnership with the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) in December of 2021. So far, the partnership has helped drive more people to DentistLink and, as a result, into care. More than 15,000 users visited DentistLink.org via a link on the HCA’s Find a Provider webpage. The partnership has also allowed Arcora Foundation to hire another Outreach Specialist to support Apple Health (Medicaid) providers.

Questions about DentistLink? Visit the DentistLink website or email Svea Stromme at SStromme@ArcoraFoundation.org.

“Through DentistLink, I was able to find a provider and get dentures that fit properly. Now I can smile, talk, laugh and eat without worry.”

DentistLink User, Silverdale

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SmileMobile Brings Dental Care to Communities

In 2021, more than 100 community organizations partnered with our SmileMobile program to host more than 30 dental clinics across the state. The three-chair mobile dental van participated in events serving Marshallese (Spokane) and Vietnamese (Burien) populations to provide care in a trustworthy and culturally appropriate setting. In 2022, the program continues to partner with community organizations to bring the SmileMobile to people across the state with the highest needs.

Want to learn more about the SmileMobile? Visit the SmileMobile website or contact Karri Amundson at KAmundson@ArcoraFoundation.org.

Photo: Dr. Domagalski, SmileMobile Volunteer, and Chuukese Advocate (Longview)

“This was an opportunity for our families to get dental care and refer for additional care. It was a very successful clinic for us as we were able to serve several of our Chuukese families who have never had a dental visit.”

Werlyna Erwin, Chuukese Family Advocate, Longview School District

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Our Mission and Vision

Combining arc and oral, Arcora Foundation represents our mission: to bend the arc of oral health toward equity. Our vision is that all people enjoy good oral and overall health with no one left behind.

Arcora Foundation Trustees

Joseph Finkbonner, RPh, MH
Board Chair
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair

R. Scott Kennedy, MD
Finance and Governance Committee Chair

Carmen Méndez
Programs Committee Chair

Andrew Lofton, MUP
Public Policy and Communications Committee Chair

Ji Hyung Choi, DDS
Board Trustee

Brenden Davis, DMD, MPH
Board Trustee

Rachael Hogan, DDS
Board Trustee

Wells Kurt Labberton, DDS
Delta Dental of Washington
Board Chair

Mark Mitchke
Delta Dental of Washington
President and CEO

Diane Oakes
Delta Dental of Washington
Chief Mission Officer

Eve Rutherford, DDS
Delta Dental of Washington
Vice Chair

New Trustees (as of Jan. 2022)

MaryAnne Lindeblad, BSN, MPH
Board Trustee

Kimberly A.C. Wilson
Board Trustee

Non-profit Delta Dental of Washington, the state’s largest dental benefits company, funds our work.

Past Community Reports