young woman smiling

2023 Community Report

A Message from the CEO

Vanetta Abdellatif, President and CEO

One oar cannot propel a rowboat. One person’s ability to make change can be limited. At Arcora Foundation, we know the power of partnerships to accomplish big things together. Partnerships are central to Arcora’s mission to bend the arc of oral health toward equity. You help move our work forward and share in celebrating our successes.

You are part of a network of partners who help drive equity in our oral health work. That network includes dental and medical professionals, policymakers, grantees, state and national groups, local and state associations, non-profit organizations, and communities.

Within our communities, we strive to show up as authentic partners. We are taking time to learn who you are, your strengths and resources, and your aspirations and visions for better oral and overall health. In 2022, we used community learning grants to build and deepen partnerships with five organizations across Washington state. Thank you for what you shared, which will inform how we show up in communities. We look forward to more learning opportunities with you in 2023.

While we continue to nurture these and other partnerships, we understand it takes time — years, decades, generations — before we realize the outcomes we are working toward. We move forward — one oar stroke at a time — driven by our commitment to equity in oral health.

For now, we celebrate another year of partnerships to advance oral and overall health with no one left behind. This year’s report again reflects what we continue to accomplish together.

Vanetta Abdellatif
President and CEO, Arcora Foundation

Community Health Center of Snohomish County receives $250,000 from Arcora to expand dental access.
Arcora supports Delta Dental of Washington’s efforts to build the dental workforce of the future.
Arcora and Delta Dental of Washington contributed $5 million toward the dental clinic at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in South Seattle.

Our Mission:
At Arcora Foundation, our mission is in our name:
to bend the arc of oral health toward equity.

Our Vision:
We share our vision with our funder, Delta Dental of Washington:
all people can enjoy good oral and overall health with no one left behind.

Reallocating power through grants and sponsorships 

Shot of a young woman brushing her adorable daughter’s teeth in a dentist’s chair

Arcora Foundation’s health equity framework includes the reallocation of power and resources to community-led efforts to prevent oral disease and improve access to care. In addition to more than $1 million in grants, Arcora provided $424,929 in sponsorship funding to elevate and advance community-led efforts to improve oral health.

Capital Clinic Access Grants

Provided $500,000 in funding to two safety net dental programs to serve more people, particularly Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities with oral health disparities. The recipients — Community Health Center of Snohomish County and Community Health Care in Pierce County — used Arcora funding to expand dental operatories in their integrated care clinics. Combined, the capital grants will support an estimated 33,100 dental visits a year.

Project Grants

Provided $520,025 in funding to help 18 organizations increase access to dental care, improve social determinants of health, and/or promote healthy behaviors, particularly within BIPOC populations. One recipient, Tubman Center for Health and Freedom, will use this funding to launch Tubman Guides, an oral health community health worker program for Black community members in Central and South Seattle.

Find funding opportunities to support your work to advance oral health.

“We truly appreciate Arcora’s critical seed money to create an innovative community health worker program that will support the needs of medically marginalized community members and also connect community health practitioners to good-paying jobs with opportunities for career progression.”

Julie Chinitz, Director of Development, Tubman Center for Health and Freedom

$1.4 Million

Grant and Sponsorship Funding

To improve dental access and oral health equity through locally led initiatives.

Program Highlights

Community leads the way in behavior change pilot

Pacific Islander Health Board hosts Arcora team members for a listening session.

The Asia Pacific Cultural Center and the Pacific Islander Health Board are engaged in innovative work focused on healthy behaviors. These organizations partnered with Arcora Foundation to address sugary beverage consumption among the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) community in Pierce County. Arcora Foundation launched a pilot with them to normalize and incentivize the consumption of non-sugary beverages in community settings and at community events. The organizations will also engage in communications efforts through print and social media. Both organizations will lead efforts to engage staff and community members to develop strategies, messaging, and tools to influence positive changes.

The pilot follows a learning journey Arcora undertook in partnership with our state’s NHPI community to learn about community strengths and opportunities related to healthy behaviors. 

Asia Pacific Cultural Center is based in Tacoma and serves Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities statewide. The Pacific Islander Health Board is based in Fife and serves Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities statewide.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with Arcora Foundation to address healthy behaviors in our community. Arcora recognizes the importance of work like this to be community-driven and respectful of culture to affect change and have lasting results.”

Lika Smith, Executive Director of Pacific Islander Health Board

Find healthy behavior messaging and resources for your community.

Partners celebrate Spokane’s community water fluoridation efforts

Family drinking water with meal

Local advocates and city leaders involved with Spokane’s fluoridation efforts marked a milestone last year. They—along with Arcora Foundation staff—met in person to celebrate accomplishments so far. Some in the group of more than 30 people had never met; others hadn’t seen one another in person for years. Heather Wallace—Smile Spokane Local Impact Network manager—coordinated the event.

In September of 2020, Spokane’s City Council voted to move forward with the process to fluoridate during the height of the pandemic. In the summer of 2023, city leaders will receive a feasibility study and make a decision about how to proceed. Community water fluoridation is the most cost-effective and equitable way to prevent cavities in people of all ages.

2022 Statewide community water fluoridation investments from the state legislature:

  • $532,000 for the Office of Drinking Water within the State Department of Health — establishes a program to support local water systems and provide outreach on community water fluoridation.
  • $166,000 for the State Department of Health to conduct a statewide oral health equity assessment — recommends how to address inequities through community water fluoridation and other measures. Their report is due to legislators by June 30, 2023.

Learn more about community water fluoridation in Washington state.

“Our first in-person meeting in 2022 since the start of the pandemic was such a joy for members to reconnect. You could feel the energy and passion for community water fluoridation. We celebrated our accomplishments and were re-energized around strategies for the coming year.”

Heather Wallace, Network Manager, Smile Spokane / Senior Program Manager, Better Health Together


Working with our partners, Arcora has ensured an additional 367,000 people in Washington state received the health benefits of fluoridated water from 2001 through 2022.

Partnerships key to Local Impact Networks’ success

Dental Days Team
Members of the Pierce County LIN gather at the Sumner Food Bank for their monthly Free Dental Day clinic.

The Sumner Community Food Bank’s mission is to provide nutritious food with dignity to neighbors in need. The food bank recognized many customers’ needs go beyond food. That’s why the food bank partnered with the Local Impact Network (LIN) in Pierce County. This partnership helps expand access to dental care through on-site mobile clinics and DentistLink referrals and other social services, including for a growing number of Ukrainian and Russian clients. 

Arcora Foundation’s LINs unite communities, organizations, and other key stakeholders in collective problem solving to address local challenges to better health. LIN partners are inspired to create resources and influence systems that have lasting effects. Currently, LINs operate in Pierce and Spokane counties and the North Sound region. 

Learn more about the LIN model.

“It’s a blessing to partner with regional service providers to bring non-food services to our immigrant and refugee clients. We understand that their journey has them on a path to wellness and to be able to address some of their other needs has been a fulfilling experience and has expanded our role in the community.”

Anthony Apeles, Executive Director, Sumner Community Food Bank

Culturally appropriate care leads to better patient experiences

dental hygienist with child

A safe and comfortable environment makes for successful dental patient interactions. For patients who speak languages other than English or have different cultural backgrounds from their providers, it may be difficult to create this environment. Arcora Foundation launched a new course to help create a bridge between patients and providers. Care, Compassion, and Connection: Delivering Culturally Appropriate Care in the Dental Office is designed to improve health through awareness, good communication, and trust. Course participants appreciated learning more about these topics so they could better serve all their patients. We plan to host more courses for 2023.

See all trainings and courses for providers and caregivers.

“This course is a foundational resource for oral health care practitioners to share culturally appropriate principles and best practices for patient satisfaction and optimal care.”

Ginlin Woo, Founding Partner, F.A.C.E. (Facilitating Awareness and Change for Equity)


397 in-person and online continuing dental education course completions in 2022.

Native people lead the way in oral health innovations

Northwest Tribes and Native-led organizations continue to lead the way in innovative, community-led solutions to improve oral and overall health.

The Swinomish Tribe and Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board launched a dəxʷxayəbus-dental therapy training program and enrolled its first class of students. This program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Arcora Foundation is proud to support and celebrate our partnership with these Native-led organizations.

We’re also proud to continue to partner with the Northwest Tribal Dental Support Center (NTDSC) to support Northwest Tribal and Urban Indian dental programs. We worked together with 7 tribes to implement We Smile: Minimally Invasive Dentistry (MID) style. This is an oral health quality improvement collaborative for American Indian/ Alaska Native people that uses minimally invasive, maximally effective clinical practices—no shots, no drills—and other strategies.

“In We Smile, everyone teaches, and everyone learns. We are delivering high quality dental care that our communities want and need.”

Anna DeGraffenried, Coeur D’Alene Tribal Member and Dental Therapist at Colville’s Lake Roosevelt Clinic


13,950 patients accessed dental care at participating We Smile Indian Health Services Tribal Dental Clinics in fiscal year 2022—95% of the way to the clinics’ pre-pandemic baseline.

Learn more about our collaborative work with Tribal partners.

Providers work peer-to-peer to expand access to dental care 


Expanded access to dental care benefits everyone, especially people with challenges to accessing care. That’s why Arcora Foundation’s DentistLink program launched the Dental Access Improvement Team (DAIT). The DAIT is a group of Apple Health (Medicaid) providers. Their shared goal is to remove barriers to dental care for Apple Health-enrolled Washingtonians. DAIT members follow a peer-to-peer recruitment model to build relationships with other dental providers to improve processes and understand needs. We now have a team of 7 providers, which is made up of 4 dentists, 2 registered dental hygienists, and a denturist. Each will serve a one-year term and work to promote Apple Health acceptance among their colleagues, with a focus on adults.

Interested in joining the DAIT peer-to-peer recruitment team? Email Carl George.

“As a longtime Medicaid provider, I’m so pleased to be a part of an effort to increase both dental provider satisfaction and community access to care with Apple Health (Medicaid).”

LaVonne Hammelman, DDS, DAIT member

48,000 Referrals

More than 48,000 unique referrals provided by DentistLink to local, affordable dental care.

Investment in dental services to meet community’s health needs

child and parents at Odessa Brown Clinic
Local South Seattle family attends Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic open house.
Seattle Children's Hospital

Seattle Children’s Hospital opened their new Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) in the city’s Othello neighborhood. OBCC provides dental, medical, behavioral health, and nutrition services to young people regardless of the family’s ability to pay. A community open house celebrated the new location. Seattle Children’s chose it to be closer to the 75% of patients and families who moved farther south for more affordable housing. The original OBCC location remains in the city’s Central District. Arcora Foundation — in partnership with our funder Delta Dental of Washington (DDWA) — contributed $5 million dollars to Seattle Children’s to expand dental services in the area. To recognize our contribution and our continuing partnership with Seattle Children’s, the clinic bears DDWA’s and Arcora’s names.

$5 Million

$5 million from Arcora and Delta Dental of Washington to expand dental services to reach more young patients and families.

Read more about dental services at the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic.

SmileMobile makes a difference one smile at a time

Christine Ronquillo, Yelm High School community outreach specialist (middle).

An 18-year-old student at Yelm High School hadn’t seen a dentist in more than 10 years. Dental pain affected his quality of life, which included his studies. He didn’t have dental insurance. Even if he did, he didn’t have transportation to get to appointments. Christine Ronquillo, Yelm High School community outreach specialist, made sure this student got scheduled for an appointment when the SmileMobile rolled into town. “He had a wonderful and safe experience with the SmileMobile team and was given a referral for a local area clinic within walking distance from the school,” Ronquillo said. The student followed the recommended treatment plan. By the time he graduated, all his dental needs had been properly addressed. This is just one of the many successful outcomes from partnerships with school districts, health departments, churches, local community organizations, and volunteer dental professionals across Washington.

Learn more about the SmileMobile and opportunities for your community.

Smile Mobile

“Access to oral health care has disparities when it comes to reaching the communities of color. The SmileMobile came to visit the Tri-Cities in support of our health initiative, bringing access to equitable health care. The SmileMobile serves as a reminder of how many people are without adequate health care in Eastern Washington.”

Chauné Fitzgerald, CEO, Women of Wisdom Tri-Cities

1,400+ Patients

In 2022, the SmileMobile served more than 1,400 patients at 35 clinics and 4 community events. The dental team provided nearly 800 patient referrals to local dentists, the ABCD program, and DentistLink for ongoing or specialty care.

Arcora Foundation Trustees

Andrew Lofton, MUP
Board Chair

Brenden Davis, DMD, MPH
Programs Committee Chair

Scott Kennedy, MD
Finance and Governance Committee Chair

MaryAnne Lindeblad, BSN, MPH
Public Policy and Communications Committee Chair

Carmen Méndez
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair

Ji Choi, DDS

Joe Finkbonner, RPh, MHA

Rachael Hogan, DDS

Mark Mitchke
President and CEO, Delta Dental of Washington

Diane Oakes
Chief Mission Officer, Delta Dental of Washington

Eve Rutherford, DDS
Delta Dental of Washington Board Chair

Kimberly A.C. Wilson

New Trustees for 2023

Matt Morton, MEd

Carol Nelson
Delta Dental of Washington Board Vice Chair

Past Community Reports