The North Carolina Dental Health Endowment established by the NC Dental Society in January has already raised $50,725 in donations and pledges from more than 160 individuals and organizations during its first six months.
According to the NC Community Foundation, which manages the endowment, commitments are coming mostly from dentists across North Carolina, local dental societies, and a large number of individuals. Many have been made as memorials or honoraria to members of the state's dental profession.
The endowment was set up to provide financial support for dental programs targeting citizens lacking access to regular care.
"We are gratified by this great outpouring of support for this new endowment, especially during these early months," said Dr. Andy Brown, President of the NC Dental Society. "It's especially important during these times when so many underserved people in North Carolina are in desperate need of dental care."
Dr. Nona Breeland of Chapel Hill, a Chapel Hill endodontist who chairs NCDS' NC Dental Health Endowment Committee, says the new endowment is ahead of projections. "We were optimistic about the endowment's prospects from the outset and this puts us ahead of our forecasts. It's a great start toward our objective of $100,000 in pledges and contributions by the end of 2001."
The endowment has three goals: Address the oral health needs of the state's underserved, conduct ongoing campaigns to fund the endowment, and apply endowment funds to support oral health programs for those with limited access to regular dental care.
Dr. Brown pointed to a growing dental access to care crisis in North Carolina as one of the main reasons the NCDS set up the endowment.
"Like many diseases, dental problems are common to everyone. But they affect poorer populations with a special vengeance," Brown said. "There are just so many people who either cannot afford regular care or don't have a dentist nearby who can treat them."
"Hopefully, through this endowment we can begin to make a dent -- even a small one -- in the problem. At least we're off to a good start."
Individuals wanting to learn more about making tax-deductible gifts to the NC Dental Health Endowment can contact the NC Community Foundation at (919) 828-4387 or visit the organization's web site at www.nccommf.org.