Grant OK'd for dental clinic, new PHCC programs

May 24, 2015

    The Harvest Foundation board has approved funding for the final three years of a five-year grant for the Community Dental Clinic in Martinsville as well as new dental programs at Patrick Henry Community College.
    The latest board action will provide a total of $598,566 over the next three years. The Harvest board approved $221,330 for the third year of the grant, $193,810 for the fourth year and $183,426 for the fifth.
    Some of the money will go toward upgrading computer hardware, software, fundraising and other operating expenses associated with the Piedmont Virginia Dental Health Foundation’s dental clinic on Fayette Street.
    The total for the five years is $973,566.
    Since 2005, the Harvest Foundation has provided a total of $1,691,853 to the dental health foundation for the clinic. That includes the latest five-year grant.
    The clinic has grown from 936 patient visits in 2007 to 3,023 visits in 2014, according dental health foundation President Mark Crabtree and Vice President Edward P. Snyder.
    This grant award also will help fund two newly created programs — for community dental health coordinators and dental assisting — in collaboration with Patrick Henry Community College.
    The grant will provide $25,000 in the first year, $20,000 in the second year and $15,000 in the third year for the PHCC programs, said DeWitt House, program officer for the Harvest Foundation. The programs are targeted to begin in September, he added.
    The community dental health coordinator is a dental team member whose primary function is the prevention of dental disease with an emphasis on community health worker skills.
    The dental assistants program will train participants to assist dentists during examinations and procedures, among other responsibilities.
    One of the objectives of this grant is to help area students earn credentials in these two areas that hopefully will lead to full-time jobs. These two programs will use the Community Dental Clinic for laboratory experience, including student internships.    
    “It is exciting to see partnerships developed and nurtured as part of the grant making process,” House said.
    Crabtree said the Harvest grant will make it possible for the dental clinic to continue providing services. Before they received word on the funding, clinic officials had been considering closing the clinic this July due to a lack of funding, he said.
    “The Harvest Foundation has been our financial partner from the beginning, and we would not be open today without funds from Harvest,” Crabtree said. “We are grateful for their continuing commitment to financially support taking care of the dental needs of our community.”
    The clinic was nearing the end of a two-year grant from Harvest and, despite fundraising efforts, had grown short on funds, he explained. Crabtree said he decided not to apply for funding from the city and county because he knew it wouldn’t be enough to sustain the operation, and he did not want to request funds in the spring for something that might close in July.
    “If they (Harvest) had not come forward, this would have been our last year,” he said.
    However, with this funding secured, the clinic has been able to hire a new full-time dentist to work in the clinic, he added. She will begin in mid-July.
    The Harvest Foundation was created from the approximately $150 million proceeds of the sale of Memorial Health System in 2002. Harvest researches and responsibly invests those funds in programs and initiatives to address local challenges in the areas of health, education and community vitality.
    “Responsibly” means ensuring funds will provide a good return for our citizenry, will be leveraged through partnerships and will be available for the needs of future generations,” according to Chris Beeler, board chairman.
    Harvest has invested $97.57 million in grants and programs since its creation in 2002.


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