Ford Motor Company Fund and Delta Dental are teaming up with Kare Mobile to help address an urgent shortfall in many underserved Detroit neighborhoods – the lack of quality, reliable dental care. The joint initiative, which also includes Lightship Foundation, is launching the Motor City Kares giveaway to offer one minority dentist the opportunity to win a $150,000 Ford Transit mobile dental office to serve children and families in low-income communities.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. If left untreated, cavities can cause pain and infections, lead to eating and speaking problems and other serious consequences. Children with poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children receiving regular dental care.
“Quality, reliable dental care is not available to many children in Detroit’s most underserved zip codes,” said Dr. Kwane Watson, founder and CEO, Kare Mobile. “We expect this initiative to help change that because everyone deserves access to comprehensive oral health care.”
The Motor City Kares giveaway runs from March 5th through April 16th, 2021. Interested minority dental professionals can visit the Motor City Kares site to learn more and apply. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges from Ford Fund, Kare Mobile, Delta Dental, and Lightship Foundation and notified in late spring.
The winning dentist will operate the mobile dental clinic for at least two years, which will allow them to build a stable practice including non-Medicaid patients, creating a sustainable business for themselves and a long-term dental resource for the community.
“This partnership is about improving public health and building community wealth,” said Margaret Trimer, vice president of strategic partnerships for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. “We are not solely investing in dental care but lifting up minority entrepreneurs so they can provide critical access to care right here in Detroit.”
The giveaway winner of the mobile dental office will be mentored by the team at Kare Mobile and attend an incubator bootcamp run by Lightship Foundation – the first inclusion-focused entrepreneur advancement program in the Midwest. Delta Dental and Ford Fund worked together on the purchase and retrofitting of the Transit Van.
Over the course of the two-year agreement, the winning dentist will be required to serve in southeast Michigan at least 50 percent of their time and help provide reliable dental care in southwest Detroit’s Corktown and Mexicantown neighborhoods. They will leverage services currently provided by the Ford Resource and Engagement Center in southwest Detroit, as well as Michigan Central Station’s mobility-based programs and operations. At the end of the agreement, the business and mobile dental office is theirs to keep.
“The Motor City Kares giveaway allows us to combine Ford’s expertise in transportation with Ford Fund’s commitment to strengthening communities,” said Mary Culler, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. “We are pleased to support an innovative mobility solution that brings essential dental services directly to residents and that will benefit these neighborhoods for years to come.”