Patterson Foundation, Patterson Dental help expand access to dental care in Minnesota

February 17, 2015

Thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation and Patterson Dental, Minnesotans will be smiling a lot more in 2015.

Thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation and Patterson Dental, Minnesotans will be smiling a lot more in 2015.

The Patterson Foundation recently awarded a grant of $53,795 to Operation Grace MN, a charitable organization that provides essential dental services to low-income individuals and families through mobile dental clinics in Minnesota. Operation Grace MN will use the funding to support the work of the dental professional volunteers who staff the clinics and provide care to those in need.

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Patterson Dental donated a service van and dental equipment, coordinated through Patterson Dental Minnesota Branch Manager Dan Konicek, who sits on the Operation Grace MN board of directors. The van enables Operation Grace MN to transport dental equipment to schools, homeless shelters, and other locations where the need is great.

This support from Operation Grace MN’s biggest sponsors comes at a crucial time, as two organizations that had been providing care to underserved communities in Minnesota recently ceased operations. Operation Grace MN hopes to bridge the gap by keeping its mobile dental clinic, called Lil’ Flossie, on the road.

“The Patterson Foundation and Patterson Dental have really stepped up to fill this void and keep the vision for this clinic alive and growing in Minnesota,” Operation Grace MN Executive Director John Braddock noted.

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Gary Johnson, president of the Patterson Foundation, has seen firsthand what Operation Grace MN is accomplishing – and the potential for reaching many more people.

“There is a serious need for access to dental care in our communities,” Johnson said. “The Foundation believes in Operation Grace MN. Their efforts, along with the dental volunteers who are generously giving their time and talent, are very effectively addressing this need.”

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Operation Grace MN mobilizes volunteer dental professionals who provide oral hygiene, preventive education and basic treatment through about 16 clinics a month. Their goal is to serve more than 1,500 patients in 2015. Operation Grace MN, which serves primarily the Twin Cities metro area, recently expanded to Duluth, Minn., and is targeting other outstate communities as well.

“The gift of the service van from Patterson Dental was absolutely central to our strategy for educating and treating more people and expanding this outreach,” Braddock added. “A leader in the dental industry like Patterson Dental investing in Operation Grace MN makes a significant statement to the dental community and is encouraging to dentists and staff who volunteer, which is our most substantial need.”