Funding Source and Grantsmanship

Providing community-based care may require someone on the dental team to write a grant to secure start-up funding for purchasing equipment and supplies. Dental professionals need to recognize writing a grant takes time and planning. It is a skill that is not quickly learned. It is important to have knowledge of the literature, current evidence-based practices, and the target population in addition to having a detailed, accurate budget. The dental team must read the funding criteria carefully to make sure they meet all of the qualifications to apply. Often funders will only award grants to non-for-profit organizations; therefore, individuals may need to identify a fiscal agent to receive and distribute funds. The proposal guidelines must be read carefully and followed precisely. Most funding organizations will disqualify proposals that do not meet the guidelines. Figure 4 provides resources for additional grant writing training.

Figure 4. Additional grant writing training.
Organization NameWebsiteDescription
Foundation Center to guide you quickly to the information you are looking for—instruction on funding research, help with proposal writing, tools for locating prospective funders, news and research on the field, or a library or training class near you. Virtual tours are available for new visitors.
Kellogg Foundation resources to develop logic models, strategic communications, and evaluation.
Minnesota Council on Foundations“Writing a Successful Grant Proposal" provides an overview of the key components of a grant proposal and tips on how to present your case effectively.

Figure 5 provides a list of national organizations that afford grant funding. In addition to using this list as a resource, grantees will also want to pursue local opportunities. Local foundations are typically smaller and often limit funding to specific regions. It takes time to find a funding organization whose mission aligns with a community-based project. Proposals are typically accepted within a specific window of time and grant writers may only have a few weeks to write the proposal. When someone on the dental team is looking for a grant, they need to be constantly on the lookout for funding opportunities. It is helpful to discuss the proposed project with potential funding organizations prior to submitting a grant proposal. Building relationships with key personnel is helpful for aligning your project with the funders needs. Figure 6 defines common grant terms that individuals will encounter and they are investigating grant opportunities and writing a proposal.

Figure 5. Organizations that provide funding opportunities.
Organization NameWebsiteDescription
Governmental Grants
Grants.Gov system that provides a centralized location for grant seekers to find and apply for federal funding opportunities.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants to states to support oral health workforce activities including community-based care.
Foundation Grants
Foundation Center most authoritative source of information on private philanthropy in the United States.
Healthy Smiles Healthy Children single year grants and multi-year grants to dentist-led, community-based programs that provide care to underserved children.
Kellogg Foundation the optimal development of children at the center of all they do and calls for healing the profound racial gaps and inequities that exist in our communities.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to improve health and health care of all Americans.
Rural Health Information Hub a list of current and past funding opportunities to improve oral health in rural communities.
Professional Organization Grants
American Dental Association Foundationhttp://www.adafoundation.orgA catalyst to unite people and organizations to make a difference through better oral health. The four pillars of the organizations are charitable assistance, access to care, research, and education.
American Dental Hygienists’ Association Institute for Oral Health a number of community service grants.
Figure 6. Common grant terms.

Request for Proposal (RFP): An invitation from a funder to submit applications on a specified topic with specified purposes.

  • Solicited funding opportunity.
  • An RFP usually has one receipt date, as specified in RFP solicitation.

Request for Application (RFA): Identifies a more narrowly defined area for which one or more agencies have set aside funds for awarding grants.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA): A notice in of a federal grant funding opportunity.

Program Announcement (PA): Identifies areas of increased priority and/or emphasis on particular funding mechanisms for a specific area of science.

Logic Model: A planning tool to clarify and graphically display what your project intends to do and what it hopes to accomplish and impact.