Capacity to Scale Crucial Services

For most of us, going to the dentist is a simple routine trip, but what if you are a senior citizen who is homebound with no way of accessing proper dental care? For senior citizens served by the Senior Charity Care Foundation (SCCF), who often live at 200% of the poverty level or below, lack of access to resources for dental treatment and basic dental care is an unfortunate reality. Additionally, due to a myriad of other health and mobility constraints, the inability to receive regular dental care often leads to additional health conditions like pneumonia - not to mention sore, and often missing, teeth. To address this pressing need, SCCF pitched the Community Foundation of Utah’s Social Investors Forum to fund a proposal for a mobile dentistry clinic that would bring the dentist to patients in senior apartments and care facilities - all at an affordable cost.

The Social Investors Forum's Investment Committee, largely comprised of entrepreneurs, venture capital investors, and private equity investors, was intrigued with the potential impact of the dental program and awarded SCCF a $50,000 loan. The loan was structured with a five-year duration and 0% interest, the repayment of which allows for future Social Investors Forum investments within CFU’s loan portfolio. SCCF was then able to leverage the Social Investors Forum loan, receiving $300,000 in additional state, federal, and Americorps funding, allowing them to significantly increase their operating budget.

The loan was offered to encourage direct-revenue generation and provide seed capital, which is often difficult to access for new programming. The critical importance of seed investments and capacity grants is backed by research replete with examples of the importance of investing in capacity-building through funding equipment, technology, and human resources. In this model, SCCF used the loan to acquire equipment for the mobile clinics and to obtain additional staffing, two critical needs to increase their capacity.

SCCF is now filling a significant gap in dental care for seniors by helping bring affordable and convenient healthcare to them. “The loan has allowed us to go from serving 42 80 clinics,” said Beth Ehrhardt, President of SCCF. These clinics also operate at a reduced cost of just $125 per hour for dental care. SCCF’s comprehensive dental services have also improved the quality of life for these seniors, as shared by one patient, “for health reasons and self-esteem, this will make a difference in every aspect of my life.”

Last but not least, not only did the SIF funding help with SCCF’s overall financial stability, SCCF has now begun expanding additional service offerings. “In May, we're going to start mobile vision services...Then [mobile audiology] probably will start next year,” shared Ehrhardt.

At the Community Foundation of Utah, we believe that investing in nonprofit financial sustainability and capacity-building is critical. We are honored to have partnered with SCCF and helped fund innovative programming to make a meaningful impact on our state.

Click here to learn more about SCCF, visit. For more about the Social Investors Forum, click here.

Create your own story