18 Nov Grant Spotlight: New H2O On the Go Grants
55 Illinois schools to receive new water bottle-filling stations
Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation award a second round of H20 On the Go grants
Oak Brook, Ill. (Nov. 29, 2021) – Fifty-five Illinois schools will receive new water bottle-filling stations to encourage students to drink more water as part of H2O On the Go, a grant program initiated last year by the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation (DDILF) and supported by Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF).
H2O On the Go provides greater access to drinking water for Illinois students and encourages them to choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, juice and sports drinks. Illinois elementary, middle and high schools selected for this program will have existing water fountains replaced with new water bottle-filling stations. The schools will also receive toothbrushes and reusable water bottles for their students provided by DDILF.
Tooth decay – though quite preventable – is the most chronic disease among children. Drinking fluoridated water instead of unhealthy, sugary beverages keeps teeth strong and can reduce cavities by almost 25%. Water consumption can also help reduce obesity, increase energy levels and improve students’ attention span and ability to learn. The new water bottle-filling stations are also touch-free, decreasing germ exchange.
The Foundations launched the H2O on the Go program last December, announcing that 85 Illinois schools would receive water bottle-filling stations. Continuation of the program this year brings the total to 140 Illinois schools that will receive water stations supplied by Downers Grove-based Elkay and funded by Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. Besides providing healthy drinking water, the water bottle-filling stations help reduce waste and promote conservation efforts.
“The Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation is thrilled to continue this program and to know these water bottle-filling stations are being installed in schools across our state,” said Heather Higgins Alderman, the Foundation’s President. “Encouraging children to drink more water and making it more accessible to do so helps reduce cavities and leads to better overall health and well-being.”
“With our H2O On the Go program, we make it easier for Illinois students to drink water in an effort to improve their oral and overall health,” said Lora Vitek, Executive Director of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. “Drinking more water means students will not only stay hydrated but they’ll reduce their sugar consumption, improve their diet and lessen their chance of tooth decay.”
See a full list of Illinois schools selected for the H20 On the Go program here: www.deltadentalil.com/h2o-on-the-go-recipients.
About Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation
The Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) has a single vision: Every child in Illinois grows up healthy. Working through grantee partners across the state, the Foundation focuses its grant making on identifying and funding solutions to the barriers that prevent children from accessing the ongoing health care they need. Since its 2002 inception, ILCHF has awarded more than $117 million in grants supporting the health of children and families, with approximately $42 million invested to support children’s oral health. For more information, go to ilchf.org.
About Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation
Delta Dental is the national dental benefits leader covering 1 in 3 Americans who have dental coverage. Delta Dental of Illinois is one of 39 member companies that make up the national Delta Dental system. Based in Naperville, Illinois, Delta Dental of Illinois provides dental benefit programs to more than 6,000 Illinois companies and covers 2 million individuals, employees and family members nationwide. Delta Dental of Illinois is committed to improving oral health in our community and furthers this commitment through the work of its 501(c)(3) charitable arm, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. In the past decade, combined efforts of Delta Dental of Illinois and Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation have provided more than $15 million to programs and organizations in Illinois that improve the oral health of the state’s residents. For additional information, visit deltadentalil.com/ddilfoundation.