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Dean adds fund-raising twist to dental hygiene campaign: a grant within a grant

Dean Gary Chiodo of the University of Washington School of Dentistry has come up with a novel fund-raising twist to support dental hygiene training at the school: a challenge grant within a challenge grant.

Dean Gary Chiodo
Dean Gary Chiodo has issued his own matching challenge with a $50,000 personal pledge to help boost the drive to obtain Delta Dental of Washington’s $500,000 challenge grant for expansion of Shoreline Community College’s dental hygienist training at the UW School of Dentistry. At the same time, Delta Dental will also raise its match from 1:1 to 2:1 to speed progress toward the $500,000 goal. The campaign comes amid a critical shortage of dental hygienists in Washington state.

The school has been working with its partners in the dental community to raise $500,000 to match a challenge by Delta Dental of Washington by the end of this year. The challenge grant accompanied Delta Dental’s outright gift of $1 million to the campaign.

The fund-raising drive supports new infrastructure and renovation at the school to accommodate the Shoreline Community College dental hygiene program. The highly regarded program relocated to the UW last year after construction on its own campus required it to seek a different facility.

At a meeting of the dental school’s alumni board on Monday, Dean Chiodo pledged to match new contributions to the Delta Dental challenge grant campaign with up to $50,000 of his own money. His proposal was warmly received; board member Dr. Rick Crinzi  immediately pledged a gift of $10,000 from himself and his wife, Debbie.

Before making his announcement, the dean proposed to Delta Dental that it increase its match for the remainder of the challenge grant period from 1-to-1 to 2-to-1, and Delta Dental quickly agreed. If the goal is met by Dec. 31, the challenge gift will still be $500,000, but the heightened match means that contributions from here on out will enable the campaign to reach its target more quickly.

The dean said he expects that the combination of Delta Dental’s increased match and his own challenge pledge will make a substantial difference in the campaign’s remaining weeks. “The match within a double match means that every dollar pledged multiplies by a factor of six,” he said. “I think donors will appreciate the tremendous impact that their gifts will have because of this.”

The dental school seeks to boost enrollment in Shoreline’s program to at least 25 students per year, with further expansion as warranted by dental workforce needs. Currently, Washington state faces a critical shortage of dental hygienists. A state Department of Health survey last year found four open positions for every hygienist seeking work. The shortage is especially acute in King and Snohomish counties, where the survey found more than 550 openings.

In the Shoreline program, dental hygiene students work under Shoreline faculty direction with UW dental students, much as they would in private dental practice. Dean Chiodo has said that this distinctly benefits the students from both schools, calling the integrated programs “a model for dental and dental hygiene education.”

Shoreline has already contributed $1.5 million to the expansion of its program, while the School of Dentistry has also earmarked $1.5 million from its separate Campaign for Clinics fund-raising drive. The Washington State Dental Association has donated $125,000 and Seattle-King County Dental Society donated $20,000.

“Time is growing short,” Dean Chiodo said. “We have a chance to make a real difference in the quality of dental care in our state. This is a rare opportunity, and I hope we can take full advantage of it.”

Those who wish to donate to the challenge-grant campaign can do so at