Posted by Stacy Fender on April 2, 2018 Colorful toothbrushes rest in a cup to represent the new OACAC dental care grant.

Funds made possible by Skaggs Legacy Endowment


Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC) was recently awarded a $20,000 grant from Skaggs Legacy Endowment to help residents of Stone and Taney counties receive the dental care they need but cannot otherwise afford.

“The prevalence of dental disease and tooth loss is disproportionately high among individuals with lower incomes who do not have financial resources needed to receive dental care,” explains Shyra Bilyeu, OACAC Stone County Neighborhood Center supervisor. “When individuals are struggling to make ends meet, dental care is often pushed to the back burner.”

OACAC reports that 27 percent of all adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have untreated dental caries, however, the burden of the disease is not evenly distributed among the population.

“The rate of untreated dental caries is highest at 44 percent among adults with income below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level – that is more than double the rate compared to individuals who have an income at or above 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level,” Bilyeu says.

The Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant will provide participants a voucher for up to $1,000 in dental work at a participating dental office. To qualify, participants must have an income at or below 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and be a resident of Stone or Taney counties.  More information is available at OACAC Neighborhood Centers in Stone and Taney counties.

“While this project specifically addresses dental care, we know that poor oral health can cause chronic pain and impact appetite, nutrition, speech and sleep and has been linked to diabetes, heart and lung disease and stroke,” Bilyeu says.

“We recognize the important role dental care plays in a person’s overall health and wellness,” says Skaggs Foundation President Meghan Connell. “We are excited to see how this grant will positively impact lives in our community.”

Skaggs Legacy Endowment is a restricted endowment fund made possible by a generous gift from CoxHealth in 2013. Since that time, Skaggs Foundation has awarded more than $3.5 million to organizations dedicated to improving health and wellness in Stone and Taney counties.

For more information about Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant opportunities, visit or call 417-335-7340. For information about dental vouchers, call the OACAC Stone County Center at 417-739-1130 or the OACAC Taney County Center at 417-239-1882.