Charity Champions: Delta Dental of Michigan Gives Back to Locals

Nominated by Samaritas, the nonprofit is the recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professionals greater Detroit chapter’s Outstanding Corporation award

delta dental

Each year, the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ greater Detroit chapter honors southeastern Michigan’s most dedicated volunteers, philanthropists, and fundraising professionals with its annual awards. Hour Detroit is pleased to partner with AFP to introduce 2021’s slate of charity champions ahead of National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 21.

Delta Dental of Michigan has been helping to take care of more than just Michiganders’ teeth. The benefits provider has been a key player in improving the overall health and wellness of Michigan residents and spurring Detroit’s economic development for years.

“Our mantra is, We build healthy, smart, and vibrant communities,” says Margaret Trimer, Delta Dental’s vice president of strategic partnerships. Contributions have included a $5 million investment — its largest corporate investment to date — in the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to build the Delta Dental Play Garden, a multipurpose outdoor facility slated to open in 2023, and collaborative efforts such as the Motor City Kares initiative, which gave two minority entrepreneurs mobile dental clinics to help them build their dental businesses as well as address health needs in underserved communities.

Hour Detroit spoke with Trimer to learn more about Delta Dental’s work in the region.

What achievements are you most proud of?

Margaret Trimer: I’m most proud that we’ve been able to, in three years, expand our footprint from only supporting oral and overall health to supporting communities in a larger context. … Our “healthy, smart, vibrant” platform gives us a way to engage in a much deeper way within the communities where we do business, and it takes us to a much deeper level of community change and impact.

Is there anything people might not realize about Delta Dental?

We are a corporate nonprofit, a 501(c)(4). We don’t take charitable contributions, but we don’t pay taxes — so giving is part of our DNA, and we do it with great enthusiasm and enjoyment.

What’s next? Are there any philanthropic goals that you’re working toward?

One thing that we’re trying to do more intentionally is link arms with our customers and volunteer in the community and partner on projects together. We look at where our customers are investing their charitable dollars, and when we align our investments, we can double that impact. … Philanthropy and charitable work are always better when they’re done in a collaborative way.

This story is part of our Give Detroit package and is featured in the November 2021 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more stories in our digital edition.