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Marble Falls EDC grants money for free dental care, financial health

Texas Mission of Mercy Smart Smiles

Smart Smiles, a program through Texas Mission of Mercy, visited Marble Falls Elementary School in January 2016 to provide free dental care to students. A $10,000 grant awarded Dec. 7, 2022, by the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. will help pave the way for a similar clinic on Feb. 24-25 at Marble Falls High School. It will be open to the public. File photo

The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors approved $18,000 for two community leverage grants — one that will provide free dental care and the other an education program to help bring residents out of poverty — during its regular meeting Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Texas Mission of Mercy will receive $10,000 for a free dental clinic for the community.

The Getting Ahead in a “Just Getting-By” World poverty resource program got $8,000 for classes that will teach low-income residents how to gain financial stability.

Marble Falls Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Chris Allen requested $7,500 for the Texas Mission of Mercy clinic. After learning the group hadn’t raised the necessary funds, the EDC board decided to up the requested grant total to $10,000.

The nonprofit offers thousands of dollars of free dental care to under-resourced patients through impromptu clinics in community centers and schools across the state.

“Texas Mission of Mercy is great because dental health is critical to overall health, and healthier people tend to be happier people,” said EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher. “Removing financial and access barriers to dental care will give a lot of deserving folks a new start.”

The clinic is Feb. 24-25 at Marble Falls High School, 2101 Mustang Drive, and will be open to the public.

The EDC awarded $8,000 to the Getting Ahead in a “Just Getting-By” World program, a creation of Workforce Network Inc. The 20-week course is based on Ruby Payne’s “Bridges out of Poverty.”

“Getting Ahead will help people work through life and employment challenges and will help them become more productive citizens,” Fletcher said. “The relationships that are established through this program will be powerful for all the people involved.”

Classes — one in English and another in Spanish — will begin at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at St. John’s Catholic Church, 105 RR 1431 in Marble Falls. Each class is limited to 12 participants. 

The Marble Falls EDC annually allocates $100,000 through community leverage grants for projects that enhance quality of life for residents and improve the well-being of the city. Since 2013, the EDC has awarded more than $800,000 in community leverage grants.

To apply for a leverage grant for a nonprofit or community event, visit the EDC website.