Frank and Carolyn Anello always knew they wanted to make a difference across the world. Driven by their passion for helping others, they began aiding refugees from Burma, including sponsoring a family. Then, in 2012, they embarked on a mission trip to Burma where Carolyn, a dental professional, volunteered her services. This trip ignited a realization that they could make just as much of a difference at home as they could abroad. Inspired, they founded Project Worthmore to increase quality of life among Denver-area refugees.
After returning to Colorado, Frank and Carolyn started building Project Worthmore from the ground up. The Anellos built and fostered a relationship with Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation (DDCOF) early on. Project Worthmore first received a Medical-Dental Integration (MDI) grant from DDCOF in 2014, which it used to better incorporate dental services within their existing medical treatment settings at Worthmore Clinic. This grant enabled Worthmore Clinic to establish a two-chair, fully operational clinic within one year and grow other programs to better provide health care for patients and individuals with Medicaid and private insurance. After a successful year, Worthmore Clinic expanded to five chairs.
Since then, Project Worthmore has received several grants from DDCOF over the years. Most recently, Project Worthmore applied for a loan through DDCOF’s Oral Health Capital Loan Fund. This mission-related investment (MRI) provides low-interest loans that are managed through Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF). CEF also coaches grantees as they expand their businesses.
After being approved for a loan, the organization was able to expand to a 20,000-square-foot property. The building was renovated to include a 7,500-square-foot dental clinic, which opened in early 2023. This new facility will greatly increase access to affordable dental care for individuals in the Denver Metro Area, adding seven additional chairs to bring Worthmore Clinic to a total of 12 chairs.
“Having the right players involved who believe in you and what you’re doing helps make dreams and visions become a reality,” said Frank Anello. “That’s exactly what the team at Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation provided for us. They believe in us and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to help.”
Frank encourages other organizations that are working to better serve the community by improving oral health to apply for the loan fund. “Don’t be afraid to go after it and find any way possible to make it work. When I’m asking for things like money, I’m not asking for myself. It’s because the community needs it.”
“I cannot thank Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation enough — for the trust, money, and belief in us. We wouldn’t be here without them, and that means a lot to us,” he added.
Today, Project Worthmore serves refugees from across the world with a team of 38 individuals from a dozen countries who speak 19 languages, enabling them to provide culturally competent care to Colorado’s diverse refugee community and increasing access to oral health care for all. To learn more about DDCOF’s Oral Health Capital Loan Fund, visit https://deltadentalcofoundation.org/our-work/our-investments/oral-health-capital-loan/.