Grant Project Title
OPEN Backbone Grant
Grantee Address

National Network of Public Health Institutes
1300 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC
United States

Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN) is a national network of policymakers, providers, public health activists, advocates and grassroots organizers that is engaged in addressing America’s oral health challenges so that everyone has an equitable chance to thrive.

OPEN started as “Oral Health 2014” and evolved into “Oral Health 2020” and in 2019 began a process of seeking organizational independence as a stand-alone non-profit. Since 2020, the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) has served as the fiscal agent for OPEN, including the staff that serve as the backbone of the network. Today OPEN is representative of over 2,900 individual and organizational partners and organized into regional and topic-based network teams. Regional teams are comprised of state and grassroots representatives from each of the 50 states. Topic-based teams within OPEN are organized around topics such as Medicaid/Medicare dental benefits, rural oral health, disabilities and universal inclusion, and measurement.

Over the past two years, there has been progress made to build internal infrastructure of OPEN and the backbone organization, as well as to expand engagement and capacity of the broader national network to advance oral health policy. In 2021, OPEN made strides towards organizational independence including the following benchmarks:

* The establishment of a 9-person board
* The acquisition of an Association Management System (AMS)
* The ongoing development of a multi-year fundraising strategy

In terms of programmatic progress, OPEN’s key milestone from 2021 was the finalization of the OPEN Blueprint for Structural Change (Blueprint) that outlines 5 Levers, or areas of strategic focus for change, that include:

* Amplify Consumer Voices
* Advance Oral Health Policy
* Integrate Dental and Medical
* Emphasize Prevention
* Bring Care to People

The Blueprint was co-developed by a cross section of community, state, and national partners and includes, within each lever area, a series of strategic interventions, or advocacy activities, that the network will engage in moving forward.

Additionally, over the course of 2021, OPEN led a number of learning and engagement opportunities, including:

* 22 webinars that reached 715 participants (average 30 participants/session)
* February Oral Health Policy Summit (326 registrants)
* Mid-Year National OPEN Academy Event (301 registrants)
* OPEN National Meeting (299 registrants)
* OPEN Sustainability Summit (197 registrants)

Lastly, in 2021 OPEN, staff and members, were very active in Medicare advocacy work over the course of the year. In addition to online and virtual advocacy happening across the country, the February Oral Health Policy Summit resulted in 91 Congressional Hill Day visits specifically to elevate the need for a Medicare Dental Benefit.

This proposal lays out several areas of internal and external facing work. In 2022, the staffing and backbone organization of OPEN will make its debut as Encompass Solutions. This benchmark will correlate with the submission of articles of incorporation, which the OPEN Board is slated to vote on in April, with a tentative deadline for filing no later than June of 2022. This will also correlate with a series of activities to transition the staff and infrastructure away from NNPHI.

A core part of the proposal for 2022 is to continue working with Starrs Aligned, a fund development consulting firm, to finalize and implement a multi-year fundraising strategy. The approach to fund development will look at both restricted and unrestricted funding as well as outline a series of steps to solicit funding across grants, contracts, and donations. The goal within the first 6 months is to submit 2-3 grant proposals, to 2-3 new funders, that are currently in development and continue to build out the “case for support”.

Programmatic progress in 2022 will focus on mobilization around the OPEN Blueprint, which includes training and activating “Lever Leads”, implementing the Association Management System to drive capacity building that supports network-wide action, and continuing to facilitate regional and topic-based network teams to strengthen collaboration across OPEN staff and members.

The budget for this proposal is $2,000,000. The larger budget line items include:

* Salaries and benefits: $879,818
* OPEN Network Stipends: $511,500
* Contractual Services: $197,000
* Indirect: $255,513

Contractual services include several part-time positions including a Data Manager, Fund Development Specialist, Convening and Logistics staff, and Communications/Marketing staff. The remaining budget of $156,169 is allocated towards travel, meeting costs, IT costs, and other supplies associated with delivery of the scope of work. This funding represents 100% of the organizations budget, currently.

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