|The Need:||Access to high-quality prekindergarten services|
|The Innovators:||Benco Dental, Benco Dental Family Foundation, and Luzerne County Head Start|
It began years ago when a Benco Dental managing director served on the Luzerne County Head Start board, demonstrating his commitment to giving young children a strong start in life. He passed on his servant leadership to other company officials, and one now serves as the Head Start board president. Benco Dental’s commitment to community begins with its associates, who find supports that help them meet their primary responsibilities as family caregivers.
The Innovator: Based in Pittston, Luzerne County, Benco Dental is the nation’s largest independently owned dental distributor. The third-generation family business believes in doing well by doing good, with a deep devotion to the dental health and overall well-being of the community and the families it serves and employs. The company’s family-friendly policies include flexible schedules, generous maternity and paternity leave, a new mothers’ dedicated lactation room for staff and customers, and financial assistance for adoption support. Continuous feedback opportunities allow the company to craft its policies and community involvement to the needs and passions of its associates.
The Innovation: Benco Dental is a longtime partner with Luzerne County Head Start, taking a comprehensive approach tothe educational, health, and family needs of children enrolled in the high-quality early learning program.
How It’s Done: Through the Benco Family Foundation, support for Head Start includes donating more than 3,000 toothbrushes, raising funds through at-work events, providing volunteers, and “adopting” two local classrooms. The foundation also celebrates Head Start success stories with an annual $2,000, merit-based scholarship for an alumnus heading to college. On a national level, Benco Dental supports Head Start by participating in the PRO-SYS® Buy One, Give One toothbrush-donation program.
How It’s Funded: The Benco Family Foundation, founded in 2005, supports oral health solutions and other causes locally and globally by partnering with organizations that are innovative, sustainable, measurable, and impactful.
The Impact: In its 2020-21 annual report, Luzerne County Head Start reported significant gains in the social/emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literacy, and mathematics skills of its 3- and 4-year-olds. Nearly all enrollees had health insurance and medical and dental homes, preparing children for lifetimes of good health. Nationally, long-term impact studies show that Head Start enrollment improves health outcomes and high school completion rates. Internally, making a difference in the community helps Benco Dental attract and retain a devoted workforce.