Delta Dental of Tennessee launches grant program to encourage students to drink more water

Living East Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Delta Dental of Tennessee (Delta Dental) launched its grant program, “Water’s Cool @ School!” to replace existing water fountains at 55 elementary schools across the state with contactless Elkay bottle-filling stations. As many elementary schools have either returned to in-person learning or are making plans to safely do so, Delta Dental is excited to commemorate its 55th anniversary by providing schools a timely way to help students stay healthy and hydrated, while mitigating the spread of germs.

“We’ve all become a little more health-conscious this year, and drinking more water is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health, at any age,” said Dr. Phil Wenk, CEO and president of Delta Dental of Tennessee. “Delta Dental is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve, and as we celebrate the last 55 years and plan for the future, investing in the health of the youngest Tennesseans is a natural fit. I look forward to hearing from students about what makes water ‘cool’ to them.”

Providing contactless access to drinking water throughout the school day gives students a healthy alternative to sugary beverages like soda and sports or juice drinks. Drinking plenty of water can help combat obesity, increase energy levels and may improve students’ cognitive functions. Further, if fluoridated, drinking water also plays an important role in preventing cavities.

All Tennessee elementary schools are encouraged to apply for a grant ahead of the November 30 deadline. To apply, interested schools should:

  • Visit for more information and to complete the online application.
  • Work with students to create a short project, including art, essays, or video about how water is good for your health and teeth, why your school needs the bottle filling station, or what makes a healthy smile, to support your entry.
  • Share the video or a photo of their project on social media with the hashtag #WatersCoolTN and include a link with their grant application.
  • Include photographs of the current water fountain that the school would like to replace, which will help inform the installation process for selected schools.

The 55 selected schools will receive a water bottle filling station, including installation, and toothbrushes for all students. Ten schools will also receive water bottles for every student and staff member.

“Water’s Cool @ School” grant applications are open through Monday, November 30 at Grant announcements will be made during the week of December 14. Installations will be coordinated through Elkay, the manufacturer, for the spring semester.

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