The Richard M. Bates SMILE Fund at Music Health Alliance is named in memory of music enthusiast and the Walt Disney Company’s longtime SVP of Government Relations. The Richard M. Bates SMILE Fund is the music industry’s first dedicated fund for dental health.  The purpose of this fund is to provide critical dental healthcare for music industry professionals in all genres of music. Thanks to the generosity and vision of Richard Bates family and friends, along with the support of The Walt Disney Company, music professionals of all ages will no longer need to forgo the critical dental healthcare that is often costly and not covered by insurance. Music makers of all genres who are in need of critical dental healthcare will now be able to access qualifying grants through the Fund, which is especially important as it becomes increasingly clear that dental health is a vital component to overall good health.  According to The Mayo Clinic, every single system of our bodies is directly impacted by our oral health, and dental infections can significantly contribute to a multitude of illnesses from cardiovascular disease and pneumonia to pregnancy complications and low birthweight. The Richard M. Bates SMILE Fund will not only bring smiles but will also make a significant impact on MHA’s mission to “heal the music.”

Richard M. Bates Smile Fund Qualifications:

  • Income falls at or below 400% FPL with financial need
  • Must have 5 or more years as a music industry professional
  • Must have a serious dental need (more than just a routine cleaning)
  • Grant funds available to music industry professional only

NOTE:  No cosmetic grants will be provided, no orthodontia.  This is strictly a grant resource to assist with oral healthcare needs.

Qualified candidates should complete the application below and an advocate will be back in touch soon.  If you have immediate questions about the Richard M. Bates SMILE Fund please call 615-200-6896.

About Richard Bates:

Richard M. Bates was a much-beloved husband, father, brother, mentor, friend and business executive known for bringing smiles to the faces of everybody he met. A lifelong music fan, Richard spent his career advocating for artists and creators. Spurred by his commitment to always put others before himself, he was the friend who would always show up, the boss who knew his colleagues’ kids by name, and a man who believed wholeheartedly in the power of a smile. Passionate about many things, from Civil War history and 1960s counterculture to North Carolina Tar Heels basketball and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, he was an avid record collector and could be found listening to an eclectic assortment of classics from Gram Parsons and Lou Reed to Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. Richard devoted the last 30 years of his life working for the Walt Disney Company, serving as Senior Vice President of Government Relations.  He died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest on 12/31/2020. It is this legacy of life, love, and generosity that is being celebrated through the Richard M. Bates SMILE Fund at Music Health Alliance.

Richard absolutely adored his family.  

Pictured L to R:   Son-Chris Bates, Daughter-in-law-Noelle Bates, Son-Ricky Bates, Jr., Wife-Rose Bates and Richard.

Richard M. Bates SMILE Fund Application

The purpose of the Richard M. Bates SMILE Fund to provide critical dental healthcare for music industry professionals with limited financial means.
  • How many family members do you claim on your tax return?
  • What do you do and for how long have you been doing it?
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    If you answer YES, please answer to the last question so we can better assist you. If you are NEW to MHA, please click submit and we will be back in touch shortly.
  • Please select the advocate that you have worked with previously at Music Health Alliance.
  • REQUIRED: Please select 2 of the following 4 document options to upload as proof of need: 1. Most Recent Tax Return 2. Most Recent Bank Statement 3. Employment or Unemployment Check Stub or Direct Deposit Documentation 4. Alternative Proof of Need Documentation or Letter of Explanation
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