WSDA Launches “Stop Big Sugar” Campaign

We are proud to announce the launch of “Stop Big Sugar,” a WSDA-funded campaign to improve the transparency of public advocacy efforts here in Washington state.

Stop Big Sugar WA

Today, I am proud to announce the launch of “Stop Big Sugar,” a WSDA-funded campaign to improve the transparency of public advocacy efforts here in Washington state.

Unfortunately, Washington’s otherwise stringent public disclosure laws have one major loophole: They allow some non-profit groups to spend significant sums on lobbying-related activities without disclosing whether a special interest is paying for their work. An example of this loophole is dental therapy lobbying undertaken by Children’s Alliance, Statewide Poverty Action Network, and others that is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation without public disclosure.

The Foundation has spent millions funding comprehensive advocacy campaigns pushing dental therapy here in Washington and across the country.

Although a separate legal entity, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation remains closely aligned with the company of the same name — makers of Pop-Tarts, Frosted Flakes, and other sugary cereals and snacks. Studies continue to show that sugar consumption is linked to a rise in non-communicable disease, including dental decay.

Over the past decade, I have been in many meetings with W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded advocates of dental therapy and have seen them repeatedly dismiss or minimize real-world solutions that would improve access to care, all because these proposals don’t advance the dental therapy agenda for which they are paid to lobby.

In addition to ignoring legitimate concerns about patient safety, dental therapy proponents have also resorted to personal attacks on the medical professionals raising these concerns. For example, last year an employee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded Community Catalyst implied in a Seattle Times op-ed that Washington dentists’ opposition to statewide dental therapy was the result of greed and racism.

Leaders at WSDA have decided that we will no longer let this obstructionism and name-calling go unchecked. Instead, it is time to pull back the curtain on who really funds these efforts in our state.

Today’s launch of “Stop Big Sugar” is a multi-faceted approach, starting with paid advertising on the websites of many of the state’s daily and weekly newspapers, including:

I encourage you to visit these pages and see the ads for yourself. We also encourage you to visit our campaign website,, share it with your friends and colleagues, and post on social media. Encourage them to take action and sign the pledge to Stop Big Sugar.

We will share any additional media coverage surrounding this campaign as it becomes available.

WSDA continues to be a solution-oriented organization focused on finding ways to improve access to quality dental care for all Washingtonians. This campaign is funded 100% by WSDA — a fact we openly share because we believe in total transparency. And because we also believe that better solutions to dental care are possible once we cut out Big Sugar.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Bracken Killpack
WSDA Executive Director