Dental Foundation, Outreach

Business Owner Donates $51,000 to Help Underserved Children

Owner of Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant Jesus Ruiz recently pledged a donation of $51,000 to the School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The donation will benefit pediatric patients at UNC dental clinics whose families are unable to afford the dental care their children need.

“This donation will allow more children to get the dental care they need without finances standing in the way,” said Ruiz. “It’s well known that oral health and overall health are directly related, so by helping underserved children have good dental health, my wife Maria and I are also helping these children have a healthier, better-quality life.”

First-generation immigrants from Mexico, the Ruizes opened the first Mi Pueblo restaurant in Winston-Salem in the late 1980s. Since then, they have successfully opened nine additional locations in North Carolina and have plans to open two more in the near future. They attribute the success of their restaurants to the quality ingredients, loyal customers and dedicated employees who make each location an enjoyable place to dine.

“We’ve been so fortunate since moving to North Carolina to have a successful business and a healthy family,” said Ruiz. “We know not everyone can afford all that we’ve been able to provide our children, so we wanted to help bridge that gap for children of families in need.”

The terms of the gift indicate that it will be paid in $17,000 increments over the next three years with $6,000 of the full donation considered expendable funds for use at the school’s discretion. The remaining $45,000 will be put into an endowment for underserved children that will be available for many years to come. Those who practice pediatric dentistry in the clinics at UNC say the gift is exactly what many children in our state and around the country need.

“The generosity Mr. and Mrs. Ruiz are showing through this $51,000 donation will have a large positive impact on underserved children,” said Dr. Tim Wright, Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. “We know that having and maintaining good oral health when people are young is an indicator that they will continue those practices as they get older. That means Jesus and Maria aren’t just helping these children now; they’re helping them for the rest of their lives.”