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Fishermen, Dentists, and Community

Fish For Teeth is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (20-8601854) started by commercial fisherman Matt Marinkovich in 2007. Marinkovich could see the islands' urgent need for affordable dental care after a nine-year old girl showed him her mouth full of cavities. That was all it took to move forward with an action plan that evolved into 12 consecutive years of the Medical Teams International mobile dental van coming to Friday Harbor. Starting in April, 2024 Fish for Teeth is hosting the Community Dental Chair in Friday Harbor four times a year.  “If there’s somebody who needs dental care and doesn’t have the money to fix it, that is who we want to help,” said Marinkovich.

Fish for Teeth's mission is to work cooperatively with the commercial fishing industry, local dental professionals, public and private health agencies, and caring community members to provide dental care, treatment, and prevention for those who otherwise cannot afford such services.


Fish for Teeth is a 100% volunteer organization. There are no employees. Our program is simple and effective, so our budget goes a long way in the tooth-fixing realm. Our community partners share in the effort, and Fish for Teeth serves as the conduit towards getting our mission accomplished.


Fish for Teeth has always been independently funded. Direct donations from our community remain an essential component of our funding profile. Through every step Fish for Teeth has relied on direct donations from caring community members who realize their dollars are well-placed with Fish for Teeth when it comes time to handle the tooth-fixing task in Friday Harbor.


Our fund-raising began with sales/donations from the commercial fishing industry which evolved into Fish Taco Fundraisers. Funding needs are also supplemented by revenue from a Penny-Smashing Machine and King’s Market receipt collection (1% reimbursement). Receipts can be tucked into the mailbox on the side of the penny-smashing machine.



  • The accomplishments of Fish for Teeth would never have materialized if not for the ongoing generous gifts of time donated by the local volunteer dental professionals in Friday Harbor. 

  • The early years of our efforts were heavily dependent on a dedicated crew of volunteers, helping both with fish tacos (Team Taco) and with administering the dental program (Team Tooth). The Kiwanis Club has been a huge help with the fish taco fundraisers in recent years.

  • There has always been a liaison from the SJC Health and Community Services who helped move our efforts forward. The health department has been instrumental in connecting the dots countywide, so our program works in Friday Harbor, and also will offer dental solutions on our neighboring islands. 

  • Many businesses and public entities have helped in small or large ways through the years. Most recently the FH Suites has been offering support by donating accommodations for the volunteers of the school-aged Sealant Clinics.


Fish for Teeth Board Members:

  • Matt Marinkovich, President .................................commercial fisherman

  • Michael Horn, DDS, Vice President professional      

  • Maureen Marinkovich, Secretary/Treas .............shoreside support

  • Heather Dembeck, Communications professional  

  • David Jennings .........................................................commercial fisherman                                                          

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